Australia is one of the world’s best camping destinations. Simple as that.
There’s nothing we love more than a camping trip and we’ll shout about it at any given chance. But, before you head to the depths of the Australian outback, there are a few things you need to know before your first camping trip. Read on and pay close attention.
Yes, you might see a snake (and other scary creatures)
Let’s get this one out of the way first. In Australia, from the East Coast to Western Australia and near Uluru, there will be snakes. Maybe some crocodiles. Probably a few spiders too. Just remember though, these creatures are mostly pretty terrified of humans and will avoid you at all costs.
You’re probably not going to see a snake but if you want to be extra cautious, give your sleeping bag a shake at night (seriously – they love warm places) and always keep an eye out when you’re hiking. If you DO see a snake just keep calm. The poor little dear’s have only one way of defending itself when they’re frightened, and that’s to bite. If you see a snake, give it some space (by walking around it) and if you’re relaxed, the snake will be too.
Camping trips are participation based
When you’re camping in the middle of nowhere on one of our trips, you can’t just pop out to grab some food or order Uber Eats when the cravings strike. This means that your meals are freshly prepared as you go and travellers are required to lend a helping hand to chop, cook, clean and get the food on the table for everyone. This will vary depending on what trip you book but it’s one of the best ways to learn more about your group and bond over food.
Sometimes, you’ll be travelling in a big ol’ truck (literally)
Travelling in a purpose-built truck is pretty awesome. Each region will use a different vehicle ranging from 20-seat 4WD trucks, 16- or 21-seat 4WD vehicles or a mini-bus and trailer. So, buckle up and get ready to see some pretty impressive landscapes as you drive through the land down under. Keep in mind that driving days will be long – but it’s so worth it. Take, for example, our 10-day Perth to Broome trip which will see you travelling about the length of Portugal because yes, Australia is that large. If you’re worried that boredom might strike, pack a book, a deck of cards, and load up your phone with podcasts.
Choose your travel style carefully
On our trips to Australia, there are two different travel styles – Basix and Original. Basix trips will stay in either shared permanent tents at established campsites – some powered, some not – or in dorm-share accommodation, plus you’ll need a sleeping bag. In some areas, there’s also the option of sleeping under the stars in a swag to get the full Aussie experience.
If you prefer a touch of comfort, our Original-style camping trips feature permanent twin-share tents with cosy beds, hard floors, linen, lighting, power points – pretty much the whole works. So, before you hit the road or choose a trip, make sure you know what you’re in for.
Some trips will be physically demanding
We just mentioned that each trip runs in two different styles, Basix and Original, but it’s also worth noting that each trip has a physical rating. Options range from level 1 (typically a leisurely paced day trips with minimal physical exertion required) to level 5 (basically the hardest of the hardcore). The level 5 trips also visit remote destinations with limited facilities. Find out more about our ratings here.
Facilities will be limited at some campsites
Check your itinerary carefully, as some trips in the super remote areas will not have showers. Take Fitzgerald River National Park (visited on our 6-day Esperance & Southwest Adventure) for example, where the campground will have a toilet but no shower facilities. You won’t die without a shower for the night, and as long as you’re aware of this, you’ll be fine.
Pack a few emergency first-aid bits and pieces
Your local leader will be carrying a decked out first-aid kit at all times. That being said, it never hurts to take your own supply of band-aids, tweezers and whatever else your heart desires. Just don’t go overboard – as the amount of luggage you’re allowed to carry is pretty strict.
Check the weather before you go
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Australia is quite enormous, which makes for a pretty diverse climate. Before you hit the road, know that each region might be wildly different, so make sure you pack accordingly. From October to March, it’s likely that you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (and sometimes well into the 40)s. But no matter the time of the year, you can expect temperatures to fluctuate significantly throughout the day. Think: hot and humid during the day, to cold and chilly at night.
Credit and debit cards are accepted just about everywhere in Australia. Some places might have a minimum spend, but are often flexible with this. ATMs are common across Australia, but they might be limited in remote areas. Don’t stress though, as your leader will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Think carefully about what you pack
Probably one of the most important things you need to read: you need to pack LIGHTLY. You’ll still need the usual bits: toiletries, towels, camera, sturdy walking shoes, swimming gear, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, torch and insect repellent, but pack carefully and strategically. Some trips have a super strict luggage limit (like, 10 kilograms strict), and others are a little more generous.
As for footwear, if you plan to hike until the sun goes down, you’ll need to make sure they are as worn-in as possible to reduce the chance of blisters.
Want to hit the road and make the most of all these handy tips and trips? In that case, it’s time to search for your next adventure.
Feature image by Rachel Claire.