I am a huge fan of Milky Way. I get transformed into a small child when I see stars. The dust in the sky, the shooting stars, and the star trails, everything excites me. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to live in Australia, where Milky Way is visible almost from everywhere.
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What is Milky Way?
Milky Way is our home. Our Solar System resides in Milky Way. It is the galaxy in which we live. A galaxy is a collection of stars and all the interstellar components. There are more than 100 million stars in our galaxy.
Did you know that Milky Way is made up of 90% dark matter (that cannot be seen through our naked eyes) and 10% luminous matter (that can be see through our naked eyes)?
How can we see Milky Way if we reside in it?
When the photographers or the astronomers say that they see Milky Way, they are addressing the core of the galaxy. This is the brightest part of our galaxy and is very concentrated that it is visible to the naked eye.
Places to see Milky Way in NSW
In this post I have tried to list 10 places in New South Wales (NSW) where Milky Way can be spotted quite easily.
Warrumbungle National Park
- Warrumbungle National Park – Warrumbungle National Park is the darkest place in NSW is around 550 kilometres from Sydney. It is a heritage-listed national park in Australia and is in the Orana region of NSW.
An interesting fact about the Warrumbungle National Park is that the name ‘Warrumbungle’ is derived from the Kamilaroi language and the word means ‘crooked mountains’.
Directions for reaching Warrumbungle National Park using Google maps.
The Blue Mountains
- The Blue Mountains – About 75 kilometres from Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer a great opportunity to capture Milky Way. This is one of the closer options from Sydney.
Any part of the Blue Mountains at night is a great spot to view the Milky Way. However, the best place is to view the Milky Way from the heritage-registered Linden Observatory.
Directions for reaching The Blue Mountains using Google maps.
- Mungo Brush and Diamond Head Campground – There are many places in NSW where one can camp under the Milky Way. I have camped in the Mungo Brush and Diamond Head Campgrounds (See the section Camping under Milky Way below for more details) and I must say that it has truly been one of my most favourite camping memories ever. The Mungo Brush Campground is within the Myall Lakes National Park and is about 230 kilometres from Sydney.
Directions for reaching Mungo Brush Campground using Google maps.
- Glenworth Valley – Nestled in the Central Coast region of NSW, the distance of the valley is about 65 kilometres from Sydney.
The closest train station for Glenworth Valley is Gosford. And one can catch a taxi to the Glenworth valley which cost about AUD 65 one way.
Directions for reaching Glenworth Valley using Google maps.
- Eden – About 550 kilometres from Sydney to the south, this is one of the farthest places. But the beauty this place offers is something worth traveling for. Eden is a coastal town in the South Coast region of NSW. The town has very secluded camping grounds where one can spot the Milky Way.
Directions for reaching Eden using Google maps.
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
- Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse – The lighthouse is in the Seal Rocks region of NSW. It is about 280 kilometres from Sydney. This is an active lighthouse and is operated by the Australian Maritime Society Authority. The Sugarloaf Point is part of the Myall Lakes National Park.
Directions for reaching Sugarloaf Point lighthouse using Google maps.
Bombo Beach, Kiama
- Bombo Beach – This beach is part of Kiama and is about 120 kilometres from Sydney. The Bombo beach is a 1.2 long beach located between Cathedral Rocks and Pheasant Point.
Kiama is easily accessible by train from Sydney. Also, note the quarry at the Bombo beach is very dangerous as the waves swirl up very high rapidly, so be extremely careful at this point.
Directions for reaching Bombo Beach using Google maps.
- Turimetta Beach – This beach is closest to Sydney and is at a distance of just 30 kilometres. The beach is a very small beach between Turimetta and Narrabean Head.
Directions for reaching Turimetta beach using Google maps.
- Barrenjoey Lighthouse – The lighthouse stands at the Palm beach. And is about 45 kilometres from Sydney. The lighthouse is accessible through two ways and is a bit of walk to reach to the top. Read Hike to Barrenjoey lighthouse for the details.
Directions for reaching Barrenjoey lighthouse using Google maps.
- Thredbo – Distance of about 500 kilometres from Sydney, and is located in Kosciuszko National Park. Thredbo is a very famous skiing destination in Australia during winters. And in summers, it offers some awesome hiking trails. As there is absolutely no light pollution on the trails, this makes is best for viewing the Milky Way.
Directions for reaching Thredbo using Google maps.
Best time to view Milky Way
The best time to view the clear skies to see the Milky Way is in winters. And winters in NSW are between the months of May and October.
I love clicking the Milky Way and I love the shots that my camera captures of these beautiful glittering stars. However, there are few settings to keep in mind while clicking the Milky Way:
- Wide angle lens
- Lowest f point – ideally f1.4 to f4.
- ISO – 1600 to 3200.
- Shutter speed – about 15 to 20 seconds.
Note: A tripod is a must to get a clear picture of Milky Way and less the moonlight, the better the picture is.
And ensure to try various settings with the above baseline to get the best results.
Camping under the Milky Way
Mungo Brush National Park
Mungo Brush Camping ground is about 180 kilometers from north of Sydney. It is a popular and well-known camping ground with about 75 camping sites and some basic facilities like barbecue tables, non-flush toilets, and picnic tables.
The camping ground is the perfect camping ground for viewing and camping under the Milky Way. There is absolutely no light pollution. There are some picnic tables that are in the middle of the ground between the two barbecue tables. And this is the perfect place to lie down and watch the beautiful, magical, and magnificent milky way.
The camping ground also has abundant wildlife around. I saw a huge Goanna around the tent and few Kookaburra.
The total cost for one night for only tent is AUD 16.40. The booking can be made online through the NSW National Parks website. The latest up to date information can be found on their website.
Diamond Head Camping Ground
One of the best things about Australia is the camping grounds across the country. Some of the camping sites are so remote that one can camp under the Milky Way. These sites are amazing and some of them are spectacularly placed. Diamond Head Camping Ground is one of those camping sites where one can see the spectacle called the Milky Way. The Diamond Head Camping Ground is also just along the beach. It’s literally a few hundred metres from the beach.
The camping site has barbecue, well-maintained toilets and showers (no hot water though). The cost for one site for 3 people is AUD 27.75. And the booking can be done using either National Parks NSW or Youcamp website.
The ground has zero light pollution and it’s a great place to see millions of stars and the Milky Way.