5 WA Holiday Safety Tips

Western Australia is the biggest state in the commonwealth. Because of its size, it also guarantees a lot of surprises for both regular tourists as well as new backpackers and visitors of the golden state. A hired campervan can surely take you to your destination of choice, like from Perth to Broome or in Australia’s heartland – the Outback.

However, you must always remember to watch your step when travelling in the great wilderness of Western Australia, even if you are in a comfy Cheapa campervan. There are real dangers when you step out of your campervan and explore the vastness of the state, even if it’s at one of the pristine beaches or the national parks of your choice.

As the adage say: “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” So, we have prepared some important reminders for when you visit Western Australia or any other location in Australia, for that matter. So, read on and learn more about the things you can do at the dangerous destinations in the golden state.

Sun’s Out Guns Out!

"Beautiful Track” by Michael Theis available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/huskyte/7975379553/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

"Beautiful Track” by Michael Theis available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/huskyte/7975379553/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY Michael Theis

Apply as much sunscreen as possible before you go out. Western Australia is mostly hot, arid land. From the long coastline down to the orange sands of the Outback, you need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Get the SPF50+ sunscreen that is highly recommended by experts in Australia. Also, remember to apply the lotion 30 minutes before exposing yourself to sunlight.

Although sunscreen would protect you from some of the harmful effects of  UV exposure, it is also great to protect your eyes and face by wearing a good visor and a pair of sunglasses before stepping out.

Swim Safely

The beaches of Western Australia are famous for their cool blue waters and abundant marine life. However, most of the marine life dwelling in these calm seas are untamed. That is why you need to take some precaution when swimming in open water.

"Grey Nurse Sharks” by Tim Sneddon available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tesneddon/7541965204/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"Grey Nurse Sharks” by Tim Sneddon available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tesneddon/7541965204/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Tim Sneddon
The sea is full of sharks and other wild aquatic animals that have been thriving in the waters. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from fulfilling your dream vacation to, let’s say, swim with sharks.

Actually, there are great ways to enjoy being one with the marine wildlife of Western Australia. 

Visit one of the many national parks in the state where you can observe marine animals at a safe distance, like the Aquarium of Western Australia. They offer tours where both kids and kids at heart can watch sharks up close, separated only by a thick industrialised strength glass.

If you’re a true adrenaline junkie, you can still swim with sharks under close supervision, of course. There are several tours in Western Australia that offer shark cage diving tours. You can observe these giant sea predators in their element inside the safety of a stainless steel cage.

Slithering Snakes

The Outback is teeming with of wildlife even if most of the region is covered by desert sand. The loose, orange-hued sand hides some of the most fantastic species of insect and snakes. One thing to remember while walking amidst low shrubs and the stony terrain is to be on the lookout for insects and reptiles that may be venomous. Their stings or bites could even be deadly if you are allergic to its toxic composition.

The best way to avoid these hidden desert creatures is to go on a tour of the Outback with a reliable guide. Or if you want a more intimate vacation, always follow the familiar footpath which has been used by previous visitors. Avoid taking off on your own, especially if you have never toured the desert before. 

"Snake” by dilettantiquity available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingblogspot/3289783307/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Snake” by dilettantiquity available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingblogspot/3289783307/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY dilettantiquity

Being lost in the desert is something you would want to avoid. Aside from the creatures lurking in the sand, there is also the threat of dehydration if you wander too far from your campervan. Add to that, it would be very difficult to contact anyone using your mobile phone if you lose your way in the desert.

To avoid getting lost in the desert, it would be better to move in pairs so that you have enough resources as well as instant help when the need arises. Always bring a bottle of water when walking in the desert to avoid dehydration as you take in the smouldering beauty of the legendary Outback.

Wild Western Australia

The “Golden State” is home to many endemic species. These creatures live in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where they can be observed by both locals and tourists at a safe distance. Some of the most popular animals in these parks are the kangaroos and wallabies.

"Snake” by dilettantiquity available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingblogspot/3289783307/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Kangaroo Boxing” by Scott Calleja available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottcalleja/6843889051/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Scott Calleja

Although you may be allowed to come close to these marsupials, you must approach with caution. Kangaroos could pack a wallop if they feel threatened. It is best not to provoke these animals by teasing them or showing them food that you do not intend to share with them. Those things might rub them in the wrong way.

The best way to observe these wild animals is at a safe distance. If you want to come close, at least have someone from the park 

nearby so that you’ll have someone to assist you when something goes awry. Also, remember the other golden rule that is “do not feed the animals.” Most of the attacks were caused by people trying to feed these cuddly by wild animals.

Actually, this rule applies to all wild animals that you come close contact. No matter how cute or cuddly they may appear, they are still untamed and must be approached with caution.

Campfire Cares

"bushfire” by badjonni available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/badjonni/775970007/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"bushfire” by badjonni available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/badjonni/775970007/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY badjonni

When you set-up a campfire in the woods, always remember to put it out before leaving the campsite. There had been incidents of bushfires caused by campfires that weren’t properly attended to.

Wildfires destroy several kilometres of forested areas, which would make several wildlife species homeless. Add to that, the plants that once covered the earth would take years to grow. These plants hold the soil together, which prevents soil erosion.

It is only common courtesy to put out your campfire properly before you leave the campsite. In this way, the next visitors would also have a great time in that holiday destination, just like you did.

