Western Australia is known for its dark, pristine night skies, so with astrophotography gear in hand, why not escape the city light pollution for a nightscape adventure! We have listed some of the best and darkest country locations to explore here in WA.
These are all locations featured on the Astrotourism Towns Map which qualifies you to enter your images in the 2023 Astrofest Astrophotography Competition. Astrotourism WA sponsors the Best Nightscape Award. Entries won’t open until later this year, however you can see the previous terms and conditions on the Astronomy WA website.
Cervantes is a spectacular coastal destination for stargazing and astrophotography. The nearby Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park is an iconic place for daytime and night-time visitors. The ancient limestone pillars make the perfect foreground composition. Close by, Lake Thetis offers the chance to discover Stromatolites.
Darkan, in the Shire of West Arthur, joined the Astrotourism Town network in July 2019. The town has a variety of special locations for stargazing and astrophotography including the beautiful historic home called Six Mile Cottage. It’s a wonderful subject for astrophotography. Further up the road at Arthur River there’s a fantastic cluster of more historical buildings to explore.
5. Lake Grace
The Shire of Lake Grace is an Astro photographer’s dream with white salt lakes and big open skies. The Jam Patch is named after the local Jam Tree and using the shore of Lake Evelyn to form the perfect foreground and pristine night sky overhead, you’re sure to capture some spectacular images.
Step back in time to discover pioneer heritage, the Prospector’s Trail and the amazing Narembeen sculptures. Visit the massive granite outcrops of Hidden Hollow and Roe Lookout and take in the terrific Giant Planisphere and learn what’s up in the night sky. The night skies at Avoca Farm are stunning and perfect for that most amazing astrophotography shot!
Yilliminning Rock is 19 kms east of Narrogin. It’s peaceful and a great spot in wildflower season. The George Brockway Tree stands tall and proud at Yilliminning Rock. It’s an incredible Salmon Gum and if you get the angle right, the tree makes a unique subject for an image at night showing the dazzling stars through the high canopy.
Home to walk trails, scenic lakes and rich heritage, Wickepin has added Lake Yealering as a stargazing site and astrophotography hot spot to its many attractions. Explore the historic homestead inherent to the famous novel ‘A Fortunate Life’. Then take a step into the Universe when you spend a night under the stars.
10. Wongan Hills
Lake Ninan (pronounced knee-nun) is 11kms southwest of the town of Wongan Hills and is a lovely location for astrophotographers and stargazers. The Lake Ninan Rest Area is a large open area on the south side of the lake. The shore of the lake is easy to access by foot. The view to the south overlooks another smaller salt lake where you can capture the stunning nightscape.
Want more astro?
Check out the Astrotourism WA map to see all of WA’s many Astrotourism Towns as well as their astrophotography hotspots!