The Australian Outback is a fantastic place to discover. But it is also very dangerous. Some of you may have read the Bill Bryson’s book about Oz, and he may be right, Australia’s outback may be the most inhospitable place on earth. Still, we are all attracted to the beauty of the bush, the red dirt, the flat salt lakes, the incredible beauty of the land and the amazing big sky… So if you are planning to go to the outback, here is a few things you should bring with you:

  • 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!

As Bill Bryson’s points out in his book “Down Under”, there are more deadly species in Australia than anywhere in the world. So beware:

  • 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.