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 TBCNT Muster 2023
March 2023FabAlice Festival – Alice Springs
8-17 April 2022Parrtjima – A Festival in Light
20-22 May 2022Opera at Uluru
25-29 May 2022Dark Skies Festival – Alice Springs
27-28 May 2022Uluru Camel Cup – Yulara
27-29 May 2022 Taste of Kakadu
10-12 JuneBarunga Festival – Katherine
10–13 June 2022Tatts Finke Desert Race
23-26 June 2022Darwin Pride Festival
1-3 July 2022Alice Springs Show
8-17 July 2022Darwin Fringe Festival
July/AugustGarma Festival – Arnhem Land
1 AugustDarwin Cup
20 August 2022Henley on Todd Regatta – Alice Springs
4–21 August 2022Darwin Festival
AugustDesert Harmony Festival – Tennant Creek
2-4 Sep 2022Red Centre Nats – Alice Springs
SeptemberKatherine Bird Festival
9-18 Sep 2022Desert Song Festival – Alice Springs
SeptemberParrtjima: a festival of light – Alice Springs
22 September – 2 OctoberDesert Festival – Alice Springs
30 September – 7 OctoberKakadu Bird Week
Dates correct at time of publication

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.

Public Holidays in Northern Territory 2022-2023

Holiday 20222023
New Year’s Day01 January01 January
Australia Day26 January26 January
Good Friday15 April07 April
Easter Sat.16 April08 April
Easter Mon.18 April10 April
Anzac Day25 April 25 April
May Day 02 May 01 May
Queens Birthday 12 June12 June
Picnic Day01 August01 August
Christmas Eve24 December24 December
Christmas Day25 December 25 December
Boxing Day26 December 26 December
Christmas Day Holiday 27 DecemberN/A

Source: SA Government June 2021

School Holidays in the Northern Territory 2022-2023

Period 20222023
Autumn break:11 April – 18 April07 April – 16 April
Winter break: 27 June – 18 July 24 June – 17 July
Spring break:26 September – 7 October23 September – 08 October
Summer break:16 December – 30 January 202316 December – 29 January 2024
Source:  Correct as of 15 November 2021

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