When is the best time to see the Southern Lights?

When to catch the aurora australis in all its magnificence.

Last updated:

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:

Topdeck Topdeck

Up to 30% off last-minute tours

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and North America. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 30% off international flights

Available for flights on select dates from January - December 2020. Destinations include Los Angeles, Vanuatu, Fiji, Hong Kong, Bali, New Zealand and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wotif Wotif

Up to 40% off worldwide hotels + Extra 8% off with code

Available on select hotels on any travel date, as long as it's booked by 31 January. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Hawaii, Thailand and more.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Up to $900 off cruises + $200 OBC with Carnival Cruises

Available on select travel dates in 2020 and 2021. Destinations include Pacific, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

$1 deposits + onboard credit with P&O Cruises

Available on select sailings until December 2020 to Vanuatu, New Zealand, Tasmania, Whitsundays, Fiji and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 25% off worldwide tours

Available for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, Caribbean, New Zealand and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Air New Zealand - Pacific Islands Air New Zealand - Pacific Islands

Cook Islands flights from $529 return

Available on select dates from 24 January - 12 September 2020. Sample price is from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 9% off hotel bookings

Valid on select hotel stays worldwide like Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, USA, Europe and more on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Some restrictions apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

Chinese New Year sale: Up to 15% off Australia and New Zealand

Available for pick ups until 31 December 2020. Minimum of 5 days rental required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Up to 25% off worldwide tours

Available on select travel dates in 2020. Destinations include Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, North America and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

IHG Hotels IHG Hotels

Up to 35% off stays

Available for travel until 30 June 2020 across Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Indonesia and Maldives. Select "AUSTRALASIA NEW YEAR SALE" to avail offer. T&Cs and blackout dates apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Australia Day sale: $1 deposit on Princess Cruises

Available on select cruises in 2020 - 2021 across Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Papua New Guinea and Asia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 40% off + up to US$400 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select voyages in 2020 and 20201. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Europe, Mediterranean, Asia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Summer sale: Free WiFi + drinks + OBCs and reduced deposits

Available on select travel dates in 2020 with P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Carnival Cruises. Destinations include New Zealand, Solomon Sea Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Hokkaido and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

Los Angeles flights from $820 return

Available on select dates from January - June 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne-Los Angeles with Air New Zealand. Other flight departs from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

$1 deposit + up to $450 OBC on P&O cruises

Available on select travel dates from February – November 2020. Destinations include Australia, Pacific, New Zealand, Asia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Save up to $900 + 50% off deposit + up to $200 OBC with Carnival cruises

Available on select cruises from 6 January 2020 - 30 June 2021. Destinations include Australia Pacific, New Zealand, and South Pacific. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 47% off last-minute deals

Available on select voyages departing until 29 February 2020. Destinations include Australia, Pacific, Asia, Indian Ocean, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and more.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 45% off + free upgrade + up to US$500 OBC with Holland America

Available on select voyages in 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Canada, Europe and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 40% off worldwide hotels

Available on select travel from January - February 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Hawaii and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 30% off Australia and New Zealand tours

Available for travel 14 February - 1 April 2020. Destinations include Wellington, Auckland, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

Los Angeles flights from $979 return

Available on select dates from 26 April - 27 November 2020. Sample price is from Sydney with Air New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

Cook Islands flights from $599 return with Air New Zealand

Available on select dates from 24 January - 26 June 2020. Sample price is from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Air New Zealand - Longhaul Air New Zealand - Longhaul

South America flights from $1,168 return

Available on select travels from 13 May - 30 November 2020. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Buenos Aires. Other flights departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

$99 deposit + up to $8,000 bonus value

Available on select 2020 - 2021 voyages with Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Celebrity Cruises. Destinations include Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific, Caribbean, Europe and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 40% off + US$400 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select voyages departing until 21 April 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, Canada and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off car hire

Available on select dates until 20 June 2020 in Australia and New Zealand. Rental must be for 2 days or more and booked 21 days in advance. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Oaks Hotels & Resorts

Up to 25% off on 2 bedrooms + extra 5% off

Available on select dates until 30 June 2020 including through Christmas. Destinations include New Zealand and Australia. Minimum 2 nights required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Oaks Hotels & Resorts

Up to 15% off on 1 bedroom + extra 5%-10% off

Available on select dates until 30 June 2020 including through Christmas. Destinations include New Zealand and Australia. Minimum 2 nights required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Klook Klook

US$2.5 off your first purchases with code

Valid for use on select deals with a minimum spend of $30. Other destinations include Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Klook Klook

Extra US$5.5 off purchase with code

Valid for use on select deals with a minimum spend of $80. Other destinations include Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

DriveNow DriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia and New Zealand.

Last verified

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

$1 deposit + bonus savings + OBC on cruises

Available on select travel dates with Carnival Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Holland America Line. Destinations include Pacific, New Zealand, Mediterranean, Hong Kong and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Hot Air Balloon experience from $269

Available on select travel dates across New South Wales, Tasmania, Alice Springs, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Cairns, Barossa Valley and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Air New Zealand - Tasman Air New Zealand - Tasman

New Zealand flights from $179 each way

Available for flights from 11 February - 15 September 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Auckland. Other destinations include Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Qantas sale: New Zealand flights from $199 each way

Available for travel on select dates between February - November 2020. Sample fare is Brisbane-Christchurch. Destinations include Auckland, Wellington, Noumea and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Destination International Destination International

10 nights South Pacific cruise from $999

Available sail date is 23 March 2020 with Royal Caribbean to New Caledonia and New Zealand. Package include cruise accommodation and on board meals.

Last verified

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

New Zealand flights from $312 return

Available on select travel dates February - September 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Auckland with Air New Zealand. Other destination includes Christchurch.

Last verified

Deal ends

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

15% off Hitch New Zealand Car Hire

Available for rental until 31 March 2020. Rental includes intermediate SUV, Mini, standard and compact cars. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Extra 10% off New Zealand activities with code

Available on select activities including tours, whale watching, skydiving, jet boat ride and more when using Mastercard at checkout. Minimum spend of NZD$200 required. Maximum discount of NZD$50.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
16 Jan 2020 Up to 40% off worldwide hotels + Extra 8% off with code BOO****
10 Jan 2020 Extra 8% off hotels BOO****
9 Jan 2020 Up to 75% off worldwide hotels + extra 5% off with code FIN****
4 Nov 2019 Get $20 credit FIN****
28 Oct 2019 Extra 9% off hotel bookings AUT****

Find out the best time to go to...

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site