15 May 2019
Tekapo Star Gazing has expanded to include a new virtual reality and hot pools tour.
Operating from Tekapo Springs, which runs New Zealand’s only hot pools and stargazing experience, this exciting new tour will be available from the 7th of June 2019 and combines the latest in virtual reality technology with the “big” ideas in astronomy and astrophysics.
With the help of virtual reality and knowledgeable guides, this new tour will convey something that has been missing in the usual stargazing experience.
The idea of the tour is to take a “super-cool, virtual reality journey into the astronomical processes happening in space – a comprehensive, state-of-the-art astronomy lesson that you wish they taught in schools,” says Hamish Parker, (Star Gazing Manager). “Where stargazing tours usually tell you about the underlying processes of the universe, the idea of this new tour is to actually show them to you.”
The virtual reality tour begins earlier in the evening (times vary by season) and starts with an immersive exploration of space using “Oculus Go” virtual reality headsets. With a stimulating variety of the latest software, customers will be launched into space, where they will witness the universe being born and dying around them in what we know as “the great recycling process of the universe”.
The second half of the tour takes place in a 38℃ hot pool located 720 metres above sea level in a natural alpine setting. While enjoying the total relaxation of floating in heated glacial water, the guide expands on what was learned during the virtual reality section, and how it relates to the sky above. This part of the tour also includes Maori storytelling about how the first people of Aotearoa interpreted the stars, and the intriguing myths and legends they created.
The virtual reality component of Tekapo Star Gazing ensures that tours are never cancelled if the weather is poor. Tours run 364 nights per year with free shuttle transfers within Tekapo and from Twizel upon request.
Tekapo Springs has been a “must-do” in Tekapo for over 10 years with year-round activities providing a great mix of relaxation and recreation for a wide variety of customers from New Zealand and around the world. The addition of this new virtual reality experience adds a unique technological element to further complement the daytime offerings of Tekapo Springs.
Tekapo is located in the stunning Mackenzie Region just 3 hours from either Christchurch or Queenstown and is very popular with both domestic and international visitors.