The breathtaking winning images from the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2023 contest

From a ‘smiling’ crocodile to an incredible multicoloured iceberg: Breathtaking winning images from a prestigious nature photography contest


The natural world can mesmerise, startle and take the breath away, as the images here show.

These astonishing photos have been honoured in the German Association for Nature Photography (GDT) Nature Photographer of the Year 2023 competition, which saw nearly 7,000 entries flood in from 13 countries.

Among the entries to capture the attention of the judges is a dynamic shot of a ‘smiling’ crocodile off the coast of Cuba, a dark and moody picture of an iceberg in Greenland and a hypnotising portrait of an owl.

However, it’s a cleverly framed photograph of a pair of kites – birds of prey – symmetrically perched on opposing sides of a telegraph pole that claims the top prize, earning photographer Silke Huttche the title of GDT Nature Photographer of the Year.

Notably, the German photographer is only the second woman to be named the overall winner in the contest’s 51-year history. The contest’s organisers say that this is ‘a good sign that the historically male-dominated genre of nature photography is increasingly reflecting society in a more realistic way’.

Below is a handful of the magnificent winning and commended nature photographs from the awards. Scroll down to the very bottom to see the photograph that’s been named the cream of the crop…

This eye-catching picture, ranking sixth in the ‘Other Animals’ category, shows two American crocodiles in the mangroves of the Jardines de la Reina archipelago off the coast of mainland Cuba. Titled ‘Smile’, it’s the work of photographer Laura Becker

Landing in sixth place in the ‘Mammals’ category, this stunning shot by photographer Barbara Kaltenborn shows a polar bear with her cub on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard

Topping the podium in the ‘Landscapes’ category, this mesmerising picture by Britta Strack shows the ‘mystical’ Pasterze Glacier at the foot of Austria’s Grossglockner mountain

A blackbird is silhouetted by the moon in this beautiful shot, which ranks sixth in the ‘Birds’ category. Photographer Anton Trexler says that it shows the ‘melancholy of the threshold between day and night’

Taking the bronze medal in the ‘Urban Nature’ category, this brilliant picture by Anton Trexler shows a gecko inside a lantern in Spain

This hypnotising close-up of an owl is the work of photographer Karsten Mosebach. The portrait ranks third in the ‘Birds’ category 

LEFT: This magnificent shot of a roe deer under a full moon was taken before sunrise at the edge of a nature reserve in the State of Brandenburg, Germany. Captured by photographer Andreas Geh, it ranks in eighth place in the ‘Mammals’ category.  RIGHT: Describing this evocative shot, photographer Andy Schmid says: ‘A male orca turns his back on the camera in a dark and cold fjord in northern Norway, but leaves positive energy behind.’ The image takes ninth place in the ‘Mammals’ category

This spellbinding picture of a drifting iceberg in Greenland has been captured by photographer Scott Portelli. He notes that ‘intertwined layers of ice reveal vivid black, blue and translucent plains’ within the iceberg. The shot is placed eighth in the ‘Landscapes’ category

Photographer Peter Lindel notes that the ‘cloud of haze’ in this picture is not the breath of the lion that’s pictured, but rather ‘the body heat of the just-killed zebra’ in the centre of the frame. The shot ranks tenth in the ‘Mammals’ category

Recalling taking this transfixing portrait of a female elephant, Peter Lindel says: ‘The matriarch cow kept an eye on us until the last member of her small group had passed us.’ The image takes the silver medal in the ‘Mammals’ category

Captured in the autumn, this breathtaking shot shows fog descending over the Vosges Mountains in France during the sunrise. Taken by photographer Radomir Jakubowski, the image – titled ‘Autumn Fog Inferno’ – takes second place in the ‘Landscapes’ category

This dynamic shot shows a mouse ‘taking a short break from foraging at night on the ledge of an old and dusty cellar window’. Ranking sixth in the ‘Urban Nature’ category, it’s the work of photographer Maximilian Fellermann

This is the shot that has won Silke Huttche the title of GDT Nature Photographer of the Year. Huttche, who lives in the German city of Wuppertal, says: ‘Every time I pass this electricity pole I take a look up for there is always some kind of bird sitting there. As was the case on this somewhat dull day when I glanced up and spotted the kite sitting there on the one end. Shortly after a second one [settled] on the opposite end. This was getting exciting – were the two a pair or rivals? They just seemed to have nothing to say to each other and kept looking in opposite directions.’ Huttche titled the shot ‘Scenes of a Marriage’. It also takes the top prize in the ‘Urban Nature’ category 

From bees to baby owls, the stunning winning images in the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2023

Britain’s breathtaking landscapes and wonderous creatures have been showcased in memorable style – by entries to this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA).

The 2023 contest received more than 13,000 images, with amateur and professional photographers competing for a £5,000 grand prize.

Twenty-eight-year-old Charlie Page was declared the grand prize winner for his ‘powerful’ image of a fox in front of an industrial backdrop, while Billy Evans-Freke took home the RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for his beautiful picture of a tawny owlet.

‘The talented photographers in this year’s competition have given us an exceptional window into Britain’s nature,’ says Will Nicholls, Director of BWPA. ‘It’s an important reminder of the wildlife and wild spaces that still remain in the UK, and are in need of our care and protection.’

All awarded images are published by Bird Eye Books in a hard-back coffee-table book, which is now available online at, with a foreword by Dame Judi Dench.

