Explorers Guide to Keeping Safe on the Roads in the Outback

You’ve applied for leave, saved up some holiday spending and packed up the motorhome ready to hit the road on an epic outback adventure!

But before you head off into the wild blue yonder, stop and take stock of what you’re going to do to ensure you, your travel companions and your motorhome / camper van are as safe as possible out there.

If you live in Australia, you may have become a bit blase about how vast and rugged the Australian outback really is. And if you’re an international visitor you may have been given the perception that the outback is too wild and untamed for anyone but a crazy adventurer.

The reality is somewhere in the middle.

Have a healthy respect for the outback and be prepared. That’s the number one rule, PREPARATION.

Prepare your motorhome or camper van, prepare your route, prepare your supplies, prepare your communications. When you’re prepared, you’ll then be free to enjoy and experience the wonder that is the Australian outback.

Prepare your motorhome

This means ensuring your service is up-to-date, taking spares (like more than one spare wheel, oil, fluids, belts etc) and tools you’ll need along the way (air compressor, recovery gear), and carrying some extra fuel is always a good idea. Have the appropriate insurance and road-side assistance plan.

While that’s just one paragraph on ‘preparing your motorhome’, this is a huge topic that will need your careful consideration and attention. Talk to other motorhomers or travellers who have spent time in the outback to get their insight, talk to your manufacturer about the maintenance of your camper van or other optional extras that you should consider. And of course, the internet is treasure trove of helpful articles to help you plan for almost any eventuality.

Prepare your route

Here’s a few reasons why planning your route is so helpful in keeping you comfortable, stress-free and most importantly, safe.

  • You can ring ahead to book accommodation or camp sites if needed.
  • To know if your route will take you on unsealed roads because you’ll need to determine if your motorhome can handle that.
  • Since the distances in the outback are so vast, you’ll also need to know how far it is between gas stations.
  • Weather can have a big impact on your route too as roads may close due to rain.
  • Let a friend or family member know where you’re going and for how long.
  • Try (really hard) to avoid having to drive at dusk or dawn, this is when the local wildlife are out feeding and if you’re going to hit a kangaroo, it’ll be at this time. You don’t want to hit a kangaroo.

Prepare your provisions

Water, that’s your main consideration in the outback. Make sure you have enough on board for you and all your passengers should the unforeseen occur where you’re stranded in the outback.

When it come to food supplies this is where it’s good to know what your route is so that you can plan how much food to purchase before you go remote. It will also help with your budget to shop in the bigger towns and just top up at the smaller places where prices will be a lot higher.

Prepare your communications

Telstra is has the widest mobile phone network across Australia, but even Telstra has huge swaths of no signal across the outback. You should seriously consider a satellite phone for emergency communications.

A CB radio will allow other road users (particularly truckies) to contact you and warn you of approaching hazards.

This short guide to keeping safe on the roads in the outback is just a primer for getting yourself prepared for your outback adventure. Use it as a starting point to getting yourself prepared for your outback trip, and get ready for an adventure you’re going to love.