The Outback is a general term for remote areas. With Perth just a small part of Western Australia there is a lot to see. However, the further from Perth you travel, the further apart towns are and if you are like me, you would be tempted to go down unusual roads – just to see what is there! Notably, I found myself in a little bit of trouble and soon learnt a valuable lesson of having some essentials on your travels in WA.
Below is a list of things I recommend you should have if you are planning to trip to the Outbacks.
- A Map Book. Believe it or not, I have missed the exit several times and with limited cellular reception meant I had to figure it out. There was a number of occasions when I was the only one on the road, which cold be pretty scary if you have NO IDEA where you are. If you are on a shoe string budget, then download this map book supplied by the WA Government. It is not that fancy, but it will help you figure out direction and distance. DOWNLOAD HERE
- Cellular Reception. The most important lesson I learnt was having the correct cellular or mobile service provider. Things work a little differently in W.A. and Telstra is the company that owns most of the reception across W.A. It would be a good idea to purchase a Telstra SIM card. You can purchase pay-as-you-go SIMS from most outlets. However, you may have to fill out a number of forms to obtain one. I have a Telstra Modem with me which helps me access the internet and make online calls.
- First Aid Kit. One of the things I learnt from a First Aid course was that if there was only one thing to carry with you, then choose the triangle bandage. Notably, this is the bare essentials and a triangle bandage will not help for a small cut or a headache. You can purchase a basic first aid kit from most grocery stores, pharmacies and even camping stores.
- Car Essentials. Believe it or not, I purchased a car without a jack or a spare tire. It was only when I broke down in the middle of nowhere that I realized this. So before you travel anywhere, make sure you have the car essentials which include a spare wheel, a jack, some basic car tools (flat head and star screw driver, pliers and monkey wrench). I would also add a petrol can and some oil. Yes, I ran out of petrol but luckily was close to a petrol station.
- Food, Water and Sleeping Bag. Because we have driven to remote areas in Western Australia, we realized that the best thing is to always carry the basics with you. This includes a little plastic container of basic cutlery, cups, plates and easy to make food like 2 min noodles, cup a soup, can of beans and coffee. We also have water in the car all the time. Of course, we added a cheap summer sleeping bag just in case we decide that sleeping on the beach is better than driving home!
- Communication. Let people know about your travel plans. You may choose to Facebook, tweet or even Instagram it. What ever your choice of communication, letting people know where you are or where you are going is the best advice I can give. And yes, this tip has helped me on more than one occasion.
- Apps. You are not always going to have reception, however there are apps you can download that are life savers – literally. One of these apps is the St. Johns First Aid app that walks you through step-by-step instructions when faced with a medical emergency. Unfortunately, there are snakes in the outback and knowing what to do can save a life.
- Miscellaneous Necessities. Other things that you may find you will need is toilet paper, bug spray, hat and towel. Of course you don’t have to carry all of these but if I was to choose only one from that list it would be toilet paper.