Five great ways to see the Aurora Borealis

If you've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, consider one of these illuminating tours.

The Northern Lights, as seen from Iceland. Photo / Creative Commons
The Northern Lights, as seen from Iceland. Photo / Creative Commons

1. Discover the World has an extensive Northern Lights programme to six countries between December and March. Their aurora-chasing holidays can include a night in a "snow room" at the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi.

2. Off the Map Travel organises tailormade trips to the best destinations in the world to experience the lights. These include Bjorkliden, in northern Sweden, which is situated in a weather shadow of the surrounding mountain range, delivering perfect conditions for aurora-spotting.

3. Hotel ION is a one-hour drive from Iceland's capital Reykjavik, close to Thingvellir National Park. Its relatively remote location, in an open expanse of land far from city lights, means it is a good spot for lights sightings. In fact, it has a "Northern Lights Bar" with floor-to-ceiling windows and works with two astronomers.

4. Hurtigruten, which operates a fleet of passenger ships that sail up and down the Norwegian coast, has extended its "Northern Lights Promise". The extension means that if the lights are not visible from your ship, you will be offered a free cruise. The 12-day cruise costs from NZ$1890 per person in an inside cabin on full-board basis (based on two sharing), departing on a range of dates.

5. In Finnish Lapland, stay at the Torassieppi Reindeer Farm and take night treks on snowshoes, by minibus and snowmobile to seek the Northern Lights. The Aurora Zone has a range of packages and they bill themselves as "your aurora experts". Pack your thermals.

- NZ Herald

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