The aridity of the Centre results in seasonal extremes of temperature. In the midwinter months of July and August the weather is lovely and the light clear, although freezing nights, especially around Uluru, are not uncommon. In December and January the temperature can reach 40°C by 10am and not drop below 30°C all night. The transitional seasons of autumn (April–June) and spring (Sept & Oct) are the best times to explore the region in comfort, although in spring there’s the chance of rain. Although you may encounter floods and road closures, rain can transform the desert into a green garden with sprouting wildflowers, though generally it’s the midsummer storms that bring the most rain.

Out here a wide-brimmed hat is not so much a fashion accessory as a lifesaver, keeping your head and face in permanent shadow. A head net is also highly advisable – the flies can be maddening during the day, especially at Uluru. All walks require a water bottle and lashings of sun block. Australia’s venomous (but rarely seen) snakes, rocky paths and the prickly spinifex grass that covers a fifth of the continent, make a pair of covered shoes or boots essential too.

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