THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO TRAVELLING INTO THE OUTBACK
Before heading off into the crimson horizon, adventurous campers meticulously inspect their gear, their car, and their water stores, but few inspect themselves. The outback is an extreme environment and is tough on your belongings, but it is equally tough on your body and mind. Before you set off, you need to make sure you are prepared for what lies ahead.
HAVE I DONE ENOUGH RESEARCH?
You may have all the gear, but with no knowledge, you won’t get very far. Where are you going to camp or sleep? How will you get there? What will the terrain be like? Will you need driving skills in sand, mud, or water? Can you use all your navigation equipment effectively? Do you know how to change a tyre? Can you use all of your gadgets? Have you put your tent up before? Do you have a plan for if your route is unexpectedly interrupted by heavy rainfall or bushfires?
DO I HAVE A ROO BAR?
Killing wildlife is an expensive mistake to make. Not only can they take out your radiator and leave you stranded, hit one at the right angle it could be lethal to you or your passenger. If you are driving into the outback you should have a roo bar (bull bar). If you don’t you really need to limit your speed in areas where you might suddenly encounter a suicidal roo.
WHAT IS MY BUDGET AND HOW CAN I STICK TO IT?
Travelling in the outback can become as expensive as you let it. Even on roads with petrol stations, it isn’t uncommon to pay upwards of two bucks a litre in remote areas. But you can save on money by taking plenty of pre-filled jerry cans with you.
If you are on a tight budget, it is often worth visiting in the summer. Prices are lower because fewer people visit. But there is a reason why people don’t go in the summer; its scorching. It is worth weighing up if the discomfort between the hours of 10am and 3pm for a cheaper trip.
HAVE I GIVEN MYSELF ENOUGH TIME?
One of the most common mistakes people make when travelling a trip to the outback is not allowing themselves enough time. I would choose quality over quantity any day. A trip where I am rushed and covering huge distances, only to sleep then start driving again, would give me no satisfaction. Choose a few places and visit them for longer to discover the real gems.
HAVE I EFFECTIVELY ORGANISED MY PACKING?
This isn’t a two-week, all-inclusive trip to Bali. If you forget something you may not be easily able to replace it. Like Santa, make a list and check it twice, then once more for good measure. If you are highly organised, have carefully considered your plans, and realistic about your capabilities and budget, exploring the outback is one of the most enchanting and satisfying things you can do in Australia. Don’t leave anything to chance, consider every detail and adequately prepare to face every challenge.
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