Australia’s vast desert expanse can prove a hostile habitat while travelling.
Thus groundwork and organisation is an imperative ‘insurance policy’ – and potentially life saving – while tackling such breathtaking, albeit unforgiving, ancient landscape.
Lack of vegetation is a fact of life in semi-arid regions, and precipitation is the exception rather than the norm. Remember, you can survive three weeks without food but only three days without water.
So, if you become stranded in the remote outback, ensure you have a good supply of food and water. And always remain with your fully serviced vehicle – it offers a form of protection from the harsh elements and is much easier to locate than a person roaming aimlessly through a remote backtrack.
It’s also a good idea to plan your route and calculate the longest distance between fuel and water.
Additionally, don’t ever journey into the outback with worn tyres, and make sure you have all the required permits. It’s also advisable to take along maps and a guide book covering your intended destinations.
As mentioned, there are genuine risks associated with outback travel, so have some desert survival tips and tricks ‘up your sleeve’.
In terms of rescue gear, first and foremost purchase a Personal Location Beacon (PLB).
Good communications are essential; a UHF radio for short range comms between vehicles or even cattle properties, a HF radio or a sat phone for safety and long distance communication. At the very least carry an EPIRB distress beacon, or a SPOT messenger device, or similar.
Leave your route with friends and family, and always carry a first-aid kit and a first-aid manual.
And be mindful to collect water and firewood in the cool of the evening.
Remember the priorities of survival: Protection, Rescue, Water and Food.
Finally, never underestimate the effect of heat. Adequate hydration, suitable headgear and sunscreen are all fundamentally crucial while in the outback.
MEET THE AUTHOR
With more than 30 years’ journalistic experience, Peter’s brief predominantly centres on editorial reviews for Caravan World and Camper magazines. A relative late starter to the trials and tribulations of the RV industry, Peter has been making up for lost time caravanning and camping with his family around Victoria. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively. Other favourite haunts also became ensconced on the family camping itinerary – Jamieson in Victoria’s High Country, Whitfield in the King Valley, Princetown on the Great Ocean Road, and Bright in the Ovens Valley.