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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What should I bring?
  • What are the Site Coordinates?
  • Will you make airline reservations for us?
  • Why dont you organize group airfares?
  • Do you book the hotel reservations for us?
  • What's the best way to get from Sydney to OzSky?
  • Do most people stock up on food and self-cook or are catered daily meals available?
  • What's the weather forecast expectations for Coonabarabran at that time of year?
  • How many people are assigned to each shared room at the on-site motel
  • Can you put me in touch with some previous OzSky attendees?
  • Is there any way to touch base with other people making the trip?
  • How do I go about getting a rental vehicle in Dubbo?
  • Any suggestions about medical or travel insurance?
  • How do I Register to Attend?
  • What are the full Terms and Conditions?


    What should I bring?
    • Any favourite eyepieces or filters (A limited selection is provided, but you may prefer to bring your own);
    • Observing charts and/or computer laptop with observing software (and ultra-dim screen shielding);
    • Additional layers for nighttime autumn/fall observing (elevation: ~550m / 1,800');
    • Binoculars;
    • Cameras, Lenses, Tripods and accessories;
    • Hiking shoes;
    • Closed-toed shoes for observatory tours (required);
    • Travelling scope (if you want);
    • Red flashlight (we can also supply red flashlights on-site if needed for a nominal fee);
    • Umbrella or poncho (so it wont rain!)


    What are the Site Coordinates?

    • The OzSky Star Safari Observing Site is at: -31 16' 24"S, 149 11' 22"E
    • The OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safari Observing Site is at: -34 13' 11" S, 149 14' 27" E


    Will OzSky make airline reservations for us?

    • In order to keep things flexible, we leave this up to you. By allowing each individual to make their own travel arrangements, it affords the best opportunity to structure the trip according to each persons needs, It also enables more people to participate in the observing week.


    Why doesn't OzSky organize group airfares?

    • At the present time, we prefer to leave the arrangements as flexible as possible. This enables travelers to join us for the observing week only or to book an extension onto their trip, either before or after the observing week.
    • The airlines advise us that the most economical airfares will usually be offered as internet-only specials; however, please feel free to book through your preferred travel agent.


    Does OzSky book the hotel reservations for us?

    • At the Observing Site: Yes! We have booked all of the observing site accommodation on your behalf and, if you are staying there, you will not need to do anything until you arrive.

    • "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris
      • when you check in, you will provide the motel with your credit card information and they will charge you for the amount of your stay.
      • Please note: The on-site motel at Coonabarabran is primarily reserved for those staying the full week because we need to keep the motel fully booked in order to control the dark-sky site.
      • If you are not staying on-site at the observing site motel, we will usually secure a block of rooms at one of the nicer hotels in town for those staying off-site. When registering after all on-site rooms are booked out, you will usually be assigned to one of those rooms unless you prefer to stay elsewhere.
      • We are happy to provide you with a list of alternative B&Bs and hotels in Coonabarabran if you wish, however you will need to contact them directly to organize your reservation.

    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris
      • Your accommodation at the observing site is fully included in your registration fee, so you will not need to worry about anything in that regard, and all costs are inlcuded!.
      • Accommodation at the OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safari events is all "on-site".

  • In Sydney: No!
    • In order to keep things flexible, we leave this up to you. By allowing each individual to make their own pre-trip accommodation arrangements, it affords the best opportunity for you to structure your trip according to your own needs and desires.
    • Your local travel agent may be able to offer you a special deal that provides you with reasonable accommodations in Sydney along with some day tours.
    • Just remember that if you are travelling by train to Dubbo and then driving to Coonabarabran, you will need to arrive at Central Station quite early on the morning of departure. Please consider travel time from your hotel to Central Railway Station.
    • If you are travelling by air to Dubbo and then driving to Coonabarabran, you might prefer to stay somewhere close to the airport.


    How do I get from Sydney to the OzSky Observing Site?

