Flinders Ranges and Outback - Don't Leave Home Without It
Safety in the outback
There’s a serious side to travelling through the amazing Australian outback. Be well prepared and you will have a great holiday. Trust us, you will need the following.
Plan your trip. If you are camping, please use gas stoves because firewood is scarce. You will also need a Desert Parks Pass. Due to the high temperatures in the outback, the cooler months from May to October are the best times to travel.
Before you go, download the handy 4WD Tracks & Repeater Towers brochure. It contains detailed information on outback routes, four wheel driving (4WD) safety, radio etiquette, notes from farmers and other helpful tips.
Get advice on the terrain, conditions and safety requirements. Contact South Australia's Royal Automobile Association (RAA) before leaving and drop into one of the Visitor Information Centres along the route.
Take frequent rest breaks and change drivers regularly and be aware of how close you are to facilities and services (fuel, water, medical).
You are sharing the road with everyone, from cyclists to road trains (trucks and lorries). Be considerate of other vehicles and prepare for wind turbulence from the large trucks. Allow a lot of room to overtake trucks, they are massive and can’t stop quickly. Don’t make them attempt to!
Watch out for livestock and wildlife as they often stray onto the road. Avoid driving at sunrise and sunset when animals are most active. Dust from dirt roads can obscure your vision. Slow down or stop until the dust settles.
Obey road closure signs and stick to the main roads. If you encounter gates, they should always be left as they were found. Open gates should be left open and closed gates should be closed after passing through them. Avoid tracks that are for private use only or that are not marked on maps.
Safe travel tips
Always carry plenty of water with you. Take care when travelling in remote areas during summer as temperatures in outback Australia can reach over 40°C (104°F).
It's a good idea to always wear a hat, shirt, sunglasses and SPF30+ sunscreen. Tell friends or family your travel plans and when you expect to return. Carry extra supplies of water and food. Carry spare tyres, tools and plenty of fuel.
Hire appropriate emergency communication equipment e.g. satellite phones, High Frequency (HF) radio. In an emergency, stay with your vehicle.
Emergency telephone numbers
Call 000 (triple zero) for emergency fire, police and ambulance assistance throughout Australia or if a crime is in progress. From mobile phones, the number is 112. For non-emergency police attendance, call 131 444.
Routes vary from excellent sealed roads like the Stuart Highway to the roughest of bush tracks. The Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track and Oodnadatta Track are among the best four wheel drive (4WD) journeys in the world and provide excellent access to the Northern Territory and Queensland. Be aware that seasonal conditions change the terrain of the roads from smooth sandy tracks to corrugated, stony and rocky crossings.
If you’re unsure of any aspect of your holiday planning, call one of the Visitor Information Centres. Take a list of the numbers you will need with you too.
Be well prepared and you will have a great holiday.
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