Monday, February 12, 2007

Traveling Australia's Outback? Tips and Advice

Perhaps one of the most charming things about the the Australian Outback is its stubborn changeability. Even its seemingly rigid mountains of rocks have their way of changing right before your eyes, as if the landscape refuses all human effort to be mapped.

Unroll that map

And yet a map (and a compass too) is one of the most important thing you'll need in your safari adventure. Current maps are available from petrol stations, RACV, NRMA, and most local police stations. If your maps aren't current, you can get terrifyingly lost, which will not only frustrate and scare you, but can cause serious depletion in your food, energy, precious water and fuel as well.

Make sure someone knows where you are at all times. If you are on your own, give a friend your itinerary or make a point of periodically keeping contact with them so that they know you are not in danger.

Also, before leaving each township, check with the local police station and tell them where you are heading, your planned trip, and when you hope to reach the next township. If you do happen to get lost, the information will make it easy for them to organise a search for you.

If you have additional questions, ask the friendly locals too.


Campfires must be watched at all times. Do not walk away from your lighted open fire and don’t leave your campsite without smothering all cinders and residue. Wildfires destroy not just trees and plants but also the animals that depend on them. And most wildfires in the Outback are results of carelessly-left campfires.

Keep Garbage In

Don't throw or leave your garbage just anywhere. Whatever garbage you accumulate during your travel (food wrappers, toilet paper, bean cans, film canisters, band-aid boxes) needs to come back with you.

Rule of Thumb: Take only photos, leave only footprints

Our Australian desert and bush is dangerous, stunning and alluring, but you must keep your wits about you. The Outback is not just some arid region in Australia navigable by a four-wheel drive and ample drinking water supply. You can’t just travel Australia to explore the Outback, much less read about it in an article such as this. More importantly, the Outback is in the heart and soul of the traveler who has willed every step of the way. If you go now, you do yourself a favor.

And if you just heed these basic advices and take responsibility to care for each other, you’re sure to live to tell a great story.

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