The Northern Territory has been known to get a pretty bad wrap at times. However, the tongue-in-cheek humour of the locals and amazing sites are well worth a visit.
Controversial tourism ads aside, one of the main reasons people have bad holiday experiences in the NT is because they don’t do their research. As a state swamped with extreme weather conditions and some of the deadliest animals in Australia, it’s strongly advised that some basic planning goes into your caravanning holiday.
We’ve put together a quick list of considerations to think about before heading there.
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The top end
The top end of the NT hosts a tropical climate and includes Darwin, Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Simply put, it’s hot! But has two different seasons, the wet season and the dry.
The wet season is humid! Due to often monsoonal rains, humidity can reach up to 80%. The wet season spans from November to April and temperatures typically range from 25-33 degrees Celsius.
The extreme weather experienced during the wet season can cut access to roads and destinations, making travel a bit of a slug. There is also the risk of getting stuck in a monsoon in your caravan, or getting bogged – scary and inconvenient!
If you’re going to brave the wet season, we would recommend having a top-notch weather app constantly at your disposal. The wet season can be a truly beautiful time to explore the top end, with the lush greenery of the tropics coming to life. However, swimming is often restricted between October and May as this is when box jellyfish are in their highest numbers.
If you’re a planner and like to map out your trip rather than travel on a whim, the wet season could be a great experience for you. We wouldn’t recommend the trip to anyone who wasn’t accustomed to hot weather and didn’t have a caravan or RV with aircon. Just be mindful that some areas of the top end may be inaccessible at this time of year.
Humidity is much lower during the dry season, so if your hair is subject to constant frizz, perhaps this is the time for you! The dry season lasts from May until October and typically involves hot, sunny days and cooler nights. Temperatures range from 21-32 degrees Celsius, and the humidity is much lower, at about 60-65%.
If you’re a water baby and looking for adventure, the best time to head to the top end is during the dry season. The beaches are reopened to swimmers and kayaking is safer as the jellyfish population dwindles. But always be sure to check with locals for croc sightings – you can never be too safe!
Also be prepared to book ahead. The dry season is the most popular with tourists, and caravan parks will book up quickly, particularly around the major cities.
All things considered, there is less risk involved in travelling to the top end of the NT during the dry season. Even the shoulder seasons can be beautiful, however, and there is always exploration involved! Be sure to make decisions taking the weather and the nature of your caravan or RV into consideration, and watch out for those crocs!