Time your visit perfectly – learn about the 6 seasons of Kakadu
Based on thousands of years of knowledge and their close connection to the land, Aboriginal people recognise 6 different seasons of Kakadu.
This differs from general thoughts that there are only 2 seasons – ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ in the Top End of Australia.
- The ‘dry’ season (November to April) is when most of Kakadu is accessible.
- The ‘wet’ season ( November to April) is subject to flooding and many parts of Kakadu can’t be accessed at this time of the year.
When to visit Kakadu
Any time is a good time to see Kakadu National Park.
Each of the 6 seasons of Kakadu will provide you with different experiences. Consider avoiding the busy ‘dry’ season and visit Kakadu when the flood plains are full of water, birds are plentiful and the wildlife are fat and well-fed.
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The 6 seasons of Kakadu
There are subtle variations that signal the transition from one season to another — changes in the weather, which plants are in flower, and which bush foods are abundant. This knowledge of nature is fundamental to the culture of Kakadu and its people.
The Bininj/Mungguy people have lived with the changing landscape for tens of thousands of years, adapting and using the land for food, shelter and general well-being.
Each of the 6 seasons is different and with this understanding, choose to visit in the season that suits you best.
Gudjewg – Monsoon season
December to March 24°C – 34°C
This is the ‘true’ tropical summer – thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding.
The heat and humidity generate an explosion of plant and animal life. Spear grass grows to over two metres tall and creates a silvery-green hue throughout the woodlands. Magpie geese nest in the sedgelands. Eggs and stranded animals are a good bush food source for local Aboriginal people during this time.
Banggerreng – Storm season
April 23°C – 34°C
The rain clouds have dispersed and clear skies prevail. The vast expanses of floodwater recede and streams start to run clear.
Most plants are fruiting and animals are caring for their young. Violent, windy storms early in this season flatten the spear grass – they are called ‘knock ‘em down’ storms.
Yegge – Cooler but still humid season
May to mid-June 21°C – 33°C
This is a relatively cool time with low humidity. Early morning mists hang low over the plains and waterholes. The shallow wetlands and billabongs are carpeted with water lilies.
Drying winds and flowering Darwin woolly-butt tell local Aboriginal people that it’s time to start burning the woodlands in patches to ‘clean the country’ and encourage new growth for grazing animals.
Wurrgeng – Cold weather season
Mid-June to mid-August 17°C – 32°C – This is the ‘cold weather’ time. Humidity is low, daytime temperatures are around 30°C and at night temperatures are around 17°C.
Most creeks stop flowing and the floodplains quickly dry out. Burning continues, extinguished by the dew at night. By day, birds of prey patrol the fire lines as insects and small animals try to escape the flames. Magpie geese, fat and heavy after weeks of abundant food, and a myriad of other waterbirds crowd onto the shrinking billabongs.
Gurrung – Hot dry weather
Mid-August to mid-October 23°C – 37°C
Gurrung is hot and dry. It is still ‘goose time’ but also time for local Aboriginal people to hunt file snakes and long-necked turtles.
Sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of Field Island and West Alligator Head and the goannas often rob their nests. White-breasted wood swallows arrive as thunderclouds build, signalling the return of Gunumeleng.
Gunumeleng – Pre-monsoon storm season
Mid-October to late December 24°C – 37°C
Gunumeleng can last from a few weeks to several months. It is the pre-monsoon season, with hot weather that becomes more and more humid. Thunderstorms build in the afternoons and showers bring green to the dry land.
Waterbirds spread out as surface water and new growth become more widespread. Barramundi move from the waterholes downstream to the estuaries to breed.
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Download these apps before you go
For those times when you find yourself on a remote adventure with limited phone reception and no WiFI you’ll be grateful you downloaded our visitor guide app and our bird app. Both will will work while you’re offline.
Kakadu Visitors Guide: The Visit Kakadu app is a visitor guide in your pocket, complete with maps, contact numbers, things to do, where to stay and all the other information you’ll need.
Kakadu Birds App: Discover the many bird species throughout the park. Meet around 50 of our favourite birds with pictures, bird calls and notes on where to see them.
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Each of the 6 seasons of Kakadu will provide you with a different experience.