Tourists prepare for rare solar eclipse

Far north Queensland will play host to a solar eclipse on Wednesday as 50,000 tourists flock to witness the rare phenomenon.

From around 6:39am (local time), the sky will become darker and the temperature will drop as the moon passes in front of the rising sun.

'Totality', which is the darkness that results from a total eclipse of the sun, will last about two minutes.

Depending on the weather, sky-gazers will be able to see the entire eclipse from Kakadu National Park, far north Queensland, the South Pacific and the coast off Chile.

All other areas will be subject to a partial eclipse.

Half of the 50,000 tourists are expected to be from overseas, according to regional development officer for Advance Cairns, Margaret Darveniza.

Cairns and Port Douglas will host the majority of the tourists. A representative from Tousrism Queensland said some hotels had been booked out for three years in anticipation of the solar eclipse.

Linda Bugbee, a tourist from Virginia in the USA, told News Limited she and her husband have spent seven years chasing eclipses.

"It was a lot more emotional than I expected," Ms Bugbee said. "Time sort of stops, but you know it's only going to last a minute or so. You sort of take the universe and the planets for granted, but when this happens, it seems so real," she said.

"Everyone gets really quiet.

"After people start seeing it for a few seconds, they start screaming and crying. When it's over, the party starts. People start dancing and singing."

Solar eclipses around the world
Solar eclipses around the world