When I’m setting up my shots I normally just pull out my phone and fire up the Photopills augmented reality mode to locate the southern celestial pole. Every now and then I forget to charge my phone or leave it in the car and have to fall back on the old school method.
The southern pole star is Sigma Octantis, this star isn’t very bright and is near impossible to find with the naked eye.
Start by locating the Southern Cross (Crux) and the two southern pointer stars (Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri). These stars are some of the brightest in the sky and will be among the first ones to become visible after the sun goes down.
Once you’ve found these stars, start by drawing an imaginary line from the top (as it appears on the Australian/NZ flag) star of the Southern Cross passing through the bottom star and continuing for approximately 4.5x the distance between those two stars.
Next draw an imaginary line between the two pointer stars, then from the mid point of this line draw a second line at a 90 degree angle and extend it until it intersects the line from the Southern Cross. This point will be very close to the celestial pole.
If we add a few more layers into the image we can confirm the exact location.