This week’s HOT SPOT Great Barrier
Aotea seems an ideal place to celebrate Matariki.
Matariki translates as ‘‘eyes of god’’ or ‘‘little eyes’’.
Designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association in June 2017, Great Barrier Island (Aotea) is hosting a festival from June 29 until July 1 to mark the occasion, incorporating star gazing, art exhibitions, photography workshops, rocket making, astronomy talks, moon dancing, and a twilight ball.
The inaugural festival coincides with Mars coming closer to Earth than it has since 2003 and, with the lack of light pollution, you’re all but guaranteed a stellar view.
Less than 100km from Auckland, the island provides perfect respite from the stresses of modern life.
Explore its forests, beaches and bays, have a soak in the secluded natural hot springs and take in night skies deemed some of the most spectacular on the planet.