Aurora hunters take flight

A special charter flight will take off from Dunedin later this week, carrying the region's top aurora hunters.

The Boeing 767 carrying 130 enthusiasts will cross the International Date Line twice as it flies south for a close-up view of the Aurora Australis.

The stunning natural light show is one photographers have been capturing from remote locations for years.

Aurora flight organiser Ian Griffin said they plan to fly "pretty much straight down to the auroral zone", and then fly in circles "so everybody on both sides of the plane is going to get a good view". 

The Otago Museum director managed to sell Dunedin Airport on his bold idea, before bringing Air New Zealand and travel company Orbit on-board.

Richard Roberts, Dunedin Airport CEO said he "loved the story". 

"It's about people in Dunedin, we just get together, we have a crazy idea. And it's going to happen. You know, two days' time and it's all on". 

It's not a cheap thrill. Economy seats on the special charter flight were about $2000 each, with business class seats twice that. The flight sold out in 5 days, with aurora hunters coming from across New Zealand, Australia, and even Spain.

The flight leaves Dunedin on Thursday night, returning eight hours later with what these photographers hope will be the images of a lifetime.