From cosy rainforest retreats to once-in-a-lifetime Great Barrier Reef reef events, epic waterfalls to spectacular outback scenery, this is why you should put the green light on your summer holiday.
With summer comes beautiful warm rains. These typically run from November to March though patterns will vary from year to year. Yes, the sun still peeks out of the clouds and it doesn’t mean non-stop rain – you can squeeze in plenty of sunny beach days during this period. Summer is an important part of the tropical weather cycle and plays a vital role in the revitalisation of the plant and animal life post the dry. The low hanging clouds on the mountains and the vibrant tones of green of the landscape will be enough to inspire your inner Monet.
Waterfalls upon waterfalls
If you’ve ever seen the comparison photos of Barron Falls in the dry compared to after a good dose of summer rain, you’ll understand. If not, prepare yourself for the most epic waterfall hunting of your life. Waterfalls that are usually merely amazing become incredible, streams that are normally a trickle begin to thunder, and waterfalls seem to appear in every crevice of the surrounding mountain ranges. It’s enough to make you want to pack up your life and become a full-time waterfall hunter.
It’s important to always follow the advice from Queensland Parks and never venture into out of bounds zones, flooded waters or dangerous areas to prevent serious injury or death. During the peak rains, many swimming holes are too dangerous to swim in and should only be observed from afar.
Cosy night in the rainforest
Is there anything cosier than spending the night rugged up in a timber treehouse while listening to rain patter down on the canopy? Throw in a glass of wine, potbelly fireplace and spa bath with rainforest views and you’ve got yourself the ultimate cosy trifecta. It may sound like a dream but rest assured these very much exist. Try Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat or Canopy Treehouses as the perfect base to explore the Atherton Tablelands surrounds – remember when you decided you were becoming a full-time waterfall hunter?
A fruity heaven
While this time of year may be nicknamed “Green Season”, the fruits are anything but – tangy pink lychees and sweet yellow mangoes decorate the trees and Rusty’s Markets becomes a stockpile of fresh local produce. Grab a shopping bag or two and weave your way through the stalls stocking up on mangoes that are as cheap per kilo as most supermarkets charge for one. Don’t be surprised if you leave with enough fruit and veg to feed a small village and your belt a notch looser after tasting all the free samples.
It’s a spectacle
Yes, sometimes it does feel like a bucket of water is being poured from the sky but that can be the best bit. People love to talk about the weather – when was the last time you went a day without someone mentioning how hot or cold the weather was? Sometimes the only thing to do is embrace the rain and take a moment to reflect on the remarkable volume of water falling from the clouds. It’s so unforgettable it’ll make it into the repertoire of stories to bore your future grandchildren with about the time you visited the tropics and saw rain heavier than they could ever imagine.
Ask any local what the summer sounds like and they will tell you, rain on a tin roof and croaking frogs (rain stimulates frogs to breed). If you’re a keen wildlife enthusiast, it’s your time of year to spot many of the local inhabitants that usually like to stay hidden. Areas such as the Mutton Hole Wetlands in Normanton flourish with birdlife as food becomes plentiful and birds begin or end their migrations.
Because of an abundance of food, wildlife is especially active over summer including Cassowary dads roam extensively with chicks through this period, taking advantage of the fruit.
Great Barrier Reef finds its mojo
Each year at the end of spring and start of summer, the corals and creatures of the Great Barrier Reef simultaneously release their sperm and eggs in a mass coral spawning event. Don’t let that deter you, it’s absolutely spectacular for diving and snorkelling and your childhood dreams of experiencing what it’s like to be in a snow globe will be fulfilled. November to February is also turtle nesting and hatching season so if you’re lucky you can witness the circle of life of turtles.
If you’re prone to seasickness, October to March generally sees the winterly trade winds drop off and the water temperatures warm up for a more pleasant reef experience. Jumpsuits are in fashion so luckily your full body sunsuit will have you feeling like Black Panther or Mystique while offering protection during the stinger season. The Great Dividing Range tends to draw most of the rain to the coast so often when it’s raining on shore, the sun is shining at the reef.
You’ve seen the typical outback photographs – barron, dry landscape with nothing but ‘roos and red dirt for miles. It’s time to take your perception of the Aussie outback and flip it on its head. The Green Season was a term coined by the outbackers’ because, you guessed it, the sea of green the monsoon paints the landscape. Speckled with contrasting reds, oranges and pinks of native wildflowers, it’s a spectacular time to visit places such as Undara Experience. Here the lava tubes fill up with water and you can witness micro-bats emerge from a tube eagerly awaited by hungry pythons and brown tree snakes.
Due to COVID-19, Undara Experience will not be open over the 20-21 summer. They’ll be open again in March when you can still experience the outback painted green.