One of the most recognisable outback towns, Alice Springs is located in the heart of the Northern Territory and is a popular destination for travellers exploring the Aussie outback, but when is the absolute best time visit?
If red dirt, postcard-perfect landscapes and friendly locals are all things that appeal to you, then Alice Springs is where you’ll want to be. The second most populated town in the entire Northern Territory, Alice Springs is home to around 25,186 people (as of 2011), and is one of the most popular destinations for both domestic and international travellers alike, drawing in 340,000 domestic travellers from March 2016 to March 2017 and 111,000 international visitors over the same time period.
Surrounded by some of the most beautiful destinations including the West MacDonnell Ranges and being the largest town closest to the iconic Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (though it’s still around 6 hours’ drive away), Alice Springs is a viable destination for road trippers and Outback lovers.
Home to some incredible attractions in the heart of the town which is perfectly suited for both adults and kids, it’s no wonder why Alice Springs is constantly talked about in travel forums, spread by word of mouth, and showcased on social media – it’s just a great place to visit.
However, choosing the right time to visit can be a tough decision to make given the winter months can bring with it extremely cold evenings and the summer months almost unbearable heat and humidity. We’ve asked around and come up with one of the best times to visit Alice Springs, given you don’t mind a few tourists hanging out with you.
September is our top pick, read why here…
A brief summary of this article:
- September is one of the best times to visit Alice Springs
- Average temperatures in September: 10 degrees Celsius min – 27 degrees Celsius max
- Average Rainfall: 2 days average of 9mm
- School Holidays: Begin 22nd of September
- Essential Experiences: Alice Springs Desert Park, Hot Air Ballooning, West MacDonnell National Park, Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor Centre, The Kangaroo Sanctuary
- Events: Desert Song Festival, Alice Springs Pro Tour Tennis International, Red Centre Bird Festival
Why Alice Springs in September?
Though it is one of the most popular times to visit, it’s for a reason. September in Alice Springs draws a nice balance of hot and cold and brings with it a more bearable humidity (18%) to that felt in summer (24%). The weather is perfect for interstate visitors who might not be used to the warmer environment the northern end of the country endures, so the blend of warm days (an average maximum of 27 degrees Celsius) and cooler nights (with an average low of 10 degrees Celsius) is a great way to ease into the outback and get accustomed to its weather slowly.
The weather is perfect for interstate visitors who might not be used to the warmer environment the northern end of the country endures, so the blend of warm days (an average maximum of 27 degrees Celsius) and cooler nights (with an average low of 10 degrees Celsius) is a great way to ease into the outback and get accustomed to its weather slowly.
While the sun is high in the sky making the red dirt as vibrant as ever, September can still play victim to rain but it is nowhere near as frequent as the rain experienced during the months of the wet season, which spans from November to April. Rain, on average, only comes to Alice Springs two days of the month, and brings with it an average of 9-millimetres and a few thunderstorms, however, your plans shouldn’t be thwarted too frequently or for too long.
In terms of sunny days, you’re in for a treat if September is your travel month. With almost a full 12 hours of daylight every day, the sun rises between 6:15 am and 6:45 am and sets from 6:20 pm to 6:40 pm. This means you won’t have to wake up too early or finish your day time activities abruptly to catch the beautiful scenes the sunrise and sunset creates in the outback.
With the weather as beautiful as it is, you’ll want to head outdoors and take in as much of this beautiful region as possible. There are a plethora of things to see and do in the direct Alice Springs region and its surrounds, especially if you love animals.
Some of the stand out animal attractions in the heart of Alice Springs includes the Alice Springs Desert Park, a 13,000 hectare wildlife reserve, home to a handful of Australia’s favourite animals including kangaroos and dingoes, and some more resilient, desert-loving animals, and The Kangaroo Sanctuary, a safe haven for injured kangaroos and wallabies who roam around their paddocks freely.
For those chasing a scenic adventure during their September visit, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take to the skies with an Outback Ballooning hot air balloon ride. Another great experience, though not rising as high as a hot air balloon flight, is a camel ride with Pyndan Camel Tracks to take in the beautiful sites from the back of a camel.
September is also host to a handful of great events that you’ll want to pencil into your calendar. The three stand out events are the Desert Song Festival, Alice Springs Pro Tour Tennis International and Red Centre Bird Festival. The Desert Song Festival is held from the 8th to the 17th of September and it brings with it choirs, singers, musicians and everything else musical from around the country and the world.
The Alice Springs Pro Tour Tennis International is, as the name suggests, a tennis tournament, and is held from the 16th to the 23rd of September. This tournament sees a number of Australian and international professional players take the court to compete. Lastly, the Red Centre Bird Festival is another aptly named festival and will have you learning about local birds and their habits and watch them in action with daily walkabouts.
With the collection of festivals and the commencement of school holidays towards the end of the month from the 22nd of September, the town can get quite busy and accommodation quite full. It’s advised you plan ahead and book your transport (flights or car hire) and accommodation well in advance to avoid spikes in prices as school holidays and the high season gets into full swing.
However, don’t let the thought of crowds and prices throw you off because Alice Springs and its surrounding region is so large that when you combine day trips, attractions and events, there are so many places for these crowds to disappear to.
How long should you stay in Alice Springs?
The length of your stay in Alice Springs purely comes down to personal interest. If you’re eager to get out and explore all of its surrounding regions with a few day trips or self-guided adventures as well as taking it easy and seeing the town at your own leisure then you’d best stay at least a week. This will give you enough time to explore the town, visit the top attractions, explore the nearby West MacDonnell Ranges and more without the clock ticking away at you.
However, if you prefer to cram all of the best sights and sounds into a few days and know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go, then you can get away with three to four days.
One common misconception about Alice Springs is its location and distance to other attractions, so please keep in mind Alice Springs is in the middle of Outback Australia and is around 460-kilometres (approximately 6-hours) drive north of Uluru and around 1,500 kilometres (approximately 16.5-hours) south of the Northern Territory capital, Darwin. If you’re not flying into Alice Springs directly, you’re in for a long and scenic journey by car.
If you’re looking for more things to see and do in Alice Springs, be sure to check out our full catalogue page to browse and book a range of tours, activities and attractions.