Morning glory brings gliders from far and wide to surf this spectacular, rare cloud formation


During the months of September and October, the rare meteorological phenomenon referred to as the Morning Glory Cloud, rolls across the Gulf and can be observed above the skies in Burketown. Gangalidda traditional owner Murrandoo Yanner said his people believe the morning glory was created by Walalu, the Rainbow Serpent, and is of great cultural significance.

The cloud bank can be up to 1,000 km long, 1-2 km wide and can travel at speeds of up to 60 km/hour. Although these clouds can be found in other parts of the world, Burketown is the only place where they appear frequently at set times of the year. 

"The cloud cannot be guaranteed every morning, however a tip is that if there has been a brisk sea breeze blowing through Burketown all day, the fridges in the Burketown Pub have frosted over, then there is a very good chance a Morning Glory Cloud will roll into town!”

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Morning glory brings gliders from far and wide to surf spectacular, rare cloud formation  - ABC News


The Morning Glory Cloud is considered as the ultimate thermal wave for soaring glider and hang glider pilots and Burketown has become something of a ‘mecca’ for those wishing to surf the ultimate atmospheric wave.

Local aviation company, Savannah Aviation offers charter flights for viewing of the cloud. The owner is head of the Australian Branch of the Cloud Appreciation Society.


In 2014, combined with the celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, the inaugural Morning Glory Festival was held on the 28-30 September 2014.

In 2015, the Burketown Shire hosted the Festival to celebrate the phenomenon of the Morning Glory Cloud. It is the intention of the Shire, at this stage, to host the event every second year. The next Festival is scheduled for 29 Sep to 1 Oct 2017.