The Northern Territory (NT) is one of the most iconic states in Australia. If you want to experience authentic culture, food, music and so more much – this is the state for you.
The NT is filled with such a vast variety of landscapes; deserts to waterfalls, gorges to watering holes, iconic rock formations to forests – it is a nature lovers paradise. If you can only choose from a few states to visit on a trip to Australia, I highly recommend you spend some time in the Northern Tertitory!
I have only completed part of the Red Centre myself, and this state quickly and easily become one of my favourites. This blog post has been written to help give you some information on when it is the best time to visit, how to get around and some location/activity recommendations.
If you would like to see some of the most iconic scenery in the Northern Territory in a short amount of time, you might like this blog most – Red Centre: 5 Day itinerary.
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Best time to visit
The Northern Territory is split into two areas; the Red Centre and the Top End. There are two distinct climates in these areas. The Top end has more of a warm tropical climate, and the Red Centre is more of a semi-arid climate.
The Red Centre includes Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and the Uluru region. There are 4 distinct seasons in the Red Centre. Temperatures can rise during summer and drop significantly in winter, in this region.
- Summer (December-February): Average temperatures are around 20C to 35C. January is the wettest month with around 40mm of rain.
- Autumn (March-May): Average temperatures range from 12-27C. This is considered one of the best times to visit this region.
- Winter (June-August): Temperatures can drop to below zero at night, sometimes leaving a thick frost blanket. The average temperature is between 3-20C.
- Spring (September – November): Spring is my personal favourite time to visit. Bringing incredible thunderstorms and pleasant evenings. The average temperature is 13-21C.
The Top End
The Top End has two major seasons, the wet and the dry. I wouldn’t recommend visiting in the wet, as most of national parks are closed.
The dry season runs from May to October, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 32C. This is a similar temperature range to the wet, except with a a huge drop in humidity and little to no rain.
This is the most comfortable time to visit for most travellers, making it great for hiking, fishing, camping and much more.
During the dry, the Top End buzzes with excitement and events. Including the Darwin Festival, Barunga Festival and the V8 Supercars.
The wet, or the Tops Ends Summer runs from November to April. The average rainfall is 1570mm and temperatures range from 25-32C, with humidity reaching upwards of 80%.
The wet brings tropical cyclones, monsoonal rains and magnificent storms. Many locals believe that this is the best time to visit the area, as the land comes alive.
Access to some remote parts of the Top End may be closed due to flooding. However, there are still harbour cruises, ferries, and scenic helicopter flights available. Check road conditions before exploring remote areas or national parks.
Best way to get around
You can get around the Northern Territory via air, bus, car and train. Daily flights operate between Uluru, Alice Springs and Darwin, with some flights operating between regional areas.
The best way to get around the Northern Territory is by car or self driving. This gives you time to make your own itinerary and see things at your own pace. There are some areas in the Northern Territory which require long drives between places.
You can rent a camper-van from places such as Apollo, Britz, Europcar, Hertz and budget.
National Parks to visit
There are so many beautiful national parks in the Northern Territory! Here is a list of some of the best and most popular. To find out more about National Parks and reserves to visit, visit the Northern Territory website.
- Kakadu National Park
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- Nitmiluk National Park
- Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park
- Litchfield National Park
- Judbarra / Gregory National Park,
Things to do
The Northern Territory is full of so many incredible things to do. Nature, hiking, adventure, culture, luxury – the list is endless. There really is something for every traveller. Here are a few of my favourite things to do. However, if you want more information you can visit the Northern Territory website here.
- Darwin: Well known for its food, markets and outdoor activities
- Uluru: Scenic flights, camel rides, field of lights, bush food experience, hiking around Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park
- Crocodile Jumping Cruise
- Scenic flights
- Explore the escarpments and swimming holes of the West MacDonnell Ranges
- Sunset at Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles)
- Cruise down Katherine Gorge at sunrise
- Aboriginal Art at Kakadu National Park
- Swim with croc at Croccove (Cage of Death)
- Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs
- Hike the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon