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Weather & seasons

Here in the Northern Territory we have two distinct climate zones: the tropical Top End, which has two seasons, and semi-arid Central Australia, which has four.

Weather in Darwin and the Top End

Imagine having sunshine and blue skies for most of the year.

Darwin and the Top End (which includes the Katherine, Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land regions), doesn’t have a traditional summer, autumn, winter and spring like the rest of Australia. Here the climate is tropical and the seasons are broken up into two distinct season - the 'Wet' and the 'Dry'.

Wet season

The wet season is from November to April. It is characterised by higher humidity, monsoonal rains and tropical storms. Temperatures typically range from 25C (77F) overnight to 33C (91F) during the day. Humidity can reach more than 80%.

With heavy rains, some roads can become flooded at this time of year, and there can be a risk of cyclones. But don't let this deter you.

This is the perfect time to take a helicopter or light plane flight over Kakadu to see thundering waterfalls, stone country and magnificent escarpments with lush foliage clean after the rains.

See the landscape come to life as refreshing rains cool things down and plants flourish with iridescent greens,  see sunsets put on spectacular shows as the light catches the clouds and sorbet oranges, pinks and reds stretch across the sky.

Magnificent storms roll across the ocean every afternoon and lightening dances through the clouds as thunder rolls. It's not hard to see why many locals say the 'Wet season' is actually their favourite season - embrace our 'Tropical Summer'.

Dry season

If you like the sound of clear blue skies, warm days and cool nights - the Top End’s ‘Dry season’ is for you. That’s between May and October.

While southern Australia are wearing jumpers and freezing through winter, the dry season in Darwin and the Top End enjoys relaxed balmy warm sunny days and cool nights.

The average temperature ranges from about 21C (70F) overnight, up to 33C (90F) during the day. It can get down to 16C on really cool nights in June and July. Humidity levels are much lower in the dry season: around 60–65%.

Darwin and the Top End are bustling in the dry season, with a packed calendar of events and festivals drawing visitors from near and far to make the most of the balmy outdoor celebrations.

Weather in Alice Springs, and Central Australia

This region includes Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, the Barkly Tablelands and Uluru/Kata-Tjuta, and it has a has a semi-arid climate.

Different to the Top End Central Australia does have Australia’s four typical seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring.

Many visitors don’t believe it (or pack for it), but Australia's Red Centre is prone to extreme weather with hot summers and cold winters —sometimes to sub-zero temperatures. 

Summer: (December - February). Average temperatures range between 20C (68F) and 35C (95F). January is the wettest month with around 40mm of rainfall, however the climate is considered dry and arid for most of the year.

Autumn: (March - May). Is considered one of the best times to visit Alice Springs with warm days and cool nights. Average temperatures range from 12 - 27°C (53.6 - 80.6°F).

Winter: (June–August). The average temperature range is 3–20C (37–68F). Temperatures can drop below 0C (32F) overnight in winter, sometimes leaving a thick frost on the ground like a carpet of snow. 

Spring: (September - November). Spring starts to defrost and warm things up again with average temperatures between 13.8 - 30.6°C (56.8 - 87°F). Spring can also bring spectacular thunderstorms and cool evenings.

Make sure you check the weather before you visit Central Australia so you’re equipped for extremes.

More information

See the following links for further information including current forecasts and temperatures.