    • "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris
      • There are three main options available:
        1. Catch the XPT train from Sydney to Dubbo, pick up a rental car for the week and drive two hours to Coona;
        2. Fly from Sydney to Dubbo, pick up a rental car for the week and drive two hours to Coona;
        3. Drive all the way from Sydney to Coona (about 6-7 hours drive each way)

      • Timewise and pricewise, there's not a lot of difference between catching the Express Passenger Train (XPT) and driving from Sydney; it's more whether you feel comfortable navigating your way out of the big city on the left hand side of the road. Once you're out in the countryside, driving is pretty straightforward. The train gives you the option of sleeping for a few hours so you'll be ready to hit the scopes on the first night. But, it's really up to you.
      • Driving all the way allows you to see many of the sights along the way, including the Blue Mountains and the Mudgee wine region if you head northwest, or the Hunter Valley wine region if you head north.

    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris
      • Your best bet is to rent a car and drive directly to the site. You can either share car rental with other folks coming to OzSky, or drive in convoy if you are all arriving at a similar time. The drive is only 3 hours from Sydney airport (or the CBD), and you can easily fly in to Sydney in the morning, grab a car and be at the observing site by early afternoon. Directions will be provided closer to the date.


    What meal and catering options are available at OzSky?

    • "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris
      • Most people make use of the motel's nightly catering service (home-style cooking) and this is becoming a very popular option.
      • Some people stock up on food at one of the local supermarket, as each of the on-site rooms have a small kitchenette with all the essentials for cooking for yourself.
      • Alternatively, the town is only a 5-10 minute drive from the observing site, and there are a number of restaurants, cafes and pubs which may be suitable.

    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris
      • The OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safari is a self-catered experience due to the remoteness of the location and the lack of nearby towns.
      • Each of the three houses contains a fully-equipped kitchen including a full oven, cooktop and BBQs, so all you need to bring is your food supplies (available en-route) and a healthy apetite.
      • We typically stock up on supplies several times during the week and cook together as a group, however some folks may prefer to cook their own meals independently.
      • Your OzSky hosts may offer to cook up a group feast on one or two nights during the week, depending on the dietary requirements and preferences of those attending.


    What are the weather expectations for OzSky at that time of year?

    • The official source of weather & climatic data in Australia is the Bureau of Meteorology.
    • "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris
    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris
      • There is very little historical data available for this location, however our trial event at this location yielded 6 out of 7 clear nights, and comfortable temperatures.
      • Most of the useful data and statistics for the "Southern Spring" observing site can be found at the following links:

    • It is not uncommon to experience cooler temperatures at either location, so you'll definitely want to pack items that you can layer together, and some polar fleece for night-time observing.
    • Daytime temperatures usually fall in the 10-27C (50-80F) range, however it has been known to drop as low as 0-2C (32-35F) overnight on occasions, so be sure to pack enough cold-weather gear to keep you toasty warm under the southern Milky Way.
    • Of course, given the recent warmer-than-average temperatures, no-one can accurately forecast what the climate will do, but hopefully the above information will at least provide a guide of what has happened historically.
    • If you can forecast how many clear or cloudy nights there are going to be, you're doing well, however historically, we normally find that on average we get 5 or 6 clear nights out of 7 during OzSky. Some years we have had a straight run of 7 clear nights in a row, resulting in a lot of what we call "Photon Fatigue" where even the hardest of hard-core observers find themselves heading to bed quite early towards the end of the week, despite superb observing conditions.
    • Your mileage may vary, so to speak, but don't be surprised if by the end of the week, you have photon fatigue! A glass (or three) of a good Australian Shiraz may (or may not) assist!


    How many people are assigned to each room at OzSky?

    • "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris
      • There are 15 rooms available to us, with two or three being assigned to your volunteer hosts. Most of the on-site rooms are capable of accommodating up to seven (7) people, however we will only be assigning up to four (4) people per room to ensure greater levels of comfort, unless specifically requested to increase numbers for any given group.
      • On-site housing assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference being given to those staying the full week and those willing to room-share with others. Thereafter, alternative accommodation options may be offered at an off-site hotel which is convenient to the observing site, and names will be added to a waiting list for the purpose of substitution in the event of any cancellations.
      • Where individuals are travelling as a group, please let us know and we will try to assign you to the same rooms.
      • Where possible, separate male and female rooms may be made available, however the priority will be on allowing as many people to stay on-site as possible.
      • If enough rooms are available, you may request a private room, however on-site rooms are usually filled to capacity long before registrations are closed.

