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Guide Updates and 2016 Wet Season
March 16, 2016
16 March 2016, Issue #044
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In this issue:
Time flies and Easter is just around the corner!
I had promised you that I would have the two guide books overhauled for the next season by end of March, in time for Easter travellers.
At the time I wasn't even aware on which dates Easter falls this year.
Well before the end of March!
Guide Book Updates
I realised that just in time, put in quite a few double shifts, and am happy to report that I have both guides ready for you early season adventurers :-)
If you are leaving on your trip within the next three weeks you can get a fresh download link by contacting me and asking for one.
Please do make sure you include the email address that was used for the original purchase!
About 50% of the people who contact me for a fresh download do not provide me with that email address, and too often it takes several emails back and forth and a lot of detective work to find their purchase record.
If you can not remember what email address you used, and you can not find your original download email, then please include all possible addresses you may have used, your surname and your approximate date of purchase. That should help me to identify you in our logs.
So again, if, and only if!, you are leaving within the next three weeks, feel free to request a download of the updated version.
If you plan to travel mid April or later, I recommend you wait.
Just because all the important work on the guides has been done does not mean we now stop working on them.
For one, as every season, there are many businesses that are still closed, the owners away on their well deserved wet season break, and details for the next season simply not available yet.
I have not gone through all the accommodation and tour operator listings for the big population centres yet (Darwin and Katherine, Broome and Kununurra) and you will find many 2015 prices and possibly broken links there.
All the other listings that are sprinkled throughout all the chapters, the little known and out of the way places, all that has been updated, and where the info was not available yet there is a note. But those bulk listings I always do a bit later (about mid April) because I know from experience that many of the businesses haven't done those updates themselves yet. And it is just too big a task to do it twice.
Secondly, as I told you in the last newsletter, I am not working on my own any more. Having someone go through everything with a fresh set of eyes (and let me tell you, she is doing so with a fine-tooth comb!) leads to many ideas for little changes and improvements and additions. I would describe it as polishing rather than overhauling. But if you can wait a bit and then download a more polished version, why wouldn't you, right?
And last but not least, things change all the time, and therefore little updates happen all year. I update the guides as soon as I hear about a change, and most of those changes come in during a season, not after. If you plan to travel later in the season, I definitely recommend you wait!
So here is what I suggest you do: Contact me to request a fresh download a few weeks before you plan to leave on your trip. Make sure you don't leave it until the last day (sometimes I am unavailable for a few days and you have to wait for a response), and make sure you follow the instructions above.
Also, always keep an eye on these newsletters, because if there are any important changes that might affect your plans, I will report those here straight away.
Wet Season Predictions
It's that time of the year again!
The emails have started coming in, and generally, they go something like this:
"We want to travel in [whatever month] and go to [insert list of places], how much water can we expect at [chosen waterfall/swimming hole] and will we be able to cross [scary creek or river]. We drive a [your car or rig]."
It really does not matter how much effort and detail you put into those mails, nobody can make those predictions.
Please re-read what I write about the weather and the wet season on my website, in the free guide and in the Destination series guides.
Here is what I can tell you.
As you may or may not know, due to a strong El Niño this wet season was forecast to be drier than usual, with a late start and a lower than average number of cyclones forming.
So far that is exactly what happened. This wet has not been a big wet and everything has been late. The first cyclone did not form until late January and there have only been three named storms around Australia all up. (None of them anywhere near the Kimberley or NT.) The quietest season that I remember.
But it's mid March and therefore that means nothing. It is still wet, it is still raining, in fact, it only just started raining in earnest a few days ago. Everybody is hoping it will rain until June and maybe it will!
Cyclones can still form. Averages don't matter much because it takes only one of those, or one of the serious low pressure troughs that cyclones turn into once they go over land, to change everything in a matter of days, and that can still easily happen until late April.
Cyclone season officially ends April 30. Do the cyclones stick to dates? Not always.
Do they care about El Niño? And the BOM forecast? We shall see. Mid March really is far too early to tell.
Keep an eye on things yourself: The Kimberley forecast and river conditions can be found here and here (click on the map to zoom in).
For the NT the same info can be found here and here.
On this page you can check how much rain fell over a recent time period, just select the area and time period.
Also, keep in mind how localised our rain often falls. Yes, it has been one of the driest seasons so far, but people still had problems with flooded tracks, being stranded, not being able to get into or get out of places etc., and that pattern is sure to continue for a while yet.
As is most common during this time of the year, the Gibb is closed between Mt. Barnett and the Pentecost River and all access tracks to the gorges are closed. The Tanami Track and the Spring Creek Track are currently open, but because it's been so dry, and because it looks like that might be changing now, I really can't make any prediction whatsoever about what you might find at Easter.
Keep an eye on the things yourself: Kimberley road reports here and here.
NT information is here (click on map to zoom in, take note of left hand menu) and here (all closures), and for the national parks here and here. Kakadu has its own road report here.
As a summary, I can only quote myself (roughly, from memory):
March/April is for people who are flexible with their plans, willing to take it as it comes and make the most of what they find!
If you are about to hit the road then I hope that describes you perfectly!
Personally, I LOVE that time of the year, when everything is so green and alive, even if it isn't possible to get too far away from the sealed roads. This time of the year it also just isn't necessary.
I hope you'll have a blast and look forward to seeing your photos and trip reports!
And that's it for today. Over the next three weeks I will be in and out and very busy and I don't expect to be able to send out another regular newsletter until about mid April.
By then we are definitely getting very close to the real start of the season and I'll hopefully be able to tell you a bit more!
Until then, happy planning and talk again soon!
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(c) 2005-2016, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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