Scroll down to see the winning images by Page and Evans-Freke, plus a selection of category winners and shortlisted entries that impressed MailOnline Travel…

This heartwarming picture of a fox in London covered in dandelion seeds was taken by Lewis Newman and won the Animal Portraits category. Newman said: ‘After spending a lot of time with this particular vixen, she began to learn I was not a threat. This gave me some great photographic opportunities. I got to know her routine, and as the wild flowers began to grow, I would find her curled up amongst them. As the dandelions began to open there were a couple of days when she would wake up covered in them. Although she got used to my presence, if I were to move too fast or drop anything she would immediately leave. Later on in spring, I was blessed with her bringing her cubs to me and have watched them grow ever since’

A quirky scene captured by James Roddie in Scotland, with the image snaring the gold medal in the Animal Behaviour category. Roddie explained that he took the picture during a common toad migration, which apparently can be ‘spectacular to watch’. He continued: ‘As the large females make their way to the water, the smaller males approach them to try and “hitch a lift”. It can result in some amusing behaviour, as multiple males will often try to mount the same female. This image was captured just as one of the males tried to push away another. It can be quite a difficult thing to photograph, as this is one situation when toads move surprisingly quickly’

A mesmerising image taken by Ed Phillips of a Willughby’s leafcutter bee in his Staffordshire garden. The shot was a runner-up in the Animal Portraits category. Phillips said: ‘I have a particular interest in the UK’s solitary bees and like to photograph the species that visit our Staffordshire garden. I had seen this male Willughby’s leafcutter bee looking out of a hole, but it kept retreating whenever I approached. They often pause to warm-up at the entrance before flying off, so I waited, camera poised for the right moment. It eventually reappeared and I carefully framed the shot. At the last moment it cocked its head to one side to what I felt was a pleasing angle’

This amazing image was the runner-up in the Black & White category and taken by Paula Cooper in Scotland on Bass Rock, a volcanic plug in the Firth of Forth that’s home to over 150,000 gannets. Cooper said: ‘I wanted to show the drama of the place so converted it to black and white and darkened the image’

This spellbinding picture won the Black & White category. It shows woodland at Great Mell Fell in the Lake District, with photographer Matthew Turner describing it as ‘a strange and otherworldly place, with gnarled bark, distorted branches and dank moss everywhere’. He added: ‘I clambered through the jumble of fallen trees and eventually stumbled upon this decaying specimen, which to me looked like a claw reaching out from the decomposing pile of tree carcasses beneath. I used my tripod to avoid any camera shake due to the dark and dingy conditions, which suited the scene perfectly’

The competition has a Wild Woods category – and this was the runner-up. A stunning image taken in Abernethy in Scotland by Graham Niven. He said: ‘The Abernethy Forest in the Cairngorm National Park is a very special place which I am fortunate to call home. It encompasses one of the largest remnants of Caledonian pinewood, as well as moorland, wetlands and mountains, and is home to a host of specialist pinewood and upland plants and animals. A wonderful place for photography, I am always trying to capture its splendour and translate some of the magic and value it holds. During a spell of sunny August weather, I managed to convince a pal to meet me at the summit of the nearest hill (Meall a’ Bhuachaille) at 5am before sunrise. As the sun rose, it illuminated the swirling mist in the forest below, accentuating the shapes and layers of trees. A magical but brief moment, lasting only a few minutes before the mist burned off’

The winner in the Wild Woods category was this breathtaking image of an ethereal scene on Badbury Hill in Oxfordshire. It was taken by Philip Selby, who said he was ‘struck by the sense of endlessness as the beech trees eerily dissolved into the silent, misty obscurity’

Taken in Scotland’s Western Highlands by Neil McIntyre, this beautiful picture was the winner of the Habitat category

The runner-up in the Habitat category was this picture of mountain hares in the Cairngorms in Scotland. The photographer, Peter Bartholomew, said: ‘Deep snow drifts had left ridges and contours on the plateau. Visibility was limited as strong winds buffeted the cornices and snow swirled down the valley. Across the bowl, the male hare moved slowly towards the female hare above it and stopped. For a moment the blizzard abated, allowing me to capture the hares in their special mountain environment’

Matthew Cattell snapped this picture of a murmuration of starlings in Brighton and was honoured with a runner-up accolade in the Urban Wildlife category for his efforts. He said: ‘On this particular evening, an approaching storm was illuminating the horizon, and as the light levels dropped, the brightness of the sky balanced with the lights on the Palace Pier. As the starlings arrived to roost, they swept across the sea, producing graceful, elegant curves across my view finder. I particularly love the shape of their movement in this photograph’

Billy Evans-Freke has been named the RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 and 15-17 Years Winner for this shot of a tawny owlet near his home in East Sussex

Feast your eyes on the image that made photographer Charlie Page British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023. It was taken in Lee Valley Park, with Page revealing: ‘I knew this area was reliable for foxes, and I wanted a shot with the industrial backdrop. One day when setting up my camera with a remote shutter release, a fox approached from my left. Hesitant about what to do, I stayed still, and surprisingly the fox stopped right in my frame. I took the shot but was confused why it had come so close. In hindsight, this encounter probably tells the story more than the photo itself. Wildlife has become used to us encroaching on them. I think the felled tree and longing look on the fox’s face portray this tragedy perfectly. I hope that all wildlife photography doesn’t look like this in years to come’

See 15 Amazing Wildlife Images From the Sony World Photography Awards | Smart News

From a playful-looking stoat to a mantis shrimp guarding its eggs, the animal subjects in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards are captivating. This year’s winning photographers captured creatures in Svalbard, Norway; Bangladesh; Brazil and the depths of the Indo-Pacific.

On Tuesday, the World Photography Organization announced the shortlist and winners in the open competition, which allowed submissions from people of all ages and experience levels. Of the 415,000 total entries, which also included images in the youth and professional categories, the open awards received 200,000.

The contest accepted photos that fit under ten wide umbrellas: architecture, creative, landscape, lifestyle, motion, natural world and wildlife, object, portraiture, street photography and travel. From all of these subjects, one winner will be crowned on April 13.

“Finding original and different viewpoints photographically is challenging—but ever more rewarding,” Mike Trow, chair of the jury that judged the entries, said in a statement when the contest’s professional winners were announced. “They covered the profound and ongoing discussions around narrative truth and agency in art, as well as wider environmental, political and societal viewpoints.”

Here are the stunning animal and nature photos commended in the open competition’s natural world and wildlife category. (Standout pictures from all the categories can be seen here.) After viewing these awe-inspiring images, cast a vote for the Reader’s Choice award in Smithsonian magazine’s own annual photo contest.

