As I was researching for my next trip, I decided to construct an easy to read summary for backpackers, tourists, and working holidays workers planning to spend some time in Australia. Here’s a Guide to when you should visit the Red Center.
Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Uluru, Kata Tjuta & surrounds
“A burnt red conglomeration of desert plains, weathered mountains, rocky gorges and some of Australia’s most sacred sites, the Red Centre epitomises the Australian outback.
One of the most unique landscapes on earth, The Red Centre has fascinated travellers the world over for decades with its famous red earth, captivating rock formations, cultural significance to the aboriginal people, and thriving arts scene in what is a timeless destination littered in otherworldly attractions.
If you’re planning a visit to The Red Centre then you’ll likely be headed to Alice Springs, the spirited cosmopolitan centre situated in outback Australia.
Alice Springs is the second largest town in the Northern Territory, behind only Darwin, with more than 25,000 people calling this isolated wonderland home. Spanning across the typically dry Todd River on the northern side of the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs is surrounded by an arid environment that encompasses several deserts across central Australia.
With a unique pioneering history, remote communities, and a diverse and exhilarating collection of attractions, Alice Springs finds fame in its rich mix of contemporary and traditional arts that is reflective of the various natural wonders in its surrounds.
From the stunning Larapinta Trail to the MacDonnell Ranges and, of course, the unforgettable Uluru or Ayers Rock (nearly 6 hours drive southwest), Alice Springs is within a day trip to some of Australia’s most renowned natural wonders.”
- Summer days can be over 40 degrees Celsius (104F)
- January-wettest month
- Winter nights temperature can fall below 0 degrees Celsius (32F)
- August-September Driest period, Humidity down to 18%
- Autumn (March – May) Temperatures: 12 – 30C (53 – 87F)
- Spring (September – November), Temperatures: 12 – 30C (53 – 87F)
- June-most humid at up to 80%
- April-September most comfortable time
- April Ideal for Finke Gorge National Park to 4WD and camp by Bogey Hole
- August-September best for exploring landscape
“In April you could visit the waterholes along the Western MacDonnell’s; stay at the Casino in Alice Springs for a couple of nights to relax by the pool, and then go camel riding at sunset
May and October included two nights at Uluru, one night at Kings Canyon and four nights at Alice Springs to explore the Eastern and Western MacDonnell’s, accompanied by a camel ride in the sunset to top it all off.”
- Winter: (May-Sept) Ideal time for hiking, camping and exploring the landscape
- November and April: base yourself in Alice Springs, hit up the waterholes at MacDonnell Ranges.
- May-October: Great time to hike. Try the Larapinta Trail thought to be one of the best in the world
Busy Period (June – July)
“With intense heat in summer, freezing cold nights in winter, fluctuating humidity levels throughout the year and the usual biyearly school-holidays to contend with, Central Australia has an understandably volatile intake of visitors from season to season.
The busiest times are generally considered to be throughout the middle of the year, during the month-long school holidays in early winter (late June through to late July).
During this time, temperatures are at their lowest (between 4 – 20C), humidity is at its highest (around 60%) and rain is relatively rare – averaging around 15mm per month – perfect conditions for a tour around Uluru or hike along the Larapinta Trail.”
Quietest Period (February – March)
“From December through early March, The Red Centre is at its quietest during the sweltering heat of its long summer. With average temperatures sitting comfortably above 35C (95F+) and remaining above 20C (70F) throughout the night, there is very little relief from the heat in Central Australia.
Combine this with some the lowest yearly averages in humidity in the months of February and March and the region is exposed to one of the driest summers imaginable, resulting in fewer tourists.
Visiting The Red Centre during the peak of its summer can still be a positive experience, though any activities you choose to partake in will need to be well thought out and carefully prepared for. Lots of water, hats, sunscreen, and a guide are all necessities to explore this arid landscape in relative safety.”
Recommendation (September – October)
“The Red Centre is famous for its burnt red earth, arid landscape, relentless heat, and breathtaking destinations that are more than worthy of any Australian bucket list.
Regularly exposed to an unobstructed sun throughout the day and deprived of any relieving showers for weeks at a time, at its least forgiving, Central Australia can test even the most adaptive traveller.
Come winter, and The Red Centre becomes more accessible than ever. With comfortable temperatures throughout the day, freezing cold nights, and an overwhelming number of natural attractions to explore, winter provides an undeniable opportunity to discover this remarkable part of Australia in relative comfort.
Unfortunately, winter’s benefits are one of the region’s worst kept secrets, with thousands of visitors from all over the world arriving in Central Australia between June and July. During the same period, schools throughout the state begin their month-long holiday, further adding to the influx.
With school holidays ending by early August and both interstate and international visitors beginning to thin out towards the end of August, there is never a better time to explore the region than in the shoulder season of September and October.
Temperatures have begun to climb from August onwards, with previously freezing nights rising to a much more comfortable 10 to 14 degrees Celsius (50 – 58F) in September and October respectively. During the day, temperatures settle at 27 to 31C (80 – 88F) for September and October respectively, while the average rainfall remains at a minimum until early November.
Enjoying the cooler winter averages throughout the day while avoiding any sub-zero temperatures at night makes the shoulder seasons of September and October the perfect time to plan an enjoyable trip to The Red Centre without having to compete with peak season crowds.”
All information obtained through http://www.news.experienceoz.com.au/the-best-times-to-visit-the-northern-territory/ . Go here for a more in-depth look. Happy Travels!