So these are just some of the things you need to remember when going on a tour of Western Australia. What’s more important is that you enjoy every minute of your holiday. What other safety measures do you have in mind when touring the wilderness of Western Australia? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter and share the destinations you’ve been while in a campervan holiday.

The Top End Dream Road Trip in a 4WD Campervan from Salamanda

For many it’s the ultimate boy’s dream: a road trip along the north-eastern coast of Australia – the Broome – Darwin Road trip. A trip of about 3,000 kilometers can be fitted into about 3 weeks. A 4WD campervan is a must-have as half of the trip will be off-road. You can sleep on the roof of the car or in the secure cabin, depending on the type of 4WD campervan you hire.

Salamanda Travel offers a range of 4WD campervans for hire, including the Apollo Trailfinder Camper, the Apollo Adventure Camper, and the Cheapa 4WD.

On your road trip, you will be cooking meals over a campfire, invoking the finest feeling of freedom. This road trip is designed as a real-life travel adventure; along the way you will spot crocodiles, bats, and heaps of other wildlife as well as some amazing but also isolated country.Adventure Camper Lifestyle4WD

Once upon a time, the north of Western Australia was the isolated domain of the Japanese Pearl Divers. Nowadays it is truly a paradise!

Broome

When you talk about the sunset in Broome, you are talking about the Sunset Bar & Grill, overlooking Cable Beach and the Indian Ocean. For most people, Broome is the earthly paradise; palm trees, golden beaches, the bright sunshine and the smell of the lovely frangipani. But remember, your Broome experience is not complete until you’ve ridden a camel along the beach.

Broome is a sunny and sparkling city and it is more akin a to an island resort than a bustling hub. Isolated and surrounded by wilderness, they have a so called ‘mañana-mañana’ & ‘No worries, mate!’ attitude. A few years ago tourism in Broome started to increase. Before that, the main earnings came from the outstanding pearls. Diving for pearls started in the second half of the 19th century. The divers were mainly Japanese and it was a risky job. When you visit the cemetery you will find proof, because most of the tombstones are in Japanese lettering.

Wilderness Camp Kooljaman

Camp Kooljaman is located on the tip of Dampier Peninsula. Kooljaman is a unique wilderness style luxury camp owned by an Aboriginal community. You can try mud crabbing, snorkelling, boat trips, bush tucker tours, spectacular walks, whale spotting and more. The aboriginals love to talk about their culture and they invite guests to explore the area together with them.

Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park

When you think of Australia, you think of kangaroos. Did you know that there are more kangaroos and wallabies living in Australia than people? It’s sometimes difficult to spot them in the wild but you should not return home until you have seen kangaroos at least once. That is where the Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park, just outside Broome comes in. Considered one of the best wildlife parks in the world, you can’t compare this Park with a Zoo; it’s a patch of fenced wilderness. You’ll be grateful the fences are there, because the park has around 7,000 crocodiles that can emerge from under the duckweed – and they are quick! Make sure you don’t miss the daily feeding tour, because this showcases some of the largest crocodiles on display in Australia.

Windjana Gorge National Park

Windjana Gorge National Park is part of a 375 million-year-old Devonian reef system and is a well known and much visited national park in the Kimberley. The Gorge is one of the Kimberley’s most stunning gorges with water-streaked walls that rise to a height of 100m. Its a great place to spot fruit bats, freshwater crocodiles and bird life. At Tunnel Creek, which flows through a waterworn tunnel beneath the limestone of the Napier Range, you can walk 750m through the cave to the other side of Napier Range. Don’t forget to make a big splash in the lake of Bell gorge. With great scenery, a waterfall and a beautiful swimming hole, it’s breathtaking. Apollo-Trailfinder-4wd-External-Photo-3-11072013114021-lg

Gibb River Road

The Gibb River Road takes you through the heart of one of Australia’s last wilderness frontiers. Drive the road and spot the age old rock formations, spectacular ranges, and magnificent rivers, vast savannahs of bushland, steep cliff faces, and delightful gorges forged over millions of years by the power of nature.

El Questro Wilderness Park

El Questro Wilderness Park is one of the last true frontiers, and definitely a place to stop during your road-trip. Its landscape offers outstanding diversity; it is a unique place, where you’ll feel the sense of adventure at every turn. Go barramundi fishing, set out on a horse trek, or explore inaccessible areas by helicopter.

Katherine Region

The star attraction of Katherine is the famous Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge), definitely a must-see. They offer the chance to cruise, canoe, walk, fly or swim around the most significant parts of the Katherine gorge area. Next to this, Katherine and its surrounds include great fishing, hidden natural wonders and a rich indigenous and pioneering history.

Darwin

Discover Darwin, the relaxed, tropical capital of the Northern Territory. Visit one of the Aboriginal art galleries and cruise past crocodiles on the Adelaide River. Drink an Australian beer and take time to relax; then say “cheers” that your ultimate boy’s dream has come true.

Additional information

Travel in the dry season, which is from May to October, the easiest and most comfortable time to do the Top-End road trip. The distances are huge, but the tarmac roads are good, straight and generally empty and even the unsealed roads are well maintained. Make sure you always have enough water; the temperatures in Australia can get very high, and dehydration is a risk. Bring sunscreen, a hat and wear long sleeves. Wear comfortable footwear when undertaking activities during your road trip. Request an extra spare tyre and hire a satellite phone when you hire your campervan.

Sunset is early and night falls quickly in the Top End, so make sure you arrive at your destination in the daylight. Last but not least; watch out for the wildlife; there could be animals on the road and many Australian native wildlife is nocturnal.