Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can mostly be seen from Tasmania. However, if you’re lucky, you may spot it from Victoria, ACT, NSW and even southern Queensland.
Here’s where you can find the Aurora Australis in Victoria.
The Southern Lights. While not as well-known or relentlessly pursued as their northern cousins, they still know how to put on a show.
And the best things is… Did you know it’s possible to see the Southern Lights from Victoria?
It’s not common – but it can happen.
Solar activity is set to peak over the next couple of years (I’m writing this mid-2023), so your chances of seeing the Aurora Australis in Victoria is fairly good.
Keep an eye on alerts from the Bureau of Meterology (BOM) and get yourself to one of these destinations, if the aurora is on the radar.
For more natural wonders, check out this quick guide to Victoria’s pink lakes.
Where to see the aurora australis in Victoria
When can you see the aurora australis in Victoria?
When the sun enters a period known as ‘solar maximus’, solar activity increases.
Energy pushes out from the sun in the form of solar flares, which interact with the northern and southern magnetic poles of our planet.
So basically, these high-energy particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field and boom.
The result? A wash of colour dancing around the sky, known as aurora borealis or aurora australis, depending where in the world you are.
The aurora is best viewed at night, which is why wintertime is ideal – more hours of darkness mean more chances to see the show.
And while the Aurora Australis is commonly seen only in Tasmania, if it’s strong enough, you can catch it in Victoria.
Where can you see the aurora australis in Victoria?
So, what to do if conditions are good and it’s predicted the southern lights will be making an appearance in the night sky?
Rug up, grab your camera and a sturdy tripod and head out, on a celestial-inspired adventure.
Here are some places where you may be able to spot the Aurora Australis in Victoria.
Werribee South Beach & Point Cook
These areas are far enough west from Melbourne to give you some chance of catching the aurora.
If conditions aren’t great at Werribee South Beach, drive a little further to Campbell’s Cove. You may be able to spot the aurora from there.
Queenscliff & Point Lonsdale
The Bellarine has a few vantage points for seeing the southern lights in Victoria.
Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale both face south, and so will be your best bet.
Anglesea, Aireys Inlet & along the Great Ocean Road
Fancy a road trip? Head south to Anglesea, Aireys Inlet or even further along the Great Ocean Road, to try and spot the lights.
If you’re gonna make a whole trip out of it, explore more things to do on the Great Ocean Road.
Cape Schanck & Flinders
On the other side of the bay, Cape Schanck and the small town of Flinders are both reportedly good spots for aurora-spotting.
They’re not too far from Melbourne, so if you live east of the city you can head there to try and view the lights and back easily, in a night.
The southern side of Phillip Island is a possible vantage point for seeing the Aurora Australis in Victoria.
Around Smiths Beach or Berry’s Beach could be possible winners.
Or head to completely off-the-grid French Island, where light pollution will absolutely not be an issue!
There are limited places to stay in this offbeat destination, so plan ahead accordingly.
Find out more about visiting French Island.
The town of Inverloch in Gippsland is a great vantage point for seeing the Aurora Australis in Victoria.
Face south and cross your fingers.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
The most southern point of the state, if you’re going going to see the Aurora Australis in Victoria or from anywhere on mainland Australia, it’ll probably be here.
An absence of light pollution will work in your favour.
Tidal River is where you might want to base yourself, as it’s the location of the biggest campsite.
While not on the southern coast of Victoria, Heathcote is close to the location of the Astronomical Society of Victoria’s dark sky site.
The lack of light pollution means that if the aurora is strong enough, it will be viewable from around this region.
Can you spot the southern lights in Melbourne?
The stars literally have to align to make the Aurora Australis visible in Melbourne. No moon, clear skies and low light pollution all come into play.
However, it is possible! If the flare is strong enough, you may be able to spot the aurora from Rickett’s Point in Beaumaris or Williamstown Beach.
And best to note – you may not actually see the aurora as you’d expect to (that is, as a brilliant display of light in the sky).
The feature image at the top of this post was taken at the tail end of a flare, so it presented to the naked eye as a white band, low in the sky.
After taking a photo with my DSLR and tweaking the settings in Photoshop, I was able to bring out the colour that my eyes just couldn’t see.
On the flipside (of the world), here’s what it’s like to see the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) during a solar storm in Iceland (spoiler: epic).