Ten Ways to Survive Australia’s Outback
Like any activity, making your way through the Australian outback needs time and preparation. No matter how excited you are to bask in the beauty of the landscape or explore the flora and fauna of the country, it can be a dangerous trip if you don’t know how to prepare, more so if you do not know what to do in case of an emergency. The stunning outbacks can be deceiving as you will be exposed to the harsh natural elements plus the unpredictability of weather can wreak havoc on your plans. To ensure that you will get out of the wilds safe, sound, and with stories to tell, here are some ways to survive in the Australian outback.
1. Prepare for your trip physically and mentally
Going to the outback is a physical journey. Much like any trip, you have to be fit and ready for travelling. Try to incorporate some exercises weeks or months prior to your trip so you can improve your stamina. There may be walking and carrying heavy things involved during your trip to Australia, so you better be ready to endure some physical stress. Make yourself more relaxed as well by making sure that you have your emergency contacts with you. If you have pending work at home, finish them a few days before your trip so you can be relaxed. There is nothing worse than going on vacation knowing that you have left something behind and that your family or your boss will be calling you anytime. A clear mind is the best companion on any trip. Small things that can get you distracted may cause unnecessary worry or disturbance during the trip, so take care of them beforehand.
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2. Plan your itinerary
You cannot just walk into a national park or any remote destination without any preparation. Having a good plan is one of the ways to endure a trip to the Australian outback. Whether you plan on a day trip, a 3-day adventure or even a 5-day escapade, make sure that you have studied the itinerary and prepared the things you will need for them. Familiarize yourself as much as you can with the places that you will visit and prepare the requirements for them beforehand. Some destinations might require valid identification cards or other documents so make sure that you are able to bring them. Make sure that you have secured your accommodation and that food stops are made in your itinerary.
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3. Do not venture out alone
As much as you can, travel in groups. There are tours and caravans available that you can join. This will put you in groups that will have the same itinerary as you. This is one of the surest ways to survive in the Australian outback because someone will always know where you are and where you should be. If something happens, someone will be with you to go get help or to assist you in case of injury. Guided tours are safer especially for first-timers because you will have someone with you who is familiar with the terrain and knows where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. A tour guide will also know the areas where venomous creatures are lurking and the signs that the weather is turning worse. Make sure also that someone always knows where you are going. This way, someone will notice if you have been missing for a suspicious amount of time and inform authorities about it.
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4. Get to know and prepare your vehicle
If you will opt for self-drive tours, make sure that you are familiar with the vehicle that you will be renting. Only four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed during trips to the Australian outback. It is not enough that you have a license and you know how to drive your own car in your own city. The terrains of the outback are not forgiving. The worst roads in your city may be the best roads in the wilderness. If you have the time and resources, practice driving the same type of vehicle that you will rent during your outback adventure. Learn some basic maintenance skills like changing flat tires, hot wiring, checking the oil and battery, etc. Learn from the guides what to do in case you get stuck in the sand or mud.
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5. Do not leave your vehicle
In case your vehicle breaks down, do not go anywhere. It is always best to stay with your vehicle even if it malfunctions instead of walking around in the wilderness. The car will protect you from the intense heat during the day and the harsh coldness at night. There may also be wild animals that approach you, so it’s better to stay inside your vehicle. Another reason why you should not leave the car should it break down is that it is easier to spot during rescue operations versus a person walking somewhere that is untraceable. Whether you are stuck in the middle of the desert or in the middle of a remote place where no one seems to be around, staying inside your vehicle is better protection than nothing. You will only risk hurting yourself more if you venture by yourself and walk away from your vehicle.
6. Bring more than enough water
The human body can survive up to three weeks without food but we can only survive for three days without water. It is recommended that you bring at least 4 litres of water for each person per day of the trip. The sun can be harsh during the day so ration your water intake properly. It is also recommended that you put your water in small containers. This way, even if the container breaks, only a small amount will be wasted. In the event that you get stuck in the middle of nowhere and you are about to run out of water, look for sources without getting too far from your vehicle. You can collect rainwater in your containers for future use. If there is a significant amount of animal track going to the same place, chances are there is a watershed nearby. You can follow these tracks to get to the water source, but make sure that you leave marks so you can get back to your vehicle.
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7. Bring the proper attire and emergency kit
There are many elements that you will have to battle with when in the outback. Make sure that you have the proper clothes to protect you from these. Long sleeves shirts will protect you from both the heat, the cold, and mosquitoes. Bring a hat or cap and apply sunscreen every two hours. Use appropriate shoewear so you will be comfortable. Mosquito repellants are also a must for your emergency kit. To ensure that you have better chances of surviving in the Australian outback, bring a lighter and a whistle. This will give you higher chances of survival since you have the means to start a fire with the lighter and can get attention with the whistle. If you are going on a long trip with some serious exploration to do, bring a satellite phone with you. This is the best way to ensure that you will have contact with the outside world should you have problems during your trip.
8. Stay on the designated track
The beauty of the outback may tempt you to go out of your way and follow a road not indicated in the trip. However, this is not recommended as there are unpredictable elements that you will meet when you go off the main road. A sure way to survive travelling in the Australian outback is to stay on the main and designated roads. Follow the signages that are scattered around the selected tracks as these are the first ones to be checked in case someone goes missing. Australia is a very big place and it is easy to get lost if you are not familiar with the lands. There are also tracks that are not safe for vehicles and this might cause more accidents. It is also easy to go back where you came from if you are on the main track. In case of emergency, the main roads are also the ones with markers, making it easier for you to inform authorities where you are so helping can be sent.
9. Conserve energy
In case you get stuck in the outback and have no choice but to spend some time there, conserve your energy. Heatstroke is common for those exposed to the harsh sun so do not move a lot during the day. Do the least amount of movement or work during the day and save them for when it is cooler at night. By conserving energy, you also save water. Being active during the day will cause you to sweat a lot, making you drink more water. However, this is fluids that you may not need if you did not move a lot. This will just pass through your body, wasting valuable water that you will need more in the future. Staying out of the sun is the sure way to endure being stranded in the Australian outback.
10. Stay Positive
When you are already stranded in the middle of nowhere with little food and water, there is no other way to survive but to stay calm. Panicking when your vehicle malfunctions or when you get lost will not help your situation. By staying positive, you will be able to think clearly and remember all the tips that you studied before making your outback trip. If you were able to do all the preparations and took the proper precautions, someone from your family or your group will soon notice that you are missing. Proper authorities will be informed and a rescue team will be sent out to look for you.
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The Australian outback is a special place that only a few can go to. While the experience of being in the wild, enjoying an adventure, and being away from the business of a city is tempting, always keep in mind that many unpredictable situations can lead to danger. There are many ways to survive in the Australian outback if we did the proper planning, prepared our bodies and mind for the trip, and put in place contingency measures that will be followed in case something goes wrong. You will be able to enjoy your adventure if everything is in place and your mind is at ease, knowing that you have what you need and know what to do to survive the outback.