What should I wear?
At any time of year, including warm months December, January, February and March, you must bring a jacket. We suggest you wear as a minimum:
- Full-length trousers
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Closed in shoes or boots, with socks
From April to November plan to wear three to six layers, including thermals. You can always peel off layers.
You should plan to wear multiple items, including vest, jackets, jumpers, coats, wind jacket, overcoat. Always pack a beanie, scarf and gloves for the outback after dark.
We also recommend during wet years, bring mozzie repellent. During dry years we otherwise don’t expect mosquitoes at the Outback Astronomy venue.
We use an audio system in most of our sky shows.
You should remember to bring your 3.5mm round plug earphones – or you can purchase some when making an online booking if they are required for your event.
The following earphone connectors are not suitable – flat-style Apple Lightning, USB, Bluetooth or WiFi.
Some events may not require ear phones, eg we may use a public address system. However, we suggest you pack ear phones in case your event is rescheduled to a later night when it may be necessary to have ear phones.
None of the networks (Telstra, Optus or Vodaphone) are perfect. They fail to operate very well when you really want them to (Murphy’s Law).
Telstra performs at a basic level in the Broken Hill built up areas though the signal drops off quickly once outside the city. Optus and Vodafone services are quite weak and you should assume no service will be available in Broken Hill.
It is best to assume no cell coverage outside Broken Hill.
If you supply an Optus or Vodaphone cell number in your booking, please take care to enquire with us about sky show status on the day of your event or when you are in a cell service area. Please text us on 0427 055 225.
These events are typically hosted on prime dark nights:
- Hang out with the Stars®
- Milky Way Hangout
The Sky Tonight is an introductory event for gazers who want to know about celestial cycles. There may be a thin crescent or a gibbous Moon, but still dark enough for binocular and telescope viewing.
Food served on the sky dome is tasty, rustic and should be familiar to our guests. Food service is kept affordable. Service is specifically styled for our outdoor venue.
The PLUS ticket includes a variety of sweet, savoury, fresh and wholesome foods. Other options like cheese plates can be ordered at the time of booking.
Dinner events feature BBQs and salads, stews, curries and soups.
Our food portions are generous, representing great value for money.
We may wait for clouds to move or cancel.
If we cancel you will be given the opportunity to reschedule or if this is not possible, receive a full refund.
We ask all guests for a cell phone contact to receive a text message update about the conditions on the evening of your booking.
In dry years we don’t expect lengthy cloudy periods.
If you booked your event as an individual or as part of a group of family or friends, and we cancel an event because of cloud, your options are:
- Reschedule to another available night, subject to availability, or
- Seek a refund
On some occasions large quantities of food service are involved and guests cannot reschedule. On such occasions we have invited our guests to enjoy their food and beverage service on the sky dome and refund the sky show portion of the booking.
There may be occasions when we will cancel a sky show due to low booking numbers, however, we try to avoid doing this.
If it is cloudy and your booking was made by a third party or a tourism industry representative, it is likely your schedule is set. It may not be easy to reschedule or refund, or it may be that making a refund is complicated due to the type of event or the cost of making the refund. In such situations we will provide an alternative event at our premises, as far as it is possible.
We provide this finer detail for the benefit of anyone who may be interested!
Usual Process (This happens most of the time.)
- Late morning, we analyse weather models and forecasts
- We text guests with sky show status, instructions
The weather is unpredictable.
Guests should expect to be flexible.
Unforeseen weather changes can occur during events. If you have entered our venue, and we have begun an event, we may not refund, and this is stated in our sales terms.
For this reason, we invest time and effort in decision-making about proceeding or cancelling all stargazing events.
When poor gazing conditions are determined, we will cancel and offer you an opportunity to reschedule or to take a full refund.
- If you have opportunity to attend
- If we have availability, minimum numbers of guests
- If the event is scheduled or could be scheduled
- If weather conditions permit
Do all cancellations that follow the “usual process” receive a full refund?
We make the decision early in the day most often, because then it is absolutely possible to fully refund you in the event of forecast clouds.
This process seems to satisfy most persons, even if we cancel and the weather forecast turns out to be wrong. That happens a lot in our town of Broken Hill – so much more than most people realise.
We think it is because few people intervene in computer-generated forecasts.
The other issue is that Broken Hill’s official weather station is at the airport, more than 10km away as the crow flies, and not relevant for our venue.
Our sensitivity to decisions about cancellations are a real consideration when it comes to meeting expectations of our guests.
