Star Gazing in the Wimmera Mallee
The beauty of the Wimmera Mallee doesn’t stop once the sun goes down. This is when it just begins. With clear skies and low light pollution, the region offers unparalleled views of the stars, planets, and celestial wonders. We’ve listed some of the best places to catch a glimpse below.
This salt lake is not only a stunning natural wonder but also a fantastic spot for stargazing. The name Tyrrell is derived from the local Wergaia word for ‘sky’, given its incredible reflective nature of the sky above. The Boorong Aboriginal people of the area are distinguished for their detailed astronomical knowledge, where Dreamtime was viewed in both the night sky and its reflections on the lake, guiding the movements and lived lore of Aboriginal culture. Stargazing at Lake Tyrrell has been dating back to over 30,000 years, a true testament to its beauty.
At 20,000 hectares, the lake extends as far as the eye can see. The saline lake creates a mirror-like effect of the sky above, which only means one thing – double the stars!
The Sky Lounge is located on the southern end of the lake, and offers up star-gazing beds for you to comfortably look up in awe. Sea Lake Tyrrell Tours offer up an immersive stargazing experience, with tour guide, Julie Pringle, leading the way. As a local, Julie knows the area inside-and-out and loves to impart her knowledge of the lake and surrounding region.
Little Desert National Park
This remote wilderness park is a haven for star gazers, with clear views of the Milky Way and other celestial bodies, often feeling so close that you could almost reach up touch it. For an added treat, spend the night at the Little Desert Nature Lodge, where you can simply lay back and enjoy the night sky. Astronomers from all over the world make their way to the desert for the VicSouth Spring Star Party, where telescopes and observatories pepper the fields in search of planets and stars.
Camping is available within the park for an even more immersive experience. In the west of the park is Kiata campground. Moving over to the east of the park, you can opt for river frontage camping Horseshoe Bend campground, and a little further upstream is where you’ll find Ankle Bend Campground. Nothing beats rolling out the swag and observing the skies until your hearts’ content.
Big Desert Wilderness Park
This remote wilderness area is one of the best places to escape the city lights and immerse yourself in the night sky. With a whopping 13,500 hectares, it dishes up expansive views and a with lack of light pollution, you’ll be able to see stars and constellations that are simply not visible in more populated areas. The dark desert plains make for stunning, 360-degree views of the sky above. Due to its nature, the park has selective access with no defined roads. This added challenge makes it even more amazing when you’re rewarded with a show of stars.
Access to the Big Desert is via the Nhill-Murrayville Road, which runs parallel to, but 5km east of the park boundary. This road is only accessible by 2WD in very dry conditions. There is no vehicular access into the park, and as such, this is where your hiking journey will begin. Always come prepared with ample supplies and a compass.
Whilst widely known for its incredible rock-climbing, Mt Arapiles also offers spectacular and breathtaking views of the stars. With its high elevation and remote location, the night sky here is truly spectacular.
You can drive almost to the look out and be rewarded with unobstructed views of the galaxy above, with the sweeping plains of the Wimmera Mallee below. It’s a real treat. Stay in the nearby town of Natimuk, a melting pot of rock climbers, creatives and farmers.