Safe to camp in the outback?

BobtheBuilder
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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby BobtheBuilder » Tue May 22, 2018 9:30 pm

hunch wrote: Interesting about the crocs, often swam in Katherine Gorge....looks like that's off the menu now, hope Mataranka is still safe
Katherine Gorge is still safe, but often not open until June - and first gorge didn't open at all the last two years. That said, they have a very intensive baiting, trapping and surveillance program. Mataranka hot springs still open.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby uart » Wed May 23, 2018 1:24 pm

jindydiver wrote: Perhaps you shouldn't start with the absolute "Dingos are no threat to adults", because they clearly are in some circumstances.
Yes true, I was going to say "generally no threat" which would have been more accurate. However I don't want to overplay the threat here, because it is so minor, and I did mention places like Fraser Is where people interact and feed them as an exception.

If you look at the history of dingo cases there is not one recorded fatal attack on an adult (ever), and amazingly few cases of even bites or nips. One woman, injured after a car accident and placed under a tree while others went for help, had you use a stick to frighten off dingoes that where intimidating her. Outside of Fraser that's about all I could find.

But yes, recently there have been a few cases of lunging and threatening behavior on Frazer where the dingoes have gotten too used to humans via some people feeding them etc. Overall all though the risks are still minuscule. Way more people are injured by kangaroos in areas where they are routinely feed by people. And roos are herbivores which should be no threat at all, but where people feed them they can become so.

Let's face it, outside of Fraser Island you are way more likely to get attacked by some old ladies fluffy lap dog called "Tinkerbell" than any Dingo. So let's not overplay this.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Scintilla » Thu May 24, 2018 6:25 pm

BobtheBuilder wrote:
Scintilla wrote:And I'd defy any saltwater croc (Indo-Pacific Crocodile actually now) to get up that set of falls.
Maybe not up, but around. They are being found in more and more unlikely places these days...

As one croc trapper said to me "If I can't see tiles and smell chlorine, I don't get in"!
And in response, the owner of the Indo-Pacific Marine Centre, who has been scuba diving in the NT and Darwin Harbour since the '60s, stated that there has never been anybody attacked by a crocodile in Darwin Harbour. Crocs live upstream in the BIG rivers.... like the Mary River. Darwin Harbour has only smaller creeks and crocs don't attack out to sea as a rule. Look up the records of crocodile attacks; almost all in rivers and waterholes; generally near the larger rivers.

Bindoola Falls is only a minor creek. Same for all the creeks and waterholes we passed along the Gibb River. Kimberleys is a plateau region; most of the country along the GRR is 200 kms inland and the creeks are all upstream of significant waterfalls and scarps.

Durack River would be an entirely different thing, though I sat by it quite happily for several hours at noon to 4pm one day, well upstream (near Ellenbrae Station). I saw a saltie on the Pentecost River not far from the crossing. Happily I was a good 300m away, though I got a nice shot with the 20x zoom lens.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby BobtheBuilder » Thu May 24, 2018 10:08 pm

Scintilla wrote:And in response, the owner of the Indo-Pacific Marine Centre, who has been scuba diving in the NT and Darwin Harbour since the '60s, stated that there has never been anybody attacked by a crocodile in Darwin Harbour.
At the risk of continuing to hijack Jan's post, people may not have been attacked in Darwin Harbour, but they have been stalked and snapped at. There are regular reports of that in the news. Very few people swim in the sea and only in particular areas. Most keep well away and from the water and crocs are regularly spotted close by. There is an active detection and removal program with hundreds, yes hundreds, of crocs removed from the harbour each year. Most other areas don't have this luxury. A British worker was killed by a croc while snorkelling off Alyangula (on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria) over a decade ago. My partner and me were sailing a Laser Pico each in Fannie Bay in Darwin and she was stalked by a croc. I'm not saying don't do fun stuff (I still sail when I get a chance to get up to Darwin and I canoe in the Katherine river), but be well aware of the risks.


The only reason I'm being this pedantic is that old-timers grew up when crocs had almost been shot out and underestimate the dangers and tourists (perhaps anaesthetised by the infestation of warning and prohibition signs that infest Australia) don't take crocs seriously.

If you're sensible, you don't need to worry about them. If you aren't, you're putting yourself in real danger.


Jan, if you're still reading this, your biggest danger is heat and lack of water!

Plan for that, be sensible about the scary animals and you'll have an amazing time!!

