Cooktown is well inside the tropics, and has a typical tropical climate of warm and dry winters and hot summers with a ‘wet’ season that typically runs from January to April.
The winters are a lovely time to visit with warm usually dry days making it a great escape from the cold southern states. There are a couple of weeks a year in winter when the weather can get cooler and rain is more common, usually around the beginning of July. The locals will tell you that Cooktown has a couple of weeks of winter a year – but most of them don’t know what cold is!
Towards the end of the year the temperature gradually ramps up and if you don’t mind the heat this is also a great time to visit – particularly as the prevailing winds drop off so that you can even take a ‘tinnie’ out to the reef.
The wet usually starts after Christmas and brings both rain and humidity. Wet seasons are variable. Since we bought the park in 1998 we have seen a few torrential wet seasons; however, many wet seasons are wet but not soaking. In years gone by a few days of rain meant Cooktown was cut off but with the better road and bridge infrastructure of today it is unusual to be cut off from getting back down to Cairns.
The wet season can also bring tropical cyclones which should be avoided if possible.
These days we get plenty of warning of the formation of a cyclone and its direction of travel. However, the path a cyclone can take not predictable more than a couple of days out. If you are travelling up from January to April it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast carefully