    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris
      • There are three houses available to us, and depending on numbers we will rent one, two or all three of those houses. Room assignments are based on the final number of people registering for this event. Only two or three rooms will be assigned to your volunteer host(s) to allow as many observers the opportunity to experience, as possible.
      • Rooming assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference being given to couples for the double rooms.
      • In the two-bedroom, four-bedroom and 6-bedroom cottages (total of five double rooms, three twin rooms and four single rooms), we will assign two individuals per twin room and one couple per double room. The Single Rooms are only located in the more rustic Shearer's Quarters.
      • Where too few couples are registered to fill all of the double rooms, those double rooms may be offered to individuals, based on order of registration.


    Id like to talk to some of the folks who have observed with you at previous OzSky Star Safaris. Can you put me in touch with some of the amateurs who have traveled south with your group in past years? Id like to hear their impressions of the trip and the southern skies.

    • You bet. Just send an email to and well put you in touch with some of our southern sky converts.
    • You can also have a look at our OzSky Testimonials page to read about others' experiences at OzSky, and contact them directly if you wish.
    • Additionally, your friendly Australian hosts would be delighted to indoctrinate you further on the splendors of the southern skies.
    Is there any way to touch base with other people making the trip prior to our departure so that we can compare notes on what eyepieces to bring, etc.?
    • Absolutely! We have a private Mailing List (registered attendees only) that enables those signed up for the trip to coordinate plans, observing lists, and other information prior to departure. Our Australian hosts are also a part of that list and ever ready to jump in to offer their words of wisdom. Its a good way to get to know your fellow travelling companions even before you put a face to the name. Once your registration is confirmed, you will be added to that list automatically.
    • We will also coordinate a brief bio list of all registered attendees, along with profile photos where possible, to help you gain a better understanding of those taking the trip with you.


    How do I go about getting a rental vehicle in Australia?

    • Using your favorite internet search engine, there are a number of car rental companies in both Sydney and Dubbo.
    • Alternatively, on the Info Links portion of this website you will find information on some of the different companies you can contact.
    • You will also be able to use the OzSky mailing list to find someone to share your vehicle if you are travelling alone.
    • If there are several of you travelling together, you can even rent a van or mini-bus if you prebook which can reduce the per person cost of transportation.
    • Just remember that every traveler will have some amount of luggage as well so dont plan on trying to fit six able-bodied astronomers in an Economy car AND having their luggage accompany them.


    Any suggestions about medical or travel insurance?

    • Check with your insurance company before you leave to see if and to what extent you are covered in a foreign country.
    • It is generally advised that travelers purchase travelers medical insurance to provide at minimum emergency evacuation back to the States but you may opt to get additional coverage, possibly including trip cancellation insurance.
    • Just do an internet search for Travel Insurance to compare a number of different offerings.


    How do I Register to Attend?

    • All you need to do is submit your registration form. Once your registration is accepted, we will issue an invoice for the registration fee - once paid, your place will be confirmed and secured.

    • OzSky "Classic" Star Safaris (April) are strictly limited to the first 36 observers / couples confirmed (plus any non-observing family members).
    • OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safaris (October) are strictly limited to the first 12-16 observers / couples confirmed (plus any non-observing family members).
    • As such, be sure to register ASAP to secure your place, as both of these events are usually sold out very quickly!


    How do I know when Registrations will Open?

    • Just ask us to be put on the mailing list and you'll be notified by email as soon as each event opens for registration.
    • We usually open registrations about 12 months in advance to allow you sufficient time to plan your leave and all of your travel plans.
    • If you have a group of friends who all want to travel together to a specific OzSky Star Safari, just let us know in advance and we will do everything in our power to ensure all members of your group are accepted.


    What are the full Terms and Conditions?


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