Here you’ll find the top things to know about travelling in the Australian Outback. Discussed will be important tips for making your trip a success. Whether you are taking a down and dirty trip through the Outback or you’re travels include a little more luxury, you’ll be sure to find the information useful.
Tips For Your Outback Adventure
We were lucky because traveling in September the flies were not that bad (they mostly just hung out all over our sandwiches – which was a bit disgusting). HOWEVER, during the summer months the flies are incredibly bad. Wearing a fly net certainly isn’t going to look cool but they’ll save your sanity. I can’t reiterate more, do not leave home without them. If you do, be prepared to constantly swat at 1000s of flies all around your head. It may seem silly at first, but you’ll thank yourself in the end.
For every walk/hike you do, make sure you have everything you’ll need. Sunscreen, hats, comfortable walking shoes, and most importantly – plenty of water. The Australian sun is very strong. Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion, even on cloudy days and reapply sunscreen regularly if you’re staying outside all day. Also, try to stay out of the sun during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Self Drive vs Guided Tour
We opted to sign up for a tour and honestly I’m so glad we did. The distance is incredibly long (and arduous) to go all the way across. I can’t even imagine having to drive the whole way. The guided bus tours are very inexpensive and include everything. It’s also nice to have a guide who knows the area, knows what’s worth seeing, and can help you make the most of your time.
If you’re doing a self drive, beware, petrol/gas stations are few and far between. Make use of them as they come up. Also, don’t drive at night – it’s safer for you and the animals.
Phone’s and Service
We were in Australia for 3 weeks so we decided sign up for Optus cell service. I was actually quite surprised how often we were within cell reception. Most campsites, and definitely cities had full service and 3G. I don’t think we ever went more than 1.5 days without cell service.
Water, Water, and more Water!
Bringing and drinking plenty of water cannot be stressed more. Drink, drink, drink! Water, not soda. Drinking enough water is the single most important thing you can do to feel well in higher temperatures! It makes all the difference.
Weather Considerations In The Outback
Australia has a number of different climates, so the best times to visit can often depend on where you’re going. The best time to visit The Outback is probably not what most people would consider the best time to visit Australia. Ideally, you want to travel to The Outback during the non summer months (it’s going to be much less hot with a lot less flies).
We chose September for what we wanted to do. It ended up being ideal because while it was very cold/wet in Sydney and the coastal towns, it was a perfect temperature as we moved north towards the Red Center and continued to warm up as we moved further north to the tropical regions during their dry season..
Below is a quick breakdown by region of the weather.
The Arid Region of the Outback
July is usually the coldest month, and frosts occur about half of the nights in July and August!
Autumn and spring are a good time, too, but as you get closer to the summer months it gets hot. If you travel in these areas in summer you best schedule any activities for the very early mornings – because it’s going to be scorching hot during the day.
The Northern Region of the Outback
Most of Northern Australia is considered to be Outback, but in the North – the climate is actually tropical. Because of this, it has a distinct dry and wet season.
The dry season from April/May to September/October is considered to be the best time to visit. The day temperatures are pleasant and the nights are mild. Going near the beginning or end of the Dry Season can be a little hot and humid but there are fewer tourists and lower prices.
The wet season is incredibly hot and humid. During the first half of the season thunderstorms are common, and cyclones and extended flooding are a threat in the second half. November, is probably the worst time to visit due to it having the highest temperatures and little or no rain. However, locals often consider the dry season a great time to visit. It is the breeding season and often has a lot of wildlife. Waterfalls are also in full effect – coming back from being dried up during the dry season.