Climate, weather, ecology
Central Australia is a land of extremes – from scorching summer days of over 40 degrees to winter nights where temperatures can fall well below zero and frost covers the ground.
It is a boom or bust environment with long dry periods of no rain at all, to spectacular thunderstorms and flash floods in the summer that send frothing torrents along ordinarily dry river beds.
Over winter (May to September) clouds are a rare sight. Warm clothing is essential at this time of the year.
A hat and sunscreen is essential outdoors in summer.
Most locals avoid going outside when it’s really hot and tend to congregate at shopping centres, the pool and the library when they aren't at work.
Visitors to the area should guard against dehydration by drinking lots of water - no matter what the season. The local tap water is safe to drink.
For further information about the climate of Alice Springs and Central Australia see the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website.
The most accurate and up-to-date weather information for Alice Springs and Central Australia is available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website.
The following links provide access to a range of current forecast and historical weather data.
Central Australia has abundant plant and animal life.
The area supports more than 50 species of native mammals (including bats and native mice, kangaroos and euros), numerous reptiles and abundant bird life (over 230 species).
Years with good rainfall produce dense carpets of wildflowers and grasses, swirling flocks of budgies and zebra finches, and surges in numbers of insects and small mammals.
Drier times cause animal populations to decline, occasionally to the point where only a few individuals of a species survive.
The region has been influenced by feral plant and animal species.
Changes to the landscape and ecology have occurred due to the introduction of buffel grass and other weeds, predatory species (cats, dogs and foxes) and competitive herbivores (rabbits, cattle, horses and camels).
For a comprehensive listing of Central Austalian plants, take a look at our online plant database.