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Karijini is one of our favourite National Parks in Australia. We visited the park already twice in different seasons. The best time to visit Karijini is late autumn, winter, and early spring (May - September); the dry season with the most pleasant temps. In April, the water level in the gorges may be too high to explore the entire slot canyons. During October, day temps can reach almost 40°C.
Update May 2020: The Karijini National Park was already reopened at the beginning of May. However, due to the Cyclone Damien some roads got flooded and damaged. The Weano Road is closed which means you can't enter Weano and Hancock Gorge at the moment. Knox Road is closed as well and the Circular Pool Walk remains closed. However, some awesome pools are still accessible; Hamersley Gorge, Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool, Joffre Gorge from the Eco Retreat, and Mount Bruce.
Read on for more insights and tips on how to avoid the crowds. Also, don't miss our '9 Must-Know Tips' at the end of this article!
Weather by Season and Month
The weather in Karijini National Park is influenced by the local steppe climate or, in other words: Mostly desert climate. It can get boiling hot, and there are a few months with lots of rain, which might spoil your adventure. Precipitation doesn't occur often, but if it rains, it pours. Check out our detailed monthly guide to find out more:
In September, temps are still bearable around 30°C. It's a fantastic month to visit the mindblowing National Park but come before the spring break. Swim through the chilly waterholes. You won't believe how cold these waterholes in the gorges are. Increasing day temps in October and November, which makes hiking in Karijini strenuous during the day. Start early morning to avoid the midday heat. Carry plenty of water.
Summer isn't got a good season for Karijini. Cyclones, heavy rainfall, and thunderstorms can happen during the rainy season from December to the end of March. Precipitation occurs on average just on 32 days in the entire year but the majority during summer. If it starts raining, you can't enter any of these gorges. Road closures may happen. You always have to monitor the forecast. Flash floods can occur, and the water is muddy. It is oven-hot, frequently topping 40°C. Even the information centre is closed from mid-December to late February.
Rain and thunderstorms can occur until the end of March. April is still hot, on average more than 30°C during the day. The gorges might be inaccessible until mid-April if there was too much precipitation before. May and June are great months for Karijini. There are huge waterholes where you have to wade and swim through. The water is freezing cold. It’s even more fun for the adventurous to climb to the different gorges, especially the well-known Weano Gorge. Pleasant day temps are ranging from 22°C to 26°C. Night temps are cool but above 10°C on average.
June is a perfect month to explore Karijini with its waterholes. In the winter months of June and July days are warm and clear with average daily temps of 22°C while night temps drop below 10°C. The existing waterholes are freezing. Hypothermia can happen; so be careful. You need a warm sleeping bag for camping; 0°C are possible during the night. There is a significant difference in the day and night temperatures during winter. It’s pleasant for hiking because of the low humidity.
Avoiding Crowds and Busy Times
In general, it's not very crowded. However, the season at Karijini starts during the Eastern Holiday until the end of October. It's busy at Easter, on weekends and during school holidays: Packed adventure tours, hectic campsites, and crowded spots. At this time the Karijini Eco Retreat, which is perfectly located, might be fully booked. Seriously, try to avoid Easter, the school holidays in winter (usually, the first two weeks in July), and the spring break at the end of September if possible!: Western Australia School Holidays 2019.
Where to Stay and Camping (Our Accommodation Tips)
Top accommodation tip: Karijini Eco Retreat (save this bookmark). Perfect location, utterly fantastic place! Excellent food and accommodating staff. We came here already twice; once we spent three nights in a cabin and again camping for five nights in 2019. We would book any time again. In the evening you can either have dinner in the restaurant or from the burger bar. They offer ice for cooling and ice cream as well, which we appreciated while camping. It's the closest accommodation with luxury tens and campground for Karijini close to Joffre Falls.
There are 114 campsites plus 12 group campsites available. The bush kitchen and BBQ are average. Solar shower and flush toilets are available but not in high number. If the Savannah campground is fully booked during the holidays; you may line up. The Eco tents with quality bedding and private bathroom were even at the end of the season in late September fully booked. If you prefer to stay at the Eco Retreat, book your tent in advance.
