Know your route
Getting through the outback is usually a fairly easy task in terms of navigation, even for the most useless of map readers. There will often be one road in and one road out but no phone reception, so familiarise yourself with your route and destinations beforehand, particularly if relying on your smartphone as a sat nav.
Mind the weather
The dry heat of the outback can be extremely unforgiving, especially if you’re not travelling by car. Bikers and hikers should try to avoid the midday sun, which will reach the high thirties and beyond through the summer months. Wet seasons usually coincide with the high heat, and in popular spots such as Alice Springs the rainfall is unpredictable and biblical when it comes. April can be a great time to consider due to the lower temperatures, less threat of rain, but more lush appearance of the surroundings.
Hatch a plan
Should you be headed to the red centre of Oz, then it’s likely you’ll be on a mission to the big rock, Uluru. It’s a magnificent place, but also within reach are other epic natural sights such as Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta and the MacDonnell Ranges. Factor time into your plans to visit these spots that offer diversity, and incredible experiences to compliment your trip to Uluru.
Get yourself connected
If you’ll have your own transport, get an in-car charger for your smartphone. It will be an invaluable tool, as will a cable to connect your tunes to the stereo. Some quality road-trippin’ classics are sure to keep you occupied through the long and lonely hours on the road, whilst using your phone as a sat nav will drain its battery quicker than you can say ‘G’day Bruce’.
Watch out for road trains!
Some of these bad boys need to be seen to be believed, road trains can often be pulling as many as five trailers and won’t think twice about overtaking you should you be dawdling along. Watch out for high winds and wet weather which make the conditions more unpredictable. If you see flashing lights ahead, slow right down, it could be an escort to a big daddy behemoth of the trucking world, carting mining equipment across both lanes of the road, so slow right down.
Plan your night’s sleep
Arranging a bed for the night is always a good idea in terms of planning routes and how far you need to cover. If you’re prepared to wing it however, you could take advantage of rest stops that can be found frequently along major routes. Load up your car or camper with cooking equipment and supplies and catch some kip, free of charge by the roadside.
Frequently fill up
This applies both to your water supplies and your petrol tank. Keep as much water with you as you can, and fill it up whenever you get the opportunity to minimise the risk of running low. Keeping fuel levels topped up is crucial, as petrol stations become more and more sparse the further away from civilisation you venture. Don’t be put off by high prices; the next one will be just as bad.
Take it easy
There shouldn’t be any great need to be in a rush, so take it easy. Don’t bury your foot in the floor and avoid travelling at night – the roo’s are countless and unpredictable and will mess you up. Relax and enjoy the alien environment you find yourself in, and take in plenty of incredible sunrises and sunsets.