A region of Australia has once again been recognised for its super dark skies – here’s where to head for the best possible view of everyone’s favourite constellation (and tattoo inspo).

The International Dark Sky Association has recently appointed a new reserve in South Australia, as one of the best places on earth to see the night sky. Known as the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve, the 3,200 square kilometre area resides entirely within the Mid Murray Council Area, around 100km east of Adelaide. 

The reserve joins just 14 other areas around the world on a list of internationally recognised dark reserves, which are protected for their exceptionally high quality of starry nights, including Snowdonia National Park in Wales, Central Idaho in the US and Aoraki Mackenzie in New Zealand. 

The International Dark Sky Places Program has six different types of dark sky designation. Reserves consist of a dark ‘core’ zone surrounded by a populated periphery where policy controls are enacted to protect the darkness of the core.

For the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve, its core consists of Swan Reach Conservation Park, with towns in the area including Big Bend, Swan Reach and Langs Landing 

Swan Reach Conservation Park makes up the core of the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve, and the designation has towns like Big Bend, Swan Reach and Langs Landing really thinking about their light pollution.

Darkness of the night sky is measured on a scale from 0-22, with 21.6 being the natural sky brightness level for an unpolluted and clear starry sky. At this level the Milky Way as well as around 6000 stars can be seen with the naked eye. The River Murray Dark Sky Reserve scored just below 22. Not too shabby at all. 

Grab your astro-photography-obsessed mate and check it out! But maybe leave the torches at home. 


Feature photo by Liam Hardy

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