One of the many great things about living in Australia is that the warm climate allows us to go camping pretty much anytime. The opportunity to communicate with nature and lie beneath the stars on a clear night is too much to resist for an increasing number of adventurous families. However, if you want to have the best possible outdoor experience, it’s necessary to be sensible and take certain precautions.
It’s common for temperatures to exceed 30 degrees centigrade during the day and remain high even during the night. You should always drink before you get thirsty as it is the first sign of dehydration and a clear sign you’re already behind on your water needs. More serious signs include headaches, weariness and dark urine. Look to drink at least half a litre of water as a bare minimum 1-2 hours before taking part in strenuous exercise, although 1 litre is better. If you decide to go hiking, drink 250ml of water every 15 minutes.
Don’t lose your orientation.
Common sense and preparation should prevent you from getting lost on a hike, but if you do manage to lose your bearings for a second, don’t panic. As well as bringing a map and a compass, carry a small mirror with you. If you’re stranded, you can shine the mirror to create a flash which may be seen by other members of your group.
Beware dangerous creatures.
As wonderful as nature is, Australia has its fair share of dangerous creatures including snakes, bees and poisonous spiders among others. When hiking, keep your eyes on the ground and the trees; bees can make nests in the ground, while wasps tend to make a home in the trees. If someone is stung, keep an eye out for symptoms such as dizziness or difficulty breathing as this may be the sign of an allergic reaction. While snakes are not interested in humans for the most part, it’s a good idea to use a branch to poke the ground in front of you when hiking through the bush to clear them out of your direct path.
When to shelter from Lightning.
The sound of thunder means you’re 10 miles or less from a storm so you should look for shelter immediately. Don’t seek refuge in your tent as it is probably held up with aluminium poles which could be hit by the lightning. A good idea is to take shelter in your vehicle as the tires will absorb the impact if the lightning hits the car. Finally, an open field is better than hiding behind tall trees, as the latter may fall on you.
Camping can be an incredible experience and one that the whole family will remember. Take the above precautions to ensure everyone stays safe and has an enjoyable time.