The wet season in the Northern part of Australia usually starts mid-December and lasts until early-mid April. It is certainly possible to explore this part of the continent during these months, but since many roads can be closed (for instance the Gibb River rd in the Kimberley) and the fact that your holiday can be spoiled by severe rain, flooding and/or cyclones, we do not recommend traveling to the Northern part of the continent during those months. Most rental companies also close shop in Darwin, Broome, Alice Springs and even Perth during these months.
Our advice is to visit the Southern states during this period, where it is usually beautiful summer weather. Below you can find more information about the ‘wet’ and why we don’t advice you to travel in this period.
The decision is yours. We do not claim to be meteorologists, however based on our knowledge, our own experience, as well as feedback we continuously receive from our customers, we strongly suggest to travel outside ‘the Wet’. In the northern part of the continent, ‘the Wet’ annually wreaks havoc by means of severe cyclones and torrential rains, resulting in flooded highways and extreme high humidity.
Because of these unpleasantly muggy conditions, mosquitoes and sandflies are out in force to spoil your holiday fun. Being in the tropics in the wet season is definitely not recommendable, especially not for kids as the hot and humid conditions are a recipe for many sleepless nights. Even if an air-conditioning in the living area of your campervan could cope with this heat and humidity (which it can’t): who could possibly sleep in a campervan with a noisy, rattling aircon going, keeping you and all your fellow travellers in the vicinity of your vehicle wide awake!
It is definitely not all doom and gloom in the wet season up north: there are definitely pockets with beautiful weather and sunny days, but there is still the high humidity which makes you feel like having a shower every 5 minutes. Flooded highways and inundated campgrounds in ‘the Wet’ will definitively throw a spanner in the works if you have a fairly tight travel itinerary. So unless you have unlimited time for your trip, we recommend to stay away from the Northern half of Australia until at least early April.
So what if you still wish to continue with your travel plans, despite the above mentioned warnings? Well, just keep the following info in mind: most unsealed roads to remote locations up north are closed during the Wet. Think of the Gibb River Road, the Bungle Bungles, Jim Jim falls etc. These are no-go zones from mid-December until at least early April. In some years roads were even closed until late April due to extensive damage to the road surface sustained during the floods.
As there aren’t many travellers who start or finish their holidays in Darwin in these months, more and more rental companies close their depots on weekends, and some close altogether during January, February and March. Note that if you do decide to travel up north in the Wet, you will need to discuss your planned itinerary with the depot manager on pickup, and he or she is authorised to restrict you from entering particular areas based on the road conditions at the time.
A good alternative for a trip up North in the Wet, is a holiday with or without 4WD in the area around Perth and in South Australia. The weather in that part of the continent in the months of January – March is usually pleasant with moderate to warm temperatures. Check out our 4WD itineraries for inspiration.