Aboriginal people in Victoria have been living their lives according to their own seasons for thousands of years.

In and around Melbourne are the lands of the local Kulin people. The Kulin people refer to the land as the 'cold country'.

Like many Aboriginal groups around Australia, the Kulin have a detailed, local understanding of the seasons and the environment. Each season is marked by the movement of the stars in the night sky and changes in the weather, coinciding with the life cycles of plants and animals.

In Melbourne and surrounds, there are seven annual seasons alongside two non-annual seasons: flood and fire seasons. Flood season is likely to occur on average about every 28 years, and fire season occurs on average about every seven years.

To the west and up to the Grampians/Gariwerd region, there are six distinct weather periods in the seasonal cycle. These seasons relate to the climate as well as environmental events such as plant flowering, fruiting and animal behaviour.

For thousands of years, the lives of the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung, the traditional peoples of Gariwerd, have been intimately linked to this seasonal cycle.

Understanding the land through seasonal observations was once essential to survival. Today the cycles are a vital tool and contribute to the management of Gariwerd.


Season of eels: Late summer (late January to late March)

A parched landscape: Late summer (season of eels or kooyang) is the hottest and driest time of year. The risk of bushfire (Piikorda) is high. Streams dry up.

Gwangal Moronn

Season of honey bees: Autumn (late March to June)

Sunrises, bees and flocking birds: Autumn (the season of native honey bees or gwangal moronn) is when the country starts to cool down after the summer heat.


Season of cockatoos: Winter (June to late July)

Cold, cockatoos and early wildflowers: Morning frosts, bleak mists and freezing winds make winter (season of cockatoos or chinnup) the coldest time of year.


Season of nesting birds: Early spring (late July to late August)

Nesting birds and changeable weather: Early spring (season of nesting birds or larneuk) is usually the wettest time of year with rivers running high. It's a time of dramatic weather changes.


Season of wildflowers: Late spring (late August to mid-November)

Wildlife and wildflowers: In spring (season of wildflowers or petyan), the bush bursts into life. The days are warmer, although the weather can still be tempestuous.


Season of butterflies: Early summer (mid-November to late January)

Warmth, butterflies and wetland plants: With the onset of summer heat, the land dries and the weather stabilises. This is the season of butterflies or ballambar.

Find out more at Brambuk – The National Park & Cultural Centre.