With wide open spaces, iconic scenery and a beautiful array of wildlife, Australia is one of the most popular tourist hot spots worldwide. Often very popular with young travellers and those looking to take a gap year out of education to go travelling, part of Australia’s appeal is that it is a completely unknown continent that just happens to speak the same language as we do.
This may sound like a strange thing but one reason less people travel to see the world is the fear that they will be stuck in an unfamiliar place and they won’t be able to properly communicate their distress. Australia gets rid of part of that fear, as most people speak English. You get the strange new world, without the fear of being stuck up the language river without a paddle.
However, there are a whole host of other dangers just waiting to pull you under the water and while we may be vaguely aware of them we’ve piled together a few top tips for those of you who are planning on hiking it across Australia in the near future.
Stay Clean to stay safe!
Always wash your hands before eating. It may sound like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how often people forget about hand sanitation. You can always take a portable hand sanitizer with you if there is nowhere near to clean your hands. When going outside always put your shoes on to prevent scrapes or possible bites and scratches. Make sure to shake your shoes before putting them on just in case little critters have tried to crawl in them overnight!
Know the Climate
Australia is a hot country! Make sure to take plenty of water for hydration wherever you go and always apply a lot of sunscreen. If you happen to swim at all, make sure to apply sunscreen both before and after swimming as the sun can quickly burn skin if left unprotected. Try to wear a hat to prevent heatstroke, or at least drink water regularly.
There are a lot of insects in Australia, and while some are just a little bothersome, a lot of them like the taste of human flesh! Apply insect repellent along with your sunscreen to avoid nasty bites and scratches and if you need to sleep at night with the window open, make sure you have flyscreens or netted screens to prevent the nasties from coming inside at night!
Always swim between the designated red and yellow flags as Australian beaches are home to strong underwater currents commonly known as rips. To avoid these make sure to swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim alone or at night. Lifeguards will patrol the beaches but it is better not to take any chances!
When travelling through or near established crocodile habitats there will often be safety and warning signs. Take heed of these and never swim in rivers, tidal rivers, mangrove shores, estuaries or deep pools nearby. If you plan to go fishing or boating, make sure to take expert advice when fishing or boating near crocodile habitats.
Between November and April, the tropical beaches of Australia may be home to marine stingers which can cause discomfort and certain species can even be lethal. Swim within the designated areas and if you are swimming, diving or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef make sure to wear protective clothing and to pay close attention to the warning signs. Be aware!
As with any holiday, having the proper travel insurance is essential. Australia is a little different in that there are a huge number of small critters which can deal a lot of damage in a small period of time. Having good medical insurance is essential, as with backpacking or hitch-hiking you can never be 100% certain that your holiday will be injury free. Depending on your visa type you may be entitled to certain benefits through the public healthcare system of Australia, but a lot of medical expenses will be taken out of your own pocket, so it is essential to have good medical insurance.
Take good care of yourself and make sure you are well prepared before you head out to Australia. You can never be sure of what will happen once you get there but it is better to plan for the worst and hope for the best instead of getting stuck in a foreign country with little or no back-up plan! Just remember to still have fun!