Camping the outback is an experience that’s second to none. The beautiful diversity of landscapes range from coastal to lush rainforest and these natural wonders make enjoying Australia fireside, seaside, or trial-side absolutely unforgettable. However, it’s precisely this wild and rugged beauty that make camping in Australia as challenging as it is rewarding: the outback is full of surprises — that is, if you’re not prepared for them.
OK, granted, when it comes to nature, you can never be prepared for everything, but you can prepare yourself against foreseeable obstacles. If you’re planning to camp in Australia, keep reading. This article is your first line of defense against Murphy’s Law, proving that whatever can go wrong, will be less likely to go wrong with a little preparation.
1. DO: Know Where You’re Camping
Obvious, right? Well, that depends where you’re from! If you’re from Victoria and plan to camp in Victoria, then yes, it’s obvious. But if you’re not native to the area or even country, then knowing where you are camping will determine when you should camp. The climate in this relatively small country is incredibly diverse, and can range greatly from state to state.
Here are some guidelines for ideal times to camp:
Southern States: October to April
Subtropical States: Year round, but keep in mind the inland temperatures can be a wee bit warm.
Tropical States: Year round, though there is a wet season from November to March that may be too soggy for campers who aren’t towing their off-road camper trailers. This said, during this rainy season the landscape is sensationally lush and beautiful.
Central Australia: April to October to avoid the sweltering heat of summer.
2. DON’T: Forget Fresh Water!
It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to camp on a busy campsite or in the backcountry, you need to ensure you have plenty of fresh water — if you’re really heading into the great unknown — a means to purify water. You can be a water purification tool to take with you, so if you run out of your own supply of H2O, you know you have safe back up. After all, camping (especially in the heat), is thirsty work.
3. DO: Bring Pest Control
Nothing dampens the spirits of happy campers like being bothered by bugs. Buy a quality insect repellent and apply it liberally. Also, make sure your tent and eating area have intact mosquito netting.
4. DON’T: Forget Your Fire
Your campfire is not only great for ambiance, but it can help keep you warm, cook your food and keep pests away. Pack matches in a water-proof container, in addition to lighters. Fire was one of humankind’s first great discoveries: you’re not beyond its wonders! Practice your fire building skills beforehand so you’re not messing around trying to get a roaring fire going when you’re tired, cold and hungry.
5. DO: Pack Good Shoes
This is really more of a life lesson: always dress for the occasion. When you’re on your feet exploring all day, footwear is everything. Be sure to bring tough, water resistant and comfortable shoes that are made for walking, if not hiking. You can bring your flip-flops for your days at the beach, but if you’re in the woods or navigating a steep rock face, you’ll be thankful for your good shoes. Mountain Equipment Co-op carries a great line, as does Columbia.
Take these tips to heart, then get out there and enjoy your Australian camping adventure! As with any camping trip, be sure to not exceed your experience, and always leave a trip plan with a friend or family member. It may see overly cautious, but really, it’s just smart camping.