Darwin in dec/jan

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 20:22
ThreadID: 110326 Views:2776 Replies:16 FollowUps:4
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Hi travellers,

seriously planning to go to Darwin from Newcastle, lifetime dream.
Travelling in 2wd van with my wife.
What the knowledgeable people think?
We did Newcastle to Cooktown successfully last dec/jan (and still married).
Was considering to purchase portable AC something like Kogan's for hot nights to use at the parks.

Thanks in advance
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 20:39

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 20:39
You may be there for a while IF you get there. People I knew went in December and were still stuck there at the end of May Had run out of money, patience and compatibility.

Not necessarily in that order.

Would think it a most inadvisable trip at that time of the wet season.
AnswerID: 542485

Reply By: Bigfish - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 20:47

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 20:47
Cooktown is still not as hot and humid as Darwin. Nor as expensive. Portable Kogan air-con , in my humble opinion, wont be worth 2 bob. If you get hotel/cabin accommodation then you will be right. Camping is just too bloody hot AND if the storms are about...scary and dangerous. Its getting warm in Cairns at the moment. I don't use air-con at moment, because I just did 18 years in the top-end and don't find the heat/humidity as bad as further North. You will definitely be sweating and bleep off with the humidity. In a van or tent you will need a lot of air circulating. Even the swimming pool water is warm and has no cooling effect!

Just not a good time to visit unless your fully acclimatised..

Good luck.
AnswerID: 542486

Reply By: ronniejet - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 21:13

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 21:13
Gday mate we did it this year got there new years day and stayed till mid may it was magic just magic we have wanted to do it for years but were put of by people who said it was to hot or wet or something we were lucky we had a power point for ac I would say my family were hotter at home on the sunshine coast than we were in the top end never got stuck any where and there wet was above average mate just do it I would do it all again and will in a year or to cheers ronnjet
AnswerID: 542489

Reply By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:02

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:02
If it is a dream, then go. It's around 3500km each way from my place, but if it floats your boat...

But be prepared to cut and run if things turn nasty.

I flew into Darwin a 2 years back in late November, it was incredibly humid (water running down the outside of the windows, but not much rain humid) for a few days with occasional showers. Then a cyclone spun up off the coast and crossed as a Cat 1 within a day or two.

The road to Katherine was under in several places and the road to Kakadu or WA, forget it.

I wouldn't want to be any where near a tropical low in a caravan and trying to out run one by heading south can be an issue if the roads close ahead of you. I've had friends that got stuck in Mt Isa when a low stopped in the Gulf and flooded that area for hundreds of km. Katherine has a nasty habit of getting flooded if a cyclone runs south too.

As for the aircon, get a small window rattler and work out a way to use that. I have had a portable air con in the past and they are not real efficient. You have a noisy machine in the room with you that makes heat with the motor, it cools the air in the room and gets rid of the excess heat by blowing hot air outside, but then has to suck hot humid air in from outside to replace that air it has blown out.
At least a small aircon has the compressor and the heat exchanger outside already and can just recycle the air in the room. They are usually cheaper too.

AnswerID: 542491

Reply By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:16

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:16
We did it early January a few years ago. A few nights in a tent and we were screaming for a cabin with an air conditioner as it was super humid and extremely heavy rain several times a day. Having said that we loved the place, better than I expected. You take the good with the bad.
AnswerID: 542492

Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 00:28

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 00:28
We are expecting the monsoon to start in January,

I have done 39 wet seasons / monsoons / build ups, if you love the colour green then please turn up, if you can't put up with the monsoon, wet season or cyclone season, then you may need to re think you trip.

Have fun if you want to see the Top End in all it's glory then pick a date some where between January and December.
AnswerID: 542494

Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 09:07

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 09:07
Hi Jerry,
Everyone is going on about the heat, but it's places that are closed in the wet season, you will miss a lot. In the dry a 2wd on dirt roads are no problem, but in the wet it will be a no go.

Saying that there is still a lot to see and do.. enjoy your trip, and I'm sure you will be back in the dry to finish what you left...

As for air con I would forget it, just use the tent without the fly. And I find a nice hot shower before bed works.

Cheers Andy

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AnswerID: 542498

Reply By: Top End Az - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 12:23

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 12:23
I'm all for following your dreams and getting out there and just doing it. As a Darwin local (for 14 years) it is very humid and hot as the other posts have said. In my opinion it is also the prettiest time of the year, every thing is green and lush.

Just keep in mind that when we get a cyclone come through (which they do every year), or have a heavy monsoon, you may get stranded for a period of time as many of the roads go under. If you aren't in a rush or on a timetable, and you are flexible then it won't be a problem.
The only other thing to consider is that many of the roads into the National Parks are closed too due to flooding so sight seeing options will be reduced.

Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 542504

Reply By: Kelpie D - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 14:45

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 14:45
It will send you "troppo".

It is the wet season...

If you can, plan the trip for the middle of the dry (your winter). It is worth going, just not in the wet.

Once you have done a dry season trip, then plan out your wet season. Trust me, I have been there done that. Arriving in Darwin in the middle of the wet, if you have never done it before, is no fun at all.
AnswerID: 542508

Reply By: CSeaJay - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 18:03

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 18:03

Aircon is like a prison door; once you turn it on it becomes even harder to exit the van or room that you are in.
If it is a lifetime thing then do it at the right time then it will be a lifetime memory for all the right reasons
AnswerID: 542514

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 21:49

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 21:49

Living in Katherine I love the wet season - the rain, lightning and thunder is fantastic. The top end is at its best, lush and green.

However it is hot and humid and for someone who is not used to it - very oppressive.

Katherine itself has been flooded twice in recent times - 1998 and 2006.

The Stuart Highways does get closed due to the wet occasionally. Other roads do get cut by rising rivers at times. This can make it difficult for travellers. Over the years the roads have been improved by building bridges, etc, but is still a problem when travelling.

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AnswerID: 542519

Reply By: BrettP - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 17:52

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 17:52
Seriously would have to be the worst time of year to visit Darwin. Having lived there for 4 years, the weather around Xmas time isn't always that bad, still pretty humid, and afternoon rain.But come January then it just gets a bit ridiculous.Roads are cut, creeks swollen and it's downright hot and uncomfortable.As for camping in it...no way, and no air con apart from refrigerated works .I'd leave it til late April and go, but then most of the popultaion goes at that time too..You won't get into a lot of places due t oraod conditions,and if you get in, you may not get out for a few days until the creeks levels drop..
AnswerID: 542546

Reply By: Jerry D - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:38

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:38
OK travellers,
thank you all for good recommendations
after serious thinking we decided to accept your advise & postpone our NT trip
for june/july. Sadly ...
If still possible, we follow with second, wet season trip after gaining some experience.
It was very interesting to read such a good reviews...
Thank you all again
AnswerID: 542559

Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:54

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:54
A bit of a shame really as the Wet Season (a.k.a. Green Season) has it's own attractions, but it's just not really suited to tenting it and touring to many places. Been here for most of the last 40 years, with stints elsewhere in the NT, and intend staying a lot longer. So nice today that I didn't even have to put on the spa solar heater as water was at a natural 32 degC. Getting bypassed by a lot of storms but spectacular to watch mostly.

FollowupID: 828965

Reply By: Norm C (WA) - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:59

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 22:59
Hi Why wouldn't you go
Yes it will be Hot and Humid but you can discuss that
with the locals who live there.It may get steamy and
uncomfortable at times but a fan will ease that.
If your keen go and decide for yourself
AnswerID: 542561

Follow Up By: Jerry D - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 23:09

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 23:09
Norm, NOW you got me thinking again...
thank you mate...who knows what can happen in next 6 months!
FollowupID: 828966

Reply By: Tony O1 - Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 19:58

Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 19:58

are you out of your mind. My advice, fly there, rent a car and get a motel with aircon. You will only be able to see stuff in Darwin as other places such as Litchfield are closed

Rain and floods don't have schedules or predictable times.

You will die if you are not acclimatised and it will be the holiday from hell. Most attractions are closed as well.

I am about to drive back up to live there for the third time. Motels all the way and get there as fast as I can in case the monsoon comes early
AnswerID: 542621

Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 22:58

Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 22:58
Not sure why you bother coming back really.
FollowupID: 829020

Follow Up By: Norm C (WA) - Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 23:05

Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 23:05
As Steve says You would have to wonder why you would bother going back seems your saying Don't go your a fool if you do I'm going just to prove it Are you out of your mind?
FollowupID: 829021

Reply By: Iosef - Friday, Dec 19, 2014 at 18:05

Friday, Dec 19, 2014 at 18:05
Only you know what your tolerance is for doing it a bit tough. I've done many trips where people told me it was a no-go and had a ball every time. That includes the Top End for five weeks in December/January. Did Kakadu, Litchfield and Gregory during that time. Have done Cooktown in the wet too. Just about fell over from heat stress digging two cars out of the bog in Kakadu but that's just an amusing foot note to all the good memories. We do stretchers under a tarp - mozzie net optional depending on the mozzie situation. Keep in mind the flies can be horrific in certain parts that time of year too but at least they go away at night.

I guess I like a bit of a challenge and don't mind discomfort. If you have any hard deadlines, I would be wary of getting trapped in by the wet but if not, go for it. You can always fly out if it's your daughters wedding or something.
AnswerID: 543154

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