Let’s face it, many aspects of overseas travel are quite daunting for Aussie travellers. Navigating through crowds, figuring out transport networks in big cities or asking for directions in Spanish are experiences that really put us out of our comfort zone. However, if there’s one thing that comes naturally to us Aussies, it’s staying alive when there’s no one else around. That’s right - our survival skills are top-notch when it comes to the Outback.
Here are ten things we know about staying alive in the bush.
1) Be clear about where you’re going, and who you’ll be with
Tell your friends and family where you're going, who you’ll be travelling with, and for how long. It’s also a good idea to give them the phone numbers of the people in your group, maps of where you're travelling to and map coordinates. Don’t forget a battery-operated or a wind-up mobile charger, and a waterproof and shockproof case for your mobile phone.
2) Ask your local authorities for help
Before you set off, make sure you’re familiar with the area that you’ll be heading to. The local authorities can help you plot your route, give you any relevant weather warnings and if you let them know your plans, they’ll hopefully be able to find you easily if you get lost.
3) Don’t go it alone
The old adage applies here - safety in numbers is the best approach. Not only will your trip be more fun with more of you, but if someone gets hurt, some of you can stay with the injured party, and some of you can go to get help.
4) Know your vehicle
5) If you get lost, stop
If you do get lost, the urge to move around and try and find your party will be overwhelming. However, it’s better if you just calm down and stay still. Your group, and the authorities, will start searching from your last-known location, and if you start trying to undo your mistake, there’s a good chance that you’ll be moving further away from rescue.
6) Make some noise
It sounds obvious, but don’t be afraid of making a racket to make sure that your voice is heard. Shout, scream, light a fire, blow on a whistle - take off some brightly-coloured clothing and use it as a flag. If you’re driving in a car that’s broken down, you can alert other drivers to your situation by opening the bonnet to show that you’re in trouble.
7) Don’t drink all your water
The best thing you can do is ration your water; in cases of survival, you’ll need it far more than food. Before you set off, always take as much water as you can carry with you - it's much more vital than food. Remember that if you’ve gone without water for a while, don't glug it down - take small sips and wet the insides of your mouth.
8) Embrace the night
If you’ve got to use a lot of energy, save your physical activity for dusk or after dark. Moving around during the day is sweaty work, and you’ll become dehydrated much more quickly. You’ll feel hungry, but staying hydrated is your main issue; you can survive without food for much longer than water.
9) Stay out of the sun
The sun’s heat will cause you to lose water and prolonged exposure can lead to sunburn and sunstroke, which can lessen your chances of staying coherent and able to take care of yourself. Don't bother drinking your wee if your thirst is overpowering; it'll contain mostly salt and impurities.
10) Tackle your situation like a boss
Proper Aussies handle being lost in the Bush with the right mixture of caution, common sense and self-belief. Stay positive - you WILL be found, and until that point, it’s just a question of sitting tight and saving your energy. If you've taken the proper precautions, someone will notice that you're missing and the authorities will be alerted. Giving up is not an option!
What are your best tips for surviving in the bush? Have you ever gotten out of a precarious situation in the wild? Tell us about it on our Facebook page.