Locals love Darwin’s wet season for its lack of crowds, excellent fishing and enhanced natural splendour. It’s hot, sure, but if you can get past that you’re in for a real treat. Here are five of the best things you’ll only see during the city’s tropical summer.
1. Magnificent storms
Darwin is the storm capital of Australia, clocking more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country. The first few months of the wet season - from October to December - are known as the build-up, thanks to climbing temperatures and rising humidity. These conditions create regular afternoon storms, legendary for both the speed with which they move and the spectacular light shows they put on. Do as the locals do and pull up a seat at one of the cafes along the waterfront, watching the dark clouds roll in and the sky light up. It’s one of Mother Nature’s best free shows.
2. Australia’s most colourful grasshopper
It might seem strange to have a creepy crawly on the list but it’s not every day you see an animal with colours this vivid. Leichhardt’s grasshoppers turn bright red, blue and orange once they reach maturity; something that happens at the start of wet season every year. The timing of their maturity coincides with peak storm season in the region, a phenomenon which led the Jawoyn and Gundjeibmi people of Western Arnhem Land call the grasshoppers Alyurr, children of the lightning man Namarrgon. You can see them in all their technicolour glory at a number of sites in Kakadu National Park.
3. Multi-hued sunsets
While dry season sunsets are also pretty, sunsets during the wet are spectacular thanks to the colour catching ability of clouds. Expect oranges, reds and pinks to stretch across the sky and intensify as the sun sinks lower into the ocean. Some of the best spots to take in the show are the Darwin Ski Club, Mindil Beach and Stokes Hill Wharf.
4. Thundering waterfalls
Heavy rains mean the waterfalls in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks are at their most impressive during the wet season, particularly from December onwards. One of the best ways to see them and get an appreciation for their size and power is by stepping aboard a scenic flight. Wildlife is also in abundance during the wet, meaning you’re much more likely to see a croc and an array of birdlife, with one third of Australia’s species found in Kakadu alone.
was great to visit family and catch up with friends but i'm glad to be back in the #nt , and this weather!🙌 can't wait for the camping season! 😄 . . . . . . . . . . #kakadunationalpark #kakadu #kakaduwaterfalls #cuinthent #tourismtopend #dothent #northernterritory #ausnzlandscape #waterfallmagic #getoutside #radgirlslife #mycanon #ausoutbacknt #topendtourism #neverstopexploring #dokakadu
5. Biting barramundi
Keen anglers flock to Darwin’s estuaries throughout the wet season to hook themselves one of the Territory’s most coveted fish: barramundi. Barra start breeding in October every year, venturing out of their winter habitats and congregating in large groups. Higher water levels mean they also move more freely throughout inland waterways, providing plenty of opportunities for a catch. Given the average length of a NT barra is between 0.6 and 1.2 metres, it’s safe to say a catch justifies both an impressive feast and long term bragging rights.