THE GRAVITY DISCOVERY CENTRE & OBSERVATORY
Have you ever dreamed of spending a night with the stars? No, not at the Oscars, the actual stars! At the Gravity Discovery Centre (GDC) Observatory, you can take advantage of the state-of-the-art telescopes and fully retractable roof to gaze upon the stars, moon or even the Sun. The Gravity Discovery Centre is right next door, where you’ll find the Leaning Tower of Gingin, the Biodiversity Gallery and the famous Zadko Telescope.
The Zadko Telescope, which is a one-metre telescope managed by the University of Western Australia, recently recorded the birth of a black hole. It captured images of a star exploding in February 2017, but the actual event took place billions of years ago – before our Sun was created! The light from the explosion had to travel 12 billion years before reaching the telescope.
There are five telescopes for visitors to look through, including the Brodie Hall telescope, which is the largest public-use telescope in Western Australia. There are night and day visits available, with solar viewing sometimes offered.
If you’re feeling brave, why not climb the 222 steps to get to the top of the Leaning Tower of Gingin? The view from the top of the 45 metre tower, across the Wallingup Plains, would be rewarding enough. Once you get to the top, you can drop a water balloon off the edge! The tower leans at an impressive 15 degree angle. To put that in perspective, the Leaning Tower of Pisa only leans 5.5 degrees.
There are short biodiversity walks around the site. The local area is a biodiversity hotspot, and if you visit during spring, prepare to be dazzled by a stunning display of wildflowers. There are some paperbark trees near the Leaning Tower of Gingin which are 800 to 1000 years old. Otherwise, visit the Biodiversity Gallery next to the Stargazers Café to see specimens of local flora and fauna.
Also, be sure to take the Solar System Walk, a 1 kilometre scale model of our Solar System. The walk begins with the Sun and continues along the bush track, where you will discover model planets and their moons at correctly scaled distances from the Sun, along with information plaques. At the conclusion of the walk, you will find Pluto, even though it is now considered a dwarf planet. There is also a replica of poor Pluto in a satin-lined coffin in the main exhibition area of the GDC, where visitors can pay their respects.
Where to find it
You don’t need to travel light years to find it, the GDC Observatory is located just one hour, or 80 kilometres, north of Perth.
Gravity Discovery Centre
1098 Military Road
08 9575 7577