Outback Northern Territory is unique, diverse and oh so majestic. From red dust and desert to wetlands and waterfalls, it offers an adventure filled with wildlife, world heritage wonders and ancient indigenous culture. A little more care is needed in planning your holiday in such an extreme environment. Because of this, we are often asked the question, when is the best time to travel to Outback Australia?
Well, it really depends on what sort of adventure you’re after. The winter months have the most comfortable daytime temperature, but beware of the night frosts. Winter is also high season in the outback, with the tourist season’s official opening in April. From June to August the crowds can be unbearable, especially during Australian school holidays. By October the masses have vanished, but by then it’s hot and coming into wet season. I’m not helping, am I?
Ok, so here’s the lowdown on when to go
The Red Centre – Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and The Olgas (Uluru and Kata-Tjuta National Park), Devils Marbles, Tennant Creek and Barkly Tablelands – has a semi-arid climate and four seasons with a large variation in temperature between the seasons. The best time to travel to the Red Centre is April. It’s green, there’s less people and lower temperature extremes between day and night.
The Top End – Kakadu and Arnhem Land, Katherine, Darwin – has a tropical climate and only two seasons Wet/Dry. Many people recommend travelling in the wet season, October to April. However during the dry season, May to September, most roads are open and the weather is more reliable. May to mid-June is the best time to avoid the crowds, the weather is not too hot, rain is unlikely and there’s still plenty of water coming down the waterfalls. The late dry season, September and October, is the best time to see wildlife. Go early September if your heat tolerance levels are low, by October it gets uncomfortably hot.
Visit the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website for the latest Outback weather.