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When is the best time to see the Southern Lights?

When to catch the aurora australis in all its magnificence.

If you want to increase your chances of catching the Southern Lights, we’ve got everything you need to know.

The best time to see the Southern Lights

May to September.

Why?

While the aurora can be active at any time of the year, one of the major difficulties in capturing it is visibility. Clear, dark skies provide the best visibility to the naked eye, so travelling during winter will increase your chances of seeing the lights.


Overview

The Southern Lights are a natural phenomenon caused by collisions of electrically-charged particles from the sun. The Lights are concentrated around the southern polar cap and can be seen from some of the southernmost locations on Earth including Antarctica, New Zealand, the tip of Argentina, the Falkland Islands and Tasmania.

The Southern Lights are a popular attraction for visitors worldwide and the best time to see them is during winter in isolated locations where there is little light pollution. As there are many locations where you can spot them, nowhere gets too crowded, though for cheaper prices, steer clear of snow resort cities such as Queenstown in New Zealand.


Weather and prices

The best time to see the Southern Lights, weatherwise: May to September.

The cheapest time to see the Southern Lights: Look for flight and hotel deals outside of the Christmas school holiday break (end of December to end of January). Being the closest and with frequent flight sales from Tigerair and Jetstar, southern Tasmania should be the cheapest destination to get to for a chance to see the Southern Lights.

Search for a flight to see the Southern Lights:

We'd recommend looking for flights to places like New Zealand's South Island and Tasmania.


Latest deals to destinations where you can see the Southern Lights:

Up to 60% off second passenger with Royal Caribbean

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Valid for cruise on select sailings to the South Pacific (Vanuatu and New Caledonia) and New Zealand.

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25% off stays in Australia and New Zealand

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Valid for stays until 16 May 2019, including Vivid Sydney dates, at all participating Vibe hotels across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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25% off stays in Australia and New Zealand

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Valid for stays until 16 May 2019, including Vivid Sydney dates, at all participating Travelodge hotels across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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Valid for stays until 16 May 2019, including Vivid Sydney dates, on all participating Rendezvous hotels across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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25% off stays in Australia and New Zealand

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Valid for stays until 16 May 2019, including Vivid Sydney dates, at all participating TFE Hotels Collections across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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25% off stays in Australia and New Zealand

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Valid for stays until 16 May 2019, including Vivid Sydney dates, at all participating Adina hotels across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 20% off car hire

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Valid on hire cars in Australia and New Zealand for pick up before 16 December 2018. Must book 21 days in advance.

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Up to 50% off 5-star beach resorts

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Valid on select hotel packages in Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Hawaii and Queensland.

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Up to $600 off on tours

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Get up to $600 off on your tour when you book with TourRadar. Destinations include Asia, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and more. T&Cs apply.

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$25 off per night + $1 breakfast

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Valid for stays from 1 June - 11 November 2018. Redeemable at at over 190 hotels across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia. T&Cs apply.

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15% off base rate on 5+ days rentals

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Valid at participating locations across Australia and New Zealand until 29 June 2018. Book 7 days in advance to redeem offer. T&Cs apply.

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North America flights from $1,571 return

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Valid for travel until 28 June 2018. Sample fare is Sydney-San Francisco with Air New Zealand. Also flying to Houston from $1,742 return.

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Campervan hire from $5/day Offers and validity dates updated daily. Available on select routes in Australia and New Zealand.

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Tasmania: 4 nights + flights from $349

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Valid 1 August 2018 - 13 September 2018. Includes return flights to Hobart and four nights at Best Western Hobart. Sample price is from Melbourne.

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New Zealand flights from $189 each way

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Valid for travel on select dates from June - October 2018. Destinations include Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. Sample fare is Melbourne-Christchurch.

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Room upgrade from just $100 with Princess + up to $200 onboard credit

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Valid for cruises to the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Alaska and the Americas. Onboard credit amount varies based on length of cruise and cabin type booked. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 30% off select Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 cruises

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Valid for travel on select dates and sailings. Destinations include Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and more. T&Cs apply

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Up to 35% off Australia and New Zealand tours

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Valid on select sailings in Alaska, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and Europe. Cruise lines include Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, and Avalon Waterways. Sample price is an Alaska cruise.

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Up to 20% off New Zealand tours

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Valid for travel from 1 June - 27 August 2018. Destinations include Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 10% off stays Valid on select dates when booked between 2-30 days in advance and prepaid at time of booking. Available at locations across Australia and New Zealand.

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New Zealand flights from $210 each way

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Valid for travel on select dates from May - September 2018. Destinations include Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington and Christchurch. Sample fare is Melbourne-Auckland.

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Up to 33% off Royal Caribbean cruises

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Valid on select dates until 18 April 2019. Sample itineraries include trans-Pacific to Honolulu, Tasmania, and Singapore-to-Sydney along Australia's southern coast.

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Up to 15% off Antarctica and Artcic expedition cruises

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Valid on select cruises until 30 May 2019. Destinatoins include the Arctic (from Norway) and the Antarctic (from Argentina).

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$1 per day on New Zealand car hire

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Maximum of 3 days rental. This is a relocation deals and drive from Christchurch Airport, Queenstown Airport, Dunedin Airport, Hokitika Airport, or Greymouth to Nelson, Picton or Blenheim. T&Cs apply.

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Free extras with P&O + Up to $300 onboard credit

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Valid on select Tasmania, Queensland, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu cruises. Get up to $100 GoCatch credit, New Zealand Natural ice cream and onboard credit.

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10% off select New Zealand tours

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Valid for travel until October 2018. Minimum of 7 days. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and more. T&C's apply.

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Up to $3,000 off select sailings + up to $1,000 off airfares Valid for travel on select dates and sailings. Offer is valid on stateroom bookings only. Destinations include Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia and more. T&C's apply.

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25% off premium hire insurance Get up to 25% off on your car rental when you purchase GoZen Cover. Valid at participating locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&C's apply.

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10% off New Zealand car hire

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Valid for rental pick ups until 30 June 2018 at select locations across New Zealand. Minimum of 3-day rentals. T&C's apply.

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Valid for rental pick ups until 30 June 2018 across Australia and New Zealand. Minimum of 5 days rental. T&C's apply.

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Compare airport parking rates at 13 airports across Australia and New Zealand Find the lowest price at various airport parking providers in Australia and New Zealand with Airport Parking.

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