North West Slopes, NSW audio tour: Australia's Largest Telescope: A Guide to Siding Spring Observatory

Australia's Largest Telescope: A Guide to Siding Spring Observatory

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

This easy 60-minute walking tour around Siding Spring Observatory retraces the history of the observatory and includes a visit inside Australia’s largest telescope, the Anglo Australian Telescope. This family-friendly tour will leave you in awe of the big white dome telescope and will dazzle you with the amazing science that is conducted on site.

For over 25 years, Fred Watson was Astronomer-in-Charge of this amazing telescope. Join him, David Malin (‘the man who coloured the stars’) and other special guests, as your host Marnie Ogg shows you around. Each guest provides personal insights into what they do at the observatory, the heavenly science they observe, and points out the stunning geological features of the Warrumbungle National Park, too.

Come for the views, and leave with a deeper understanding of the night sky and where the future lies for Australian astronomy.

Tour Producer


Marnie Ogg

For nearly 30 years, Marnie has been bringing tourism, science and people together. A passion for travel, teamed up with partner astronomer Fred Watson, they have experienced astronomy destinations in more than 80 countries. However, the natural asset Australia has with the abundant and clear night skies has led her to create unique Australian experiences.
The combination of her tour company - Dark Sky Traveller - and her role as the Founder and CEO of the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance encourage people to get out and enjoy the pristine nighttime environment Australia has on offer.

Major Landmarks

  • Anglo Australian Telescope

  • Warrumbungle Ranges

Directions to Starting Point

Make your way to Siding Spring Observatory, travelling up the mountain road. As you reach the top of the 5km road, you will see a side road taking you to the carpark. Park your car here, and commence the tour outside of the Dark Sky Cafe.

The track commences with a short steep concreted path but is otherwise flat. Entering into the telescope you will have the option of a lift or stairs to reach the Visitors Gallery.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

The Dark Sky Cafe is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am - 3pm most weeks, and every day in school holidays. You can grab lunch or a coffee before or after the tour.

Best time of day

Siding Spring Observatory is open from 10am daily, except for public holidays.

Any time of the day is good, but for the best photos of the Warrumbungle Mountains, we recommend afternoons. Ensure that you give yourself enough time to do the tour before the site closes to visitors at 4pm.


This activity can be done year round, but come prepared for all sorts of weather conditions. It can be significantly colder, windier, hotter or drier on the top of the mountain than it is at the bottom.

Bring a hat, sunscreen, water bottle in summer, and a beanie, windbreaker and warm jumper in winter.

During periods of High Fire Danger, Siding Spring Observatory is closed.


This is a professionally produced tour with stories from leading astronomers at the observatory which help bring the observatory to life. It adds value to your visit over and above the standard display information available. This was my first experience with VoiceMap but I got the hang of it soon enough. The GPS triggering as you walk around works pretty well but if something goes awry you can always catch up later by manually triggering any you might have missed or want to hear again.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 5 months ago

Great tour, very informational. The electrician helped us out and acted as an amazing tour guide.
Took us about 50 minutes and is worth every minute!

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 6 months ago

A sensational virtual tour through the observatory. Very interesting stories, it was great to have different people speaking and gaining their perspectives. Talking to the electrician along the way provided extra information. The information boards were informative. A must do.

Was a little bit difficult to skip sections and come back. The navigation function was helpful in keeping you on track

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 6 months ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Australia's Largest Telescope: A Guide to Siding Spring Observatory