The Northern Lights are getting increasingly difficult to spot (Read also: So Are The Northern Lights Disappearing Or Not?), but don’t lose hope. There is a way for you to not only see the phenomenal auroras, but to save money and flight time too—catch the Southern Lights instead!
What’s the Difference Between the Northern and Southern Lights?
Well, nothing aside from the fact that you observe the phenomenon on the opposite side of the hemisphere.
If that’s the case, why don’t people ever talk about the Southern Lights?
The Aurora Australis is known the less popular aurora “sister” because up until recently, it was a lot harder to observe. However, now that the Aurora Borealis occurrences are gradually dwindling as it enters its 11-year downward cycle, there’s not much of a difference. This is a game-changer, because we all know that it’s much cheaper to fly to places like Australia and New Zealand as opposed to Europe.
RELATED: If you really do chance upon an aurora-filled sky, you will want to share it on social media. Get UNLIMITED 4G high speed internet with ChangiWiFi at as low $5/day*!
Top Places to Catch the Aurora Australis
As we step into the winter months Down Under, the season of auroras begins! Although it is generally cloudy during winters (thus affecting visibility), this season has the longest nights. Here are the most accessible and affordable places to camp at.
#1 Victoria, Melbourne
SIN –> MEL 7h 25m From S$223
Where to go: Along the Great Ocean Road
(Video credit: Russell Wiltshire Photography)
Even if you don’t manage to catch the lights, there are tons of things to see and do at the many coastal towns along Australia’s most famous road. You can go cafe-hopping in Lorne, ziplining in Otway, and to visit the 12 Apostles formations near Port Campbell.
SIN –> MEL –> Hobart / Launceston 10h 15m From S$754
Where to go: Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Cockle Creek, Cradle Mountain, Dodges Ferry, Howrah, Mortimer Bay, and Seven Mile Beach
Theoretically, if the geomagnetic storm in large enough to reach Tasmania, it should be visible all over Tasmania. However, the above-mentioned spots are popular with aurora chasers as they are scenic and easily accessible anyway.
RELATED: Great Ocean Road Day Tour, Phillip Island Tour (from Melbourne), and Mt Cook Day Tour from Christchurch to Queenstown
#3 New Zealand, South Islands
SIN –> Christchurch / Queenstown 9h 45m From S$1,028
Where to go: Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Stewart Island, Waipapa Point Lighthouse (The Caitlins)
Lake Tekapo is part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, and thanks to the minimal light pollution, it is famous spot for not just aurora-spotting, but stargazing in general. The observatory atop Mount John is where most of the tours are conducted. Another extremely popular spot is Waipapa Point Lighthouse as seen below:
(Video credit: Stephen Voss)
Disclaimer: All prices indicated are meant as a reader guideline only, and are the lowest air fares at the time of writing. It is expected to change and differ depending on your date of travel, preferred airline, and more.
Check out You Can Now “Book” the Wilderness of Sweden on Airbnb, Hitting The Great Ocean Road? Well, You’ll Need An Australian Tourist Visa, and Long Weekend in Yogyakarta: Charcoal Coffee & UNESCO Temples.
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