Explore Australia’s deserts safely and lawfully with these tips for travelling through the country’s harshest and most remote regions.
1. Carry plenty of water (2-3 litres per person per day), food and fuel (allowing for 30-50% extra for sandy areas) plus enough food and water for an additional week just in case. Plan to be totally self-sufficient.
2. Avoid travelling during or just after wet weather, as dirt roads will quickly become impassable and can take weeks to dry out. Check with local authorities on road closures and road conditions or you could be facing a large fine.
3. Make sure your vehicle is in first class mechanical condition and carry a good kit of tools, essential spare parts, two spare tyres and a tyre repair kit. Know how to check your vehicle over and make basic repairs.
4. Don’t drive at dawn, dusk or night because this is when stock and wildlife are most active.
5. Summer temperatures can be scorching and even midday in winter can be hot enough. Always drink plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen to avoid dehydration and sunburn.
6. In the event of a breakdown, stay with your vehicle. A vehicle is a larger target to see for emergency services, and will offer you valuable shade or warmth depending on time of day.
7. Do an accredited first aid course and carry a comprehensive first aid kit that is easy to access. Learn some survival skills such as how to contact the RFDS and police using your radio, bush navigation, how to start a fire and collecting water.
8. It’s imperative that you have a backup system involving a person at ‘home base’ who you regularly contact and advise of your travel plans. Give them a map of the area where you are going and a phone number list and instructions as to what to do and who to contact if you stop calling.