WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT the Northern Territory?
If you are trying to decide when is the best time to visit the Northern Territory the main thing to consider is the weather and your tolerance of it! Along with being more comfortable, most of the best festivals are held to coincide with the best weather.
There are pros and cons to each time of year and in an ideal world, you would get to experience both. Having braved a wet season in Kakadu and Litchfield I can highly recommend it – so lush and green. The trade-off is that many roads are closed so it’s not great for four-wheel driving – but by air, you are in for a treat.
Weather in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory has two climate zones. The Top End, taking in Darwin and down to Katherine, is tropical. Below this, the climate is semi-arid.
The Top End
There are just two seasons in the Top End, the wet and the dry. The thing most people find uncomfortable about travelling here is the humidity. In the wet season, which can be as high as 85%. Heavy rain is not uncommon, and January is the wettest month of the year. I visited in March as the wet was coming to an end, and it was fantastic, still crazy humid but so green with lots of action in the waterfalls and plenty of life in the place. Some parts of Kakadu were flooded, and we could not visit, but it didn’t cause any real issues.
Most events are held in the dry season, which adds to its popularity with visitors. Humidity drops down to 20-30%, rain all but disappears, and the temperature drops slightly. Most people prefer to visit in the dry so prices can be higher.
The Red Centre
There are four seasons in the centre with winter nights getting quite cold, something that catches some travellers by surprise. Summer brings very little rain and some uncomfortably high midday temperatures, this can reduce the time you have to walk each day, and early starts are the best idea.
Northern Territory Festivals and Events
When you are looking at the best time to visit the Northern Territory it’s well worth trying to include some of these unique NT events if you can.
This information may be subject to change according to current health orders, so it’s a good idea to double-check specifics before you make any plans. Updates will be added as details are released.
|March TBC||NT Muster 2023|
|March 2023||FabAlice Festival – Alice Springs|
|8-17 April 2022||Parrtjima – A Festival in Light|
|20-22 May 2022||Opera at Uluru|
|25-29 May 2022||Dark Skies Festival – Alice Springs|
|27-28 May 2022||Uluru Camel Cup – Yulara|
|27-29 May 2022||Taste of Kakadu|
|10-12 June||Barunga Festival – Katherine|
|10–13 June 2022||Tatts Finke Desert Race|
|23-26 June 2022||Darwin Pride Festival|
|1-3 July 2022||Alice Springs Show|
|8-17 July 2022||Darwin Fringe Festival|
|July/August||Garma Festival – Arnhem Land|
|1 August||Darwin Cup|
|20 August 2022||Henley on Todd Regatta – Alice Springs|
|4–21 August 2022||Darwin Festival|
|August||Desert Harmony Festival – Tennant Creek|
|2-4 Sep 2022||Red Centre Nats – Alice Springs|
|September||Katherine Bird Festival|
|9-18 Sep 2022||Desert Song Festival – Alice Springs|
|September||Parrtjima: a festival of light – Alice Springs|
|22 September – 2 October||Desert Festival – Alice Springs|
|30 September – 7 October||Kakadu Bird Week|
Northern Territory School and Public Holidays
School holidays see prices go up and availability reduce. If you don’t need to be travelling at this time, you can save quite a bit by avoiding it.