Information about driving in remote and outback areas of Australia

translate website
Remote travel
Backpacker travel insurance
Australian mobile phone deals

Driving in remote and outback areas of Australia

Driving through remote and outback parts of Australia requires thorough preparation. Listed below are some general considerations and precautions you should take into account if you are planning on doing any travel to these types of areas.

  • Firstly, unless you are sticking to major roads, you shouldn't embark on a trip to the outback unless you have a roadworthy 4WD vehicle.

  • Seek advice on the terrain, conditions and safety requirements. Contact the State or Territory motoring association or relevant visitor information centres for this information.

  • Before leaving the nearest major town, check the conditions of outback roads.

  • Carry an extra 2 spare tyres, oil, fuel and tools.

  • Carry extra supplies of water and food.

  • Have a good quality medical kit.

  • Hire appropriate emergency communication equipment, eg GPS, satellite phones, HF radio. Mobile phones have limited coverage in remote areas, so check your phone provider for coverage.

  • Check with State or Territory motoring associations for emergency services and facilities available in the remote areas.

  • Have current and detailed maps.

  • Plan your route carefully and notify a family member, friend or third party of your expected itinerary and approximate time of arrival.

  • Avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions.

  • Do not drive through flooded areas, as waters can rise rapidly.

  • It is always advisable to drive with at least two vehicles.

  • Always check road conditions before turning off major roads. 

  • Take frequent rest breaks and change drivers regularly.

  • Be aware of other road traffic, particularly cyclists and road trains.

  • Be aware of train crossings.

  • Keep an eye out for wildlife and livestock that can often wander onto the road. This occurs a lot more at sunrise and sunset, so it is best to avoid driving at these times.

  • Be aware that temperatures can easily exceed 40°C (104°F) in the summer months.

  • Dust from dirt roads can obscure your vision. Slow down or stop until the dust settles.

  • Obey road closure signs and stick to the main roads.

  • If you encounter gates, they should always be left as they were found. Open gates should be left open and closed gates should be closed after passing through them.

  • Avoid tracks that are for private use only, or that are not marked on maps.

  • Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down or in an emergency.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Call 000 for emergency fire, police and ambulance assistance throughout Australia or if a crime is in progress.