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Is a Southern lights flight on your bucket list? It should be! Seeing the Aurora Australis from high above the Earth is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll remember forever.
Just like their northern counterpart, the southern lights are a natural phenomenon caused when the sun emits electrically charged particles and atoms into the Earth’s atmosphere. When these particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen, they cause those gases to emit beautiful colourful light shows known as auroras.
For many years it was only possible to see nature’s spectacular light display on rare occasions from vantage points in Tasmania and Victoria. But now you can join polar travel specialists Chimu Adventures a specially chartered Qantas flight from Melbourne or Sydney and see them in comfort.
I have spent many hours researching how to see the aurora australis and concluded that we might have to camp out in remote Tasmania in mid winter for a month to see it. So I was incredibly excited to learn about this opportunity.
In this article we tell you what you can expect on the special flights to see the southern lights departing from April to June in 2021.
What is a Southern Lights flight?
You’ve no doubt heard of day trips but this may be the ultimate “night trip”. The Southern Lights Flight is a 12 hour adventure flying towards the South Pole to view the magical aurora australis.
Departing in the evening from major airports in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, Chimu Adventures has chartered a special Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to fly towards Antarctica over the Southern Ocean.
Aiming for latitudes of 62 degrees south, the plane flies above the clouds and weather systems at night for your best chance of seeing the aurora. There is no defined flight path giving the pilot flexibility to give passengers the best views of the southern lights depending on conditions.
During the 10-13 hour flight you’ll enjoy Qantas service including meals, snacks, a full bar and in flight entertainment system. Aurora commentary and insight is provided by Dr Ian Griffin, an astronomer and Director of New Zealand’s renowned Otago Museum who points out other features of the night sky. There will also be a professional photographer on board to help you capture your own images of the lights.
On previous flights, passengers have enjoyed viewing the aurora for 4 and 6 hours before returning back to their point of departure in the early morning. This experience is truly an incredible night trip that is worthy of any bucket list.
How many people can say they flew two thirds of the way to Antarctica to see a natural phenomenon that few are able to experience?
2021 Flight schedule
- Melbourne – 10th April, 5th June
- Sydney – 9th April, 15th May
- Brisbane – 14th May
- Perth – 8th May
Viewing and seating options
The windows of the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner are 65% bigger than similar aircraft and offer wonderful views of the aurora. Unrestricted viewing options are offered across over both business and economy classes with a seat swap system in place so you have the opportunity to see the lights from different perspectives. Pricing starts at $1,295 for a restricted viewing seat in Economy.
Onboard service including dinner and breakfast, snacks and a full bar is provided by Qantas International and reflects the class of ticket purchased. To learn more about the seating chart and pricing register your interest by clicking here.
With COVID restrictions in place across the country, there are safety measures in place for each flight to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew. All passengers are required to complete a self declaration form and there are temperature checks prior to boarding. Capacity in the Economy cabin is reduced and there are safety kits available for all passengers.
Seeing the Southern lights in comfort!
One of the things that has been at the back of my mind when considering a trip to see the southern lights is my personal comfort. I don’t do too well with the cold but I was prepared to overcome that challenge to fulfil my dream of seeing an aurora. With a Southern Lights flight that is no longer a problem. You can sit back and relax and watch nature’s best light show dance across the sky from your seat.
Learn more about the Aurora Australis and the night flight
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The creator, writer and photographer behind Untold Morsels, Katy has been travelling and tasting the world since she was a teenager.
Now the proud mum of twins, she hopes they grow up to share her passions of great food, wine and travel. Favourite destination: Italy