33 - Observatory

An interesting walk that covers a wide variety of housing styles, gardens and views.


Time: 1 1/2 hours

Area: Victory Firebreak

Start Location: Victory Square, on the corner of Toi Toi and St Vincent streets.

Download the Observatory map (160KB PDF)

Route directions

Set off from Victory Square, heading right along Toi Toi St until the steps of Days Track lead uphill from the end of the street, through a patch of native bush. Take Bob's Track left to come out onto Princes Drive and turn left up the hill, enjoying the views over Tasman Bay.

At Pipers Park take the steps on your right which lead up to the Atkinson Observatory site. The original Atkinson Observatory was located at the top of Princes Drive (close to the water tank) and was first operated in 1883. In 1982 a new observatory was built at Pipers Park. Arthur Atkinson was a keen astronomer who was also a Nelson MP and the first owner of Fairfield House. Carry on along Princes Drive enjoying the views of the city, the Haven and the Grampians.

Turn left into Observation Terrace and just before the turnaround take the firebreak which veers downhill on the left. Watch your footing at the end - it is quite steep as it comes down into Emano Street. Follow Emano Street back down to Victory Square.