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Experience the Aurora Australis in Tasmania

Experience the Aurora Australis in Tasmania

Tasmania, with its vast, unspoiled landscapes and remote locations, offers some of the best vantage points in the world to witness the mesmerising dance of the Aurora Australis.

Tasmania, with its vast, unspoiled landscapes and remote locations, offers some of the best vantage points in the world to witness the mesmerising dance of the Aurora Australis. Often overshadowed by its northern counterpart, the Aurora Borealis, the Southern Lights are a spectacle of nature that are just as stunning and magical. Boasting the cleanest air in the world as well as its southernmost geographical location, Tasmania provides the best opportunity to witness this celestial marvel without having to venture too far from home.

What is the Aurora Australis?

Commonly known as the Southern Lights, the Aurora Australis is a natural light display that occurs in the southern hemisphere. This phenomenon is the result of interactions between the Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles from the sun. These particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of beautiful and sometimes colourful lights that can be seen in the night sky.

Aurora Australis Tasmania
Credit: Gayelene Blair-Templeton

Scamander | St Helens, TAS

The Best Times to Witness the Aurora Australis

While the Aurora can be unpredictable, there are certain times of the year when you’re more likely to catch this stunning display. The best time to witness this spectacle in Tasmania is during the winter months from May to August when the nights are longest and the skies are darkest. However, the lights can potentially be seen year-round, especially on clear, dark nights, far from the light pollution of major cities.

Top Locations to View the Southern Lights in Tasmania

1. St Helens

As a gateway to the scenic East Coast, Tasman Holiday Parks – St Helens is a wonderful base for aurora chasers. The area around Scamander and the Bay of Fires provides stunning seascapes against which the lights can dramatically silhouette. After an evening spent under the stars, there’s nothing like coming back to a cosy accommodation to reflect on the incredible sights.

2. Cockle Creek

At the southernmost point of Tasmania, Cockle Creek is a remote and serene location where the Milky Way stretches brightly across the sky, offering a backdrop that enhances the experience of the Southern Lights. Its distance from light pollution in major cities makes it one of the best spots for aurora watching.

3. Mount Nelson and Mount Wellington 

For those staying closer to Hobart, Mount Nelson and Mount Wellington provide elevated viewpoints to see the aurora. On nights with strong auroral activity, these locations offer panoramic views over the city’s southern skies.

4. Bruny Island

Accessible via a short ferry ride from Hobart, Bruny Island is another prime location for viewing the Southern Lights. The island’s minimal light pollution and expansive southern horizons make it a favourite among photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

5. Tasman Peninsula

The rugged cliffs and dark skies of the Tasman Peninsula serve as a spectacular setting for watching the Aurora Australis. Locations like Fortescue Bay and Cape Pillar not only offer great aurora viewing opportunities but also some of Tasmania’s most dramatic coastal scenery.

6. Freycinet Peninsula

Home to the world-renowned Wineglass Bay, the Freycinet Peninsula is a destination worth visiting for its natural beauty alone. At night, the clear skies offer a perfect canvas for the Southern Lights, visible from many points along the peninsula.

7. South Arm Peninsula

Just a short drive from Hobart, the South Arm Peninsula offers dark skies and stunning coastal views that make it an ideal spot for viewing the Aurora Australis. The peninsula’s eastern coast, facing the ocean, provides a clear, unobstructed horizon perfect for night sky observations.

Aurora Australis Tasmania
Credit: Gayelene Blair-Templeton

Scamander | St Helens, TAS

Tips for Viewing the Aurora Australis

– Check the Forecast: Utilise aurora forecasting tools and websites which provide real-time data and predictions on geomagnetic activity. This can greatly increase your chances of witnessing the aurora.

– Go Dark: Find a spot away from city lights. The darker the location, the better your chances of seeing the aurora’s true colours and forms.

– Be Patient: Viewing the aurora requires a lot of patience. Set up camp, bring some warm drinks, and be prepared to wait. The aurora can be unpredictable and may take time to appear.

– Photography Gear: If you plan to capture the lights, a good DSLR camera with manual settings, a wide-angle lens, and a sturdy tripod are essential. Long exposures can help capture the colours and movements of the lights that might be faint to the naked eye.

When chasing the Aurora Australis, Tasmania is the ultimate viewing destination. Its pristine environment and geographical location make it an ideal destination for viewing the Southern Lights. So, pack your bags, charge your cameras, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in the Tasmanian night. Whether you’re a seasoned aurora chaser or a first-timer, the beauty of the Southern Lights in Tasmania is sure to leave you in awe.

For those looking to explore this incredible natural phenomenon, Tasman Holiday Parks – St Helens is perfectly positioned to serve as your base camp. Not only will you enjoy comfortable accommodations, but you’ll also be right at the heart of one of the best aurora viewing locations on the island. Book your stay today and get ready to be captivated by one of nature’s most spectacular displays.

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