Sometimes, all we have to do to see magic is to look up.
We often hear about ‘chasing the Northern Lights’, and the sight – a transfixing display of lights caused by charged particles entering the atmosphere – is one of the most sought-after experiences of all time. For those of us who can’t travel all the way to Iceland, fret not – the night sky in the Southern hemisphere can be just as beautiful.
Here are five places to admire the wondrous beauty of the night sky and go star-gazing.
Lake Tekapo (South Island), New Zealand
By day, Lake Tekapo offers a picturesque view of the dramatic Southern Alps. By night, it transforms into a whole new destination. Part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, the lake has some of the darkest skies in the world, forming the perfect viewing spot for the Southern Lights. The winter season (June to August) is best to catch the illuminating lights dancing in the night sky. You can also head to the Mount John Observatory, which houses some of New Zealand’s largest telescopes, to get up close and personal with millions of stars.
Flinders (Victoria), Australia
There’s no doubt that the Melbourne city center has a lot to offer, but come nightfall, make your way to the unassuming town of Flinders, a 90-minute drive away from the city. Located on the southern coast of the Mornington Peninsula, the beaches of Flinders offer an uninterrupted view of the night sky and its magnificent lights. With an absence of noisy tourist crowds or sounds of the city, you can marvel at the other-worldly Southern Lights in complete serenity and peace.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
With its pristine emerald waters and towering limestone islands, Halong Bay has long been a fan-favourite among those looking to take a day trip out of central Hanoi. Believe it or not, the experience here gets even better at night. Get aboard an overnight cruise and set sail on a journey off into the starry, starry night. Without the smog and light pollution from the city, you’d have full view of the clear skies and constellations.
Stay: Hilton Opera Hanoi
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Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand
If you are up for some adventure, look no further than Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest peak. No matter how difficult the hike, it’ll be worth it in the end. Literally meaning the “City of Stars”, Doi Chiang Dao offers ethereal views of star trails, and takes you so high up, the stars feel like they are almost within your grasp. If you are keen to sleep among the stars, overnight camping is available, but be sure to get a permit in advance.
The Maldives is often considered to be paradise on Earth, and for good reason – from untouched white-sand beaches, exhilarating sea-sport activities to the ultimate in resort-styled luxury, you’re sure to have the getaway of your dreams. By day, bask in the sunlight and soak up your fair share of Vitamin D; by night, kick back with a cocktail and take in the mesmerising view of the sea of stars. In clear Maldivian nights, you’re almost guaranteed to catch a shooting star. Time to make a wish.