When is the best time to visit Kakadu National Park?
What is considered to be the best time to visit Kakadu National Park largely depends on what kind of holiday you want to have and what particular things you want to see or do during it. The various landscapes in the park can be dependent on the time of year you're travelling in with two distinct seasons recognisable to non-Aboriginal Australians; the wet season and the dry. If you can't handle the heat then the dry season is your best option (although this region of the Northern Territory never really gets cold) but if you fancy the idea of roaming the park with less chance of bumping into a crowd of other travellers than planning your trip during the wet season is the way to go. To ensure you have all the information before your trip starts, we've put together a guide on what you can expect from Kakadu National Park throughout the year.
Summer in Kakadu
Best for: marveling at waterfalls, animal spotting, and storm watching
The months of December, January, and February fall into what Non-Aboriginal Australians deem the 'wet' season with average maximum temperatures sitting around the 34°C mark so expect it to be hot and humid. During the summer months, Kakadu National Park is expected to receive around 1.5m of rainfall with frequent lightning and thunderstorms but don't let this deter you because there are still plenty of things you can do from gazing at gushing waterfalls to spotting native animals out and about enjoying the vivid and lush landscapes. Unfortunately, popular attractions such as Jim Jim Falls and Gunlom do close during the wet season for fear of flooding so keep that in mind when planning out your trip.
Autumn in Kakadu
Best for: scenic flights, hiking, and fishing
The start of Autumn (March) still falls under the 'wet' season so if you're travelling in this month then expect rainy days, warm temperatures, and high humidity. The rest of this season is fairly predictable weather-wise as the 'dry' season gets closer. If you don't enjoy the big crowds that peak season brings but want to avoid as much rain as possible then April and May are both pretty good months to travel to Kakadu National Park. As the landscapes will be just as bright and colourful as they are during the summer months, Autumn is an excellent time to take a scenic flight over the park. Other popular activities in autumn include fishing and hiking as the weather remains dry enough for you to enjoy your time in the great outdoors.
Winter in Kakadu
Best for: swim in Jim Jim Falls, visit Ubirr and other culturally significant sites, croc spotting
The winter months or the 'dry' season in Kakadu National Park is considered to be the peak time to visit as the weather is great with no rainfall and relatively low humidity levels. While the temperature can still climb to as high as 32°C, attractions such as Jim Jim Falls and other natural swimming holes reopen, allowing you to cool down surrounded by the peace and quiet of Mother Nature. However, because it is considered to be the busy season, prepare to share fascinating landmarks, popular hiking trails, and other significant sites such as Ubirr, with crowds of other travellers doing the same thing.
Spring in Kakadu
Best for: camping, animal spotting, hiking, and exploring waterfalls
Spring is considered to be an 'in-between' season due to the weather patterns not really fitting into the 'wet' or 'dry' categories but this makes spring a relatively good time to travel to the park. As peak season has passed, accommodation and tour prices are lowered meaning you can enjoy a lot more for a lot less. Activities such as animal spotting are super popular during this season as the billabongs are drier, causing animals to congregate together at permanent watering holes. Camping and picnic spots are also relatively tourist-free so you can enjoy the great outdoors without too many people interrupting. However, you should be mindful that towards the end of the season (November) rainfall is expected to pick up and this could force some natural attractions to close early. You should also be prepared for humidity levels to rise come October.