Some who seek totality often use total eclipses of the Sun as an excuse to lớn travel khổng lồ places they might not otherwise visit. Others consider a total solar eclipse an added bonus for a trip to lớn a locale that’s long been on a wish list. Thanks to its location, the April 20, 2023, total eclipse offers a little something for everyone.

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In 2012, totality passed over the Cape York peninsula in northeastern nước australia and plunged Cairns into darkness for two minutes. The 2023 total solar eclipse barely touches the opposite coast, briefly crossing a peninsula in Western Australia. For those who’ve been thinking about a trip to the Land Down Under, perhaps lớn the infrequently visited western region of the country, this is a golden opportunity to lớn combine nước australia and totality.

The 2023 eclipse also sweeps over regions that are not as popular with travelers as Australia, because they are more difficult to lớn reach. The Timor Sea, plus Timor-Leste, West Papua, and the other smaller islands touched by totality offer much to those interested in the natural environment of tropical regions. But while land expeditions khổng lồ these areas beyond nước australia are possible, this region is best suited to lớn an eclipse cruise if viewing totality is the prime reason for the journey.


Path of the 2023 Total Solar Eclipse

The eclipse begins at sunrise on April 20, 2023, in the southern Indian Ocean about half way between Madagascar và Antarctica. After traveling over water for nearly an hour, the path of totality touches the Australian continent. For almost one minute, the Sun is completely hidden for eclipse chasers on Western Australia’s North West Cape. Weather prospects here are very good; sunshine dominates the April skies over the region.

The eclipse then crosses the Timor Sea northwest of Australia. Totality touches land on only a few islands, including the eastern tip of Timor-Leste. Maximum duration of totality—1 minute 16 seconds—occurs just off the island’s east coast. Totality then passes over six small islands before reaching West Papua. On all of these islands, land-based weather prospects are poor, with the monthly cloud cover average ranging from 60% lớn 80%. Beyond Australia, the flexibility of a cruise ship is likely the only way to lớn see totality, và it’s certainly the best way to explore the region. After leaving Papua, the path of totality continues into the Pacific Ocean, ending at sunset far from any islands.

This total solar eclipse is slightly unusual, as it’s not total everywhere along its path. For the first 5 minutes after sunrise, và the last 5 minutes prior khổng lồ sunset, the eclipse is annular—the Moon is centered on the Sun, but it doesn’t completely cover the solar disk. This combination of an annular/total eclipse is often called a hybrid eclipse; visit our “Types of Solar Eclipses” blog to lớn learn more about it. In reality, even the most die-hard eclipse chasers won’t bother trying to reach the two most interesting viewing positions for this eclipse—the point where annularity changes khổng lồ totality, or where totality reverts to annularity. Both spots are in remote, mid-ocean locations at the extreme ends of the 2023 eclipse path. As a result, almost everyone will refer khổng lồ the April 2023 eclipse as a total solar eclipse.

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You’ll find a wide-view map of the 2023 path of totality at the end of this blog. To lớn explore the path in more detail, eclipse chaser Xavier Jubier has an excellent website. His interactive solar eclipse maps show the paths across Earth’s surface for numerous past and future totalities.


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This composite image shows the progression of the total solar eclipse over Madras, Oregon, on August 21, 2017. (Photo by Aubrey Gemignani/NASA)
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Some people view a total solar eclipse with just their eyes. Others bring a lot of gear, hoping lớn capture every nuance of totality. (Photo by Paul Deans/TQ)

Preparing for the 2023 Solar Eclipse

For North American or European eclipse chasers, or anyone interested in visiting the region & adding a total solar eclipse to lớn their itinerary, it’s a long way to go. Advance planning is an absolute necessity—total eclipse 2023 is not an eclipse you can decide to lớn see at the last minute.

Western Australia’s North West Cape isn’t the only land portion of the eclipse path, but it is the one with the best chance of seeing totality. Exmouth, a small resort town with a population of some 2,700 residents, is the sole community on the Cape. According lớn Jay Anderson, TravelQuest’s eclipse meteorologist: “The overriding character of the Exmouth area is its sunshine…it is uncommon to see the whole of the Cape covered in extensive, opaque clouds at this time of year.”

While eclipse-day weather prospects on the Cape are excellent, accessibility & accommodation are not. The state of Western nước australia is a vast, empty region, with long distances between far-flung towns. Exmouth is remote, its limited tourism infrastructure is fairly basic, và many of the khách sạn rooms have already been booked by tour operators. There are no nearby towns from which to lớn dash to totality on eclipse-day morning. The eclipse begins at 10:00 am local time, và driving at night prior to the eclipse is strongly discouraged due lớn the presence of kangaroos và other wildlife that emerge at night. You vị not want lớn hit a 100-pound (160-kg) roo with your rental car.

Of the other land-based options, the north shore of the eastern tip of Timor-Leste holds the most promise for seeing the eclipse, but the odds are poor. The average cloud cover for April is nearly 60%. Still, that’s better than West Papua, where cloud averages are in the range of 75%. Jay Anderson notes that solar eclipse travel to lớn Papua will require serious planning. “Population is sparse & villages are widely separated. Access for much of the eclipse track may have khổng lồ be by boat. Eclipse observations would be a challenge, but what an adventure!”

Most of the path of the total solar eclipse of 2023 crosses water, which makes joining a cruise a good option. Some eclipse cruises will depart from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, while others will leave from Bali, Indonesia. In the southern portion of the Timor Sea, the weather prospects are almost as good as those at Exmouth, making a ship-based eclipse trip an attractive option.


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Thousands of limestone spires rise from the stark yellow landscape of the Pinnacles Desert near the western coastal town of Cervantes, Australia. (Photo by Tobias Keller)
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The Ningaloo Reef, in Western Australia’s remote North West Cape, is home to the world’s largest và longest “fringing” reef—a coral reef that lies close to lớn shore. (Photo by Ben Carless)

TravelQuest in nước australia for Totality 2023

Reaching the path of totality for eclipse 2023 will be a challenge, particularly for solo travelers or small groups of eclipse chasers. Access to, & accommodation, in Exmouth is limited. Getting lớn the islands that will experience a total solar eclipse is difficult. In reality, this is one instance where joining a solar eclipse tour is definitely the way khổng lồ go.

Since organizing our first eclipse trip in 1996, TravelQuest has planned và fulfilled almost 250 solar eclipse tours & astronomy-themed excursions to all seven continents. We’ve successfully viewed totality from land, sea, & air. For the April 20, 2023, total solar eclipse, we’re currently in the planning stages for three possible tours to totality—two by land and one by sea. Our probable land options are centered on Western Australia’s North West Cape, while the cruise we’re considering will depart from Bali. To learn more about the status of any of our three potential total solar eclipse 2023 tours, please liên hệ TravelQuest.


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This topographic maps reveals that most of the eclipse track passes over water & barely touches the Australian coast, Timor-Leste, và a few Indonesian islands. (Map by Jay Anderson)