Outback travel tips
Whether you’re a seasoned Outback adventurer or a first-time traveller, here are a few tips to ensure that you and your family have a safe and fun filled trip on our Outback roads. So let’s take a look at some tips and tricks from our locals:
1. Pack all the essentials
Water – tick. Snacks - tick. Music - tick. First aid kit, spare tyre, map; tick, tick, tick. When there are hundreds of kilometres between towns (and petrol stations), the only person you’ll want to rely on for supplies is yourself. We recommend packing the car with road trip essentials, to ensure you’re prepared for anything.
2. Sharing is caring
Road trains, wide load, and heavy vehicles are common sightings in our region. Not only do some of our roads narrow down to one lane, we also have plenty of dirt roads to explore as well. The best way to share the road with these big rigs or with any vehicle is by moving as far left as possible or even pulling over while they pass to avoid any small rocks flying your way and cracking your windscreen. If you have a radio, listen to UHF 40 for any extra information or instructions from one driver to another.
3. Watch the road
Roads in our region have a lot of variety to them. Expect a few bumps, sometimes corrugation, potholes, graded dirt roads that weave and bend, bulldust, sandy spots and the odd rocky gravel road. These conditions can change in an instant. Our top tips for Outback road conditions are: being cautious, reducing speed when necessary and avoiding heavy braking. Please also remember, stopping in the middle of the road is dangerous. Consider other road users when stopping to view something, for example, an emu with chicks or one of our amazing sculptures. Pulling over to the side is the safest option for you and everyone else travelling.
Another note, due to our ever changing weather, it is likely that there will be road works along many of our roads. This can range from grading and flood damage works, to the widening of our bitumen roads and regular repairs. Take it slow and drive to the conditions.
4. Watch out for wildlife
It is fair to say that there is no shortage of kangaroos, emus, rabbits, cows and so much more in Outback Queensland. However, wildlife can cause a serious danger to travellers. Most wildlife are active at dawn and dusk, where they enjoy grazing on the edges of the roads and tend to wander across them in front of unsuspecting cars. This is why it is extremely important to be extra careful when travelling on our roads during this time. Take your time, the Outback isn't going anywhere.
5. Check the weather before you hit the road
Regular Road Report updates can be found on Council's website or feel free to phone your nearest Administration Office to find out more. Check for up to date weather conditions from the Bureau of Meteorology in case of rain.
6. Check for road closures, conditions, road works and accidents
Before heading out on the road, check road conditions and reports in our area, you can visit the Barcaldine Regional Council website or telephone 07 4651 5600.
Road conditions are always changing so we urge you to please check before you drive.
7. If It’s Flooded, Forget It
Many of our roads are remote and far from any sort of help. During the Summer months and occasionally in Winter, storms are always on the horizon. This can cause serious flash flooding and damage to our roads.
Please note, guide posts and flood metre readings are not always 100% correct, they are an estimation. So remember, if it’s flooded, forget it. You never know how far away help can be.
8. Read the signs
Way out west, you may encounter a few signs that you wouldn't particularly come across in the city. For example, if the hundreds of cows along the road don’t slow you down, then maybe the sign “Droving” or “Cattle Ahead” might make it a little more clear. Other signs can be as simple as: Road Works Ahead, Caution, Rough Surface, there can be so many. Always read the signs and stay alert.
9. Download the Policelink and Emergency + app
Another way to be prepared for anything is to download the Policelink App. This free app outlines the nearest police stations, recent accidents and reported accidents to make your transit through Outback Queensland as smooth as possible. We recommend also downloading the Emergency + App which provides users with information on who to call in an emergency. It also utilises GPS location to assist emergency services to determine where you are, should you be caught in an emergency situation.
10. Take regular breaks
As with any long road trip, regular breaks are essential. With vast landscapes, seemingly endless horizons and the odd mirage to contend with, the journey can be just as exciting as the destination. We recommend not travelling too far in one day, stopping as soon as you become tired and taking the time to make pit stops for meals, refuelling and exploring.
11. Allow for extra time to explore
The outback is filled with natural beauties, local characters and one-of-a kind towns that you may have never seen or heard about before. What ever you do, make time to discover their hidden charms. Adding an extra day or two to your road trip will allow for adventures and also relieve the time pressure to arrive at your destination in a hurry.
Take plenty of photos, have lots of laughs, stroll our streets, meet the locals and most of all, enjoy your stay!
We hope these tips and tricks to travelling on our Outback roads help you and your family in getting to your destination safely.
Other important tips and information
One reason travellers choose to visit the Barcaldine region is to enjoy the charm and friendliness of our small towns. While we have all the facilities and services you need, in some towns availability may be limited.
We have put together these travel tips to help you enjoy your visit to our region.
Forward planning is essential. Travel and road conditions can vary, depending on the weather. Never assume - always check before commencing your journey.
Some of our service stations have restricted opening hours, so plan ahead and stock up on food and fuel. It's also important to note that LPG is not available in all regional areas. It is advisable to contact the
Visitor Information Centres or Barcaldine Regional Council when planning your journey to ensure you know the location and availability of food and fuel supplies. We recommend that you fill up the tank at every opportunity.
All our towns have bank facilities but EFTPOS or credit card facilities may not be available in all local businesses.
If you break down in the outback - stay with the vehicle until help arrives.
Due to circumstances outside their control, opening hours for local businesses may be subject to change at short notice.
Mobile coverage is available in all our towns. However, even a short distance outside the towns, there is limited or no mobile coverage. Do not rely on your mobile as a means of communication particularly in an emergency. A satellite phone or UHF radio might be something worth thinking about (they can be rented) if you are planning on being in remote areas for any length of time.
When visiting the Barcaldine region, please be aware that only Telstra sim cards work within our region. Telstra Aldi (or any other third-party supplier of Telstra) does not provide coverage in our beautiful region, the same with Vodafone and Optus.
Make sure you have enough medical supplies for your trip. Our local pharmacies may not stock your special requirements.
Littering in the outback is strictly prohibited; please dispose of litter in the appropriate manner.
When travelling to remote areas always check the road conditions before travelling. Advise the police or some other responsible person of your intended itinerary and report back on your arrival. Ensure that your vehicle is mechanically sound and carry ample water and spare parts such as tyres, radiator hoses and fan belts along with a good tool kit.
Many roads cross station properties - please remember that this is someone’s home and should be treated as such. Leave gates in the same way that you find them - if the gate is closed when you get there, close it again after you drive through or, if the gate is open when you arrive, leave it open. As you travel through private properties, please respect the privacy of the property owners – don’t litter or leave the designated road area.
Outback summers are hot but much less humid than on the coast and more bearable. Most facilities and transport are air-conditioned. Storms and heavy rains can occur during summer and minor flooding can cause some towns to become cut off for a few days but this is all part of the adventure. The most temperate weather occurs between the beginning of April and the end of October.
Wearing a broad brimmed hat and sunscreen is recommended for all seasons.