Starry Surf Coast nights
THE night sky has long inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature, yet one thing tour guides often remark on is how international visitors come to Australia having never seen the stars from their own city-dwelling lives.
In contrast to the city with its high-rises and bright lights, Aireys Inlet’s lack of artificial light and atmospheric pollution creates a magnificent star show each night for locals and visitors.
And right now, during the Milky Way season, you’ll find the best star gazing conditions, particularly on a clear night with a new moon.
The low-key coastal atmosphere of this iconic Surf Coast township, and its stargazing tourism potential, has led the Aireys inlet and District Association (AIDA) to apply to the International Dark Sky Association to become a registered Dark Sky Destination to preserve the starry night views.
AIDA committee member and part-time Aireys Inlet resident Frieda Wachsmann said these stars gave her a sense of wonderment and having a dark sky impacts every aspect of life in both humans and other animals.
“I can’t help but wonder if there is life somewhere out there,” she said.
“It puts everything into perspective; we really are just small specks in the universe.”
She is one of the latest community storytellers to give their insights into their Surf Coast backyards as part of Explore Surf Coast’s local video series.
Ms Wachsmann said her favourite star gazing spot is at the back of Aireys Inlet, where there is very little light pollution, as well as the lighthouse with its inspiring backdrop of stars.
“When I’m away from Aireys Inlet, I miss the slow pace and the ability to leave my car at home and walk everywhere.
I miss the family of tawny frog mouths that live in my backyard, and the lizard that lives under my house. I miss the natural beauty, of which the stars are one element.”
She said the small Aireys Inlet community was made up of a blend of different types of people, but they all share a common theme to preserve and protect the natural environment.
“Currently, AIDA is promoting Aireys as a walking town where everything is within reach.
“We would like to encourage people to come and stay for a few days and explore the local area on foot and appreciate the stars.
I think this push to really protect the environment is what makes the area such a special place.”
More information can be found on Explore Surf Coast socials or online at exploresurfcoast.com.au