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The Territory Collection logo
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Call the Territory Experts: 1300 550 144

The Territory Guide

Introduction

The Northern Territory encompasses approximately 1.3 million square kilometres and yet has a population of only 230,000 people. The ‘NT’ is considered Australia’s real outback and is renowned for its colourful characters and unique aboriginal culture. The NT is also home to world heritage listed sights such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Kings Canyon and, approximately 2000km further north, Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) and Kakadu National Park. The Northern Territory divides into two distinct climate zones – tropical and desert. The northern region, including Darwin, is tropical with two seasons. The wet season (November to April) being very humid and the dry season (May to October). The Central region, known as ‘The Red Centre’ including Uluru/Ayers Rock and Alice Springs, is semi-arid with little rain which usually falling during the hottest months between November and March.

Driving Distances

Darwin97253318989149619701958
97Litchfield282236908141618901878
253282Jabiru304975148319571945
318236304Katherine675118316571645
989908975675Tennant Creek509983971
1496141614831183509Alice Springs475463
1970189019571657983475Kings Canyon321
1958187819451645971463321Uluru / Ayers Rock

The Top End

More than 50 nationalities make up Darwin’s population of approximately 100,000 people.

The Asian inspired cultural and culinary benefits of such a melting pot are on offer at Darwin’s weekly markets, its variety of restaurants and through the city’s annual calendar of festivals and events.

Darwin is also the gateway to the iconic National Parks of Kakadu, Litchfield and Nitmiluk, as well as the tropical Tiwi islands. The Top End offers a friendly layback approach which will inspire all travellers to the region.

Sail from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands and their unique indigenous artists, take a dip under a waterfall in Litchfield National Park, cruise down the majestic Nitmiluk Gorge, explore the natural wonders of Kakadu or take a cultural tour of Arnhem land, the Top End has an experience to entice every traveller to the region.

BEST TIME TO GO

Boasting warm weather all year around, The Top End which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu, Mary River and Arnhem Land, has a tropical climate, and has two distinct seasons, the ‘Dry’ and the ‘Wet’.

May until October, the ‘dry’, will enable travellers to experience all the Top End has on offer. Roads to Kakadu, Lichfield and Katherine are all sealed so travel to these regions is available all year around, although the warm, dry sunny days of the dry’ will make travel more comfortable. It is worth noting that travel to the Top End is extremely busy during July school holidays and the Darwin Cup Carnival.

CLIMATE

Dry Season – This season offers warm, dry sunny days and cool nights and is the most popular time to visit the Top End region. The ‘dry’ runs from May until October.

Wet Season – The Wet season period runs from November until April and has increased humidity followed by monsoonal rains and storms. Travel to some parts can be restricted due to these conditions but the ‘Wet’ is also a wonderful time to see gushing waterfalls, incredible natural light shows and the landscape a lush green hue.

TEMPERATURE CHART

Darwin
MonthsMaxMin
Jun to Aug31°C19°C
Sep to Nov33°C24°C
Dec to Feb32°C25°C
Mar to May32°C23°C

The Red Centre

The Red Centre is where you will find Uluru (formally known as Ayers Rock), Australia’s most recognisable natural icon. Standing 348 metres high, it is located 440kms south west of Alice Springs in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. 40km to the west of Uluru is Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas. Kata Tjuta is a monolith of rock domes that dates back some 500 million years.

Alice Springs has a unique pioneering history and is famous for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. A wealth of touring experiences are available from Alice Springs including the ancient MacDonnell Ranges, Palm Valley, Hermannsburg, an Aboriginal community and renowned for its Aboriginal art collection, the spectacular Glen Helen Gorge and Kings Canyon some 330kms south-west of Alice Springs.

BEST TIME TO GO

‘The Red Centre’ including Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Tennant Creek, has a semi-arid climate.

Winters offer the most pleasant conditions, with the average daytime temperature in the low 20s (ºC) in June and July. April and May are also regarded as ideal times to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), as temperatures are nice and warm and there is little chance of rain. September to November has many of the desert plants bloom and the wildlife is more active during this time of the year and can also be considered a good time to visit.

CLIMATE

The area experiences Australia’s four typical seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring, with large variations in temperature from season to season. The temperatures in Central Australia can be extreme: temperatures can drop below 0ºC overnight in winter, and rise above 40ºC in summer (Dec to Feb). What little rain that does fall will usually be during the hottest months from November to March and usually in the form of sporadic, powerful thunderstorms.

TEMPERATURE CHART

Uluru / Ayers Rock
MonthsMaxMin
Jun to Aug20°C5°C
Sep to Nov32°C14°C
Dec to Feb37°C20°C
Mar to May28°C12°C

(Click on the map to enlarge)

Territory Calendar of Events

The Northern Territory has a vast array of events occurring mainly in the dry season months of April to October. Please note dates for some events and festivals may change. For up to date information please call our office.

Alice Springs Cup Carnival
Alice Springs
13 Apr to 6 May

Finke Desert Race
Alice Springs
7 to 10 Jun

V8 Supercars Championship
Darwin
14 to 16 Jun

Darwin Fringe Festival
Darwin
5 to 14 Jul

Darwin Cup Carnival
Darwin
6 Jul to 5 Aug

Alice Springs Camel Cup
Alice Springs
13 Jul

Royal Darwin Show
Darwin
25 to 27 Jul

Harts Range Rodeo
Alice Springs
2 to 5 Aug

Darwin Cup Day
Darwin
5 Aug

Darwin Festival
Darwin
8 to 25 Aug

Henley-on-Todd Regatta
Alice Springs
17 Aug

Red Centre Nats
Alice Springs
30 Aug to 1 Sep

Alice Desert Festival
Alice Springs
30 Aug to 13 Oct

Australian School Holidays 2020

ACT & NSW
10 to 26 Apr
4 to 19 Jul
26 Sep to 11 Oct
19 Dec to 2 Feb (ACT)
19 Dec to 25 Jan (NSW)

NT
14 to 17 Apr
29 Jun to 27 Jul
28 Sep to 9 Oct
21 Dec to 29 Jan

QLD
4 to 19 Apr
27 Jun to 12 Jul
20 Sep to 5 Oct
12 Dec to 25 Jan

SA & TAS
10 to 26 Apr
4 to 19 Jul
26 Sep to 11 Oct
12 Dec to 31 Jan (SA)
18 Dec to 2 Feb (TAS)

VIC
28 Mar to 13 Apr
27 Jun to 12 Jul
19 Sep to 4 Oct
19 Dec to 26 Jan

WA
10 to 27 Apr
4 to 19 Jul
26 Sep to 11 Oct
18 Dec to 29 Jan