Southern Lights in Australia | Watch Aurora Lights in Australia
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Australia Southern Lights

Southern lights in Australia or aurora australis are one of the greatest natural phenomena one can sight on earth. These are formed when plasma particles will come in contact with the earth’s magnetic field, thus resulting in dazzling colors of excited gases.

The best time to see southern lights in Australia is during the autumn and winter season. The nights are longer in winter extending from June to August that offers more time for the dark sky to stay, and aurora lights can be seen. The autumn season extending from March to May witnesses clear skies at distinct locations, which further add to the probability of sighting aurora lights. The days are warm to enjoy with other activities, and nights with no pollution make your chances better to spot aurora lights.

Destinations like Mount Wellington, Betsey Island, Phillip Island, Victoria, Cradle Mountain, and others rank in the list of the best places to see southern lights in Australia. Apart from the Southern Lights, the natural beauty, historical attractions, extravagant wildlife, and more can help you spend your day with utmost exploration and gear up for the night to wait patiently for southern lights to flash in the sky.

Here's some essential information about the Australian Southern Lights:

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01

What are the “Southern Lights”?

Southern Lights in Australia or say aurora australis occur when plasma particles that are carried by solar wind come in contact with the earth’s atmosphere. It results in excitation of the particles that exist or say make up the atmosphere thus emitting the multi-colored light that we refer to as aurora.

These behold the same extravagance as the northern lights although these are lesser known among the people. As one can understand it with the name itself, these can be seen only in the southern atmosphere. The chances of getting the sight of these spectacular lights increases as further south you move.

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02

Best Time of Year to See the Southern Lights in Australia

The best time to see southern lights in Australia is from:

- March to May: The sky is clear most of the days and there are more chances of getting clear views of southern lights
- Early September and November: Aurora activity is one peak during this time as the position of earth enhances the more particles to come in contact with earth atmosphere thus causing auroras.
- June to August: This is the most ideal time to get views of Southern lights as it is the winter season in Australia and the nights are longer.

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03

Conditions to Witness Southern lights

Only few places in Australia behold the possibility to see aurora australis that are listed below:

- Tasmania: Since this location is seated on the southernmost state in Australia, it is one of the best places to see southern lights in Australia throughout the year.
- Victoria: Situated in Southeast Australia, this place is the second best location to spot southern lights that covers hundreds of miles of southern views.
- Phillip Island: With great spots that are fused with clean air, Phillip Island offers clear sky to see the aurora.
- Point Lonsdale: This spot offers a darker sky to spot southern lights easily away from the city lights.

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04

What causes Southern Lights?

When high energy particles escalating from the sun come in interaction with the earth’s magnetic field, a glowing field of excitement can be seen which we refer to as Southern lights. These occur in forms of sheets of lights that include extravagant different colors and often stay in the sky for hours.

Their graceful smooth movement in the polar skies light up the whole atmosphere thus giving rise to one of the most beautiful natural phenomena that can be seen by anyone.

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05

How Can I Photograph the Sourthern Lights?

- To capture the southern lights, you need a camera with a manual setting, remote and a tripod.
- Shutter speed should be set to the fastest option, F-stop low (3-5) and your ISO no higher than 800.
- An extra battery is a must to carry as you may not know in advance how much time it will take to appear in the sky.
- With all the equipment and settings done, be patient and start shooting the sky.
- Once the lights start appearing your camera will capture all the extravagance of the dancing lights in your camera.

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06

Unknown Facts about Southern Lights

- Southern lights display green colours most of the time but red and blue can also be seen occasionally.
- These lights also appear on other planets in our solar system like Neptune, Mars, Uranus and more.
- As per old folktales, southern lights sometimes create faint noises like that of a clap, crackle or static on rare occasions. It was later found out to be true when clapping sounds were recorded during an - aurora display during a recent scientific research.
- The word Aurora used to name the lights means sunrise or the Roman goddess of dawn in Latin.

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Places to see Southern Lights in Australia

07

Mount Wellington, Tasmania

This stunning place has all the charm of the world at its summit that can add on to your experience of witnessing the Southern Lights from this location. Although a bit of pollution in the air can cause you trouble in sighting the aurora on Mt Wellington, although due to colder weather, the time span extends in which the chances of sighting the southern lights turn out to be higher.

Do check the weather reports for heavy snow as the roads are already narrow and excessive snow can block the roads.

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08

South Arm Peninsula, Tasmania

This place is popular for avid aurora hunters and is located south of Hobart. People often visit this place on their weekend getaways as it is one of the best places to see southern lights in Australia.

With exotic views of the polar south, Tasmania Aurora lights can be seen easily from this location. Calvert's beach will offer you a spot to witness the southern views much similar to that you get from a cliff in South arm. Walk along the water’s edge to the northern part of the beach from where better views of the Southern lights can be sighted.

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09

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, Tasmania

With a series of flat, mirrored lakes, Cradle Mountain is a great backdrop for the Southern Lights in Australia. This location is Australia’s most beautiful, with its 60-million-year-old myrtle forests, extravagant wildlife and more and to add more to the beauty, Southern light views uplift the whole experience here. Southern lights need to be strong above the iconic silhouette of the mountain and Dove Lake.

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10

Bruny & Satellite Islands, Tasmania

This place is a favourite weekend getaway that is free from city pollution and resides on stunning beaches to get the best views of the Southern Lights. Reach The Neck on Bruny Island and adjust your camera facing southwards that will cover the views of the Southern island, ocean and starry sky. Since there are no lights as it is a rural area apart from the small ones in the houses, it creates a favourable dark atmosphere so that you can easily capture the views of Southern Lights.

