Australia is a very welcoming country to travel to and appeals to a broad range of visitors from families with children to gap year students, and with wide open spaces, beautiful beaches, glorious sunshine, low crime statistics, and a vast and diverse landscape, it is one of the safest countries in the world to visit. But there are some catches, this article will help you be 'Safe and Aware while enjoying your holiday in Australia' Topics Covered: Driving, Snakes, Spiders, Crocodiles, Swimming, Sharks, Mosquitoes and Stingers.
Safe and Aware while enjoying your holiday in Australia
Before you start driving
- Before beginning a driving holiday, plan your trip.
- Find out how long it will take to drive between destinations.
- Be realistic about how many kilometres you can drive in a day.
- Be well prepared for travelling in remote areas.
- Plan to avoid driving after a long flight.
- Get to know the road rules.
- Have a good night's sleep before the trip.
- Ask about the weather and road conditions.
- Note where the fuel stations are on your route.
- Read our detailed article on Driving in Australia
On your trip
- Drive on the left side of the road.
- Wear a seat belt – it’s the law.
- Take regular rest breaks.
- Don’t drive if you've been drinking alcohol – strict drink driving laws apply.
- Drive at a safe, legal speed.
- Take extra care on dirt roads.
- Watch for animals and avoid driving on rural roads near sunset and sunrise.
- In an emergency, stay with your vehicle.
- Before you cross the road, look right, look left, look right again and cross only when safe to do so.
- Check your mobile phone coverage as some areas within Australia are only accessible using satellite phones.
- Mobile phones are not for use while driving – it’s the law.
- Hitchhiking or picking up hitchhikers is strongly discouraged.
- At the beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags — not outside them.
Sun Smart - No matter where you are in Australia or what season it is, always remember your sunscreen. The Australian sun can be very strong, so it's best to wear a shirt and put on a hat while enjoying the great outdoors. Sunscreen containing SPF30+ coverage is recommended.
Dangerous Animals in Australia
As most people know Australia has some dangerous creatures. Deaths from any of them are very rare however it is a good idea to be careful. The most important tip we can give you is: Always obey warning sign. They are there for a reason!
There are 110 land and 32 sea snakes in Australia and can be found all over Australia, not just in the Outback. However, you will hardly see them as they are inoffensive and very shy. They have had only forty thousand odd years of human predation to contend with. None of their behaviour has evolved targeting humans. Australia's snakes rarely envenom when biting defensively. Envenomation occurs in less than 1 in 10 bites and only 1 in 20 snake bites require active emergency treatment or the administration of antivenom.
Most cases of snakebite can be avoided by following these simple rules:
• Leave snakes alone
• Wear clothing and stout shoes (not sandals/thongs) in 'snake country'
• Never put hands in hollow logs or thick grass without prior inspection
• When stepping over logs, carefully inspect the ground on the other side
• Don't provoke a snake, don't dry to catch or kill it. When a snake crosses your path, wait and let it slither away. Stamp your feet and make some noise, it'll go away. Don't make the snake feel trapped.
• Use a torch when you walk around your campsite in the dark. Shake out your sleeping bag if you had left it on the ground.
• Last but not least, don't panic when you see a snake. Always remember: the snake might be as frightened as you are. Snakes usually won't attack anything that is too big to swallow.
In the VERY UNLIKELY EVENT you are bitten by a snake
First Aid for Snakebite
• Do not wash the bite, do not cut the bite, do not suck the bite, do not apply a tourniquet! Traces of venom that are left on the skin can be used to identify the snake, and therefore the type of antivenom that should be used if required.
Venom is injected deeply so there is no benefit in cutting or sucking the bite. A tourniquet is not an effective way to restrict venom movement.
• The most effective first aid for snakebite is the pressure-immobilisation technique. The principle is to minimise the movement of the venom around the body until the victim is in a hospital by applying a firm bandage (or suitable alternative) to the bitten area and limb and to immobilise the victim. When applied properly, this method can trap the venom in the bitten area for many hours. The victim might not suffer any effects of the venom until the compression is released, which is done in hospital where antivenom can be administered if required.
• Do not let the bitten person walk to help, Any movement of muscles in the limb speeds up absorption of the poison. • Start transport to the nearest medical centre or call and meet an ambulance.
For an ambulance in an emergency Tel. 000 Australian Venom Research Unit Tel. 1300 760 451