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby fat and old » Fri May 25, 2018 7:20 am

Probs a little sensationalised, but you get the picture

http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern- ... e7d8f55194

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby zivojan » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:13 am

hunch wrote:I think Jan has been scared off!
Nope i am still here. Thanks for all the advice. Just working and getting my gear together. i managed to leave earlier then i first planed. I am leaving July 1 and then fly in to Darwin. The i start cycling. I might even do the gibb river road. Looks adventurous. I have about 12 kilo's of gear which leave me room for enough water and food. I stay in Darwin a couple of days and then start cycle. Darwin to Broome is about 1800 kilometers according to Google Maps. So on the sealed roads i can do 100 till 120 kilometer a day. Less on the gibb river roads. So i be doing the first part in July.So in the drys eason and hopefully the water levels on the GRR should be lo enough. Then August and September cycling from Broome to Perth. Not sure how long that takes. Might stay a week in Broome on the beach to recover from the GRR.

Thanks for all the advice. I am less worried about camping in the outback. Just stay away from themain road when putting up a tent and make sure no one sees me leaving the road.

I keep my progess on this forum to let you know how it goes,

Jan

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby human909 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:31 am

zivojan wrote:Thanks for all the advice. I am less worried about camping in the outback. Just stay away from themain road when putting up a tent and make sure no one sees me leaving the road.
That is hardly an issue in the outback. Especially the second point.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Scintilla » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:49 am

If you take on the Gibb River Road, be prepared for days distance to drop to 50-60 kms, for a whole (hard) day. Also, temps routinely got up to 36C, so I found the best way to cope was to rest up in the middle of the day from about midday till 4 pm when the temperature began to fall.

It is a real challenge, good luck and safe travels.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby bychosis » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:32 am

human909 wrote:
zivojan wrote:Thanks for all the advice. I am less worried about camping in the outback. Just stay away from themain road when putting up a tent and make sure no one sees me leaving the road.
That is hardly an issue in the outback. Especially the second point.
To clear that up, making sure noone see you leave the road isn't an issue, because there are large periods of time between passing vehicles and you'll probably hear them long before seeing them.
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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby baabaa » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:18 am

I disagree. This is an issue.
If at any time you bush camp outside what most people think is "the outback" (but really many people in Australia have never been), it is a good idea to let as many people know that you are in and about an area or track.
The landowners (if any are seen or are close to the road) will certainly be keen to help explain about what conditions the roads are in and things of interest to look out for. Some may even give you a bed or good spot to stay for a bit.
No one in the bush minds good people dropping into a station to say you are around and would be happy to telephone or radio ahead to other stations down the road to say you will be in a certain spot in say XYZ days. If you do get into trouble, it is these people who will be sent out to look for you and to be honest it is a big disruption to them if they don’t have some idea where to start to look. The property owners, managers and staff are people who will like you making contact, so please do. It will also make your trip much better as you will get to understand how these people live. Don’t feel awkward if you just need to even just say hello to someone, they understand isolation, so do it!
Also make yourself seen to the truck and transport drivers, most wont stop but they will talk on the radio to other drivers to keep a look out for the crazy bike rider.
Grey nomads will be a good connection and many now use UHF radios to chat and it seems they like to gossip at camping spots about what or who they see on the road. Give a friendly wave and many will stop to check you are all good for food, water and in good health. Some may even have the snakes you want to see, the jelly ones out of a pack.
Have a good ride and enjoy the stars, I bet you will find them scary at first!

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby hunch » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:11 pm

zivojan wrote:Nope i am still here.
Ha!

July is a better time to be doing it for sure. As said previously, that stranger, danger, aspect is vastly overblown in my opinion, even in the peak of dry season, you'll still have long stretches of isolation, so furtively hiding seems a little bit bizarro to me.

Baabaa's point about the sky is true, lucky to see anything beyond Venus here in the bright lights. The guy currently flogging Colourbond on our tv did this a few years ago to give you an idea -

https://vimeo.com/69846045

- maybe not too accurate in regards daylight stars though! Will say, in regard to the other point, there's a fair few tracks heading off to stockyards out there, compared to other less remote rural areas, so not all roads lead to Rome ....or habitation.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby BobtheBuilder » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:54 pm

hunch wrote:
zivojan wrote:Nope i am still here.
stranger, danger
It's not stranger danger you hide from, it's ranger danger - Council rangers fining you for camping outside of caravan parks. Not an issue until well south of Broome, but there are some very mean-spirited councils along the WA coast.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Lionel » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:29 pm

