Its summertime and the outback is beginning to heat up. But travelling off-peak has plenty of perks! These top travel tips for summer will have you beat the heat for an amazing outback experience while saving time and money.
TRAVEL TIP #1 MISS THE CROWDS
One of the biggest perks of travelling in off-peak season, is that there are less people to share the outback with! Imagine being able to explore the highlights and tourist traps of Australia’s most iconic destinations, without jostling crowds and noisy commuters.
In fact – you might be the only one there. Talk about a personal experience!
TRAVEL TIP #2 BOOK AHEAD
While there may not be a lot of travellers this time of year, booking ahead pays off! Many outback venues offer summer accommodation sales or tour discounts that could save you plenty.
Take advantage of these summer specials:
TRAVEL TIP #3 START EARLY
The best advice to beating the outback sun is to start your day early. The heat outback is considerably dry. This means that when the sun isn’t directly on you, the temperature drops.
Mornings are cooler than afternoons, so plan your walks and outdoor experiences to start then. Nature hikes, national park or farm exploration and
Temperatures peak between midday and 3.00pm. So take the adventure indoors during this time. There are plenty of art galleries, museums and shaded swimming pools to indulge in.
Or why not take a nap.
You’re on vacation after all.
Travellers explore Mutawintji National Park
TRAVEL TIP #4 FINISH LATE
When the sun starts to settle, eating outdoors is a sublime way to end the night. A cool beer, a sizzling BBQ, and a guaranteed canopy of stars will leave you relaxed and ready for the next day.
Star tours will add value to your experience.
Try Outback Astronomy located in Broken Hill.
TRAVEL TIP #5 BRING PLENTY OF WATER
Enough can’t be said, about the importance of water. The last thing you want is to be stranded without a healthy ration of the wet stuff. Especially when the weather heats up. Dehydration can be pretty detrimental to your health.
Recommendations vary on how much water is enough. A basic guide is to carry between 5 and 7 litres of water per person, per day of travel. Make sure to replenish your supplies at each stop.
TRAVEL TIP #6 FUEL UP
Just like water, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without fuel. Pay careful attention to your fuel gauge, and make sure you top up your tanks at any given opportunity.
The distance between outback townships can be deceptive. And you can expect fuel to be more expensive out here than in the city. Plan for it, and keep the tanks full where ever possible – even if the price make you cringe!
TRAVEL TIP #7 KNOW YOUR ROADS
Generally speaking, most main roads will be sealed. Especially if they are popular travel destinations, such as Broken Hill, Wilcannia or Cobar.
However, unlike the city, not all routes will be made of bitumen. In fact, there are a number of unsealed and dirt roads connecting regional communities. And a large percentage of roads leading to national parks are dirt.
Of course, travelling on dirt roads and even off-road can add to the excitement of your adventure. But it pays to do your research and be prepared.
Not all cars are designed to travel off-road, and some roads are even closed to vehicles that are not four-wheel-drive. Before taking the quickest route listed on Google Maps, research the best route for you.
It is worth contacting local Visitor Information Centres that can assist you in making your travel plans. We’re yet to find one that isn’t friendly and extremely helpful!
Inclement weather and rain can also cause some issues for dirt road travel – but we’ll talk about that later!
Summer Travel Tip: Know your roads
TRAVEL TIP #8 WATCH THE WEATHER
If you’ve seen the news lately, you would know that most of the outback is currently in drought. Whilst this is undeniably hard on the locals, it does have a silver lining for travellers.
There is little fear of rain complicating holiday plans, particularly when travelling in the dry months of summer.
All the same, it is always, ALWAYS important to watch the weather when travelling. Heavy rain on dirt roads can cause road closures, while heat waves require extra caution and preparation.
When in doubt about how the weather may affect your travel plans, contact your local Visitor Information Centre.
TRAVEL TIP #9 AVOID DRIVING AT NIGHT
You may be surprised to hear, the biggest dangers of driving at night aren’t hitch-hikers or criminal bikie gangs. It’s actually the wildlife.
If you have never hit a ‘roo while travelling, you probably know someone who has. Kangaroos are abundant in regional Australia. And they are frequently spotted along the roadside.
This can be understandably worrisome for travellers during the day. But it is particularly dangerous at night.
