Before you leave
Have your car serviced and check that your spare tyre is pumped.
Pack a first aid kit and some decent tools. Take a decent map and preloaded music as lots of places will have no radio or phone reception, so you won’t be able to access online maps or music. The static radio station will drive you crazy. Pack extra water and some paper towels or rags, they will not go astray.
Make sure you have a good map that lists which roads are sealed or dirt and distances.
Conditions on dirt roads can change very quickly with just a little rain so make sure you stay aware of forecasted rain and plan alternate routes if needed. Talk to other travellers you meet on the way or ring the local Visitor Information Centre for up-to-date details of dirt roads. Fifty kilometres of dirt may not seem much, but if the road is badly corrugated, you could be in for a slow bumpy ride.
Review the distances between towns to ensure you have enough fuel.
Fuel stops on major highways are rarely more than 200 km apart, however, where you do see a “no fuel” sign, it means exactly that, so better to top up when you can than run out. If you are heading off the beaten track an extra jerry can is always a wise idea.
If you’re a newbie to the Outback your first encounter with a road train can be a bit daunting.
They aren’t actually trains but large trucks that can tow up to four trailers.
On a narrow road when approaching an oncoming road train it’s best to pull off the road and drive slowly on the shoulder of the road, and be aware that the shoulder may be uneven ground or soft after recent rain.
When following a road train it’s best to keep some distance back, unless overtaking. This will avoid rocks been thrown up at your windscreen from a rough surface or having the lovely aroma of cattle wafting through your car.
Most road trains travel at decent speeds in the outback, but if you do have to pass one here are a few tips to keep you safe.
- Be aware of the trucks length some road trains can be over 50m long, so you will need to leave enough clear road space ahead. (Even better to wait until you have no oncoming traffic)
- Only overtake when you are confident you can safely do so.
- When overtaking, move out and pass quickly but sensibly.
- Don’t move back in until you see both the road train’s headlights in your mirrors and don’t slow down.
Animals on the road
Many of the roads in the Hughenden Shire pass through private property or unfenced roadways.
Respect our graziers and their stock, please slow down when you see cattle on the road. Hitting a beast is a loss for both parties.
Avoid driving at dusk or dawn if you can as native wildlife are most active at these times. We have a lot of falcons and eagles on the roads that feed on roadkill. These birds are often hit by drivers who overestimate their flight take-off. They are heavier birds so slow down a little when approaching them to give them time to fly off the road.
Hiking in the region
Take plenty of water
Plan you hikes to avoid hiking uphill in the middle of the day (especially in the summer months). The hottest part of the day is from 2pm-5pm in the winter. In the summer it heats up by lunchtime and can remain over 30 degrees until 7pm at night.
Be aware that most of the hiking in our region does not have any mobile phone reception, so for this region it is always wise to carry a first aid kit and hike with others.