Preparing for the Outback
The Outback is a pretty special place for us 4WDers. At first glance nothing but salt bush and dust paints the landscape, so you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing out there. But dig deeper and you’ll find some of the best camping and 4WD touring nestled in this pocket of the country. Yet, for some crazy reason, few of us actually get out there and explore it properly.
What makes it so good? Well, the sunsets are nothing short of sensational, there’s about as much history as the Roman Empire itself, and there’s just something magical about relaxing on the banks of the Darling River watching the sun drop right when the birds are at their chirpiest.
But, as with any 4WD trip, preparation is the key to a successful trip to the outback. So, to guarantee squeezing the most out of your adventure, chuck on your reading glasses and put up your feet for our low-down on making your trip to the outback New South Wales the ultimate adventure.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Parts of the outback are pretty remote, so you’ll need to learn to expect a bit of everything at some point or another. The heart of outback New South Wales would have to be Broken Hill, which lies in Australia’s arid zone, so timing is everything when it comes to weather. Summers are hot and winters are, believe it or not, pretty bloody cold. So the months between April and October are generally the best times to visit. You can visit in summer, but if you don’t like the heat, you’re likely to struggle with temperatures regularly tipping into the 40s. Plus, the flies in summer can be unbearable. But, if you time it right, you’ll be blessed with nice warm days, cool breezes and comfortable nights for a memorable outback adventure.
JUST IN CASE
When you’re travelling the outback, one thing’s for sure – things don’t go to plan. It’s a good idea to include a few buffer zones with extra supplies and time. Staples such as flour and canned food come in super handy. Water supplies are another biggie – always carry plenty at any given time because you just never know when you’ll need it.
Fuel is pretty easily calculated if you’re just travelling between towns on the blacktop, but it can get a tad trickier when navigating the bush.
For the best hope in calculating your expected usage, you’ll need to know how much fuel your vehicle uses offroad, when it’s fully loaded. One way to achieve this is to load up your rig and give it a good run up a beach through soft sand and base your calculations from that. A good map should roughly indicate the number of kays between fuel stops. But pack an extra day or two’s worth of fuel reserves for a stress-free trip.
HOW MUCH WATER?
Good, clean drinking water is vital when you’re going remote, but how much should you carry? One school of thought suggests at least 5L/person/day for remote area travel. So, if you’re using jerry cans for water storage, one 20L jerry can per person will last roughly four days.
Modern camper trailers are usually fitted with large water tanks with ample storage for the average camper, but as the saying goes – don’t put all your eggs in one basket; a rupture can deplete your entire supply, so carry a spare jerry just in case, too.
Always keep a close eye on your water levels; it’s pretty easy to lose more than you thought if you use the water for conveniences like a shower.