Average global temperatures and frequencies of heat waves are increasing with detrimental effects on health and wellbeing. This study presents a case study from two cities in the Northern Territory with the aim of exploring if and how people make deliberate adaptations to cope with increasing heat. Results show that 37% of all respondents made adjustments, with the most common being increased use of air-conditioning (65% of those responding to heat), followed by staying inside more often (22%) and passive cooling through modifications of house and garden (17%). Young people increasingly refrain from outside activities as temperatures increase. We also found that adaptive capacity was a function of education, long-term residency, home ownership and people's self-rated wellbeing. Homeowners were more likely to adjust their living environment to the heat and renters less so. Being a property owner was commonly associated with the installation of solar panels to pay for high energy bills needed to run air-conditioning. Those who had solar panels at home were about ten times more likely to use air-conditioning more frequently in response to increasing heat. Our results confirm a growing dependence on artificially controlled environments to cope with heat in cities.