When to visit Kakadu National Park

A spectacular sunset experienced on the Yellow Waters cruise in Kakadu | Peter Walton
A spectacular sunset experienced on the Yellow Waters cruise in Kakadu | Peter Walton

Not sure when to go to Kakadu? Find information on the region's climate and weather to help you decide the best season to explore one of Australia's biggest and most diverse national parks.

Seasons and Weather Conditions in Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park has varied seasons that can see the terrain experience monsoon rains, storms, humidity and cool weather. With such varied extremes, the park's Aboriginal inhabitants have divided the year into six distinct seasons. 

Mid October - late December: Gunumeleng – Pre-Monsoon Storm Season

Gunumeleng is a pre-monsoon season that can last from a few weeks to a few months. From mid-October to late December, visitors can expect hot weather that becomes more and more humid. With thunderstorms in the afternoons and scattered showers throughout the day, the rain brings life to the landscape and new growth from the plants becomes more widespread.

Sometimes, as the streams begin to run, acidic water rushes down from the floodplains and into the billabongs, decreasing the oxygen levels in the water and causing fish to die. You may begin to notice waterbirds in abundance as new growth becomes more widespread and barramundi begin to migrate from waterholes to the estuaries downstream to breed. 

January - March: Gudjewg – Monsoon Season

Kakadu's true wet season occurs between January and March when the land is drenched with regular thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding. Plant and animal life during these months thrive thanks to the increase in water, heat and humidity. Speargrass in the national park can grow up to two metres tall throughout the woodlands. 

April: Banggereng – Storm Season

Also referred to as "knock 'em down" season, Banggerreng is characterised by early, strong windy storms that roll through and flatten the speargrass that has been thriving between January and March. From mid-April, rain clouds disperse and with it, the vast expanses of floodwater and streams begin to run clear. With clear skies and sunny days, this is a time when plants begin to fruit and animals care for their young.

May - Mid June: Yegge – Cooler but still Humid Season

While the southern states of Australia shiver through winter, Yegge in Kakadu is relatively cool with low humidity. During this time, waterlilies carpet billabongs and shallow wetlands, providing picture-perfect scenes in areas such as the Yellow Water Billabong.

Spend your mornings gazing over the misty plains and waterholes in the early hours, or your afternoons admiring the flowering woolly butt flowers in bloom. 

Mid-June - Mid-August: Wurrgeng – Cold Weather Season

The 'coldest' months in Kakadu are not considered cold by any stretch of the imagination, as daytime temperatures hover around 30°C and evenings dip to 17°C. This is prime walking season in Kakadu or on the Jatbula Trail, thanks to its clear blue skies, sunny days and manageable temperatures. You're more likely to see an abundance of waterbirds around billabongs, as the waterholes begin to drink after months of no rain. 

Mid-August - Mid-October: Gurrung – Hot Dry Weather

Typically hot and dry, the early spring months are pleasant and can offer travellers a chance to see wildlife, such as long-necked turtles laying their eggs on some of Kakadu's sandy beaches.

Towards mid-October, temperatures build alongside the thunderclouds, signalling the approaching pre-monsoon season.

Temperatures in Kakadu National Park

The following charts provide an indication of rainfall, temperatures and humidity within the Kakadu region. Data for the charts were sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin.

Temperature Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Mean maximum temperature (°C) 33.6 33.3 33.7 34.5 33.6 31.8 32 33.8 36.3 37.6 36.9 35 34.3
Mean minimum temperature (°C) 24.7 24.5 24.4 23.6 21.9 19.4 18.7 19.1 21.6 23.9 25 24.9 22.6

Sunny Days vs Cloud Coverage in Kakadu

Other daily elements Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Mean daily sunshine (hours) 6.4 6.6 6.1 8.6 9.3 9.4 9.7 10 9.4 9.4 8.4 7.3 8.4
Mean number of clear days 0.3 1.2 1.5 3.2 7.9 9.9 10.8 15 11.1 5.4 1.2 0.2 67.7
Mean number of cloudy days 13.8 12.8 11.7 5.5 2.9 1.8 2.1 1.8 1.8 3.4 8.8 12.5 78.9

Rainfall in Kakadu 

The best time to visit Kakadu National Park is in the winter season, where the rainfall is minimal. Summer is known for the 'West Season' with afternoon showers cooling the hot temperature down to the early thirties.

Rainfall Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Mean rainfall (mm) 357.3 359.0 313.1 89.1 16.0 1 3.2 2.6 12.0 39.6 139.9 225.6 1564.9
Mean number of days of rain ≥ 1 mm 18.6 18 17.5 6 1.6 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.5 2.6 9.4 13.6 88.4

While the above information indicates average temperature, rainfall and other weather factors, we recommend visiting the Bureau of Meteorology for up-to-date weather information before your visit to Kakadu.

Australia, National Parks, Kakadu, Top End, Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park, Seasons, Climate, Weather, When to go

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