Backpacking Oz: What to Look Out For.

Coming from Sydney hostels into the Australian bush can present any traveller with some dangerous situations. While travelling in Australia is relatively safe you still need to know what to watch out for and what to do in an emergency. Even though many visitors come to Australia to see Kangaroos and Koalas there are lots of other, more nasty, creatures that could ruin your holiday.

The Animals

If you know anything about Australian wildlife then you may know that Australia is home to many of the worlds most poisonous snakes, spiders and jellyfish. This may seem frightening if you come from a country without much danger from the local wildlife but in reality you probably won’t have the chance to come across a snake. Spiders on the other hand can be abundant even in urban areas and due to their size you may not notice them until too late.

Here is a list of some of the more dangerous animals to watch out for:

Brown Snakes – While not the most venomous of snakes, they are common on the east coast and quite aggressive and territorial.

Red Back Spiders – As the name suggests these spiders have a bright red line on their backs and can inflict a painful and dangerous bite.

Funnel-Web Spiders – These spiders live in a hole in the ground and can be common in certain areas.

Anything You Don’t Recognise – If you are not sure whether a spider, snake, jellyfish or other animal is dangerous, then assume that it is. Better safe than sorry!

This list has included the most common threats that exist in Australia’s natural environment. These animals may be dangerous but they are still well worth a close up look at a zoo or reptile park.

The Weather

Yes, the weather in Australia can cause you problems if you are travelling in unfamiliar areas. Due to the size of the country the weather conditions vary greatly and include storms, hail, cyclones (I.e Hurricanes) as well as dust storms and the seasonal bush-fires. While most backpackers Sydney receives from overseas will go with groups many of you will be travelling alone or in a smaller group.

Many budget travellers will buy cheaper, older, vehicles to travel around so be sure to let someone know about your travel plans in case you break down. On the subject of weather if you are travelling to a national park or similar then you can check with local authorities on the road conditions and weather. Be sure to check weather reports before going on long walks as it is common for people to get caught and/or lost due to bad weather or wandering off a path.

The Ocean

Australia does get its fair share of shark attacks but in all honesty this is still a rare and unfortunate event. There are more likely dangers in the surf for travellers that haven’t grown up around Australia’s unique ocean conditions. If you are travelling from South East Asia you may be used to calm ocean conditions, but unless you are on the Great Barrier Reef then be prepared for some big waves.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on when heading to an Australian beach:

Rip Tides – If a beach is patrolled then local lifesavers usually know the common rips. This is where the water that has come ashore now washes back out to sea. If you find yourself being pulled out to sea, don’t panic but try to swim across not against the rip.

Waves – You may be there to enjoy the waves, but it only takes one ‘dumper’ to turn you upside down. Always be mindful of your surroundings and be sure to swim with someone nearby.

These are the basic things to watch out for in Australia, if you are unsure always try and ask a local.