“Mighty Pair” by Dinorah Graue Obscura, Winner

Two crested caracaras sit on a branch in nearly identical poses.

© Dinorah Graue Obscura, Mexico, Winner, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Mexican photographer Dinorah Graue Obscura was taking pictures of crested caracaras flying in Texas when she found two of them sitting together on a branch. Here, these carrion-feeding birds in the falcon family were sitting very still and looking in the same direction, as if posing for the camera.

“I think that a good picture does not need color, it just needs to capture the desired moment in time,” writes the photographer in a statement. But in the case of this image, the subjects also made it stand out. “I was amazed by their powerful personalities,” she writes.

“Stoat’s game” by Jose Manuel Grandio

A stoat leaps in a dance in a snow-covered landscape.

© Jose Manuel Grandio, Spain, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

This snow-white stoat in midair is demonstrating a mysterious behavior. Such twisting jumps are fairly common for the ferret-like creatures, but scientists aren’t exactly sure why. Some theorize it’s an involuntary response to infection by parasites, while others suggest it’s part of hunting.

“Sometimes, the dances are performed in front of a rabbit or large bird in an apparent attempt to confuse or distract potential prey,” Spanish photographer Jose Manuel Grandio writes in a statement. “But on other occasions—as here—there is no prey animal in sight.”

“Pandora” by Marcio Esteves Cabral

Wildflowers in a field under a sky bright with stars.

© Marcio Esteves Cabral, Brazil, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

To capture these Paepalanthus wildflowers that form balls of tiny blooms, Marcio Esteves Cabral used a lantern to illuminate them. In the background, the Milky Way lights up the sky.

The flowers are “firework-like,” the Brazilian photographer writes in a statement. “It took several attempts, as I needed to capture the flowers without any wind to avoid motion blur during the long exposure.”

“The Captivating Eyes” by Protap Shekhor Mohanto

A young owl’s piercing yellow eyes stare into the camera.

© Protap Shekhor Mohanto, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

At the National Botanical Garden of Bangladesh, Protap Shekhor Mohanto concealed himself in order to capture this image of a young owl.

“During the day, these amazing birds tend to hide in nests made in the holes of tree trunks, but they sometimes peep out to observe their surroundings with their captivating yellow eyes,” the photographer from Bangladesh writes in a statement.

“Home Alone” by Pietro Formis

A fish inside a discarded waste basket.

© Pietro Formis, Italy, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Italian photographer Pietro Formis found beauty in a piece of trash in the ocean. And this fish, a brown comber, found a place to hide.

The walls of the waste basket are lined with crinoids, plant-like marine animals that have been around since the Paleozoic. They make “beautiful decorations for the wall of this house,” Formis writes in a statement.

“Kingdom of the Parakeet” by Subrata Dey

The sky above a rice paddy is filled with parrots.

© Subrata Dey, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Thousands of parakeets swarm above a field of rice in the agricultural area of Gumai Bill in Bangladesh. This highly productive field attracts droves of the seed-eating parrots when it is ripe. As Bangladeshi photographer Subrata Dey writes in a statement, “this area could be called a ‘parrot sanctuary.’”

“Puffin at Sunset” by James Hunter

A puffin in soft light surrounded by faint raindrops.

© James Hunter, United States, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

As daylight faded, American photographer James Hunter put the sun at his back, hoping to capture a village in the Faroe Islands bathed in a soft golden glow. Then, a duo of puffins showed up.

“As it started to rain, I lay down and photographed this one in the spectacular light,” Hunter writes in a statement.

“Untitled” by Tibor Prisznyák

Three deer in an orange glow.

© Tibor Prisznyák, Hungary, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Hungarian photographer Tibor Prisznyák snapped this orange-tinted shot of deer in the morning light. A stag with antlers appears through the haze in the center of the image.

“Proud” by Patrick Ems

A goat in front of the Aiguille du Grépon peak in France.

© Patrick Ems, Switzerland, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

To Swiss photographer Patrick Ems, this goat looked to be standing proud and “enjoying the last rays of sunlight,” as he writes in a statement. The animal is standing in front of the peak of an 11,424-foot-tall French mountain known informally as “The Grepon.”

“Frozen Feet” by Alex Pansier

A small penguin on an icy landscape.

© Alex Pansier, Netherlands, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

A chinstrap penguin walks amid icy slopes, immortalized by Dutch photographer Alex Pansier.

“Pretty in Pink” by Charly Clérisse

A Bargibant’s Pygmy Seahorse

© Charly Clérisse, France, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Perfect to blend in with its surroundings, this Bargibant’s pygmy seahorse is covered in small red bumps. The tiny species grows to no more than an inch long and lives in fan corals.

French photographer Charly Clérisse captured its likeness in the Indo-Pacific in Tulamben, Bali. In a statement, Clérisse writes that the seahorse was a “very shy subject.”

“The River Crossing” by Arnfinn Johansen

Wildebeest descend a dusty slope and cross a river.

© Arnfinn Johansen, Norway, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

In July 2022, Norse photographer Arnfinn Johansen snapped this image of wildebeest crossing the Mara River, a waterway in Tanzania and Kenya. They moved forward even though the water was infested with crocodiles, the photographer writes in a statement.

“Eye on the Prize” by Vince Burton

A barn owl flies over grain.

© Vince Burton, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

United Kingdom-based photographer Vince Burton captured this photo from below a barn owl swooping down on its prey.

“My precious” by Andrea Michelutti

A mantis shrimp sits atop a bundle of its red eggs.

© Andrea Michelutti, Italy, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

This harlequin mantis shrimp (also called a peacock mantis shrimp) was photographed with its eggs in the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia. Italian photographer Andrea Michelutti took this image underwater, using a snoot, or a device that narrows the camera’s flash down to a point. The shrimp is a multicolored species known for its powerful punch.

“This mantis shrimp embraces and protects its treasure: thousands of eggs,” Michelutti writes in a statement. “It takes a few minutes to obtain this visual contact with both eyes, considering they can be moved independently in all directions.”

“Climate Change” by Mark Fitzsimmons

A polar bear stands on a rocky ridge.

