23 Dec

Where and how to catch the Southern Lights in Australia in 2018

Magical, mysterious and full of wonder, the aurora Australis flares up and covers the sky with vibrant colours of purple and vivid green.

The aurora Australis occur when electrically charged solar particles and atoms in the earth’s atmosphere collide with gases like oxygen and nitrogen, causing those gases to emit light. It is most active during the winter months when nights are long and best visible at places with no light pollution. Click here for more magical moments caught by aurora hunters in 2017.

Aurora Australis Forecasts and Predictions

For forecasts and activity prediction, use apps like Star Walk, Solar Monitor, Aurora Forecast and Southern Light Alerts. Aurora Australis Tasmania Alert NOW is a Facebook group where people post immediate updates of aurora sightings throughout Tasmania.

Aurora Australis Sighting Locations

While the Southern Lights can be sighted all throughout Tasmania when the activity level is high, there are a couple of hotspots that has low light pollution and has boasts with the best views throughout the years.

1. Mount Wellington

Photo from: Smithsonianmag

With a 4100-foot peak, Mount Wellington promises an unobstructed view the higher you climb. Approximately 17km away from Hobart, it is one of the most easily accessible place for aurora sightings. However, be sure to bundle up as the temperature at the peak during winter is not for the weak.

2. Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park

Situated in the heart of Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is only 1.15hours away from Devonport and 2hours away from Launceston. Besides catching the southern lights at night, the national park has some of the most picturesque landscape on the island for one to enjoy during the day.

3. Strahan

Just 2 hours south-west from Cradle Mountain – Strahan is a little town in a bay area with wide plains when the aurora Australis can be sighted it its full glory.

4. South Arm Peninsula

Photo from: travel2next

Overlooking the mouth of Derwent Estuary, South arm is the best place for boating, fishing, beaches, views to the polar south during the day and when night falls - the Tasmania Aurora lights.

5. Victoria – Melbourne

Photo from: Smithsonian

If you’re on mainland Australia and would like to catch the Southern lights, Victoria would be your best bet. Take a drive down the Great Ocean Road or head over to Philip Island. When conditions are right, you’ll be able to catch these beautiful lights dancing in the skies with a vibrant reflection on the water.

One important point to note is the nature of the southern lights may not be visible to the naked eye. The best way to catch them is by setting up a DSLR camera on a tripod with maximum aperture and shutter speed.

How to Get There?

As these locations are at the outskirts, driving would be one’s best option. We recommend renting 4 Wheel drive, or campervan or motorhome for your aurora chasing adventures. Simply park and camp at your ideal spot and get inside to keep yourself warm and cosy while you wait for the lights to reveal its magical colours. If you would like to hire one in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport or Melbourne www.aussiecampervans.com has a wide selection of vehicles for your transportation and accommodation needs.

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