Best time to travel to New Zealand

Aurora Australis in New Zealand 2024

Green and pink aurora australis hues poured over the dark sky resemble a giant witch's​ pot with a magic potion

Best time: March–September

Aurora Australis
Aurora Australis
Aurora Australis
Aurora Australis

The South Pole is the place where the aurora australis originates, and New Zealand is the closest country, so if you head far enough south, you might just see a dance of light like no other!

Best time to see aurora australis

Polar light is visible during the winter season between March and September, the best spectacles are experienced around midnight when the night is the darkest as the sun is shining onto the other side of the Earth.

Best spots to see aurora australis

The South Island offers a number of great observatory areas to enjoy spectacular displays of multicolored southern lights. Famous aurora australis mesmerizes with its alien-like green colors mixed with pink and yellowish hues poured over the night sky of New Zealand.

The best places to see this wonderful display of nature include Stewart Islands, Lake Tekapo, Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, and the Catlins. From time to time, the natural phenomenon also occurs around Invercargill and Dunedin.

Practical info

What causes the Aurora Australis to occur in New Zealand?

The Aurora Australis is a natural phenomenon caused by electrically charged particles colliding with atmospheric particles. It is seen in areas close to the earth’s magnetic poles including New Zealand. Its origin is from solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. Show more

What is the best time of the year to see the Southern Lights?

To maximize visibility, the best time of the year to view Aurora Australis, especially in New Zealand is between March and September. Winter season in New Zealand boosts the chances of getting the perfect view. During this period, the night is darker, thus making the colourful display more visible. Show more

What is the best time of the day to see the Aurora Australis?

The Aurora Australis is at its brightest at midnight. It is seen when charged solar particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field. These particles get excited and emit various colours of light that make up the aurora. Midnight is chosen because the sky is darkest and best visible for people to see the beautiful natural display. Show more

What are some of the best places to see the Southern Lights in New Zealand?

The Southern Lights can be viewed in several areas in New Zealand including the Catlins, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Lake Tekapo and Stewart Island. These locations provide an observatory view of the southern sky. Aurora Australis is also visible in notable cities around Invercargill and Dunedin. Show more

Besides New Zealand, what are some other countries where the Aurora Australis can be seen?

Antarctica, South Africa and Australia are some countries where people can also view the Southern Lights. It is most commonly seen in polar regions like Antarctica, but on rare occasions in countries including New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Aurora Australis can be seen in areas where there is less light pollution and closer to the earth’s poles. Show more

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