Gallery: Climbing Ben Nevis: In photos (including the all-important view from the top) (Country Living (UK))
The Northern Lights are on most people’s bucket lists – but the Aurora Borealis isn’t the only phenomenon of its kind.
The Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, is an equally spectacular sight, transforming night skies into enchanting scenes filled with colour.
Whether you’ve already ticked the Northern Lights off the bucket list, or whether you’re looking for more inspiration for future travels, we’ve got you covered.
Some of the best spots for seeing the Southern Lights are across Australia and New Zealand, so we’ve put together a guide explaining which locations need to be on your radar.
Check out our guide to the Southern Lights below…
(We know long-haul travel isn’t exactly feasible during the pandemic – but it doesn’t hurt to dream a little!).
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Best time to see the Southern Lights
You’ll need clear and very dark skies – so winter is your best bet. Visit the likes of Australia and New Zealand between May and September, although the months of June through to August often have the best conditions.
Best places to see the Aurora Australis
Australia is one of the most popular destinations for those seeking to see the Southern Lights. Victoria needs to be on your radar, as its southern location means there are plenty of dark skies during the winter months.
As a bonus, it’s also the home of Melbourne so you can explore the city, then head to the beaches for the night-time views (alternatively, Phillip Island Nature Park can be a great spot).
However, it’s the island of Tasmania where you’re in with the best chance of spotting the aurora. Head to the likes of Betsey Island, Bruny Island, Satellite Island, Freycinet National Parkand and Mount Wellington, all of which are renowned for offering views of the natural phenomenon.
If the idea of heading out to remote landscapes doesn’t appeal, then you may want to consider a trip to Queenstown. Here you’ll get all of the hustle and bustle of the tourist hotspot, and when the conditions are right, you can also see glimpses of the aurora.
However, if you’re after somewhere a little more quiet and with less light pollution, then you may want to consider the likes of Stewart Island or the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve – the latter is one of the world’s largest dark sky reserves and is a must-visit for adventurers.
It’s remote, it has no light pollution, and the clear skies are ideal for seeing the incredible Southern Lights. The downside of course is that it’s not a particularly easy destination to visit – but it will be a once in a lifetime trip!
Head to Ushuaia, where the southern location means that there have been sightings of the aurora. However, as it is a city there is some light pollution, meaning you’ll need a bit of extra luck if you want to see the Southern Lights.
- During the coronavirus pandemic, countries may be subject to a change in travel restrictions. Always check the latest FCDO advice for your chosen destination before planning, booking, or going on a trip.