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The Outback Travel Guide

When to Go to the Outback

May through September (Australia's winter) are the best months to visit the Red Centre and the Top End; nights are crisp and cold and days are pleasantly warm. Summer temperatures in the Centre—which can rise above 43°C (110°F)—are oppressive, while the wet season (December–April) means that Darwin and surroundings are hot, humid, and, well, wet. In the Kimberley May–November is the preferred season, with usually clear skies and balmy days and nights.

In the Top End the year is divided into the wet season (the Wet; December–April) and the dry season (the Dry; May–November). The Dry is a period of idyllic weather with warm days and cool nights, while the Wet brings monsoonal storms that dump an average of 52 inches of rain in a few months and result in widespread road closures. You can also catch spectacular electrical storms, particularly over the ocean. The "Build Up," in October, is the Top End’s most oppressive weather period and should be avoided. The Kimberley has a similar wet season; however, the rainfall is less and generally comes in short, heavy storms. Cyclones also occur during this period and can disrupt travel arrangements.

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