- Choose your location
Before you even think about packing the car you need to know where you're going. Things you might want to consider are how long will it take for you to get there, is there phone reception in the area you're going and if not, are you prepared for emergency situations. You should consider what kind of terrain you'll be driving on to get to your camp and can your vehicle get you there. Knowing these key things will help you to choose the camping spot that is right for your needs.
- Get there early
Once you know where you're going, you'll want to get there early to ensure you'll be set up before dark so you're not fumbling around once the sun has gone down. Whilst they are handy, headlamps simply won't cut it in cases like this. Another benefit of arriving early is that you won't have to compete with other campers for a prime location. Plus, the sooner you're set up the sooner you'll be able to enjoy being on Country.
- Be aware of the weather
Australia can be a hostile place, so it is important to consider and plan for the weather in your chosen location. If the weather is hot and dry you might want to think about creating a fire safety plan and be sure to bring plenty of water. If there is rain in the forecast you may want to consider road conditions and how you'll get in and out of camp safely if there is a risk of flash flooding. If it's going to be windy you should check for big trees as there is a risk of large branches dropping on your camp. In cooler weather you need the right sleeping bag and appropriate clothing such as thermals, spare socks and a rain coat etc.
- Be fire prepared
As mentioned above the weather is always a key consideration when planning your camping trip. However, in Australia we know all too well that there is always a fire risk in the summer months. So it is always important to be fire safe - when planning your trip make sure you know if there is a total fire ban. If not and it's ok to light a fire there are a number of safety measures you can take to reduce the risks. You should clear the area - make sure there is plenty of clear space around your fire, there should be nothing close by that can accidentally catch fire. You should think about the weather, it may be too windy to safely have a fire. Another good practice of responsible campers is not putting rubbish in your fire - it is always best to bring a garbage bag and take all your rubbish home with you. When you're ready to leave camp, be sure to put your fire out completely and finally, have a backup plan - sometimes there won't be any fire wood available at your chosen camp or there might be a fire ban. You'll want to think about these things before you head off and decide what you'll need for light/warmth in case you can't have a fire.
- Drive safely
Our last tip is all about getting there and back safely. To do that you'll need to make sure your vehicle is in good shape - check your tires, water and oil and consider if your car safe and capable of operating in the conditions of your chosen camping spot. For example, you may need a 4WD car to get to certain camps or sometimes even a boat - if your lucky. Don't speed, it's better to arrive late than not at all and, it can be more dangerous on the road during busy periods such as holidays and long weekends. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get to your detination. Finally, if something does go wrong and you're in a quiet or remote location the best thing you can do is stay at your car. You'll be easier to find and safer if you do.
Bonus tip: Find out who the Traditional Owners are of the area that you'll be visiting and be sure to acknowledge and thank them and their ancestors for allowing you safe passage whilst on their Country.