Australia travel advice

AUSTRALIA TRAVEL ADVICE


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN AUSTRALIA

Getting off the beaten track


James Frickey, from our supplier, Audley Travel, explains how to escape the tourist hotspots: “If you're looking to follow a guide to remote swimming holes through mountains, desert and deep red gorges, before camping out with just a swag and fire for company, Karijini National Park in Western Australia is an amazing place, about four hours from the nearest town (Port Hedland). Another location that's less well known by tourists is Mallacoota which is one of the most remote towns in Victoria and a great, slightly off-route, stopover if you're travelling the Princes Highway from Sydney to Melbourne. This is a holiday hotspot for locals and has some fantastic walking trails to places like Gipsy Point as well as to the endless beaches of Croajingolong National Park.”

Travel like a local?


James Frickey, from our supplier Audley Travel, delves into the Aussie mindset: “Aussies love sport and one of the best ways to find out more is to head to an Aussie Rules football match to mix it up over a few beers. You'll not only get much more of an insight into the Australian mindset but you might also get a few invaluable tips that definitely won't be included in the guide books.”

Aboriginal culture tips


Aimy Hasson, from our supplier Lekker Boutique Travel: “Aboriginal cultural centres are the best places to learn more about Aboriginal culture and traditions. We recommend Narana in Victoria; Tandanya in South Australia, Waradah; Katoomba and Yarrawarra in New South Wales; Tjapukai and Caravonica in Queensland; Tangentyere, Warradjan and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory; Wardan and Yallingup in Western Australia; and Tiagarra, Hobart and Devenport in Tasmania.”

Foodie tips


Aimy Hasson, from our tour suppliers Lekker Boutique Travel, offers advice on food and drink: “The overwhelming majority of food sold in Australia is grown and supplied by Australian farmers. We are able to export more than half of our agricultural produce, while more than 90 percent of the fruit and vegetables, meat, milk and eggs sold in supermarkets is domestically produced. Therefore, it’s best for everyone to buy local.”
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HEALTH & SAFETY


TRAVEL SAFELY IN AUSTRALIA

HEALTH


The emergency number in Australia is 000.
If you see any snakes, spiders, ants, toads or spiky looking sea creatures, leave them alone. If bitten, by anything, don’t panic; get to hospital as quickly and safely as possible.
When walking in the bush always cover up with long trousers, socks, headgear and sensible footwear. When camping, shake out your shoes before putting them back on. Do the same with your sleeping bag too, and always use a torch at night.
Remember to stay hydrated when out hiking or cycling. Carry a reusable water bottle, wear sun cream and a wide brimmed hat to protect your head and neck. If you’re outdoors and feel nauseous, faint or fatigued, get into some shade, rest and drink plenty of water.

Safety


Stay safe in the sun by covering up from 10am – 4pm, applying and reapplying a high SPF sun screen (even on cloudy days), and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.

If you’re driving, hiking or camping out in the bush, be aware that fires, especially over the summer, can be deadly. Tune into local media channels to get up-to-date info on fire reports and do your bit to prevent fires by only using designated fire pits and BBQ areas.

Don’t swim in lakes, pools, estuaries, mangroves or tidal rivers, especially in croc country, and pay attention to safety signs stating whether or not it’s safe to swim. Also, don’t swim in the sea alone and only swim in sight of a lifeguard, between the flags.

Coming into contact with a box jellyfish can cause severe shock and, in some cases, cardiac arrest. Pay heed to stinger season (Oct – Apr) when swimming and diving in the wet months, especially around the GBR and in the north of Australia. The only antidote is vinegar that needs to be applied for around 30 seconds before removing the venomous tentacle from the skin. Lifeguards will usually carry vinegar but look out for signs and ask a lifeguard before swimming in the sea, just to be sure.

Always go with a local guide when hiking in the bush or on a more challenging trail. Make sure you take plenty of provisions, protection from the sun and always tell someone where you’re going and when you intend to be back. And stick to clearly indicated paths and pay attention to signs.

If you’re on a self drive holiday, make sure you’ve prepared really well with provisions, GPS, spare tyres, maps, water and additional petrol and oil. Plan your itinerary and inform a dependable person as to your whereabouts and when you intend to arrive and depart. Keep people updated throughout the journey and, if you break down, stay in your vehicle and contact your break-down recovery provider.

Australia tips from our travellers


RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Australia travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your suitcase.
“Arnhem Land. This is one of the most special places I have ever visited. It's Aboriginal Land, and only about 6 small tour operators are licensed to take visitors in. As a result we felt less like tourists and more like we'd been given the key to a semi-secret land. It's enormous, and looks and feels wilder than Kakadu. Perhaps the highlight was the visit to the Art Centre and the cave paintings at Gunbalanya.” – Justin Francis

“Ensure you book well in advance to get the best fare deals. Take out additional insurance if you book a car as an accident could cost you over AUD 3000. Use cash where possible as the surcharge on credit cards is high.” – Jan Baker

“Realize emotionally, not just intellectually, that once you leave the eastern coast, Australia has a whole lot of geography with relatively few communities, people or manmade attractions/distractions. If you think that countryside is empty, rather than rich in and of itself, pick a different holiday.” – Penny Williams

“It’s difficult to find sustainable accommodation north of the Daintree River so may be greener to do the trip/tours from the comfort of Port Douglas or Mossman (the Cape Trib Connections bus is a fun way to get there from Cairns or Port Douglas and greener than driving yourself).” – Delia Stephens

“Uluru. Camping was a bit basic but a wonderful experience – cooking over an open fire under a clear unpolluted night sky was simply ethereal.” – Farida Parkyn
Photo credits: [Getting off the beaten track: Stephan Ridgway] [Aboriginal culture tips: Thomas Schoch] [Review 1 - Farida Parkyn: Graeme Churchard] [Review 2 - Justin Francis: Tourism NT]

Written by: Chris Owen
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