Just off the Coast of Bruny Island, Satellite Island is also an excellent place for stargazing and witnessing southern lights. Reside in a luxurious stay and gear up to watch aurora lights.

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11

Victoria

With more than 1200 miles of coastline, Victoria is situated in Southeast Australia. It is one of the many ideal spots to spot Southern Lights in Australia as it covers hundreds of miles of views from southern views across the Bass Strait, which separates Australia from the Tasmanian Island.

When the Southern lights are witnessed from this location, the sky explodes in the shades of red, purple, and purple. Pull up a chair on one of the beaches here, watch the dazzling flashes of various extravagant hues dancing in the sky.

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12

Phillip Island

Flinders, Cape Schanck, Point Lonsdale located on the south of Phillip Island are ideal spots to get an uninterrupted view of the Southern Lights. It is located at a 2 hour drive from Melbourne and has a variety of places where clean air makes the atmosphere appropriate to sight the aurora lights.

One can explore other attractions during the day to kill their time at the Phillip Island like koala conservation center, Bass Strait beaches, Phillip Island Nature Park, Churchill Island Marine National Park and others.  As the night approaches, gear up yourself with your camera to get ready to witness the Southern lights in Australia.

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13

Betsey Island

Set your eyes on the stunning display of Aurora lights on Betsey Island that includes hilly landscape and peninsulas. The clear waterfront views make it easy to sight the Southern Lights in ease. You don’t have to look out for spaces that are not hindered by hills and trees blocking your view.

Since it is seated on the southernmost tip of Australia, the ideal stretch of coastline offers a serene platform to set up your camera and wait patiently for the southern lights to flash in the sky.

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14

Freycinet National Parkand

Watch the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights over the Hazards, where you can also choose to stay at Coles bay that also resides the possibility of sighting Southern Light. Make sure the night is dark and wait with your tripod all set pointing towards the south and try your luck for the night there.

In many cases the color may not be vibrant but with experiences of people, purple hues often flash in the sky tinting the sky that are not visible to the naked eye but are captured well in the camera.

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15

Wilsons Promontory

This destination is located on the southernmost part of Australia thus making it one of the best places to see southern lights in Australia. This is a protected area that includes Wilsons Promontory Marine Park and Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Head out to this location where you can spend your day enjoying various outdoor activities and witnessing extravagant wildlife. As the night reaches its charm, dark skies become a perfect canvas to witness the aurora lights. Keep in mind to head out on a clear night that beholds greatest chances to sight Southern Lights.

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People Also Ask About Australia

  1. What is the best time to see the Southern Lights?

    The best time to witness Southern Lights is during the winter months (June to August) as the nights are long making the sky remain dark for a longer time. This gives more time to see the Southern lights at the location from where it’s the highest probability to sight the lights.

    Apart from the winter months, one can see the southern lights in Australia during the springtime (Early September-November) as aurora activity is on peak during this time. The position of earth around the spring equinox in September originates from the maximum interaction of solar particles with earth’s magnetic field resulting in Aurora lights.
  2. How often do the Southern Lights occur?

    During the fall and winter season, Southern lights occur frequently that stretch from March through September. It is the time when there are the highest chances of sighting the southern lights in Australia.
  3. Are Southern Lights as good as Northern Lights?

    Absolutely! The extravagance of southern lights and North lights is similar. One can feel the same beauty residing on the lights appearing at both the opposite hemispheres. These only differ on the point of occurrence location otherwise the beauty of both is unmatchable.
  4. What colour are the Southern Lights?

    Green color is seen mostly in Southern Lights in Australia. Although blue, red and white flashes can also be sighted on rare occasions. These colors will keep on dancing in sheets of light in the sky thus elevating the level of excitement in you.
  5. When do the Southern Lights occur?

    Winter is an ideal season to spot the Southern Lights easily in Australia. The equinox in September is the best time to see southern lights in Australia, but variation can still exist during the time these appear in the sky. Keep checking for updates, and do take help from the locals to improve your chances of sighting Southern Lights.
  6. How long does Southern Lights last?

    As per the recent trends seen, Southern Lights were seen for a duration of 5 minutes, 11 minutes, 15 minutes and can even stretch up to 23 minutes at maximum. Try your luck and witness the southern lights for worthy moments.
  7. Do Southern lights make noise?

    Yes! A very faint noise like that of a clap or crackle is made by Southern Lights in Australia. This was found out when during scientific research southern lights were recorded, and a similar sound was heard later in the recording.

    Even the old folktales narrated that Southern Lights do have a sound that can be faintly heard by people on the ground.
  8. Can you see aurora australis with naked eyes?

    A camera is needed to sight the aurora australis. With our naked eyes, we can’t pick up the color at night that southern lights reside. Although, a slight white or grey glow shifting and transforming on the horizon can be seen with the naked eye in the sky.
  9. Where should I stay in Tasmania to see the Southern Lights?

    1. The River House, Tasmania: This 4-star property is seated in the heart of the beautiful Tamar Valley, Tasmania. One can witness southern lights easily from this accommodation.

    2. Hamlet Downs Country Accommodation: With cozy and romantic accommodations, this property is seated near Mount Field National Park. People reside especially here to get eye-catching views of the Southern Lights.

    3. The Waterfront Wynyard: With great waterfront views in the front, the clear sky in front offers the entire platform to grab astonishing views of Southern Lights.

    4. Tall Timbers Tasmania: With an ideal location on the northwest coast of Tasmania, this property is perfect to nestle in and set your eyes in the night to patiently look out for Southern lights.
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