|Kumeu Observatory, West Auckland|
|Latitude 36o48'24" South Longitude 174o31'29" East|
The Kumeu Observatory is a convenient semi-rural observing spot for most of us Aucklanders. Situated about 5 minutes west of Kumeu, it has given the Auckland based JOG Observers group a home base. The observatory is located on the property of Steve Calveley and has been around for over 15 years.
We have used this site exclusively for almost 4 years now, it was an excellent alternative to the much further Symes Rd site, in the North Waikato region, which has been used extensively in the past.
The observatory is just over 10 minutes from the Westgate shopping centre and despite it's proximity to Auckland, it has some excellent skies to the southwest round to the north, right up to the Zenith. Eastern views are limited to objects 45 degrees up and higher. Despite this the close location gives more time for observing rather than travelling.
The main Observatory dome now houses the Nustrini 14 Inch Celestron SCT. This telescope is being currently used for science use.
Kumeu Observatory is a place to bring your scope, normally there are people with telescopes for you to look through, but we encourage people to use their own equipment, so bring your own gear, if possible. Inside the dome building, there is storage area for telescopes and has few creature comforts. There is currently a fridge, microwave and hot water. However, there is no toilet. There are also two beds for those too tired to drive home after a really late night under the stars. There is a computer with Skymap Pro is available for used by any observers who wish to use it.
The driveway forms a ring allowing cars to drive round past the observatory and out again. Work on the drive over the last couple of years has dramatically improved the all weather access to the Observatory. Early on a few truckloads of roading metal was necessary after we had some problems getting in and out and the area due to the very muddy conditions, especially on the slopes. There is now ample parking with little risk of getting stuck, now that the gravel is bedded in. There is a grassy knoll encircled by the driveway offers elevation and a better horizon than next door to the Observatory. The problem with this upper area is that it is sloping and has reasonably soft grass underneath. The flat area outside the Main Dome can easily accommodate 4 large scope, and many more if the drive itself is used.
Extensive modifications to the site include the new roll-off, Wasp Observatory, which is now operational. This observatory is owned my Dave Moorhouse and Henk Stolk.
Once again we thank Steve Calveley for generously allowing access to the site and buildings.
How to get to the Kumeu Observatory
|Turn Left at the top of the North Western Motorway||
Click Map for Higher Resolution Map
At the Massey Roundabout Turn Right.
|Turn Left in Kumeu at the Traffic Lights.|
|Cross the railway line and continue on down Access Rd for another 6 Kms|
|If you get to a T intersection go back 200 metres the way you came. Driveway on the right.|
|Updated 23rd March 2008|