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The Southern Lights dancing in the sky in Cloudy Bay, Tasmania

Where can you see the Southern Lights?

Chasing the ethereal glow: Where to witness the Southern Lights

Published on 29 Jan 2024

The Southern Lights, also known as the Aurora Australia, are one of nature’s most mesmerising and elusive phenomena. Similar to their Northern Hemisphere counterpart, the Aurora Borealis, these breathtaking light displays dance across the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, leaving spectators in awe of their ethereal beauty. While the Northern Lights tend to steal the spotlight, the Southern Lights offer an equally enchanting spectacle that deserves recognition. 

If you’re eager to witness this celestial ballet of colours, you’re in for a treat. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover some of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to experience the Southern Lights in all their glory. 

What are the Southern Lights?

Before we embark on our quest to see the Southern Lights, let’s unravel the science behind this stunning phenomenon. The Southern Lights occur when charged particles from the sun, primarily electrons and protons, interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. As these particles collide with the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, they emit dazzling bursts of light in various colours, including shades of green, pink and purple. 

The best places to witness the Southern Lights


For the ultimate adventure, embark on an expedition cruise to Antarctica. The icy continent offers an extraordinary backdrop for witnessing the Southern Lights. Cruises that explore the Antarctic Peninsula often include opportunities for stargazing and aurora viewing. Imagine the awe-inspiring sight of the Southern Lights illuminating the pristine Antarctic landscape. 

Tasmania, Australia

Known for its pristine wilderness and dramatic landscapes, Tasmania is an excellent destination for observing the Southern Lights. The island’s southern location provides a clear view of the night sky and its minimal light pollution enhances the spectacle. Head to locations like Bruny Island, South Arm Peninsula or the Tasman Peninsula for optimal viewing opportunities. 

Victoria, Australia

While not as well-known as Tasmania, Victoria in Australia is another Southern Lights hotspot. The state’s southern regions, such as the Great Ocean Road, Wilsons Promontory and Phillip Island, offer excellent chances to catch a glimpse of the auroras. Keep an eye on aurora forecasts and be prepared for some late-night adventures. 

Falkland Islands

Located in the South Atlantic Ocean, the Falkland Islands are another fantastic spot to witness the Aurora Australis. With its remote location and minimal light pollution, this archipelago provides an unobstructed view of the night sky. Consider visiting between April and September for the best chances of spotting the Southern Lights. 

Stewart Island, New Zealand

Stewart Island, located at the southern tip of New Zealand, offers a prime location to witness the Southern Lights. With its remote and tranquil setting, this island boasts dark skies that are perfect for stargazing and aurora hunting. Observe the celestial display from secluded beaches or take a guided tour for expert insights. 

South Island, New Zealand

Aside from Stewart Island, New Zealand’s South Island offers several other aurora viewing locations. Head to spots like Otago Peninsula, Lake Tekapo or the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve for a surreal experience beneath the Southern Lights. 

South Georgia Island

For those with a sense of adventure and a love for wildlife, South Georgia Island, situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, is a captivating destination. Apart from witnessing the Southern Lights, you can also encounter an abundance of penguins, seals and other wildlife species. This remote and pristine island offers an unparalleled aurora experience. 

Tips for Southern Lights chasing

  • Timing is key: The best time to witness the Southern Lights is during the winter months (April to September) when nights are the longest and skies are the darkest.
  • Check the aurora forecast: Stay updated on aurora forecasts and space weather predictions to increase your chances of seeing the lights. 
  • Dark skies: Choose locations away from urban areas and light pollution to ensure clear and vivid views of the auroras. 
  • Patience is a virtue: Be prepared for long nights of waiting, as the Southern Lights can be unpredictable. Pack warm clothing, snacks and hot beverages to stay comfortable. 
  • Camera-ready: If you’re keen on capturing this celestial spectacle, bring a camera with manual settings and a sturdy tripod to take stunning photos of the auroras. 
  • Guided tours: Consider joining guided tours or expeditions led by experienced aurora hunters who can enhance your chances of seeing the Southern Lights.
  • Respect nature: While chasing the auroras, remember to respect the environment and local regulations. Leave no trace and preserve the natural beauty of the places you visit. 

The Southern Lights offer a captivating and otherworldly experience that beckons adventurers and stargazers alike. These magical displays of light are a reminder of the enchanting wonders our planet has to offer. Whether you choose to explore the wild landscapes of Tasmania, the remote shores of South Georgia Island or the icy expanse of Antarctica, witnessing the Southern Lights is an unforgettable journey into the heart of our planet’s natural marvels. So, pack your warmest clothing and your sense of wonder and embark on a quest to witness the Southern Lights - a celestial spectacle that will leave you awestruck and inspired. 

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