Outback communities can be deceptively far apart. The country in between is often void of artificial light sources. At night, nocturnal animals like kangaroos can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. And once you’ve hit a roo, help can be a long way away.
The best way to stay safe on outback roads at night, is to avoid driving outback roads at night.
Lazy kangaroo avoiding the outback sun
TRAVEL TIP #10 GET PLENTY OF REST
Another killer on outback roads – and roads everywhere – is fatigue.
Don’t risk your safety by not getting enough rest. Ensure you have a good sleep the night before your travel. Stop at least every two hours to take a break. If you have a travel companion, take turns driving. And bring energising snacks and drink plenty of water to keep your body awake and healthy.
Road hypnosis is a real thing.
Be safe not sorry.
TRAVEL TIP #11 ALL ABOUT PUBS
You would be far-stretched to find any outback community without a local pub. And even less likely to find one empty.
Local pubs are a treasure trove of informative staff, friendly travellers and outback characters. From many years of travel, we can guarantee you that some of the most memorable experiences and friendships were forged by chatting with people at the local pub.
This is the best place to ask about local sights, eateries and events you might otherwise miss. You may even find out more about that strange building, plant or animal you saw on your way in.
After all, no one knows a place like the people who live there.
The pub at the White Cliffs Underground Motel attracts many travellers to its unique venue
TRAVEL TIP #12 KEEP THE BUGS AT BAY
If summertime has a downside, it could be the insects. But you don’t need to let a few flies ruin your holiday fun.
Aeroguard is your first defence against these pesky creatures. Bring plenty of insect repellent sprays and roll-ons and use them regularly. If you are particularly adverse to insects, consider buying a hat with a fly net.
While flies can be annoying at first, you’d be surprised how quickly you learn to ignore them.
TRAVEL TIP #13 BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES
While making sure you have plenty of water and petrol is important, having a first aid kit could save a life.
Make sure yours is fully stocked and that your supplies have not expired. You could go as far as refreshing your first aid skills. But packing a first aid book should suffice.
You should also ensure that your car is equipped for emergencies. If you plan on taking your travels off-road, make sure you have plenty of recovery gear, and that you know how to use it.
Before travelling anywhere remote, make sure you have a list of emergency phone numbers, stored somewhere reachable.
We recommend downloading the free Emergency+ app.
This has been developed by Australia’s emergency services to help a 000 caller make contact in an emergency. It also logs a copy of your GPS location to help emergency workers find you in remote or unknown locations!
Some numbers you should consider including are:
- Triple Zero for all life threatening situations – 000 or 112
- Police non-urgent matters – 131 444
- Health Direct for free health advice from trained clinicians – 1800 022 222
- Mental health emergencies – 13 14 65
- Poisons information – 13 11 26
- Police non-urgent matters – 131 444
- Fruit Fly and Quarantine Hotline – 1300 666 010
- SES storm or flood response – 132 500
TRAVEL TIP #14 PHONE COVERAGE
Not all travel destinations will provide great phone coverage. In fact some locations may not have coverage at all.
The more remote your destination is, the more likely it is that your phone will not have reception. So to stay safe, ensure you know how you can contact someone in an emergency.
Know where the phone ‘dead zones’ are, keep note of the closest public pay phones, and always let a friend know where you are heading in case something prevents you from getting back.
Some national parks experience limited phone signal, and many have a public pay phone available near the local office for emergencies.
If you are planning on travelling in remote conditions for an extended period of time, e.g. the Simpson Desert, investing in a satellite phone is a must.
TRAVEL TIP #15 TAKE YOUR TIME!
Now that you are organised and prepared for your holiday, it’s time to sit back and enjoy it! There is so much to see and do in outback Australia. Whatever you chose, take the time to make the most of it.
There is no hustle and bustle out here.
Enjoy the peace and calm.
Summer Travel Tips: Take your time!
BONUS TRAVEL TIP:
LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE WORK INSTEAD!
Rather than worry about organising supplies, scratching up on your first aid, or the rising price of petrol – hop on board a fully catered tour!
You’ll see the best that the outback has to offer, while getting to enjoy every minute while someone else does the thinking!
Tri State Safaris offer 15 all-inclusive tour packages from 1 day expeditions to 12 day adventures. Their destinations include the Flinders Ranges, the Corner Country, the Simpson Desert, Broken Hill, Birdsville, Mungo, Mutawintji and so much more.
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