Prepare yourself for the trip of a lifetime through the NSW Outback.
A trip through NSW’s Outback region is an absolute must for anybody’s bucket list. However, as with all road trips, it’s important to be aware of what lies ahead before you hit the road so that you can be as well prepared as possible should unexpected problems arise. Below is a guide to help you plan and prepare for your extraordinary Outback adventure.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Driving away from the main highways in Outback NSW can involve dealing with extreme weather conditions and long distances between towns and services, so it is important to take a few common sense precautions. Check your vehicle is well set-up for changeable conditions and fully serviced before you leave. Consider taking spare parts such as fuses, tyres and fan belts. A well-stocked first aid kit is very important, as is a large container of water. Two-way radios and satellite or Telstra Next G mobile phones are a good idea because normal mobile service may not be available.
Always check the road and weather conditions before travelling to remote areas in Outback NSW, and always check distances that need to be travelled. Avoid driving between dusk and dawn and take a break every few hours. Also, share the driving as much as possible. Carry enough water and fuel and make sure extra fuel is secured properly in appropriate containers. Drive according to the conditions. Drive slowly on narrow bridges and be aware of dangers like flooded roads and wandering livestock. Take special care at dawn and dusk when native animals are most prevalent.
Drive 10-20km slower on unsealed roads because surface conditions can change suddenly. Pull over rather than stop in the middle of the road, but be careful as roadside drains may look dry but can be very wet underneath. Dust from other vehicles, especially oncoming vehicles, can obscure hazards, so be sure to slow down and move well to the left of the road when approaching oncoming vehicles.
Never leave your vehicle if you break down because it will provide you with shelter until help arrives. This will also make it easier for a search party to spot you.
Before camping on private property, always call in at the homestead and ask permission. Always leave gates as you found them, open or shut, when crossing property boundaries. And try your hand at a classic outback wave to passing drivers, which can be anything from raising a finger from the steering wheel to tipping your hat.
Remember your personal property is your responsibility. Lock your vehicle and your accommodation and always secure your valuables. It is common sense, however friendly the locals are in Outback NSW.
Native animals and stock can be hazardous to motorists so match your speed to visibility, and take extra care on bends and crests. To be as safe as possible, only travel during daylight hours and be extra cautious at sunrise and sunset.
ROAD CONDITION REPORTS
Broken Hill District - (08) 8082 6660
Central Darling shire - (08) 8091 5155
South Australia - 1300 361 033 www.transport.sa.gov.au
New South Wales - www.rta.nsw.gov.au
Queensland - www.racq.com.au
Northern Territory - 1800 246 199 www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/roadreport
RAA - 13 11 11