zivojan wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:13 am
hunch wrote:I think Jan has been scared off!
Nope i am still here. Thanks for all the advice. Just working and getting my gear together. i managed to leave earlier then i first planed. I am leaving July 1 and then fly in to Darwin. The i start cycling. I might even do the gibb river road. Looks adventurous. I have about 12 kilo's of gear which leave me room for enough water and food. I stay in Darwin a couple of days and then start cycle. Darwin to Broome is about 1800 kilometers according to Google Maps. So on the sealed roads i can do 100 till 120 kilometer a day. Less on the gibb river roads. So i be doing the first part in July.So in the drys eason and hopefully the water levels on the GRR should be lo enough. Then August and September cycling from Broome to Perth. Not sure how long that takes. Might stay a week in Broome on the beach to recover from the GRR.

Thanks for all the advice. I am less worried about camping in the outback. Just stay away from themain road when putting up a tent and make sure no one sees me leaving the road.

I keep my progess on this forum to let you know how it goes,

Jan
@zivojan

Hi, I'm just starting planning to cycle from Broome to Perth along the coast in August-September.

I'm new to Australia and I have cycled only one similar long distance, 2700km, in Europe along the Eurovelo route 6, which is mostly a flat cycle path. I'm planning to fly from Perth to Broome then cycle back. Compared to Europe which has plenty of infrastructure along the way, I would carry a tent, a sleeping bag, a mattress, a gas heater and a pot for cooking, rice & legumes and plenty of water so in the worst case I might not die or thirst or hunger and always have enough energy.

Would you have any tips for that trip please? In term of bicycle type first. I used to cycle on a mountain bike transformed into a touring bike with touring tyres and a back rack. However, it's heavy and not great for carrying luggage. I might take a road bike or a touring bike this time. What about the road? Is it mostly sealed?
I also heard of truck train traffic. I'm planning to ride on the right side. I know it's against the rule however it doesn't really matter for motor vehicles and it would allow me to see them coming and have enough time to get off the road. Is it safe enough if you get off the road when vehicles pass you?

Also, any wildlife real danger when you sleep in a tent? Any tip to keep them away?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some advice or can point me to any useful link.

Cheers

Lionel

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby find_bruce » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:32 pm

Lionel wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:29 pm
Also, any wildlife real danger when you sleep in a tent? Any tip to keep them away?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some advice or can point me to any useful link.

Cheers

Lionel
Apart from drop bears, the most dangerous wildlife in Australia is the mosquito carrying Ross River Fever or encephalitis. Fortunately August - September is in the dry season where mosquito numbers are low. Its pretty easy to ensure you have a good inner in your tent and to use a DEET repellent. Crocs have been seen around Broome - I haven't heard of them being further south.

While there are plenty of poisonous snakes, spiders & marine creatures, these are going to come hunting you in your tent - they are defensive weapons in relation to humans - eg most snake bites are the result of handling or disturbing. Look at where you are pitching your tent, eg not on top of an ants nest.

Whilst I lived in north WA for a while, I haven't done any cycle touring there so will leave others to comment on the cycling specific stuff.
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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Coffee_Jimmy » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:28 pm

Just read through this whole thread waiting to see/read about Jan progress but nothing.
Did he ever complete it?

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:15 pm

Lionel wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:29 pm

Hi, I'm just starting planning to cycle from Broome to Perth along the coast in August-September.
I would suggest checking the BOM WInd Roses to confirm what is the prevailing wind direction in August-September to give you an idea of the best direction. See http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... _map.shtml.
Would you have any tips for that trip please? In term of bicycle type first. I used to cycle on a mountain bike transformed into a touring bike with touring tyres and a back rack. However, it's heavy and not great for carrying luggage. I might take a road bike or a touring bike this time. What about the road? Is it mostly sealed?
All sealed if you stick to the coast.
I also heard of truck train traffic. I'm planning to ride on the right side. I know it's against the rule however it doesn't really matter for motor vehicles and it would allow me to see them coming and have enough time to get off the road. Is it safe enough if you get off the road when vehicles pass you?
I have ridden a few kilometres in the outback, more remote sections of WA including up to Carnarvon on the North-West Coastal Highway. Road trains are the least of your worries in my view. In my experience, they will go to the otherside of the road to pass unless that is not safe, i.e., on-coming traffic, in which case they will warn you in advance by blowing the horn.

I would be more concerned/wary about the grey nomads who will be on the road at that time. They are bad enough without you doing something stupid like riding on the wrong side of the road which will just confuse everyone and make things worse for you. You are a vehicle, be predictive, be standard, ride on the correct side of the road. Invest in a mirror, use it.