© Mark Fitzsimmons, Australia, Shortlist, Open Competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

In Nordenskjøld Land National Park in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway, a polar bear walks along a rocky landscape.

“A decade ago there was a glacier,” Australian photographer Mark Fitzsimmons writes in a statement. “Despite relatively healthy numbers in the Svalbard region of the Arctic, polar bears face many issues, including increased human/wildlife conflict, warmer summers and receding glaciers.”

Top five spots where dining meets nature

Dining with breath-taking views of nature makes the entire experience memorable, check out these five spots where the food syncs with the ambience so beautifully

Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen, Switzerland
Travelling by train in Switzerland is all about gorgeous scenic views merged impeccably with the gastronomic emphasises of the nation. The menus in the dining cars and bistros of Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen (SBB) look like an epicurean expedition through Switzerland and scores tops with freshly made local and cyclical dishes such as the prevalent Swiss ‘Birchermuesli’ or a ‘Risotto Ticinese’, Fruit Nectar from Valais or Zurich Ragout. A distinct acme is the Swiss wine that is bottled solely for SBB. These dining cars and bistros are on IC and EC trains distinct with the relevant sign and are operational from 6 AM until 9 PM. Most of the enjoyable food can be picked up and relished at the seat too. Highly recommend the panoramic Glacier Express (Rhatische Bahn), simply the best!

Glacier Express Excellence Class, Switzerland

Riverside Bbq, Amankora Bhutan
If you are chasing river and forest views, you will certainly find them at Amankora Punakha lodge in Bhutan. The exterior of this sanctuary seems like a sumptuous garden patio situated on a hillside. But if you’re able to pry your eyes away from the beautiful interior for a minute, you’ll also see that this curated restaurant offers unreal views of the river. Take a seat on one of the plush chairs, order yourself a selection of Momo’s and a plate of fresh Ema Datshi, and raise a toast to the views before you. As you dine on the BBQ dishes made with the premium ingredients from local suppliers, order a glass of rose and inhale in that mountain air. All tastes better from the sunny alfresco table, ideal for kicking back and savouring in that the slayer view.

Amankora Punakha, Bhutan – Riverside BBQ lunch

Sip Tea Lounge, Amingiri Maldives
A modern tea establishment that hugs tea philosophies from round the world. From a scrumptious Silver Needle to the potent black teas of South Asia or the organic glistening teas of Denmark, SIP at the brand-new Hilton Amingiri in the Maldives has a tea experience anticipating for all ages. This glamorous heaven is merged with earthy hues of comfy couches, surrounded by the Ocean. You can try the diverse blends of tea along with a light snack. You can request the Chef for some Local Maldivian short eats as well. It is the perfect spot to curl up with a book or design your itinerary for the day.

Hilton Amingiri Maldives, Sip Tea Lounge exterior

Ninive, Dubai
One of Dubai’s trendier Middle Eastern restaurants. . . . No trendiest! This spectacular space is a tranquil haven on the western borders of midtown. The gently lit setting, glowing candles that silhouette the bar and the covers that trigger the light to fall in sprinkled pattern offer a gorgeous background to the fresh pan middle eastern cuisine. Each dish is exceptional, but the Zaatar chickpea dip; tender fried eggplant, festooned generously with zingy chermoula, crispy garlic and smoked bell pepper is stellar. Then there’s the bewitchingly Turkish coffee milk cake, which make for the immaculate finish to a captivating meal. Finish with a round of Turkish coffee for the concluding hit.

Hot & Cold Mezze at Ninive

Seaweed Foraging Lunch, Ireland
Join this experience in Ballintleva to understand the aquaculture of Ireland! Post a stroll alongside the seaside coast foraging for some eatable plants with Sinead, the owner’s daughter guiding you through each plant; you head to the abalone farm and gets an up-close look at popular and workable aquaculture farming. The best part is tasting the Atlantic. Indulge in the delectable menu which comprises a Seaweed Salad and Tempura with some tea to wash it all down. Top off the tasting with some homemade seaweed cookies for dessert!

Seaweed Tempura, Rossaveal

Rupali Dean is a food & travel writer based out of Delhi.

‘Hauntingly beautiful’ picture of the Milky Way over Tudor ruins wins UK astrophotography contest

This photographer has aimed for the stars – and succeeded with aplomb.  

Photographer Richard Murray’s ‘hauntingly beautiful’ photograph of the Milky Way rising over the ruins of a Tudor mansion has won the top prize in the South Downs National Park astrophotography competition.

The picture captures the atmospheric night-time scene at Cowdray House in Midhurst, West Sussex. 

In September 1793, while it was undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montague, a devastating fire destroyed most of the property, leaving the ruins that remain.

The competition – which received around 60 entries this year – celebrates the national park’s status as one of only 20 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world, which recognises the region as one of the best places globally to stargaze.

Photographer Richard Murray’s ‘hauntingly beautiful’ photograph of the Milky Way rising over the ruins of Cowdray House in  West Sussex has won the top prize in the South Downs National Park astrophotography competition

Named a Dark Sky Reserve in 2016, it enjoys the same status as regions such as Snowdonia, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales.  

South Downs lead ranger Dan Oakley says of the winning image: ‘It’s such a well-framed image and shows what the landscape would have been like a couple of centuries ago. 

‘It’s a great little chocolate box photo of the South Downs.’ 

Hampshire photographer Murray, who wins a £100 prize, reveals: ‘We were blessed with crystal clear skies… it demonstrates that you don’t have to travel too far from town to enjoy the spectacular dark skies the South Downs National Park has to offer. 

‘The national park has such a wide variety of beautiful landscapes and buildings to photograph and is truly a special part of the UK, both by day and night.’

Runner-up in the main category – ‘Dark Skyscapes’ – is a mesmerising shot of the moon rising behind Beachy Head lighthouse, near Eastbourne. The picture was snared by London photographer Andrew Parker, who wins a £75 prize. 

Parker says: ‘Despite travelling around the country to pursue my hobby of landscape and astrophotography I still go to the South Downs more than most other places. 

