The great Australian outback is one of the world’s final frontiers. Outback travel offers spectacular scenery, the chance to get away from it all, and an incredible adventure guaranteed. However, it is essential to be prepared when travelling to unfamiliar, isolated spots in extreme weather conditions. Unlike a beach holiday, it is incredibly unwise to throw a few things in a bag at the last minute and hope for the best.
Travelling in the outback
The Outback offers experiences and memories that will stay with you forever, but unless you are prepared for its harsh environment, your adventure could turn sour. Be prepared and armed with knowledge and you will have the holiday of a lifetime. The list below should help when it comes to preparing for your outback adventure.
What to bring
- A good map of the area. Plan your route in advance and check out where each rest stop is.
- Plenty of water and food. Keeping hydrated is essential and you will need, on average, up to a litre of water per hour, per person (more if you are walking in the heat). Always bring extra in case you break down or get lost. The same goes for food – you’ll be glad of the extra sandwiches as you’re waiting for the recovery vehicle to make the several-hours-long journey!
- Sturdy walking shoes and adequate clothing. The terrain in the outback is harsh and sensible hiking boots are essential. Breathable fabrics will keep you cool under a fierce sun but the temperature can often drop considerably in evenings in the winter months so also bring warm clothes.
- Sun cream and a hat. Be sun smart and protect yourself from the sun with a hat and high factor sun block.
- A first aid kit and insect repellent. In isolated areas you may be a long way from help so it is also advisable to attend a first aid course.
- Camping gear. Accommodation options are few and far between in the outback so you will likely need to camp in one of the national parks. A tent, sleeping bag and roll-mat will be all you need if on an organised tour but if you’re travelling on your own, camp chairs, simple cooking equipment, a lighter, torch and an esky will also be needed. Camp in official grounds and check that there aren’t fire restrictions before lighting a fire.
- An HF radio. Mobile phones and CB radios won’t work in truly isolated areas of the outback so it is advisable to carry a high frequesncy radio in case you need to call for help.
- Extra fuel. Fuel stations might be hundreds of miles apart so it is essential to take a jerry can filled with petrol or diesel. You don’t want to run out in the middle of the outback!
Be aware of outback wildlife dangers
- Venomous snakes and spiders. They do exist but it is actually very rare for someone to die from a spider or snake bite. As long as you are sensible, look out for them and avoid them if you see them you will be fine.
- Crocodiles. Saltwater crocodiles are a real and present danger in northern parts of the country so pay attention to signs and advice from guides – if a crocodile has been spotted by a beach, swamp, river or billabong, do not swim there.
- Kangaroos. Australia’s most famous animal doesn’t attack humans but they present a threat when driving, especially at dawn and dusk when they are most active. Crash into a ‘big red’ on the road and you car could be written off.