The magic of Aotea's night sky, a Travelers' Choice award-winning experience. Photo / Mark Russell

Aotea Shines with Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award

Great Barrier can celebrate another win for local tourism with Good Heavens, the island’s renowned dark sky experience, receiving the prestigious 2024 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award.

The award, based on a year’s worth of reviews and ratings from travelers worldwide, recognizes the most exceptional destinations, hotels, restaurants, and activities globally. The “Best of the Best” winners were selected based on 5-star ratings, opinions and stories shared by real travellers.

Great Barrier Island earned its title as the world’s first island Dark Sky Sanctuary in June 2017, in recognition of our lack of light pollution, resulting in remarkable starry nights and protected nocturnal environment valued for its scientific, natural, educational, and cultural significance.

Good Heavens offers both group and private tours across the motu, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the magic of the night sky with the help of telescopes, binoculars, and knowledgeable guides. Operators Deborah Kilgallon and Hilde Hoven enhance the experience with captivating storytelling and insightful information, ensuring a memorable visit to the island.

The recent accolade follows a string of successes for Good Heavens, which was featured just two weeks ago in the Lonely Planet guidebooks and Stuff’s website as a prime location to witness Matariki, the Māori New Year, marked by the rising of the Pleiades star cluster.

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Kilgallon and Hoven expressed their gratitude on Instagram for the countless five-star reviews, thanking visitors for “appreciating us Good Heavens, and the amazing stars, above Aotea, Great Barrier Island.”

The award highlights Good Heavens as not just a local gem but a celestial experience of international acclaim, inviting people to marvel at the wonders of the universe from our unique vantage point.

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