‘The skies around Birling Gap are fantastic.’

This awe-inspiring picture of Beachy Head Lighthouse by Andrew Parker has claimed the runner-up prize in the ‘Dark Skyscapes’ category

This shot of a toad crossing a road near Cuckmere Haven tops the podium in the ‘Nature at Night’ category. It was captured by Peter Brooks

Taking the top prize in the ‘Nature at Night’ category is a picture of a toad crossing a road near Cuckmere Haven, in East Sussex, captured by Eastbourne-based photographer Peter Brooks. 

Reflecting on the strength of the image, Oakley says: ‘I like this image because it’s a bit different. It sums up the theme of “nature at night” and really highlights the fragility of nature.’

Brooks notes: ‘I took this particular image to highlight the dangers toads face when migrating back to their breeding ponds. I headed to the spot where I know a great number of toads cross after it had been raining.’

This stunning picture of the Seven Sisters cliffs by photographer Giles Smith is highly-commended in the ‘Dark Skyscapes’ category

Titled ‘Reach for the Sky’, this striking picture of the South Downs at night by Carl Gough is a runner-up in the ‘Nature at Night’ category 

The photographer reveals that he lay on the road to get down to eye level with the toad. 

He adds: ‘I then spent some time helping toads across the road safely. This is actually a designated toad patrol area.’ 

Highly-commended pictures in the contest include a magnificent shot of the Comet Neowise hurtling through the night sky above West Sussex’s Hiorne Tower, an enchanting picture of the Milky Way over St Hubert’s Church in Hampshire and a stunning picture of the Seven Sisters cliffs at night. 

A range of images from the awards will be exhibited during the National Park’s Dark Skies Festival, which runs in the South Downs National Park until February 17.  The park covers 628 square miles (1,627 square kilometres) across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex.

The Milky Way over St Hubert’s Church in the Hampshire hamlet of Idsworth is the subject of this enchanting picture by Alan Crossland, which is highly commended in the ‘Dark Skyscapes’ category

This magnificent shot shows the Comet Neowise hurtling through the night sky above Hiorne Tower in West Sussex. Captured by Neale Thibaut, it’s highly commended in the ‘Dark Skyscapes’ category

Instagramming photographer’s awe-inspiring astronomy photos, from Australia to the U.S

What happens when you combine a spectacular landscape, a sky full of stars and a very talented photographer? Take one look at photographer Marcin Zajac‘s work and you’ll discover it’s something special.

The California-based amateur photographer has a remarkable talent for astrophotography, turning his camera on the skies over locations such as the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico and the Eastern Australian coast. Unsurprisingly, Instagram has taken notice – his photography account has nearly 69,000 followers to date.

Speaking to MailOnline Travel, the 34-year-old, who originally hails from Warsaw, Poland, reveals: ‘I’ve travelled to many beautiful locations around the world, but my favourites are still the Western U.S states like California, Utah and Arizona. The diversity of the landscape is incredible, from a beautiful coastline, and majestic mountains to many amazing desert rock formations.’

Reflecting on the reaction to his work, Zajac, who is a software engineer by trade, notes that city-dwellers tend to be surprised by how many stars can be seen in a remote area with little light pollution.

A great deal of work goes into immortalising these enchanting skies. Zajac will often return to a location several times before he’s satisfied by the weather conditions, and naturally, he needs to work through the dead of the night. After the nighttime shoot, more work is involved. He explains: ‘I usually take several photos during each night, each typically a few minutes long, and combine them during post-processing.’

The result is a mesmerising portfolio of work, a taste of which can be seen below…

This extraordinary shot by Zajac shows Utah’s Reflection Canyon by Lake Powell. He says: ‘This is the most remote location I’ve had a chance to visit, photograph and spend the night at. It might also be one of the most beautiful.’ Zajac says accessing the beauty spot was a ‘challenge’. He hiked there, carrying eight litres of water, food, a tent, a sleeping bag and all his photo gear on the 20-mile (32km) round-trip trek. He says: ‘Overall [it was] 20kg (44lbs) on my back.’ However, he admits it was ‘worth it’ to see the Milky Way arch rise above the canyon at night 

LEFT: This breathtaking photograph was snared in the Australian coastal town of Kiama while Zajac was visiting the country on a business trip. He recalls: ‘I made my way into this small cave and waited for a few hours for the core of the Milky Way to come out. Not familiar with the southern sky I was surprised to also see Jupiter appear soon after – it’s the brightest object to the left of the sea stack.’ RIGHT: For this enchanting photograph, Zajac angled his camera towards the skies above the Sky Rock Petroglyphs near the city of Bishop, California. The mighty Sierra Nevada mountains can be seen in the background

The Milky Way over Bixby Creek Bridge on California’s Big Sur coast is beautifully captured in this shot by Zajac. He says: ‘This stretch of the California coast features steep cliffs, hidden beach coves, and one of the most spectacular drives one can take anywhere in the world… there is no light pollution here which makes this a perfect destination for stargazing’ 

LEFT: This stunning picture shows the Milky Way over the Pfeiffer Beach archway in California’s Big Sur region. As it’s a composite picture, meaning the photographs were taken over a series of hours and layered upon one another, Zajac notes that the ‘light emanating from the arch is actually caused by the setting sun, not the moon or the stars as one might think’.  RIGHT: Pigeon Point Lighthouse, a 19th-century structure that lies 50 miles (80km) south of San Francisco on the California coast, is the subject of this magical shot. Zajac says that the fog in the area often makes it hard to see the stars. He took this shot on an autumn evening when the fog ‘relented for a few days’, giving him the chance ‘to see the vertical Milky Way in tandem with the lighthouse’

‘In this image, the Milky Way is seen next to Boot Arch in Alabama Hills, a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern side of Sierra Nevada in California,’ says Zajac. He adds: ‘If, like me, at first you don’t see where the name Boot Arch comes from – look inside the arch’ 