Therefore, we take care in making our decisions as early as possible on the day of your event. Please note the following about weather models and forecasts. Forecasts will:
- most often be variable
- most often contain inaccurate information
- most often conflict with forecasts from other providers
- most often be irrelevant for large parts of the Broken Hill district
- require best analysis and interpretation by us prior to determining sky show status
- be prone to change suddenly on some rare occasions, with or without accuracy
Unusual Process (From our experience, this may happen once or twice a year.)
After we have communicated clear conditions based upon forecasts, and decided to proceed, the weather forecast may change – just before our planned commencement.
Late forecast changes like this may not be backed up by conditions, eg the visible sky looks clear or clearing, and satellite imagery seems to be clear. It is possible that the forecast is wrong and may be due to a computer error.
By this late stage we have set up all equipment and food service has been finalised.
When we have no idea what to expect we do the following:
Text you before you arrive at our venue if possible, or talk to you at our front gate once you have arrived.
We are likely to decide to proceed, taking on the unknown!
We may suggest you take one of these options:
- Agree that half of your sky show ticket is refunded if stargazing not possible. We cannot refund food service at this very late stage and will invite you to enjoy food service at our venue.
- Agree to take a full refund and immediately leave our venue. Note that at this very late stage we cannot refund sky show food. In this instance, only your sky show tickets will be refunded in full and your food service will be donated to the local birdlife.
Yes. We don’t mind if you bring your dog as long as they stay quiet, remain on a leash and please stay off the furniture.
They will enjoy the show and find it informative – especially when they hear about Canis Major.
All sky show guests must arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the sky show. Please phone us on 0427 055 225 as soon as you know you will be late so that we can make arrangements to greet you when our property is blacked out and locked up for stargazing.
Any person curious about the sky, the stars and other celestial objects will enjoy these events. No prior knowledge of the sky is required. Our sky shows are suitable for all ages from 6 years and up.
Check the calendar of events to see what’s on at the time you plan to be in Broken Hill. Be sure to contact us to ensure the date has capacity for your group size. Groups should always ensure the following evening is free to attend if the first date is cloudy. (Groups are larger organised groups such as schools or tour groups.)
Even several years since the start of the pandemic, we continue to limit the number of guests at sky shows.
During school holidays we may list sky shows with discounted pricing, eg Flat Mat Gazing. It may also be scheduled any time upon request, with notice, for school groups or large family gatherings, although a minimum group size or a minimum fee will apply.
Our transport service has been stopped until further notice.
Outback Astronomy is located at 18817 Barrier Highway, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. This is a 10 minute drive from most parts of Broken Hill. Parking spaces are at the front of the building. Search for our venue online and follow directions. You must exercise caution if relying upon a factory-fitted GPS unit in a motor vehicle. Guests have advised these can be inaccurate.
From the Post Office in Argent Street, drive north.
This is the direction to Wilcannia and Cobar.
Argent Street becomes the Barrier Highway.
From the 80 kilometre per hour speed sign on the edge of town, proceed 5.2 kilometres.
We are on the right hand side of the highway. A small reflective sign marks our turn-off.
Our property is flat and accessible with walking aids and wheelchairs. Specialised transportation vehicles may access the sky dome directly however this must be arranged in advance of the sky show. Bathroom facilities do not allow wheelchair access at this time.
No access to the main building at present as renovations are in progress.
Please be patient with us as we progress these improvement works. The building was constructed in the 1930s and we value its heritage.
The cafe will reopen when renovations are completed.
Outback Astronomy offers a special outback night sky experience to guests and we welcome enquiries from the industry. We are happy to facilitate industry enquiries and provide arm’s-length or independent information about suitable accommodation options in Broken Hill and surrounding areas.
We look forward to welcoming domestic and international groups to our venue. Please contact by email, firstname.lastname@example.org to outline your request.
Below are links to Outback Astronomy’s COVID-19 Safety Plans.
Images used on this website are a combination of Outback Astronomy images, stock images and images from Destination NSW.
Time Zone in Broken Hill, Australia
Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT) in Broken Hill is equal to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +10.5 hours (October, November, December, January, February, March)
Daylight saving time begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October. Clocks are put forward one hour. It ends at 2am (3am Daylight Saving Time) on the first Sunday in April. Clocks are put back one hour.
Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) in Broken Hill is equal to UTC +9.5 hours (April, May, June, July, August, September)