Karijini Eco Retreat; Dorm Cabins with shared bathroom (cheapest option)
Another option is the Dales campground at the eastern side of the park. It's basic bush camping without power or a shower; clean drop toilets only. A shower is available at the Information Center. We recommend staying at both campgrounds to enjoy as much as possible of the park. Don't come here in a rush. Karijini is one of the most adventures and mindblowing parks in Australia. Stay at least 5 nights to explore the many gorges.
If you want to visit the entire National Park, it is pretty convenient to stay in Tom Price. It always takes around one hour to get to the different entrances and gorges. There is an excellent bakery offering bread, pies, apple crumble, and coffee. Two liquor stores and a pharmacy are also located in the town centre. All in walking distance. Tom Price Tourist Park booking. It offers a mix of camping, fully equipped cabins, and backpacker rooms.
Hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park is very popular throughout the year. However, in the winter you have to deal with snow, and despite more pleasant temperatures in the summer, the weather is even more unpredictable. However, snow can also occur in December as it happened in 2019. During the summer Cradle is pretty busy with the highest accommodation rates.
Update May 2020
A new viewing shelter is built from now until mid-2021 at Dove Lake. Parts of the car park may be closed due to the construction work. This new modern building includes a hiker registration, information area, toilets, and a bus shelter. However, who needs a viewing shelter in rain? If it rains Cradle is covered in clouds. If you want to experience the real beauty of this incredible National Park you have to hike despite the weather.
Weather by Seasons
The best time to visit Cradle Mountain is from December to March. January and February experience the least amount of rainfall. These months with the most stable weather are also the busiest. Visitor numbers are increasing annually; November and April are less crowded. Keep in mind; the weather at Cradle is changeable and unpredictable throughout the year.
Wildflowers are abundant during spring and early summer. Tasmanian Waratah and Banksia are flowering which is beautiful to see. Echidnas can be seen; getting active after hibernation in winter. Day temps range between 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. October is one of the windiest months of the year. We experienced snow and hail in November on a higher elevation with 0°C / 32°F while hiking.
More stable weather from December to April with warmer daily temps on average around 15°C-18°C / 59°F-64°F. The "warmest" months are January and February. Less precipitation from January to March. However, the weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day, even during summer. If you like camping, be prepared for one-digit night temps throughout the year. Even during summer, expect snow as well. If hiking the Overland Track carry warm clothes as well. In December 2019, three hikers suffered hypothermia. Luckily, all of them got rescued.
Autumn (April - May)
In April and May, you see the spectacular range of autumn colours from gold to deep red. The deciduous beech tree also called fagus is the icing on the cake until losing the leaves. The tree is endemic to Australia. Daily temps are around 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. Nights are freezing cold between 3°C-5°C / 37°F-41°F. Already increasing rainfall in April. The autumn in 2020 was very wet and cold with the first snowfall already at the end of May.
The winter is the wettest time of the year. Snow is common usually from July to September, with an average daily temp of 6°C / 43°F. It can get even colder and freezing during the night (below 0°C / 32°F). Be prepared for minus degrees in the night while camping. The coldest months are July and August. Hiking can be difficult and strenuous, depending on the amount of snow. If there is heavy snowfall the road to Dove Lake is closed for 2WD. May and September are a little warmer. However, it is not uncommon to experience snow in these months at Dove Lake and at higher elevations.
Top Tip for Cradle Mountain Hiking: Check the weather forecast and conditions before you venture into the National Park. Check out our Weather Link or stop by the visitor centre.
Cradle is the second most visited National Parks in Tassie, attracting more than 300.000 people each year and visitor numbers are increasing annually. You almost don't experience any crowds in the low season during winter. During summer, it's busy with visitors from around the world, especially at Dove Lake. Longer and more strenuous hikes are less frequented. To get a memorable experience visit the park early morning. It gets less busy again in the late afternoon. The busiest months are from December to March nowadays. November and April are still busy but bearable.
