Ditch the Northern Lights! 5 Reasons To Check Out the Southern Lights Instead

Ditch the Northern Lights! 5 Reasons To Check Out the Southern Lights Instead

Looking for an alternative to the Northern Lights? Turn around and head south to catch the Auroras Australis for a change instead!

The Northern Lights are way too overrated. If you’re interested in catching a beautiful sky show that is less talked about yet equally mesmerising, then consider its lesser-known counterpart, the Southern Lights.

Located near the frozen waters of the South Pole, this natural phenomenon is slowly being discovered amongst the travel crowd. The Southern Lights stand as a magnificent light show that deserves to be talked about as much as the Northern Lights – and to convince you, we shall draw comparisons between the two.

Just read on to find out the reasons why you should ditch the north and go down south!

You don’t have to spend a bomb to see it

We all know that chasing the Northern Lights can put a big dent in your bank account. Popular European destinations that are hailed as the top spots to view the Auroras Borealis (that’s the Northern Lights for nerds) – such as Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden – do not come cheap for the average traveller. The prices are double-fold when you’re travelling during the peak period for Northern Lights in March.

The Southern Lights, on the other hand, can be viewed from Oceanic destinations such as Australia and New Zealand. If you’re staying in Southeast Asia, you’ll be saving significantly on your plane tickets – especially since there are budget flights such as Scoot and AirAsia that fly to Australia and Jetstar to New Zealand. Now you can watch the natural phenomenon without worrying about the price of your next meal!

You can avoid the throng of tourists during off-season

Image credit: Ben

The Southern Lights are best viewed during winter, from March to September, when the nights are long and the chances of catching the pretty lights in the dark sky are high. Not only that, travelling to the Oceanic countries during this time means that you’ll be taking advantage of the off-season period! You can catch some good deals on flights and accommodations, as well as avoid the tourist crowd who tend to flock to these places during summer.

The Northern Lights are also best viewed in winter, from October to April. The difference is that given its popularity, the masses have no qualms about braving the cold weather for their quest – increasing the travel demand hence the prices. If you go with the crowd, you just have to pay the price, quite literally.

You can explore less-visited islands and cities

Image credit: Samuel Blanc

The top southern destinations to view the Auroras Australis (yes, that’s nerd for Southern Lights) are on remote islands and cities, which is a boon for travellers looking to do a bit of exploration during the downtime. The Stewart Island in New Zealand is a fine example. Here, visitors can watch the natural phenomenon at the Rakiura National Park. In Maori, Rakiura means “Land of The Glowing Skies” – and I’m sure you know exactly what they are referring to.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, then go on further southeast to South Georgia, which is probably the closest you’ll get to stepping foot on Antarctica itself! You’ll only be able to access this remote location via boat through expeditions and cruises, as there are no airstrips on the island itself.

Reaching South Georgia is a challenge itself, with the rough waves of the Southern Ocean turning away all but the hardiest ships on Earth. Make sure to travel before March, before the sea conditions become too dangerous for safe passage, and you’ll enjoy one of the best sightings of the Southern Lights yet!

It’s more rewarding to catch the Southern Lights in display

Image credit: NOAA Photo Library

One thing about the Auroras Australis is that it’s much harder to access than its northern counterpart! The northern Arctic consists of many land masses, such as Canada, Alaska and Greenland, which tourists can traverse in their search for the Northern Lights.

The south Antarctic, however, is surrounded by open water, with little islands, and even lesser human presence. The challenge of simply creating an itinerary and finding accommodations to achieve your goal of catching the Southern Lights may turn off the more casual crowd. After all, being on a boat in choppy waters isn’t exactly the idea of a holiday to many!

But when you finally catch that amazing light show in the Southern Hemisphere, rest assured that the feeling of amazement and joy will be multiplied tenfold after all the hardships you’ve endured. Take pride that you’ve achieved something that many people can’t claim!

The Northern Lights are dimming for a decade!

Image credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

If you’re planning on a journey to the Northern Hemisphere, you might be sorely disappointed to know that the famous Auroras Borealis will be much harder to view for the next decade! This is because of the sun’s 11-year solar cycle, which plays a crucial role in causing frequent solar activity and intense auroras, is coming to an end this year.

Without this constant cycle, the Northern Lights will be more erratic and unpredictable until it returns again in the next ten years. However, the good news is that the Southern Light remains unaffected by this change! You’ll have a better chance on catching the Auroras Australis in the southern seas, rather than waiting endlessly in the north!

Has this list convinced you to see the Southern Lights? We sure hope so!

About Author

Youliang Teo
Youliang Teo

When he’s not caught up with the real world, Teo Youliang dreams of simply grabbing a rucksack and setting off on an adventure of a lifetime. Whether it means venturing through unknown places, meeting new faces, or frustratingly figuring out a travel map for hours, you can be sure that there isn’t any other place he’d rather be. He’s also content with a hot cup of tea, and writing stories at the comfort of his home.

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