I’m sometimes asked about travel to the Outback in summer. The Australian summer is December to February. I don’t normally go Outback between mid-November and mid-March, because it’s just too hot.
Here are some average daily maximum temperatures for the month of January:
White Cliffs 35.8°C
Alice Springs 36.4°C
These are averages, which means that about half the days in January will be hotter than the average. Bearing in mind that 100°F is equivalent to 37.8°C, it’s interesting to note that both Marree and Oodnadatta have about half the days in January above 100°F! Oodnadatta’s hottest day so far this month (December) reached 44.9°C, which is 112.8°F.
Of course the vehicle we travel in is air-conditioned, but you don’t spend 24 hours a day in the vehicle. Doing pretty much anything in the open with the temperature in the forties can be quite uncomfortable, and in the extreme situation literally fatal. People sometimes are not aware that prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause dehydration and death. It happens!
Other factors to be taken into account include:
• Camp fires are not as enjoyable when it’s hot.
• Snakes are more active in the summer. (So are flies.)
• High temperatures put more stress on the vehicle, and make breakdown more likely.
• Other travellers are few and far between, so getting help in the event of a breakdown
can be much more difficult.
Do you need any more persuasion?