The Climate in the Northern Territories

The Climate in the Northern Territories

Things to do in Uluru

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The Climate in the Northern Territories Australia

Australia is a vast country! From the Top End to Tasmania and Broome to Byron Bay the climate varies.  Different parts of Australia experience different seasons from one another.  The country’s major population centers of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth all have quite different climatic conditions too.  Regions with approximately similar climates have been combined to make the following eight climate zones;

  • Climate zone 1 – high humidity summer, warm winter
  • Climate zone 2 – warm humid summer, mild winter
  • Climate zone 3 – hot dry summer, warm winter
  • Climate zone 4 – hot dry summer, cool winter
  • Climate zone 5 – warm temperate
  • Climate zone 6 – mild temperate
  • Climate zone 7 – cool temperate
  • Climate zone 8 – alpine

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The Northern Territory of Australia

Australia’s Northern Territory falls under Climate zone 1 and Climate zone 3 as follows;

  • Zone 1: Northern Australia from Exmouth in WA across to midway between Townsville and Mackay in Queensland.
  • Zone 3: Northern central Australia from Carnarvon on the WA coast, encompassing Newman, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Longreach, Charleville to the Queensland hinterland down to 28 degrees south but not the coast.

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Australia is the driest continent on earth and about 70% of its area is termed arid or semi-arid.  Large volumes of rain are experienced in Northern and Central Australia due to the monsoons as well as the tropical cyclones that originate off the north-west coast.  Most of the arid area constitutes of Western and Central Australia. The climate across these arid parts of Australia is not consistent.

Some of the major population centers of the Northern Territory experience the following climates;

  • Alice Springs – 

Sitting at the base of the McDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs experiences higher average rainfall and slightly lower average temperature than the rest of Central Australia due to the higher altitude.  However, the climate is breezy and warm.  Alice Springs experiences a dry summer and a cool winter.  It gets about 275mm of rain each year during October – March.

  • Darwin – 

Experiences hot humid summer and warm winter.

The climate of Uluru

  • Temperature

Uluru experiences an average annual temperature of 70oF, the average high being 83oF and the average low being 56oF.  Since it is situated near the equator, Uluru stays warm all year round.  The warmer months at Uluru are from November to February during summer.  

  • Humidity

The mean relative humidity for an average year is recorded as 23.7%.  It ranges from 18% in September to 35% in June.  

  • Wind pattern

The usual wind pattern is from south-east to north-east in summer and north-east to south-west in winter.  Most of the wind around Uluru is towards the south and south-east.

  • Precipitation

While Central Australia is a dry place, it certainly does rain there.  Rain is the only form of precipitation and Uluru experiences 5 days of rain all year round.  During the wet season of November – April, the region receives an average rainfall of 308 mm.  Although January – February is the height of summer, monsoon whether dumps heavy afternoon and overnight rain.  March is usually the wettest month.  

  • Fog

Uluru is known to experience incidence of some fog due to rain and cool temperatures.

For more information on the climate of Uluru, please visit the following website;

Northern Territory climate at a glance and tour planning tips

January –  The beginning of the year seas the central deserts are hot and dry, while the Top End is hot and wet.  Many tourism-related businesses and hotels are closed during this time.

February – February is the heart of summer and as such the southern parts of Northern Territory experiences dry desert heat, while up North it is wet and sticky.  Many roads are impassable in the north, especially Arnhem Land.

March – The Top End still remains sodden even when it is not raining.  All but the tarmac roads remain impassable.  

Notes for tourists:  It is better to avoid touring the Northern Territory during January – March.  

April– The regions begin to dry up during April.  Many things remain closed in the north.  This may be a good time to avoid the crowd and yet enjoy the comfortable temperature and some greenery.  March and April are good for fishing Barramundi.  

May – The dry season begins with May and the tourists return to the Northern Territory.  This may be a great time to visit Uluru.

For more information on the best time to visit Uluru, please visit the following website;

(Related Article:- “The Best Time to Visit Uluru”)

May is the transition period between the wet and the dry months.  As such the waterfalls at Kakadu National Park are best enjoyed in May.

June – Winter begins in June.  As winter is characterized by just low temperatures and no frost, many tour operators and hotels reopen after their long wet season closure.  Waterfalls and outback tracks are accessible and accommodation prices are less.  

July – Tours are back and operating and many of the unpaved roads and tracks are reopening after the dry-out period.  

Notes to tourists:  June – July may be the best period to travel in the Northern Territory of Australia.  Many adventurous sports and outdoor activities in the Top End are best enjoyed in winter.

August – This may be a great time to visit the region from Uluru and Kata Tjuta to Kakadu.  However, the southern parts of the region, cool nights and mild to hot daytime temperatures are experienced.

September – This is the last part of the period when travel is comfortable at the Top End.  This is a lovely time in the desert and recommended for travel if you wish to take nice photographs.

October – Rains are expected at any moment in the Top End while the southern parts experience mild temperatures.  Tour operators take last orders.  October is good for Barramundi fishing.

Notes to tourists:  September and October are perfect for bird-watching, as millions of birds flock around the scattered water sources of the Top End.

November – The Northern Territory receives a lot of showers.  Tourist businesses close temporarily during this time.  Much of Arnhem Land becomes inaccessible.  However, this is the season for ‘Stinger’ (jellyfish) season across the coastal Northern Territory.  November is also good for Barramundi fishing.

December – The weather is hot and the region begins to get ready for a summer Christmas.  It is the low season at the Top End and afternoons experience thunderstorms and heavy rains.

For more information on the best time to travel to the Top End, please visit the following website;

Explore Darwin, Northern Territory

Difference between the climate of Southern parts of Australia and the Northern Territory

There are plenty of differences between the climates of North and South Australia.  The tropical Northern Australia experiences a wet season from Christmas to the middle of the year to be followed by a dry season when extremely hot temperatures are on.  The chillier Southern Australia experiences the conventional four seasons.  However, these seasons happen at different times from the Northern Hemisphere, the summer (December to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August) and spring (September to November).

For more information on the best outback places to see, please visit the following website;

Travel to Western Australia