Story By Mark Muller
Traditional wisdom holds that the best time in the Top End is the dry season, when humidity is low, temperatures are moderate and access to most places is easy. Indeed traditional wisdom holds that there are only two seasons – the dry (roughly May to October) and the wet (November to April). If you want to cast further back in time for your notion of what constitutes traditional wisdom, the Aboriginal peoples of the Northern Territory Top End divide the years into six distinct seasons, each corresponding to a different climatic and environmental period. During the wet there are Gunumleng, pre-monsoon storm season, Gudjweng, monsoon season, and Banggereng, knock ’em-down storm season. During the dry there are Yegge, cooler but still humid season, Wurrgeng, cold-weather season, and Gurrung, hot, dry weather.
For those who know and love the Top End in all its shades, the wet season is in fact one of the most beautiful times of year to be there. Water is everywhere, the storms are spectacular, everything is green – dense vegetation abounds and wildlife, concentrated on isolated water points in the dry, is found far and wide as floodwaters cover the land and open up the horizons. Places such as Kakadu National Park, Kakadu Culture Camp, Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris on Mount Borradaile and Bamurru Plains on the Mary River flood plain all operate in one form or another during the wet and give entrée to an amazing landscape during a remarkable time of year. This photo essay captures some of that landscape at the end of Gudjweng and the beginning of Banggereng.
This story excerpt is from Issue #65
Outback Magazine: June/July 2009