That said I found riding to Carnarvon was quite safe if a bit boring on the highway I did things like divert into Kalbarri and took a loop inland a bit between Gerdalton and Northampton just to stay off-highway and to explore.

As to the bike, I ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker so would suggest a touring bike with sufficient carrying capacity to carry the water would be suitable. Good luck getting one in Perth off the shelf but.

As to water I work on a minimum of six to seven litres a day. Some roadhouses may also charge you for water unless you can find a tap somewhere. At one roadhouse it was cheaper to pay for a campsite and get the water from the camp kitchen than it was to buy it in the shop.

Check out www.crazyguyonabike.com for others experience.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby BobtheBuilder » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:05 pm

hello Lionel,
I did the eurovelo 6 last year. It will be nothing like that. The most isolated sections in Romania will be like the most populated parts of the WA trip - so make sure you're well prepared for the distances and sense of isolation.
As far as riding on the right side, I would strongly recommend against that, it will win you no friends.
You have plenty of time to hear traffic coming - there isn't much and the roads will be mostly wide and fairly straight. If you are worried, get a mirror.
In terms of wildlife, the worst things are the snakes and spiders. Make sure you educate yourself on what to look out for, carry some first aid and know what to do if you get bitten.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby DavidS » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:38 pm

Yep, definitely do not ride on the wrong side of the road, you are asking for trouble.

Look out for those drop bears.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:11 pm

Drop bears (Thylarctos plummetus) only APPEAR to be a hoax by virtue of the extremely limited exposure of dinky di Aussies to them as per article by the Australian Museum.

https://www.australiangeographic.com.au ... tudy-says/

FYI the museum has a page to the Drop Bear as it does to most of the fauna in Oz.
https://australian.museum/learn/animals ... drop-bear/

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:35 pm

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Grog » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:02 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:11 pm
Drop bears (Thylarctos plummetus) only APPEAR to be a hoax by virtue of the extremely limited exposure of dinky di Aussies to them as per article by the Australian Museum.

https://www.australiangeographic.com.au ... tudy-says/

FYI the museum has a page to the Drop Bear as it does to most of the fauna in Oz.
https://australian.museum/learn/animals ... drop-bear/

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Duck! » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:12 pm

I have seen a Drop Bear!
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:13 pm

Duck! wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:12 pm
I have seen a Drop Bear!
Thank goodness for that. If you spot them first then you have a chance to get to safety. It is the ones you don't see that you have to worry about.


On thread - the suggestion of speaking to people is important. If you are in towns, you can ask at shops for suggestion. Australians tends to be very forthcoming and friendly providing advice or connecting you with people you need to check with for permission for camping and also insider tips.
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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby Duck! » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:29 pm

AUbicycles wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:13 pm
Duck! wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:12 pm
I have seen a Drop Bear!
Thank goodness for that. If you spot them first then you have a chance to get to safety. It is the ones you don't see that you have to worry about.
The one I saw was on the ground having launched an attack, and hadn't yet returned to the trees to spring its next surprise. :wink:
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Safe to camp in the outback?

Postby janfictorie » Wed May 24, 2023 3:23 am

Coffee_Jimmy wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:28 pm
Just read through this whole thread waiting to see/read about Jan progress but nothing.
Did he ever complete it?


Hello, yes I completed it. I forgot a bit about this forum. I also lost my login details and so i made a new account. Just got back to this forum by coincide and then I remembered I posted on here.

Had lots of fun doing it. I went from Perth to Darwin, instead of Darwin to Perth. My logic was that I would start in bit more populated part and slowly move to the more empty part of Australia.

1 The cycling was not to bad after all. I did at least 100 till 150 km a day. There are not many hills so that was not to bad. I went from Perth to Geraldton and basically followed the coastal highway. I did not really camped wild until after Carnarvon. Was not so scary as I thought. Stayed a lot in road houses too. They had food and so

2 Did the Gibb river road too. Was hard cycling but very manageable. Several places to stop and get food and water.

3. then from Kununurra to Katherine. Again nice cycling and empty roads, but very nice cycling. Coming from an extreme overcrowded country like the Netherlands, this was so beautiful and amazing to cycle trough this kind of landscape.

4 after Katharine to Darwin was also nice and riding into Darwin was awesome.

5 It was hot but i didn't mind. I had about 7 liters of water with me and when i needed to camp wild, i had like 14 liters.

It was a great trip and i like to do more cycling in australia, so hopefully i can come back again

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