For those who haven’t scrolled through Facebook recently, let me tell you, videos of the Southern Lights AKA Aurora Australis are going absolutely off.


In recent weeks the out-of-this-world colours that vividly light up the southern sky have been putting on a show more spectacular than usual. Aurora Australis is most commonly witnessed in Tasmania and often New Zealand, but there’s been damning visual evidence that in recent weeks, the fluorescent greens and magentas have been spotted dancing through the skies of Victoria and even south Western Australia.

Usually best seen captured on camera rather than with the naked eye, people have been chasing the phenomenon for weeks and posting their mind-boggling footage online. But some of the lights have been bright enough to witness without a camera. There are even whispers that the recent light shows aren’t the end of it, and that the solar activity that causes Aurora Australis won’t peak until 2025!

I’ve done some digging and found clips of the Aurora Australis filmed in a bunch of awesome locations in New Zealand and across southern Australia.

Cue the dramatic music, this is going to be a sight for sore eyes!

Where can you see the Aurora Australis?

Bruny Island, Tasmania

Myrtleford, Victoria

Invercargill, New Zealand

Gnowangerup, Western Australia

Bass Coast, Victoria

Wheatbelt Region, Western Australia

Wellington, New Zealand

Aurora Australis FAQs

When can I see Aurora Australis?

It’s technically possible for the Southern Lights AKA Aurora Australis, to be visible at any time of year. However it’s most commonly seen during winter – around May to August – and also in September during the spring equinox.


Where do you find Aurora Australis?

Usually, Aurora Australis is best viewed in Tasmania or New Zealand, however it’s recently been seen in Victoria and even south Western Australia. 


Why do they call it the Aurora Australis?

Also known as the Southern Lights, Aurora Australis was named by Captain James Cook. Considering the Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – were already named, Cook used the same naming convention to name the Southern Lights. 

The name ‘Aurora’ comes from the Roman goddess of the dawn – Aurora – and australis is derived from the Latin word for southern. 


Can Aurora Australis be seen in Australia?

Yes! Aurora Australis can be seen in Australia, usually best in Tasmania.


What makes Aurora Australis occur?

The colours and lights that are visible during any type of aurora are caused when charged particles (ions) stream from the surface of the sun towards Earth, in what’s known as a solar wind or solar storm. 

When this solar wind gets close to Earth, it runs into the Earth’s magnetic field (which protects us!) and is forced around the planet, and further into the solar system. 

But! Some of the ions become briefly trapped and travel down the magnetic field lines instead, heading towards both the North and South Poles. The ions interact with gases within the Earth’s atmosphere and create the bright coloured and moving lights we see. 

Green and red light is produced by oxygen and blue and purple light is produced by nitrogen. 


Can you see aurora with bare eyes?

It’s possible to see an aurora with your naked eye. However sometimes it’s not as vivid as it appears on a camera. 


Is Aurora Australis visible from Melbourne?

Although Aurora Australis may be in the sky near Melbourne, because of the light pollution caused by the city, it’d be near impossible to see it. To see Aurora Australis, you would have to travel outside of Melbourne to more remote areas, such as Phillip Island, Wilsons Promontory, or Mornington Peninsula.


Can you predict Aurora Australis?

It’s very difficult to predict when an aurora will occur as it depends on solar flares and wind from the sun! However, with longer nights in winter, there’s more opportunity to witness an aurora. You also need the right conditions – low light, which means no moon, and a clear sky, so no clouds.


How long does an aurora last?

An aurora will usually last about 15-30 minutes, but can sometimes last for a few hours. 


Is the Aurora Australis rare?

The Aurora Australis isn’t rare in Tasmania, however it’s not as bright and consistent at the Aurora Borealis in the Northern Hemisphere. 

However it is rare to witness Aurora Australis further north than Tasmania.


Feature photo thanks to @skenb on Unsplash