Did you miss out when parts of Australia got a glimpse of the aurora australis in May? Or feel the fomo because you couldn’t see it from your side of the country? Don’t worry, you can still catch the awe-inspiring display of lights in 2024, especially with reports that sightings could be more frequent over the next year or so.

Sometimes referred to as nature’s disco ball, the spectacular southern lights are a bucket-list experience you have a great chance of seeing in Tasmania. The state’s southern location and limited light pollution make it one of the best places in the world to view the celestial wonder, and winter is the best time to see it.

You’ll usually need a good camera to capture it, although there are ways to snap a pic on your smartphone, making use of features like night mode and long exposures, special camera apps and the help of a tripod for stability. But first, you’ve got to pick the best spot. We’ve put together a guide to the best places to catch the aurora and stargaze across the island. They’re all guaranteed to impress – even if you miss the light show.

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Red Rock Hut, King Island

What the tiny Red Rock Hut lacks in size, it makes up for in expansive views. Perched on the west coast of King Island, this cosy and thoughtfully designed tiny home offers panoramic views across Bass Strait and across the night sky – ideal for stargazing and trying to spot the elusive aurora australis.

Inside, you can bunker down beside the crackling fireplace and watch the world go by through double-glazed windows. Outside, there are plenty of spots to appreciate the surrounding natural beauty, magical sunsets and wandering wildlife: including an open-air woodfired hot tub, a sauna with a panoramic window, a hammock and a firepit. With 32 acres to explore and diving and snorkeling spots nearby, there’s lots more to do here than just wait for the lights.

The Cove, Devonport

Opened in 2021, The Cove offers adult-only accommodation, all with thoughtful designs and spectacular views. It’s on the waterfront of a multigenerational family farm, where you can watch penguins return to their burrows, tour around on an e-bike and gaze at the expansive night sky for a glimpse of the aurora.

There are different accommodation options here, from a villa that has both outdoor and indoor baths to a modern take on A-framed huts, complete with skylights so you can see the stars from bed. There’s also a spa and wellness centre where you can escape for a hot-stone treatment or luxurious facial.

The Keep, Goulds Country

Located at the top of a rocky pinnacle in the Blue Tier forest reserve in Tasmania’s north-east, The Keep’s elevation brings you 650 metres closer to the aurora. You get 360-degree views of pure wilderness and, on clear days, can see out to Bass Strait.

With no other demands on your time, you can curl up with a book, hit one of the many bike trails near Derby (considered Tasmania’s mountain biking mecca), explore the forest, or take an outdoor bath in a granite tub among impressive boulders. The sky appears larger here, and you can easily see eagles soaring through.

This Off Season, a stay at The Keep includes a Zoom call with a night sky expert to enhance your understanding of the wonders above when the sun goes down. Mulled wine, hot chocolate, outdoor bean bags and heat packs will keep you toasty as you settle in for an evening with the stars.

Walk on kunanyi, Hobart

While the usual Walk on kunanyi tour takes you across different parts of Hobart over the course of a day, it also offers a more stationary experience for appreciating the night sky above the Tasmanian capital.

kunanyi After Dark starts at the Springs of kunanyi / Mount Wellington, at an altitude of about 720 metres above sea level. Guests receive expert astronomical guidance and learn about the palawa people’s cultural sharing of luwari wurungkali (the night sky).

With a professional telescope, you’ll begin with the moon and solar system, then turn to native wildlife, which can include wombats, pademelons, owls and bats. A chance to see an aurora event is just one of the perks of this special tour, which is enjoyed with sweet treats and hot chocolate.

Edge of the Bay, Coles Bay

Surrounded by 27 acres of untouched bushland, Edge of the Bay sits within the Freycinet Peninsula and offers views across Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountain Range. Each suite and cottage has picture-perfect views and direct walking access to three private beaches.

Family cabins accommodating up to five guests are inspired by the quintessential Aussie beach shack with modern comforts. Ocean-view suites offer a minimalist and elemental feel for two guests, with a private deck and floor-to-ceiling windows for all-hours visibility – including stargazing and potential aurora sightings.

Daytime activities abound with vineyards, hiking and paddling nearby, or you can go for a cold dip at one of its three private beaches.

Ross Motel, Ross

Located on a quiet street beside the Macquarie River, Ross Motel has a central Tasmanian location where you can soak up the town’s history, spot local wildlife at dusk and hope for an aurora sighting. On clear nights, you can even see Spectra, a light installation reaching 15 kilometres into the sky, despite Ross being 120 kilometres from Hobart. Mona usually switches it on around the winter and summer solstices.

Ross Motel is also just moments from the historic stone Ross Bridge and a minute’s walk to the local pub. It also provides a comfortable base from which to explore Callington Mill, 20 minutes away, or the Midlands (Launceston and the east coast are great daytrip options). It’s offering a third night free with a two-night booking this Off Season – one extra evening to try and catch the aurora.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Tasmania. Embrace the Off Season and explore more wild, weird and wonderful experiences in Tasmania this winter.