Bendleby Ranges

The Springs - Bendleby AstroCamp is held about 50km north of Orroroo, in the mid-north of South Australia.

The Shearers Quarters has a dining room, which will seat 16+ and an outdoor BBQ area with provision for a bonfire. The kitchen has two gas stoves and two fridges, a microwave, and is fully set up for large groups with cutlery, crockery and utensils. There is a handicapped shower and toilet in the main building and three showers and toilets at the back of the Quarters. There are 6 bedrooms (4 with 2 single beds, 1 with a double bunk and a single bed, and 1 with 3 single beds), sleeping up to 14 people. There is also a large outdoor sheltered area which can be used in inclement weather for a number of activities; outdoor dining, covered camping, etc. The lounge/dining room is air conditioned and the bedrooms have ceiling fans.

Upcoming Dates for Bendleby camps:

  • 16-20 March 2023
  • 14-18 September 2023

What you need to bring:

  • All meals, drinks & snacks. Make sure you bring all provisions, as there is nowhere to purchase foodstuffs. I recommend you plan your meals as a means of deciding what you need to bring with you. The closest shop is a 100km round-trip, so don't forget anything!
  • Swag, bedroll and/or sleeping bag and pillow for the onsite accommodation. Each room comprises two single beds with mattress. Clothing appropriate for the forecast conditions and sturdy footwear, as well as a hat, sunscreen and sunnies. Make sure you bring warm clothing for observing. It gets bloody cold at night!
  • Telescope, cameras/videos, binoculars, charts, torch, etc.

Cost & bookings:

  • Shearers’ Quarters - $45 per person per night
  • Bunkhouse - $30 per person per night
  • Powered Camping - $23 per person per night
  • Unpowered Camping - $17.50 per person per night

For bookings & further information please contact Paul Montague at:


Dark Sky Astro Camp Etiquette

Astro camps provide the ultimate opportunity to experience truly dark skies, well away from any light pollution.  The key aim for those who attend these camps (besides enjoying the great social atmosphere) is to make the most of the dark skies, whether it be for visual appreciation of the treasures of the sky, or capturing the faintest unpolluted photons via astrophotography.

As attendees may have different plans, please be considerate of others and refrain from any raucous behaviour or loud talking. Some people will want to catch up on some sleep for a few hours during the night and others will be sleeping during the day.    Please be considerate of others trying to sleep, by not playing music (late at night or otherwise) and generally minimising noise.

Visual astronomers and astro-imagers can have different objectives in maximising their opportunities under dark skies, and hence can have separate areas set aside for each activity.    Please ask the organisers about this aspect before you set up your equipment.

In particular, control of lighting is the key component in maximising everyone’s enjoyment.

Lighting Etiquette

Typically accommodation and shared facilities used by the astro camp can have strict control of fixed lighting, by keeping most lights off, and replacing essential lights with dim red task lighting, and/or using blackout screens.

Toilet block lights will be switched off or covered in red acetate during the dark hours. 

ASSA discourages the use of laser pointers as they will interfere with astro-imaging and can be dangerous.  

Please be aware that lights inside tents and caravans are also visible to people outside of them - red lights or no lights please.

True dark adaptation can take 20-30 minutes and can be ruined by someone momentarily turning on a phone screen, or a cigarette lighter.   That brief exposure to normal light will take dark-adapted eyes back to square one.

For attendees, please only use dim red light torches at night.   Only ever point them down to see where you are walking, to check trip hazards such as power cables, or to examine your equipment or star atlas.    Never point them directly at other astronomers as night vision can still be affected.

Astro-imagers typically use many and varied types of electronic equipment in the field, from laptops to batteries to cameras, with various display screens and indicator lights that are not necessarily red, or dim, or fully controllable.   Hence best to physically separate visual activities from imaging, as mentioned previously.

If you use a laptop, please cover the screen with a sheet of red acetate, turn down screen brightness, and direct the screen away from visual observers in particular, even if well separated at the other end of the observing field.    

Please minimise car movements after dark, and ideally, arrange to arrive before dusk.   (Arriving before dusk will also reduce the risk of animal collision on lonely country roads.) Remember that opening car doors or the boot always turns an interior light on so disable them if you can, or remove the fuse before sunset. Alternatively, cover them with opaque tape, including those in the boot. If a bright light is unavoidable call out: “LIGHTS IN 3 SECONDS” to give everyone time to turn the other way. The best advice here is to remove everything you will need from cars before nightfall and minimise going back and forth.


Be mindful of astro-imagers. Astrophotography requires very steady and unobscured exposures, so please don't touch or walk in front of a scope being used for imaging.    Apparently they are still a very friendly bunch despite their obsession with long exposures!

Please also be mindful of visual astronomers whose desire to maintain dark adaptation is paramount.   Maintaining your own dark adaptation by minimising all personal lighting is key to your own enjoyment as a visual observer.    Visual enthusiasts will be happy to share their view through the eyepiece at their scopes, but please do ask the owner before taking a look.  Be aware that telescopes are carefully aligned and assembled and as little contact to see through them is best.

Insects and Bug Sprays

Flies and mosquitoes could be a problem, day or night.    Insect sprays should not be used anywhere near any optical equipment, especially if optics are uncovered.     Insect sprays can drift in the breeze, and contain some nasty substances that can be very unfriendly to optical surfaces.    Preferably use roll-on insect repellent if the need arises.   

Other Campsite Residents

Some at nearby campsites will be holidaying in their own caravans. They are generally made aware of our need for total darkness at night and respect it. If however, you do see stray white light from nearby campers, please politely ask them to turn it off, or speak to one of the organisers.