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Kimberley News: 2017 Wet Season. And what else is happening?
February 02, 2017
2 February 2017, Issue #050
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In this issue:
2017 is here, January came and went, and from the increasing numbers of book sales as well as the increasing numbers of emails I have been receiving I can tell that many people are busy planning their Kimberley or Top End trip for the next season. So it's high time I get back into a more regular newsletter habit again!
As every year, you can expect more frequent communication from me over the next months, until the season is well under way and things have settled down.
So what can I tell you at this stage about the next season?
First of all, it has been very, very wet so far!
Wet Season Impressions
Just before Christmas a tropical low marched across the northern Kimberley, coming from Darwin, and dumping heavy rain all the way. You can watch the video and read about what that looked like in Broome, which had its wettest December on record.
(The video may take a minute to load.)
Another very quick impression from that day.
I has remained wet ever since. Kununurra followed up with its wettest January on record. If you're on Facebook, people have been sharing a few nice videos there:
Normal traffic in Kununurra.
The road between Kununurra and Wyndham.
Another one from that drive.
Heavy rains here followed heavy rains there, occasional flooding and road closures (including the highway) with people stranded on both sides, cyclones looming off the coast, tropical lows dumping lots of water, the odd crocodile spotted of the beach (both at Casuarina Beach, Darwin and Cable Beach, Broome) and also just 150m away from Derby residential areas. All the usual joys of a wet season.
Of course, there also are waterfalls everywhere
Lake Argyle is overflowing again. It's the first time in three years, due to several poor wet seasons.
The Mitchell Falls, instead of 4 tiers, are just one big wash through.
Very impressive, to say the least.
(Yeah, I know, again Facebook. Apologies to the non Facebookers.)
Here is a nice compilation (on YouTube, accessible to everyone) of what the highway looks like in this kind of weather (put together by someone who obviously likes big trucks as much as I do). The footage was taken when the road reopened after 24 hours of closure. The water is not spectacularly deep (obviously, or the road would still be closed), but you wouldn't want to cross most of those floodways in your regular sedan.
Part I and Part II.
And it's not just the north that's been wet. The same goes for the Red Centre, which is about as green as it gets!
Here also it started off with a bang on Christmas, with Uluru - Kata Tjuta NP having to close due to the ring road being 300mm - 400mm under water while waterfalls poured of the rock everywhere.
The wet weather continued, Tennant Creek also got deluged by a flood, and end of January waterfalls could be seen pouring off Uluru again. The landscape is lush and green everywhere, grasses and wildflowers growing like crazy, creeks raging, waterholes full and overflowing, ...
Nope, not quite what the tourists who visited in January had expected from the Red Centre!
I hope that gives you an idea what it's like up here during a wet season.
We don't know yet what all this will mean for the start off the tourist season up north, it's much too early to tell. For now it looks like the wet weather will continue for some time yet.
I also don't want to gloss over the dangers that this kind of weather brings. Sadly there have been several drownings already (people swept away by currents when swimming) and quite a few cars were lost when attempting to cross creeks that shouldn't have been attempted.
If you ever find yourself travelling anywhere in Outback Australia during heavy rains, please keep in mind that water is a very powerful force. Respect it.
Let's move on.
I am also writing to you today to give you a bit of a preview of what will be happening with the Destination Guides and the websites in the next few months...
Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End Updates
I have started to go over Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End, as I do every year, to update them for the next season.
Don't worry if you bought any of my guides only recently! Look in the first pages for instructions on how to obtain a fresh download link for the latest version when you need it.
Alternatively, check my contact page for instructions.
I recommend you do that a few weeks before you actually travel. Beyond the big yearly update I make little changes to my guides all the time, whenever new info becomes available. Most changes happen early in a season, so especially in the first half of the year it makes sense to get a fresh download shortly before you travel.
Any important news that you need will be shared here in the newsletters.
Having said that, here is one important thing already:
If you want to visit Mornington, even for camping you can and need to book ahead!
As you can see on that page, the place has become crazy popular, with the safari tents already booked out for pretty much the whole season.
Normal camping is still available, but you need to book ahead.
Destination Red Centre is coming!
For a long time (years!) I had promised in my free Pocket Guide that I was going to release a guide to the Red Centre at some stage.
You probably stopped believing it will ever happen, and I had almost given up hope myself.
However, if you signed up for the newsletter or visited the website in recent months, you may have noticed the announcement that this guide will be coming early 2017.
And believe it or not, it is finally happening!
Destination Red Centre, the guide that I have been talking about for years, and that I thought would never happen, is coming. No, really!
That's all I'm gonna say for now. Keep an eye out for the next newsletter, which should be out soon, and where I'll tell you all about this new guide.
Help with car hire, accommodation, and itinerary planning is coming!
The second thing that will be happening is interesting mainly for those of you who fly in (be it Broome, Darwin or Alice Springs) and hire a vehicle from there.
In the past I was never able to help with issues like car hire or accommodation booking.
I did for a while offer personalised help with your itinerary, but due to the increase in readership I had to stop that, too, a few years ago.
(Instead people have been getting a booklet with suggested itineraries when they bought Destination Kimberley.)
I am happy to let you know that I have plans around that as well.
Meaning, I hope to very soon be able to offer you assistance with car hire, accommodation booking, and itinerary planning.
And you know what's best about this?
It won't cost you anything. No, really :)
More about that, too, in a future newsletter.
As you can imagine, I have a lot to do, so I am going to leave you hanging with these teasers, and I'll be back in touch when I know more.
That's it for today!
Those of you planning on leaving for their trips soon, please always also refer to the appendix of Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End or to the links in previous newsletters to keep yourself up to date about the conditions.
Feedback? Found some out of date info in one of my guides? Let me know via https://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/contact.html
(c) 2005-2017, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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