Have you ever looked up at the night sky hoping to see the darkness decorated by starlight? But instead of twinkling pinpricks, you find yourself staring at a blanket of light pollution? 

A night sky full of stars should be a nightly occurrence that we humans take for granted, but thanks to excessive use of artificial lighting – particularly in major cities -, it’s a growing novelty.

Thankfully, not all evenings have been darkened by artificial lighting, and according to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), there are still eight spots around the world with the “clearest night skies”.


Image: visitpitcairn.pn

The IDA said these designated Dark Sky Sanctuaries are isolated sites where quality starry nights can be seen by the public but due to their fragility, they’re protected and under long-term conservation.

Among these places is New Zealand’s Mata ki te Rangi, a group of four islands located within the remote Pitcairn Islands.

Pitcairn’s Mata ki te Rangi was named a Dark Sky Sanctuary over the weekend, not only because it has one of the best night skies in the world but because it’s the third largest Marine Protect Area in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site AND home to 10 endemic plants and four land birds.


Image: visitpitcairn.pn

Heather Menzies, the Travel Coordinator of the islands located in the South Pacific between New Zealand and Peru, welcomed the news, saying that travellers love soaking up rare evening views. In fact, the islands are so popular that the eight-day Total Solar Eclipse Voyages running in July has sold out.

“We’re accepting waitlist enquiries,” Heather said.

“The tour visits both Pitcairn and Oeno Islands, landing at Oeno for the eclipse and overnighting at Pitcairn to soak up the warm hospitality of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers. Passengers will also share in the island’s first Mata ki te Rangi – International Dark Sky Sanctuary community dinner.”


When was the last time you saw a sky filled with stars?