5 Tips for Surviving The Aussie Outback
There are a few places in the world as beautiful, as vast and as unforgiving as the Australian outback. With its climate, sweeping landscapes, unpredictable wildlife and immense size, the Australian outback still manages to draw in visitors from all around the globe, as well as among Aussies.
However, the Australian outback is not a place for the unprepared. The things that make the outback so enthralling, can also put travellers in danger at just a moment’s notice. The outback is also relatively isolated, so those who venture out without the knowledge and planning required will have some difficulty in exploring some of the most spectacular and remote regions in Australia without putting their safety at risk.
Still, today, we’re going to take a look at some basic preparation and precautions that you can take before you head off for your outback adventure.
Before we start, remember to check out our store for the best camping and hiking gear and accessories for your next trip! Also, check out our tips on how to choose the right tent for your needs.
1. Always think about the worst case scenario
Okay, we know what it’s like to be the one who always has the worst case scenario on hand. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but the outback can be an unforgiving place at the turn of a hat. You won’t be able to survive if you’re planning to wing it. Pack supplies, plan every detail of your trip down to the dot and even plan for situations where you might lose your backpack! Sure, the chances of anything happening are quite unlikely, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Have foreknowledge of your campgrounds
The last thing you need on a trip to the outback is to be unprepared for what you’re about to face. You don’t want to stride into your campground and then realize that there is no drinking or cooking water available. Because in the outback, water is of the utmost importance. Seriously. If you think you have enough water, think again. The outback can get you thirsty, and you’ll sometimes need to take at least a minimum of 10 litres of water per person, per day. So, remember to check your facilities in the campgrounds and make sure that you come well prepared. Things like firewood are also scarce, so you may also want to consider bringing your own lest you freeze at night without getting a proper campfire going.
3. Look out for snakebites
This one is a doozy. With over 140 species of land snake and 32 recorded species of sea snakes, Australia is a snake haven. In fact over 100 Australian snakes are venomous, which is a shocking number when you think about it. In the outback, you should be wary of snakebites, because help might be further than you think. The best way to avoid snakebites is to avoid snakes, so you shouldn’t put your hands or feet in places you can’t see, like rock crevices or branches and in water where you can’t see your feet. It’s also good to know that snakes detect vibration more than sound. So rather than treading lightly, you should be stomping around while bushwalking to scare off the snake before it has the chance to surprise you. If you see a snake, don’t try to interfere with it, just let it be and move away.
But what if a snake has bitten you? Well, here are some symptoms of a venomous snakebite:
- Puncture wounds with swelling, redness and pain around the bite marks
- Difficulty breathing, blurred vision, sweating and salivating, numbness
- Headache, collapse, vomiting or nausea.
Immediately contact 000 and try to have some anti-venom on hand.
4. Drive in daylight
The outback, unlike the CBDs, are absolutely blackout spots. You probably would have never known how dark it gets out in the outback when the sun sets. This makes it difficult for you to travel in a car, because the darkness is so absolute. It will be hard to see other cars, or wild animals that may just jump out at you. Plus, it will also be difficult to see if there are any hazards on the road, like flooding. It’s safer to drive when it’s bright out, and when you’re more alert to the dangers around you.
Speaking of cars...
5. NEVER leave your car
If everything goes sideways, and you need help, do NOT, and we repeat this again, DO NOT leave your car under any circumstances. The outback is a dangerous place to be, and wandering off to look for help is a sure way of turning your situation into a fatal one. You should stay within radius of your car, because a car is easier to spot than a single person. You should have prepared well and have at least a supply of food and water that could last you for at least a few days; or at least until someone comes by to help.
The Australian Outback is a beautiful place. It can also be dangerous if you’re not fully prepared. It’s remote, isolated and full of hazards. So, we hope that our tips have been helpful for when you’re ever stranded in a life-threatening situation. Of course, we hope not.
What did you think about our article? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment section below! Itching to go on a camping trip? Check out our guide to start ultralight backpacking or check out our list of essential camping gear for 2020 to help you better plan out your next camping trip or check out our store for more camping gear!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)1. What can I expect if I am to walk or hike along the outback?
The rugged landscapes of the outback can help to inspire the inner adventurer in you. However, if you’re planning to explore on foot, you should at least prepare yourself and not underestimate the risks. Unlike a hiking trail up in the forest or mountains, it’s easier for a person to lose sight of the trail. Many stories of survivors state that they did not even realize they were lost until it was too late.
2. What are some of the things to take note of before I head to the outback?
Here are a few things you should consider doing before you set off:
- Tell people where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you should be expected back.
- Bring a detailed map, compass, whistle and lighter.
- Carry enough food and water for at least 2 days. Aim for one litre per person per hour, in small containers.
- Take notice of signs at all times
- Always wear a sun-protective hat (not a cap), sunglasses and water-resistant SPF20+ sunscreen. Reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours or as necessary.
- Invest in good walking shoes.
3. What are some of the natural dangers I should expect in the outback?
You should be careful of two major naturally caused problems: Exposure & Sunburn
Exposure is one of the major dangers of bush hiking so it’s important to recognise your limits. It’s important to stay calm while trying to get some shelter and shade. Panicking will only be wasting your energy and make you even more fearful. Instead, conserve your energy and make sure your water supply is sufficient. Try to stay positive as you make out a survival plan.
For sunburn, nothing beats prevention. Wear a hat, pack a long-sleeved shirt and apply high-SPF sunblock before heading out in the elements. Don’t wait till it’s too late and you’re already burned.