Here are some health and safety tips to ensure you have an enjoyable, trouble-free holiday in Australia’s North West.
The isolation and ruggedness found in Australia’s North West can be adventurous and exciting, but it can also carry risks. In order to reduce the risk of problems during your holiday, there are a few things you can do before you set off.
Always carry adequate supplies of water and a comprehensive first aid kit. If you take prescribed medication make sure you will have enough for the duration of your trip and bring a script renewal from your doctor.
Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as encephalitis and Ross River fever. Use appropriate insect repellents and cover arms and legs with loose clothing, particularly at dawn and dusk.
Personal Safety Tips
While Australia is considered to be a very safe country, it is still wise to avoid dangerous situations.
- Always let someone know where you are and where you are going
- Take care when using automated teller machines (ATM's) and secure your cash quickly
- Keep valuables out of sight and secure while travelling
- Always use protection when having sexual intercourse
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Avoid dark public spaces when alone
- Avoid hitchhiking and never hitchhike alone
The hot and dry conditions in parts of Australia’s North West mean there is a risk of bushfires, and in isolated areas it is possible for bushfires to rage for several days before being noticed and brought under control.
The lighting of fires can be extremely dangerous, care should be taken at all times and a campfire should never be left unattended. Please help us protect our natural environment and follow the fire warnings. Safety information is available from Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
Cylones can affect Australia's North West coastal and inland communities during the summer months - generally from December to March. Tropical Cyclone Advices are issued on local TV and radio stations whenever a tropical cyclone is expected.
Bush Survival Tips
Many of the North West’s breathtaking natural attractions lie in remote and vast wilderness areas. Before heading off into the outback, remember to:
- Let someone know your destination and schedule
- Carry extra water and food
- Carry a signal device, such as a flare or mirror
- Make sure you know how to use a 4WD
- Plan your route and take maps
- If your plans change, let someone know
- If possible, carry some form of communication equipment
See the Road Safety page for advice on how to prepare for your journey and what to do if you get stuck or break down.
There are two main species of crocodiles; the estuarine or saltwater crocodile (known as ‘salties’) and the Johnson freshwater crocodile (known as ‘freshies’). Salties are extremely territorial animals, they are considered to be the most dangerous and can grow up to seven metres in length. However, all crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Always observe warning signs and if in doubt, don’t swim, canoe or use small boats in estuaries, tidal rivers and deep pools.
Box jelly fish and irukandji are potentially lethal marine stingers found along the Kimberley coast. Although they can be present all year round they are most prevalent from November until April. Take the right precautions - wear a full length stinger suit and if local authorities close the beach, please abide by their decision. If you are stung, douse liberally with vinegar and seek urgent medical advice.
Australia's North West has the largest tidal ranges in the Southern Hemisphere. Tidal water can move very quickly, and often catches people unaware. If you are undertaking any activity by the water, check the local tide charts, available at visitor centres and service stations.
Travellers should always wear a wide brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses and at least an SPF 15+ sunscreen when outdoors. It is also recommended that you drink at least two litres of water each day.
Take extra care when outdoors between 10:00am and 3:00pm, when UV radiation is most intense. Seek shade to protect your skin from skin cancer and other sun damage.
Safety at the Beach
- Always swim or surf at a beach patrolled by lifesavers
- Swim between the red and yellow flags, they mark the safest areas to swim
- Always swim under supervision, or with a friend
- Read and obey the signs
- If you are unsure of conditions, ask a lifesaver
- Don't swim directly after a meal
- Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Don't run and dive in the water
- Conditions change regularly; check before you enter the water
- If you get into trouble in the water, don't panic - signal for help, float and wait for assistance
- Float with a rip current or undertow, do not swim against it