There's a solar eclipse going across northern Australia on November 14th, 2012:


Given that climate and weather varies substantially from city to city in Northern Australia – especially around the coast – where would give the best chance to see the eclipse?


Worth noting that in Australia (and anywhere else west of the date line), it'll actually be the 14th. Hooray for international timezones being confusing!

Looking like Cairns / Oak Beach is the prime spot in therms of the line. However, I've been told that traffic could be difficult. If the one in Siberia attracted 10,000 people, this could receive even more.

  • Check the NASA site for certain trajectory, and select the town in North Australia
    – VMAtm
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 12:37
  • 3
    Not quite. While you can do that, the weather makes a difference. The last one in South America - some areas had 90% chance of rain, others had 10%. (Although ironically, the 90% one had the best viewing in the end)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 12:54
  • Don't think that we can predict weather for the Nov 2012
    – VMAtm
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 13:00
  • 3
    You can find seasonal averages. It's what we did for the last one, various geographical and metereological centers provide all sorts of charts of what statistically is likely at that time of year. Obviously it's not definite, but it gives a great baseline to start with.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 13:07
  • I'm not sure solar on its own makes a good tag. Maybe you meant to make solar-eclipse? Personally I think just going with eclipse alone would be best. Though I'm also wondering if a generic tag for events or specific events might be good? Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


This page collects lots of information about the total solar eclipse of 2012. It shows the path, an interactive map and cloud cover information. Currently only monthly averages are available, later you may find a better prediction.

It is also a good idea to check the page of MrEclipse (Fred Espenak), he's a solar eclipse veteran. Going to the same place he goes is usually a good idea.

After finding a suitable place you should also be ready to move to a different location if it's necessary. Sometimes it's just not possible to find the best place in advance.


The place being advertised as the best location is Oak Beach. It's also the starting point of the Solar Eclipse Marathon. However I wouldn't (and won't) go near here because the highway between Port Douglas and Cairns is one lane in each direction for most of it without alternate routes, and Oak Beach sits right on it.

Both Cairns and Port Douglas are well within the limits of the eclipse's path of totality according to the map on this site, and chances are you'll be staying at either of those so I would suggest staying put or, at most, heading up to one of Cairns' northern beaches. From what I understand of eclipses, as long as you're within the path of totality you will have an equivalent experience of anyone else within the path barring clouds, etc.

If you really want to sit on the central line of the eclipse I'd suggest figuring out where it's going to pass over the road between Mt Molloy and Mossman and pull up on the side of the road there. It may be occupied but it should be a lot quieter than Oak Beach. By my calculations it should be close enough to the Julatten pub that I'd just head there and hope they were open at 5 am. ;)

If there's cloud anywhere along the coast, chances are there will be cloud all along the coast so one place won't be better than another in that regard. Heading inland to the Mareeba to Mount Molloy area will be more likely to get you clear skies as that area is a lot drier, if that plays into your figures.

Personally I'll either be sitting at home with a beer or heading down to one of Cairns's beaches (not the Esplanade as I expect that to be very crowded too) with a beer. Just not XXXX.

  • If there's somewhere with a hill, it's actually possible to watch the shadow of the moon rushing over the land towards you. I forgot to look for it last time, it was so freakin' cold in El Calafate :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 18:26
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    You've got limited options for west-facing hills without going a long distance from Cairns and/or going out to the middle of nowhere. Maybe some of the hills in the Atherton-Mareeba area, or further north around Mt Molloy and Mt Carbine. All of these are at least an hour or two's drive from Cairns, plus the climb. You can get east-facing hills easily though (the Great Dividing Range for example) to watch the shadow go away.
    – dlanod
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 0:10

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