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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > Australia > Northern Territory

Northern Territory Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

Hot most of the year; the Top End has two seasons, dry and wet, whilst the Red Centre has the usual four: summer, autumn, winter and spring. Coastal and some inland areas can receive heavy monsoon rain from October to March. The best time to visit is June to August.

Required clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens most of the year. Waterproofing is necessary in the northern areas during the rainy season. A warm sweater or jacket is advised for the centre during winter months, as evenings can be freezing.

Geography

A wilderness stretching roughly 1,670km (1,038 miles) from Darwin and Kakadu in the north to Uluru in the south and 1,000km (620 miles) east to west, the Northern Territory comprises nearly one-sixth of Australia; it is the country's Red Centre that extends for miles.

The northern area is tropical with rich vegetation and a varied coastline. Beyond Darwin, 251km (155 miles) east, is World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, which is part of the 12,600-sq-km (4,500-sq-mile) area of Arnhem Land - an area of vast flood plains and rocky escarpments steeped in natural and cultural heritage. Aboriginal people have lived here for at least 40,000 years. Katherine township is 314km (195 miles) from Darwin and a further 30km (20 miles) northeast is Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park with 13 gorges towering up to 60m (200ft) high.

The southern part of the Northern Territory is centred on the town of Alice Springs, which is almost at the geographical centre of Australia and the starting point of many of the Red Centre's unique and natural wonders, including Uluru (Ayers Rock).