Speak to any Tropical North Queensland local, and they’ll tell you there are two seasons here in the north – hot and wet. Although our winters only allow for approximately 3 days of jeans-wearing, it’s the summer, specifically the summer rains, that seem to get everyone in a tizz.
We know, we know…. you’ve heard all the tales: torrential buckets of rain from the heavens, kayaking in the streets, and potentially the most horrific of them all – warm beer. Well, we can tell you that there’s only a modicum of truth in those rumours –the rain is welcomed to keep things cool and green (this is the tropics, after all), and kayaking is fun. However, the beer is always, always cold. Don’t believe the monsters that tell you otherwise.
Each year from November to April, the wet season lands in Tropical North Queensland, bringing with it longer, balmier days and (bingo) plenty of rain. Please, for the love of Oprah and all things good in this world, do not let that deter you. Most seasoned locals go about their business almost as if it is not raining, usually not even bothering with umbrellas and raincoats! No one can change the weather, so with true tropical Queensland attitude, it’s best you make the most of your day, and enjoy the rain. Here’s four of our favourite activities to enjoy in the green season.
1. Chase Waterfalls
Like every good teen of the 90s, mention ‘Chasing Waterfalls’ and we immediately bust out a 3-part harmony R&B classic that has very little to do with chasing actual waterfalls in the great outdoors. But it’s a catchy little tune, so we’ll let you still have that.
Head straight to the Atherton Tablelands for a three-in-one deal of waterfall magic – Milla Milla, Zilzie and Ellinjaa Fallls. Keep your eyes peeled for platypus, and your finger firmly on Instagram – this is a photographer’s paradise.
2. Marvel at the Rainforest
We’ll let you in on a little secret… RAINforests need RAIN. The ancient and stunning ecosystems that are the rainforests of the tropics are really quite extraordinary, and truly come alive after a good soaking. The colour spectrum of greens and browns are quite breathtaking, and the creatures that call the rainforest home are like nothing else on the planet.
One-hundred and thirty-five million years in the making, Mossman Gorge is located in the heart of the oldest continuously surviving rainforest in the world. Get your David Attenborough on and take a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk with the local Kuku Yalanji people to explore nature, bush foods, listen to cultural stories and understand the importance of the wet season here in the tropics.
3. Get Your Adventure On
As the wet season picks up, so do the rapids! When it comes to adventure-seeking and adrenaline-chasing, white water rafting is where it’s at! Just south of Cairns is the thunderous Barron River, renowned for its wild rapids, rips and cascading waterfalls. Tee up a hot date between the Barron, the team at Raging Thunder and big yellow floaty thing and take to the water, baby! It’s a helluva spot to see what Mother Nature can really do for fun.
4. How’s The Serenity
For some visitors it is quite the experience just watching HUGE amounts of water fall from the sky in a short period of time. The phrase ‘bucketing down’ was certainly coined here in the tropics! One thing’s for sure, the rain we get up here is nothing like the rainy days down south - it’s not uncommon to have torrential down pouring on the mainland with blue skies on the reef, or flash thunderstorm lasting no more than 30 minutes with the sun coming out not long after. Most rainfall is during the evening making the days cool and fresh. The seas are beautifully calm at this time of year making snorkelling and swimming all that much more fun.
*PS The green season in the tropics is one of the most relaxed times to visit, and often has a more local, slower, authentic feel. It’s also often the best time to pick up super rates and deals on accommodation and activities. We do come with a warning though – please, please think safety first and avoid swimming in any waterholes and waterfalls during or after heavy rainfall.