Home Australia Staying safe while travelling in the Outback

Staying safe while travelling in the Outback

by Kat

When it comes to the wilderness and great outdoor exploration, nothing can compare to Australia’s Outback adventure. Its open spaces that seemingly stretch on forever tell a lot about the history of the country – from tales of exploration and development to the red earth that reflects Australia’s unique identity. Thus it’s not at all surprising that there was a 20.2% increase in drive tourism across western Queensland and rose by 4.1% across the state in 2015. In fact there’s a little bit of outback in every state of Australia and, whilst remote, it is easily accessible from most major cities and towns.

However going there alone, or even with other tourists, is not always easy or safe and most people will either hire a tour guide or ensure they have planned their trip thoroughly before undertaking such an adventure. Make sure you check out the following tips to help you on your way and ensure you return from your tour of the red earth with only great memories.

PREPARE AND PLAN AHEAD

Since you will be going to a remote place where accessibility of conveniences is not apparent, preparing yourself and planning ahead will help you on this journey.

Firstly, get a good map to take with you. Whilst the maps on your smartphone can be very handy, they are useless with a drained battery or lack of mobile signal, so it’s preferable to bring a printed map so you can ensure you’re going the right way.  Consider making your schedule less tight by allowing yourself a few extra days just in case something unexpected happens, such as a flash flood during monsoon season.  Get fit-to-travel approval and any necessary vaccinations from your GP before you leave, as outbreaks of chicken pox, rubella, mumps, and measles whilst rare do still occur in Australia (even in the outback!). Finally, if you plan to visit very remote areas, provide a reliable friend or a family member with details of your itinerary so they’ll know how to reach you immediately in case of emergency and arrange to contact them when you get to a town or city to let them know you’ve arrived safely.

TAKE OUT A TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN

Going to the outback is accompanied with some health and personal risks that need to be considered. Mosquitoes are common and can carry encephalitis or Ross River fever. Always carry sun protection and an adequate supply of water with you as the weather can be very hot and humid in the outback and shade and natural water can be scarce in remote areas. Bushfire is also common, especially during the hottest months of the year.

In case you plan to embark on any extreme sports whilst in the outback make sure you talk to your insurance policy provider before you leave home to check whether they will cover any emergencies that might result from such activities.

GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS

The best tips for travelling in the outback you can get will be from the people who know it the best – the locals.  Strike up conversations with Australians, especially those you meet along the way in the areas you are travelling to find out how they navigate their way safely through the deserted areas.

Want to know how to spot a local?  These 10 ways to spot an Australian abroad will give you a full run-down of the tell-tale signs but as a basic rule they’re usually the one decked out in shorts and thongs drinking a beer at 10am.

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IF YOU PLAN TO SELF-DRIVE

When it comes to experiencing the best of the outback, nothing beats driving there and enjoying the scenery all to yourself but, unlike driving in the city, there are some additional rules and safety precautions you should be sure to take:

  • Avoid driving outside of urban areas at night (due to wildlife).
  • Seek advice about road and weather conditions before you set off on a long stretch of driving.
  • Avoid closed roads.
  • Ask if you need a permit to park or need to pay an entrance fee (for national parks) at your intended detinations
  • Be aware of animals crossing.

If you happen to encounter any problems on the road, check out this list of emergency information and contact numbers that you can contact in Western Australia.

IF YOU PLAN TO HIRE A GUIDE

Whether it’s your first time visiting the Australian outback or not, many visitors prefer to hire a guide to ensure they safely reach their destination and take the stress out of the potential problems self-driving can bring. Tour guides have extensive knowledge of the areas and can also help you maximize your trip by taking you to the best spots in a shorter time. The Australian outback can be a dangerous place and so for first-timers hiring a reliable tour guide is a particularly good way to help you make the most of your trip to this wonderful land.

This is a sponsored guest post.

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1 comment

Tobias Armstrong 02/07/2016 - 01:50

I had no idea that bushfires were so common in the outback. I always thought that the biggest safety issue when you’re travelling in Australia would be the wildlife, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve heard somewhere that there are zones specifically designed to help protect against bushfires as well? I guess I’ll need to learn a little bit more than I thought. Thanks for sharing!

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