Six Safety Tips for Backpacking Down Under

Tips for Backpacking Down Under

Australia is a vast and beautiful continent that excites countless backpackers each year. In terms of crime, it’s one of the safest places to travel but in terms of strange ways to die, it’s one of the worsts. Though such dangers are certainly no reason not to enjoy this beautiful continent, they are a reason to be cautious. Should you be heading down under in the near future, here are six simple safety tips that you are very much advised to follow.

Swim Between the Flags

Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Unfortunately, the coastal waters also have their fair share of powerful currents. If you are not careful about where you swim, you can easily find yourself being carried out to sea. When swimming or kayaking in the ocean, always stay between the red and yellow flags. Such flags are used to illustrate where is safe and where is not. It’s also worth noting that lifeguards are not everywhere at all times.

Take Care on Long Journeys

Driving into the great unknown is one of the best ways to experience Australia. You haven’t experienced nothingness until you’ve experienced the outback. Before heading off however, always make sure that your vehicle is in good working order. If at all possible, choose a vehicle with GPS and don’t even think about heading anywhere without a spare tyre. Plan your route carefully and let somebody know both where you are going and when you intend on getting there. Don’t assume that you’ll have mobile phone coverage either, it is the outback remember.

Respect the Sun

In the height of Summer, the sun is not something that you should take lightly. Regardless of your skin type, wear ample sunscreen. Stay hydrated and do your best to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours. The afternoon is not a good time to go hiking.

Be Cautious Around Crocodiles

Crocodiles are a must-see attraction in Australia but they’re incredibly dangerous animals if you get too close. They’re also a hell of a lot smarter and faster than most people think. Should you venture into crocodile habitats, don’t even think about going for a swim. And if you want to go camping, seek expert advice regarding where you should and should not set up your tent. Crocodile attacks are rare but when they do happen, they are almost always fatal.

Watch Out for Spiders and Snakes

The easiest way to protect yourself from poisonous critters is to simply use your common sense. When hiking, always wear protective footgear and don’t walk in high grass unless you genuinely need to. Spiders and snakes only attack humans when they feel threatened. When you see one, the best course of action is to simply keep your distance. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten by something, always seek medical assistance immediately.

Finally, there is the small matter of hiking. When done correctly, it’s one of the most rewarding things that you can do in Australia. When done incorrectly however, it can be incredibly dangerous. Keep the following tips in mind whenever you’ve got your hiking boots on.

  • Be realistic about your hiking skills, don’t tackle a trail that you can’t handle.
  • Always carry a map and plenty of water.
  • Let somebody know both where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Wear protective footgear, a hat and plenty of sunscreen.

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