Sometimes, the best things in life truly are free. This is a thought that will cross your mind when you first see the Aurora Borealis or the Aurora Australis, two of nature’s most spectacular shows. With changing colours and shapes, these emissions of light usually occur in areas located near the poles, with Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights occurring in the north and Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights, happening in the south. While it’s never a guarantee to catch a glimpse of these marvels, you’ll still be more than tempted to try in one of these great destinations for watching the auroras.
Starting with the Northern Lights, if you head to the Norwegian Lapland between December and March you’ll have a great chance at spotting Aurora Borealis. The North Cape and Svalbard Islands are also a good shout for aurora hunters. There are many excursion tours that will take you to all best spots!
Probably the most well-known location for spotting the Northern Lights, in Iceland the Aurora Borealis can be seen much earlier than December, with the better climate of August weather creating great conditions to view the Lights. They can be seen right up until April from pretty much all parts of the country, and even if you miss them you’ll be hard pressed to find better surroundings to hunt for them.
There’s some great spots to see the Northern Lights in Finland. Just as in Norway, the Finnish Lapland is an ideal spot to check out the polar phenomenon. However, the best place is reserved for the village of Nellim, where there’s an area with ‘Aurora Bubbles’ and glass igloos which let you observe the Lights from the cosy confines of the room.
- New Zealand
Onto the Southern Lights now and the stunning country of New Zealand, which offers travellers one of the best polar light experiences of them all. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is a massive area of over 4,000km2 in which light pollution is kept to the bare minimum. This makes observing the lights as natural an experience as possible. Go between March and September for the best chance at seeing Aurora Australis, with Lake Tekapo some of the most beautiful displays of light.
This is technically still Australia, although it’s 240km to the southeast of the mainland, but nevertheless Tasmania is perfectly situated for viewing the Lights due to its proximity to the Antarctic Circle. It depends on your luck as the Lights flood the skies here all year round, but September is your best shout at seeing them.