I'll be starting my 6 week travel through Kakadu and along the East Coast in January, but the horror stories about the wet season are kinda scaring me. I don't mind tropical storms and all that but will there be any blue skies at all or should I be preparing for dark and grey weather 24/7? Anyway, it's too late for me to alter my plans now but I suppose there must be something nice to say about the wet season...
O yeah, and will there still be plenty of backpackers to meet along the way or are January and February dead when it comes to travelling?
Visiting Kakadu is definitely better during dry season, because a lot of the billabongs and other places in the National park won't be accessible because of the rain. Additionaly, weather in Darwin is super humid and it's not really nice to stay outside for a very long time. Too make you feel a bit better though, I was also there during wet season once, still had a great time and met plenty of cool people.
Same goes for the East coast. Everywhere was packed when I travelled there from Dec. to Feb. and weather from Cairns to Sydney was great most of the times. The only downside at Great Barrier Reef were the jellyfish, because they made it hard to go swimming spontaneously. But once you wear a wetsuit or stay within the designated swimming area, you'll be fine.
Have fun !
Kakadu is amazing in the wet season, although it's quite inaccessable by car as most things are closed. You can get a helicopter tour to view the major waterfalls and they are AMAZING because of all the rain. I suggest stopping in Litchfield National Park as well if you have time although I have never been there in the wet season, during the dry season it's a beautiful place.
When going down the east coast, drop in on the Atherton tablelands and check out the waterfalls, again because of the wet season they'll be awesome. If you're swimming in the ocean you might have to be a bit careful of stingers and jellyfish, if you're taking a tour the guides will fill you in but generally you just end up wearing a full length suit.
Weather wise, up north it's often sunny, stinking hot and humid in the morning and the humidity keeps building for a torrential downpour in the evening. As you work your way down the east coast it will get less and less humid.