Take an 85-minute drive to view the aurora australis from Cape Schanck at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula. You’ll be well away from city lights, and have a great view of the southern sky if the aurora is there. Other activities to do here include visiting the Cape Schanck Lighthouse and its museum. Visit Pulpit Rock at the tip of the cape, have a barbecue at The Pines Picnic Area, take a dip in the Peninsula Hot Springs, or take the Bushrangers Bay Nature Walk.
Located 95 minutes by car from downtown Melbourne, Point Lonsdale Beach offers a dark sky to view the aurora australis. The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse sits on the headland, overlooking “The Rip,” a dangerous passage that is the entry from the Bass Strait to the Port Philip Bay. It is the only way to reach Melbourne by sea. The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse offers tours that are a good addition to a trip here.
A 30-minute drive west of Hobart, Mount Wellington is one of the best aurora viewpoints in the area. Towering over 4000ft (1200m) in elevation, you’ll be well above most light pollution on a dark night.
Most people know Ushuaia as the ‘End of the World’ - a jumping-off point for Antarctica cruises. As the southernmost city in the world, you can’t get much further south than Ushuaia. It’s also the most urban place you can base yourself for trying to see the southern lights in South America. In the winter months, you can expect up to 17 hours of darkness per day in Ushuaia, meaning plenty of opportunity for viewing, if the southern lights do appear.
Though most people won’t journey this far just to see the southern lights, the Falkland Islands are generally considered one of the best places in the world to see them. Located over 400 miles (643km) off the eastern coast of South America, the Falkland Island is isolated and sparsely populated. Only 3,400 people call the Falkland Islands home, along with penguins, seals, seabirds, and other wildlife. This lack of major development means it’s not hard to find dark skies perfect for aurora viewing.
A 100-percent chance of amazing auroras won't mean a thing if skies are completely overcast. Check before you head out. If it's cloudy where you are, see if there might be clearing in a certain direction, and head that way. It's possible to enjoy the southern lights even if it's just through passing clear patches in an otherwise gloomy sky.
You need to find somewhere away from city lights, with a clear view to the south. Lakes are one of the best options if you can find a viewpoint along the southern shore. Farm fields and pastures are other options (though maybe not cornfields at this point in the growing season). Make sure you respect private property.
Simple enough — but sometimes hard to do when it's late, or cold outside.