Outback Travel Tips
Desert Parks Pass
The Desert Parks Pass is your passport to South Australia’s breathtaking outback parks and covers camping (where permitted). Purchase a Desert Parks Pass, and you’ll get a handbook with information on all eight parks, safety instructions for outback driving, vehicle supply checklists, wildlife information and detailed maps. The pass is valid for 12 months and issued on a per vehicle basis.
The Outback Loop falls within the desert zone, so summer days can be scorching, while nights are often quite cold. In fact, the Simpson Desert Parks are closed from 1 December to 15 March. The best time to visit Australia’s outback is between May and September when the temperatures are much cooler, and the flies won’t carry you off.
During fire danger season (1 November to 30 April), there are strict conditions for lighting any fire, including campfires. On Total Fire Ban Days, all fires are banned. Before lighting any fires, avoid severe penalties by checking with the Country Fire Service www.cfs.sa.gov.au, or the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361. In an emergency, call 000.
Outback Travel Tips
The Outback Loop® Map contains essential travellers information if you’re planning a visit to the Outback. There’s also journey highlights, business information, and town descriptions.
- Ensure you have adequate supplies of fuel, food and water in case of unforeseen circumstances
- Notify a responsible person of your itinerary, intended route, stopovers and arrival times and dates
- Normal mobile phones do not work in most SA outback areas away from the sealed highways. We recommend you carry a satellite phone, EPIRB and a UHF radio
- Drive four-wheel-drive vehicles at reduced speeds on unsealed roads. Dust will limit your visibility, so take care when overtaking, especially road trains
- Take frequent rest breaks and change drivers regularly
- Obey all road closure signs
- If you break down, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE
- Use only recognised Public Access Tracks and designated camping areas. Seek prior approval from landholders to use private tracks
- Up-to-date road conditions can be checked via the Far Northern and Western Areas Road Condition hotline – 1300 361 033 or by visiting www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads. Alternatively, call the Desert Parks information line on (08) 8648 5328
- Also refer to the outback safety guide and Top 10 Travel Tips from the Department for Environment and Water
- Get your vehicle serviced before you go. Be sure to pack spare spark plugs, fuses, hoses, fan belt, wheel brace, jack, torch, jumper leads, and tow rope
- Check radiator and hoses, flush radiator
- Check fuel and temperature gauges are working
- Check fan belt for tension and cracking
- Check tyres, including spare(s), for wear, tread and inflation
- Emergency breakdown services
- Automobile Association of Australia (AAA) National Emergency Breakdown Service call 131111
I was recently part of a 3-day outback tour which took in Innamincka and the Cooper Creek, Birdsville, Lake Eyre region and the northern Flinders Ranges where we stayed at Arkaroola. From start to finish it was a brilliant experience.