LEFT: ‘If I had to choose my favourite place on Earth this might be it,’ Zajac says of the setting for this awe-inspiring shot. It was captured at McWay Falls on California’s Big Sur Coast. Commenting on the location, Zajac says: ‘It really has everything – a beautiful cove filled with emerald waters, an 80ft (24m) waterfall falling directly onto the beach, a palm tree making you feel like you’re on a tropical island and a perfectly dark sky that shines bright with stars at night.’ RIGHT: The ‘Alien Throne’ sandstone rock formation of New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands is majestically captured in this picture by Zajac. The photographer comments: ‘The landscape here looks otherworldly, especially once the sun sets and the stars appear. The bright objects to the left of the [rock formation] are the planetary duo of Jupiter and Saturn, which were unusually close that night’

LEFT: This magnificent photograph shows the Milky Way ‘shining bright’ on Samuel Boardman State Park along the Oregon coast. RIGHT: Zajac says that this striking shot shows the night sky ‘spinning around the North Star’ while cars drive over California’s Bixby Creek Bridge. ‘This is my first attempt at capturing star trails caused by the Earth’s rotation,’ he notes

This eye-opening photograph shows a prescribed fire – a preventative measure carried out to remove vegetation that could contribute to a wildfire – in California’s Yosemite Valley. Though he notes that the fire was fully under control, Zajac admits it was ‘surreal’ to witness it. He adds: ‘The thick smoke didn’t seem to discourage climbers – if you look carefully you can see lights from their headlamps as they climb up El Capitan [the rock formation to the left]’ 

LEFT: Zajac captured this atmospheric photograph on Bowling Ball Beach in California’s Mendocino County. He notes that the beach’s ‘strange spherical boulders’ are revealed only during low tide. RIGHT: A gnarled tree in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of California’s White Mountains is the subject of this bewitching photography by Zajac. He notes that some of the pine trees in this forest have been dated as being nearly 5,000 years old

Dream Travel Yaari Explains Top Destinations To Visit In Ladakh

(The Magazine Plus Editorial):- Faridabad, Haryana Jan 10, 2023 ( – Dream Travel Yaari

Dream Travel Yaari is a full-service travel company that has been in operation for over 4  years. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service and personalized vacation planning for all of our clients.

In addition to traditional vacation packages, we also offer custom itineraries and private tours for those who want a more personalized travel experience. We work with a network of trusted partners and suppliers to ensure that you have the best possible experience while on vacation.

So whether you are looking to escape to a tropical paradise or explore a new city, let Dream Travel Yaari handle all of the details. We can’t wait to help you plan the vacation of your dreams.

About Ladakh

Ladakh, a region in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is known for its rugged, mountainous terrain, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. It is a popular destination for travelers and adventure seekers, who come to experience the unique culture and natural beauty of this region. Many people from different locations in India love to visit Ladakh. They Choose the following packages for their trips like 

1) Leh Ladakh Bike Trip Package

2) Ladakh Group Tour By Car

3) Leh Ladakh Tour Packages

The region is known for its unique blend of Indian and Tibetan culture, which is reflected in its cuisine, clothing, and religious practices. Ladakh is a popular destination for travelers and adventure seekers, who come to experience the unique culture and natural beauty of this region. It is a great place to relax and take in stunning views, participate in adventure sports, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The Top Places To Visit In Ladakh

Although you will find a picturesque view and wonderful sights wherever you look in Ladakh, we still managed to make a list of the best of the best places to visit on your next Ladakh Trip. The wanderlust in you will thank us later! Here are some of the top places to visit in Ladakh:


Leh is the capital of Ladakh and a popular hub for travelers visiting the region. It is known for its ancient monasteries, colorful markets, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Some of the top attractions in Leh include Leh Palace, Sankar Gompa, and Shanti Stupa.

According to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council’s official website, It is listed on the global tourist map and receives a lot of visitors from both domestic and foreign travel. Therefore, tourism serves as the region’s economic foundation. Because of this, there are many hotels, guest homes, and taxis in Leh. Leh has 250 hotels and guesthouses of all kinds.

Nubra Valley

The Nubra Valley is a beautiful region located in the north of Leh, Ladakh. It is known for its stunning sand dunes, which are a popular spot for sandboarding and camel safaris. The valley is also home to a number of ancient monasteries and temples, including the Samstanling Monastery and Diskit Monastery.

The Samstanling Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was founded in the 16th century. It is home to a number of ancient statues and murals, as well as a library that contains rare manuscripts and scriptures. Visitors can participate in prayer ceremonies and learn about the teachings of Buddhism.

The Diskit Monastery is another popular attraction in the Nubra Valley. It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was founded in the 14th century and is known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can participate in prayer ceremonies and learn about the history and culture of the monastery.

Pangong Tso

Pangong Tso is a beautiful high-altitude lake located in the eastern Ladakh region. The lake is known for its stunning blue-green waters and the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Pangong Tso is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and birdwatching.

The lake is located at an altitude of 4,225 meters above sea level and stretches over 134 kilometers (as per Wikipedia) in length. It is a popular spot for photography and is also a great place to relax and take in stunning views. Visitors can also participate in adventure sports, such as kayaking and rafting, on the lake.

Zanskar Valley

The Zanskar Valley is a remote region located in the central part of Ladakh. It is known for its rugged terrain and stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. The valley is home to a number of ancient monasteries and temples, including the Stongdey Monastery and the Sani Monastery.

The Stongdey Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was founded in the 11th century. It is home to a number of ancient statues and murals, as well as a library that contains rare manuscripts and scriptures. Visitors can participate in prayer ceremonies and learn about the teachings of Buddhism.

The Sani Monastery is another popular attraction in the Zanskar Valley. It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was founded in the 10th century and is known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can participate in prayer ceremonies and learn about the history and culture of the monastery.

Tso Moriri

Tso Moriri is another beautiful high-altitude lake located in the eastern Ladakh region. It is known for its stunning blue waters and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Tso Moriri is a popular destination for birdwatching and nature photography.

The lake is located at an altitude of 4,522 meters above sea level(as per Wikipedia) and is a popular spot for photography and relaxation. Visitors can also participate in adventure sports, such as kayaking and rafting, on the lake. The surrounding region is also a great place for trekking and hiking, with a number of trails that offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.


