NATURE CALENDAR OF TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND

The amazing World Heritage Area of Wet Tropics have many different faces. There are many scenes and spectacle to observe in Nature throughout the year. Sometimes nature changes in subtle ways which is hardly noticeable in the day to day but nature evolves from month to month which makes one gasp in awe of real natural beauty. It also gives everyone a wide array of choices for time of year to visit Tropical North Queensland to study nature photography. These calendar activities are rough estimations and as it is with change – change happens constantly. Certainly, the major Wet Tropics attractions are always there to make fantastic photo subjects. At the end, weather is unpredictable and we must go with the flow and get pleasantly surprised.

  • JANUARY – is still at the beginning of the wet season. It could still be dry but rain comes regularly with the coastal areas becoming quite hot and humid. There is a good chance of a cyclone* visiting Far North Queensland but this is the best time for insects, fungi and macro photography in general. If it’s raining, the creeks, streams and waterfalls are running well and the forest is glisteningly clean. Very few tourists visit FNQ at this time of the year which is a shame because the forest is alive!

Storm clouds in the Atherton Tablelands

  • FEBRUARY – is right smack the middle of the wet season. The downpours should be expected but after the strong rains, the whole area would be magnificent and clean. While the coastal areas are steaming with heat and humidity, the Atherton Tablelands will always have the pleasant temperature maximum of 28°C . There is a very good chance to run into a cyclone* and being stranded but this is the best time for insects, fungi (especially bioluminescent fungi) and macro photography in general with the creeks, streams and waterfalls all running in full strength. Few tourists dare visit FNQ at this time of the year and they are missing out on some stunning nature!
Glowing fungi in the Atherton Tablelands rainforests during the wet season

Glowing fungi in the Atherton Tablelands rainforests during the wet season

  • MARCH – just like February is right at the middle of the wet season. It will most likely be raining already and the coastal areas are quite hot and humid. There is a very good chance to run into a cyclone*. Hot and steamy this is the best time for insects, fungi (especially bioluminescent fungi) and macro photography in general and the creeks, streams and waterfalls are running well. Very few tourists visit FNQ at this time of the year.

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  • APRIL –  is at the tail end of the wet season. It may still be raining but the temperatures are slowly cooling down. There is still a chance to run into a cyclone*. This is still a good time for insects, fungi and macro photography in general and the creeks, streams and waterfalls are running well.
Australian Leaf Insect

Australian Leaf Insect

  • MAY – is the end of the wet season although the creeks and waterfalls are still running well. The rainforest is very lush but invertebrate life is starting to go into hibernation mode and hide. Tourism is slowly picking up in Far North Queensland.

Nandroya Falls at full moon

  • JUNE – is the start of winter in the southern hemisphere. In the Atherton Tablelands, it can get quite chilly at night, which is really pleasant. Average temperatures in the Tablelands 11-22°C. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the evenings in front of a fire, or out in the field with a camera and tripod. June is also the time that Sarus Cranes and Brolgas slowly start trickling in from the Gulf of Carpentaria to feed their young in the agricultural areas of the Atherton Tablelands. In some days, early morning fog lies in the lower areas of the Tablelands.

Sarus cranes flyout from roosting place

  • JULY –  is the start of winter in the southern hemisphere. In the Atherton Tablelands, it can get quite chilly at night, which is really pleasant. Average temperatures in the Tablelands ranges from 10-21°C in July. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the evenings in front of a fire, or out in the field with a camera and tripod. July is also the time when Sarus Cranes and Brolgas are in Tablelands having flown in from the Gulf of Carpentaria to feed their young in the agricultural areas of the Atherton Tablelands. In some days, early morning fog lies in the lower areas of the Tablelands. This scene is quite photogenic.

Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo feeding on leaves

  • AUGUST – is winter in the southern hemisphere with average temperatures ranging from 10 – 22°C in the Atherton Tablelands. It can get quite cold at night, which is the perfect time to enjoy the evenings in front of a fire, or out in the field with a camera and tripod. August is also the time that Sarus Cranes and Brolgas are feeding in the agricultural area of the Atherton Tablelands. The early morning hours can be thick with fog in the lower areas of the Tablelands, which can be quite photogenic.

Atherton Tablelands in early morning fog

  • SEPTEMBER – is still winter in the southern hemisphere. The Atherton Tablelands still gets cold at night with pleasant temperatures ranging from 12-24°C. Good time to enjoy the evenings in front of a fire, or out in the field with a camera and tripod. September is also the time that Sarus Cranes and Brolgas are feeding in the agricultural area of the Atherton Tablelands. Especially in the early morning hours thick fog lies in the lower areas of the Tablelands, which can be quite photogenic.
Milky Way and trees in the Atherton Tablelands

Milky Way and trees in the Atherton Tablelands

  • OCTOBER – is generally a very dry month. Nature is gearing slowly towards the wet season. It is getting warmer and drier in the Tablelands while the coastal regions get warmer and more humid. This is when all the bird action is in full swing. Many birders come from to the Tablelands from all over the world. The clear skies are bright blue and the night skies are glittering with stars, perfect for astro photography. The Atherton Tablelands is sparsely populated and hardly any light pollution disturbs the night photographer out in the wild.
Milky Way trough rainforest canopy

Milky Way trough rainforest canopy

  • NOVEMBER –  like October is generally a very dry month but slowly building up towards the wet season. It is getting warmer and drier in the Tablelands and more humid in the coastal regions. Bird action is still in full swing as can be seen with birders coming from far and wide. The skies are mostly clear and the night skies are full with stars, perfect for astro photography. The Atherton Tablelands are very sparsely populated and hardly any light pollution disturbs the night photographer. The tourist season pretty much ends in November with tourists not appreciating the benefits of the build-up to the wet when life is bursting at the seams.
Golden Bowerbird bower with his lichen and flower arrangements

Golden Bowerbird bower with his lichen and flower arrangements

  • DECEMBER – is the build up to the wet season. It may still be dry but could rain sporadically and the coastal areas would be hot and steamy. There is a good chance to run into a cyclone* already. This is the best time for insects, fungi and macro photography in general. If raining, the creeks, streams and waterfalls are running well. Very few inter-state tourists visit FNQ at this time of the year.
Female Spiny Leaf insect in rainforest

Female Spiny Leaf insect in rainforest