The average maximum temperature in Kakadu is 34°C, year-round. The Dry season is roughly April to September, and the Wet, when most of Kakadu’s average rainfall of 130mm falls, is from October to March. The transition from Dry to Wet transforms the landscape. As wetlands and waterfalls swell, unsealed roads become impassable, cutting off some highlights like Jim Jim Falls.
Local Aboriginal people recognise six seasons in the annual cycle:
Gunumeleng (October to December) The build-up to the Wet. Humidity increases, the temperature rises to 35°C or more and mosquitoes reach near-plague proportions. By November the thunderstorms have started, billabongs are replenished, and water birds and fish disperse.
Gudjewg (January to March) The Wet proper continues, with violent thunderstorms, and flora and fauna thriving in the hot, moist conditions.
Banggereng (April) Storms (known as ‘knock ‘em down’ storms) flatten the spear grass, which during the course of the Wet has shot up to 2m high.
Yegge (May to June) The season of mists, when the air starts to dry out. The wetlands and waterfalls still have a lot of water and most of the tracks are open.
Wurrgeng (June to mid-August) The most comfortable time, weather-wise, is the late Dry, beginning in July. This is when wildlife, especially birds, gather in large numbers around shrinking billabongs, and when most tourists visit.
Gurrung (mid-August to September) The end of the Dry and the beginning of another cycle.