These are some of the best tourist destinations in Ladakh that you must include in your next Ladakh trip! Ladakh offers everything one could ask for, from beautiful landscapes to diverse cultural heritage. You can go for adventure sports like trekking, mountain biking, and paragliding or participate in numerous cultural activities. Hope you find this information useful for your next Tour to the land of High passes and beautiful skies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ladakh Trip

Ques 1) How do I get to Ladakh?

Ans) The most popular way to get to Ladakh is by air. There are regular flights from Delhi to Leh, which take about 2 hours. You can also reach Ladakh by road, either by driving or by taking a bus or taxi from Srinagar or Manali.

Ques 2) Is Ladakh safe for travelers?

Ans 2) Ladakh is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, as with any destination, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take basic safety precautions. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with local laws and customs and to respect the culture and traditions of the region.

Ques 3) What should I pack for a trip to Ladakh?

Ans ) When packing for a trip to Ladakh, it is important to bring warm, layered clothing, as the weather can be quite cold and changeable. You should also bring comfortable shoes for walking and hiking, and good quality sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Other essential items include a torch, lip balm, first aid kit, gloves, cap, water bottle, etc.


Experiential travel on the rise in Visakhapatnam

People enjoying fog engulfed araku valley from a newly discovered view piont at Madagada in Araku 130 km from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit: KR Deepak

From learning astro-photography at a hilly countryside, witnessing a stunning sunrise above a mist of clouds from the highest peak of the Eastern Ghats to discovering a trek route that opens up a world rich with biodiversity, a growing number of people are seeking localised and personalised travel experiences in and around Visakhapatnam.

Many are trying to learn a new skill in the process, experience a new culture, tradition and history and gain knowledge about the rich ecosystems in the vicinity.

Over 120 participants have gathered at the ongoing 10th national workshop on pictorial and travel photography organised by Khamam Photo Arts Organisation (KPAO) in Araku to travel to the interior tribal villages of the region and learn key elements of photography from experts.

“The response has been overwhelming. There are art lovers, photographers, Fine Arts students, journalists from across the country who want to experience the beauty of the place and learn the different elements of photography,” says V Naga Raju Devara Rao of KPAO. During the three-day workshop, participants in small batches visited the hills of Odisha’s Malkangiri district, which is home of the Bonda tribes, a particularly vulnerable tribal group known for their secluded lives. “Every Thursday, the Bonda tribes come to the shandy (local market). This is a great way to understand the tribal culture of the region,” says Naga Raju. According to noted photographer Sudhakar Reddy, secretary of Andhra Pradesh Photography Academy, the experience of traveling with a group that shares a common interest opens up a deeper understanding of the world around. “Participants learn the ways of identifying the subject, understanding the right composition and capturing the essence of a place,” he adds.

People enjoying fog engulfed araku valley from a newly discovered view piont at Madagada in Araku 130 km from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit:
KR Deepak

Ban Nanda, a photography enthusiast and one of the participants of the workshop, discovered a new viewpoint for shooting the sunrise from a veil of clouds from a cliff near Madagada village. “We reached before sunrise and were stunned by the beauty of place. Acessibility to the hill, proximity to Araku makes it a great place for viewing the sunrise,” he says. Madagada is a potter’s village. “Ideal days to visit are from Monday to Thursday where one can observe the potters at work. On the weekends, they head to the shandy to sell the pots,” Nanda adds.

According to Naveen Rongali, founder of Ecohikes, a trekking group that conducts sustainable treks and travels, the concept of experiential travel has picked up in a big way during this year. “We saw many people who expressed interest in understanding the local culture, food and tradition while camping at non-touristy spots in the tribal belts near Visakhapatnam. In fact, many families with children are keen on trying out these weekend camps and want children to experience Nature and rural life,” he says.

The group’s focus has been the Jhindagada peak, considered the highest peak of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh. “We have been training the tribals to interact with the travelers and give them a peek into their culture,” says Naveen. Ecohikes has been conducting camps at lesser-known peaks and waterfalls in the Eastern Ghats almost every weekend. “Our main objective is to help people understand how our tribes have been living in these regions with reverence for Nature,” explains Naveen. Shortly, a new place near Devarapalli will be added to their list of camping sites.

Participants of the photography workshop conducted by Khamam Photo Arts Organisation capturing tribal life at a village near Araku, 130 kilometres from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit:
K R Deepak

Within the city limits in Visakhapatnam, there are people who offer experiential treks that help one understand the biodiversity of the region. Sumanth Behara, who started Triptan Adventures earlier this year, says the Yarada hike is the most sought-after trail. “This is a secluded beach and the trek offers a breathtaking view of coastline,” he says. One of the essential parts of the treks involve sensitising the participants about the importance of the place, being extra careful in geo-heritage sites and to leave no plastic behind.

City-based organisation Wilded has been conducting noctural walks at the Simhachalam hill range and inter-tidal walks at Rushikonda coast to uncover a colourful world bustling with life hidden amid the rocks. “The idea is to build a community of responsible travelers and discoverers who can appreciate Nature in their surroundings and understand the significance of the varied ecosystems. Over the past year, we have seen a good number of participants turn up for these experiential treks and walks and actively involve in being citizen scientists to document inter-tidal biodiversity of Andhra Pradesh,” says Sri Chakra Pranav Tamarapalli, who along with K Vimal Raj started Wilded with the primary aim of wilderness education.

“We are now exploring Araku and Paderu to conduct camps centering around birdwatching and butterfly watching. We are planning to roll this out soon,” says Pranav.

Summer travel: NZ’s best places for stargazing and sleeping under the stars

Suspended high over Lake Wakatipu, Jagged Edge is just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown. Photo / Supplied

Balmy temperatures and no work to get up early for the next morning are the perfect combination for sleeping under the stars. Here are some of the best places in New Zealand to marvel at the night sky.


