Tips for travelling safely in the outback

Tips for travelling safely in the outback

Roads in outback Australia can be sparse, long and empty of fellow travelers. They can be beautiful, ever changing, and interesting. But also hot, lacking phone reception or amenities. It is important that you take into consideration some hints and tips before travelling.

  1. Know your vehicle and equipment (tools, first aid, emergency kit, UHF radio/sat phone etc).
  2. Take a 4WD, or defensive driving, or vehicle maintenance (oil, water, tyre pressure, common issues) course.
  3. Plan your trip in advance and let someone know your itinerary. Make sure you have a clear plan for your trip and share it with someone you trust. This will help emergency services locate you in case of an emergency.
  4. Carry a satellite phone or UHF- In the event of an emergency, a satellite phone or communication device can be a lifeline. Make sure it is charged and bring extra batteries.
  5. Carry enough food, water, and supplies- The outback can be a harsh environment, and it is important to be self-sufficient. Make sure you have enough food, water, and supplies to last the duration of your trip.
  6. Respect the environment- The outback is a fragile ecosystem, and it is important to leave no trace. Follow “Leave No Trace” principles, including packing out all trash, respecting wildlife, and not disturbing cultural sites.
  7. Know your limits and listen to your body- The outback can be physically and mentally challenging. Make sure you are prepared for the conditions and listen to your body. If you are feeling exhausted or unwell, take a break.
  8. Know how to deal with emergencies- Make sure you have basic first aid training and know how to deal with emergencies such as snake bites and heat stroke. Carry a first aid kit and any necessary medications.
  9. Stay on marked trails or roads unless with a First Nations friend or ranger. It is important to stay on marked trails and roads and avoid venturing off on your own. This will help you avoid getting lost and minimize your impact on the environment.
  10. Be prepared for extreme weather- The outback can experience extreme weather conditions, including heatwaves, thunderstorms, and flash flooding. Make sure you are prepared for these conditions and have the necessary equipment to stay safe. Know what season you are in- wet, dry or local versions of that. Check the weather before leaving.
  11. In case of breakdown or crash- stay with your vehicle.
  12. Avoid picking up strangers- phone 000 to inform police or UHF ahead to let others know to send out the police or a ranger to check on their safety.

These are just some of the hints and tips to safe outback road travel. Websites like RACV have good information for remote outback travel as does 4WD Adventure TV.

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