Top Tip for the Peak Season: Start your hike before dawn with headlights and enjoy a breathtaking sunrise from Marians Lookout.
Shuttle Bus Service and Parking
There is one car park at Dove Lake and one at Ronny Creek. Arriving early is recommended. Otherwise, shuttle buses have to be taken from the Visitor Center or the Interpretation Center. For National Park Pass holders; the shuttle bus is for free. The last bus leaves Dove Lake in the afternoon. Due to the increasing number of visitors, new bus service also for people with disabilities was introduced in 2018. When these medium-sized buses operate from 8 am to 6 pm cars can't get to the parking. If you want to hike independently, you have to be at Dove Lake parking before 8 am.
Mount Cook - Aoraki in Maori, one of the most famous places in New Zealand is exceptional in all types of weather. It is the highest mountain of NZ at a height of 3.724 m/12217 ft. The summiz of Mount Cook is covered in snow the entire year. Forty percent of the National Park is covered by the largest glaciers. Nineteen of the peaks are more than 3.000 m high. This park has lots of superlatives.
Weather and Crowds Mount Cook
Rain and snow can occur throughout the year; however; the summer is the sunniest time. The weather is changing quickly in the South Alps of NZ. So even if the forecast is excellent be prepared for strong winds, rain, and snow. The mentioned temps for each season are for Mount Cook Village on 760 m elevations.
Spring (September - November)
In spring the Mount Cook Village can still experience minus degrees in the night and day temps are pleasant on average between 15-18°C degrees. Nowadays, with climate change temps in the high 20 can occur. Rain is increasing; showers are likely to happen, but it doesn’t mean it’s raining the entire day.
Summer (December - February)
December and January are the wettest and warmest months of the year. Rain is already decreasing in February. During summer day temps are on average around 20°C degrees. On a clear and sunny day, temps can climb up to 35°C. Night temps are on average around 10°C. Summer is the busiest time of the year. The limited accommodation options are usually fully booked far in advance.
Autumn (March - May)
There is less precipitation during autumn. March is still pleasant with day temps around 20°C on average. It gets colder in April and May with day temps around 15°C but one-digit temps can occur as well. Nights are cold, and minus degrees can happen. It’ a little quieter already and again packed with tourists during Easter. We spent three nights here on Easter and experienced all-weather; blue sunny skies, rain, snow, and hail on the day we left.
Winter (June - August)
It’s chilly here during winter on average 10°C and colder, however, 20° C can happen but that’s rare to experience. Nights are pretty cold, especially if you plan to camp. Expect minus degrees during the night. Some huts and trails on higher elevation may be closed but the most popular ones are less busy.
Exact weather forecast for Mount Cook
Accommodations and Camping in the Aoraki – Mount Cook National Park
Mount Cook village is easy to reach but there is just one long road leading along Lake Pukaki to the village and out. If you don’t stay in the village it is quite a journey. You need at least three hours from Queenstown and four from Christchurch. There are very few accommodations the reason that advanced booking is utterly necessary throughout the year. Lodges, Chalet, and Motel for Aoraki (Bookmark the Link for price guarantee at booking.com). Stay at least 3 better 4 days in case of poor weather. The weather can change very quickly here in the NZ Alps. We experienced sunny blue skies, rain, hail, and, snow on our last day-
The doc campground is huge - 60 non-powered sites. You can pitch your tent wherever you want. It's first come first serve. There is one public shelter for cooking which is quite small in the peak season during rain or hail. Hot showers are only at the village available. However, nights are cold; temps can drop below zero. I know what I am talking about. The price is $15 per adult and children half.
Ben Nevis is climed year around but the winter time is only for experienced mountaineers, people still die on the mountain. In the summertime it is one of the most popular hikes in Scotland, since it is the highest peak of the UK.
Mount Olympus, the mountain of the gods, is an impressive geographical hike, the maximum altitude is 2.917 meters, but it's only some kilometers from the Aegean Sea. Best season is from June until the end of September. In the spring the mountaintop is known for thunderstorms, hence the number of trees felled by lightning.
September and October. Rain season is finished and there is not too much snow.