Aotea Great Barrier Island

Good Heavens offers cosy and light-hearted experiences for small groups, with “moon chairs”, hot drinks and blankets. Suitable for all ages, a guide uses a laser pointer to identify constellations, everyone has binoculars to gaze at middle-distance objects and an 8-inch telescope allows a closer view of faraway stars and planets. Great Barrier and Stewart Island (see below) are two of the world’s 15 Dark Sky Sanctuaries.

Good Heavens will guide you through our solar system from a beach on the Dark Sky Sanctuary, Aotea Great Barrier Island. Photo / Carmen Bird

The Coromandel


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Stargazers Lodge guests and visitors can book a night-sky tour of the observatory and planetarium in the light pollution-free zone overlooking Kuaotunu. Its solar-powered, rotating-dome observatory houses a research-grade set-up, perfect for the astro-curious and photographers.


Just an hour north of Wellington, Wairarapa wants to become the world’s largest and most accessible dark sky destination. Here you’ll find Stonehenge Aotearoa, built on the same scale as some other place on Salisbury Plain in England.


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It’s not a folly. Open-air, hands-on Stonehenge Aotearoa is a modern observatory connecting people with the sky and cycles of nature, covering solstices, equinoxes, Matariki, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Indus Valley astronomy, Polynesian navigation, as well as Celtic and Māori lore.

Under the Stars runs bespoke events for schools or house parties, and every weekend, Star Safari opens the universe with powerful telescopes, planetarium tours and space science communicators. It’s a social enterprise from Milky-Way.Kiwi, an online platform for space and astronomy news with a New Zealand flavour.


At 4367sq km, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is a master of the universe, covering Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin, the townships of Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. This rugged, isolated land, dominated by large sheep stations for more than a century, has some of the world’s clearest, most spectacular night skies.

As well as a great camping spot, Lake Tekapo is in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. Photo / Miles Holden

Scientifically, it’s important because it protects the University of Canterbury’s astronomy research at Mt John Observatory.


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A world leader in astro-tourism, there’s no end of inventive ideas here.

Alpha CruX provides private astronomy tours and astrophotography lessons throughout the region.

Big Sky Stargazing’s tour uses the naked eye, astro-binoculars and state-of-the-art telescopes, delivered from an outdoor viewing platform or, if the weather’s unkind, New Zealand’s first 360-degree digital Dome Planetarium at the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre in Mt Cook Village.

Here, science meets entertainment. Families “leave Earth, fly to the edge of our galaxy and far beyond to the reaches of our known universe” and get home in time for supper.

Chameleon Stargazing is a more budget and family-friendly tour in a near-zero light pollution location in Tekapo (with hot chocolate and a fire bowl with roasted marshmallows).

Ngāi Tahu Tourism’s Dark Sky Project is the best-known experience. Its observatory tours are boosted with explanations of Māori navigation, planting, significance of lunar cycles and observations.


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West Coast

It’s fair to stay the West Coast’s skies are stunning on a clear night. Paparoa Nature Tours in Punakaiki take guests to explore the Milky Way and southern constellations through a computerised 260mm telescope while being serenaded by great spotted kiwi, morepork and weka from nearby rainforest.


A Starry Nights Queenstown photography tour with astro-photographer Simon Williams includes a trip around spectacular Whakatipu Basin locations in a Land Rover, a professionally curated photo session and tips on shooting stars.

Dark skies, southern lights – Rakiura Stewart Island is now a sanctuary for stargazing. Photo / Supplied

Rakiura Stewart Island

A Unihedron Sky Quality Meter reading of 16 indicates a light-polluted city and 21 a very dark sky. Stewart Island’s readings have ranged between 21.51-21.93 since 2017. Twinkle Dark Sky Tours are one of several local operators helping you see everything from craters on the Moon to the centre of the galaxy.


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These luxury cabins can now be found in nine locations, stretching from Banks Peninsula to the newest on Rakiura Stewart Island. Each off-grid cabin has uninterrupted views of the night sky, but you don’t have to worry about people looking in — they’re all in secluded spots far from light pollution, with the exact location revealed only after you book.

Night skies over the Manakau Purepod at Kaikōura. Photo / Supplied

Galaxy Boutique Hotel

Tekapo’s Galaxy Boutique Hotel is a traditional hotel with some stand-out features — namely, large splayed skylights that allow views of the mountains and night sky beyond. Make sure to nab a room on the upper floor for the best seat in the house.

Skylark Cabin

Hidden in the foothills of the Ben Ohau range is Skylark Cabin, which quietly opened in 2020, yet is the type of place that visitors can’t stop talking about. Designed by award-winning architect Barry Connor, it boasts a huge circular window directly over the bed, positioned so guests can spend a night under the stars. An outdoor stainless steel bathtub with gas-heated hot water can also be found on the property, making it possible to soak while you soak it all in.


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Wai Dome O, Waikato

Wai Dome O (a play on “Waitomo”) is one of Canopy Camping’s properties — and it’s only a few minutes away from Waikato’s famous glowworm caves.

The geodesic dome is positioned at the top of a steep hill with views over rolling farmland, meaning it’s in a prime position for stargazing. But if you want to be even more immersed in the landscape, it also has an outdoor tub.

Nightsky Cottage

Side-by-side soaker tubs at Horopito’s award-winning Nightsky Cottage are positioned to look out a large window. The aptly named two-bedroom cottage also has skylights, so you can find constellations without stepping outside. But if you’re keen to get outdoors, there’s a clearing just 50 metres from the cottage, where you can watch the sun go down over Mt Ruaephu.

Jagged Edge


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Suspended high over Lake Wakatipu, the ultra-modern Jagged Edge is all sharp lines, softened by its use of floor-to-ceiling glass. The glass walls jut out from the base at an 18-degree angle rising to over 9 metres, resulting in 270-degree views of the night sky in each of the luxury retreat’s three bedrooms. But that’s not the end of your stargazing options. There’s also a heated infinity pool hanging over the lake, alongside numerous outdoor seating areas. It’s just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown.

This is an amended version of previously published stories by Ewan McDonald and Jessica Wynne Lockhart from Herald Travel. For more great travel inspiration, go to