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Top 3 Things To Do In Australia - Going Bush

Updated on March 25, 2010

Whatever your mental image of your Australian eco-odyssey, turning the daydream into reality depends on careful planning and an acquaintance with the quirks and commonplaces that constitute this particular land. Although the vast majority of tourists and let's admit it, even Australian citizens, never venture much past easy access to the ocean, many of the most fascinating and totally unforgettable Australian sights, sounds, and experiences lie beyond the sugar sand beaches and the manicured coastal cities in the heart of the searing red center.

Drive a few hours inland from any of the major centers, go bush, as the locals would have it, and traces of modern civilization begin to disappear. Soon you're hitting dirt roads, the towns are rapidly shrinking in size, the choice of hotels and eateries is dwindling, and it's three hours to the next gas station.

So consider your options carefully. Australia's wildness may be its major attraction, but it's not without its challenges and perils.

Down under, Christmas is celebrated in searing summer heat, wildflowers begin to bloom in August, and skiers plummet down pistes from June to September. Australia's unfamiliar Southern Hemisphere seasons and widely variable climate mean that you have to time your visit carefully. Scorching heat in the outback and torrential rains that engulf the Top End during the monsoon should dissuade you from visiting these regions between November and April. If that's not enough, consider this: during those months it's almost impossible to cool off in the ocean anywhere north of the Tropic of Capricorn due to the presence of deadly box jellyfish.

On the other hand, winters are perfect for traveling in the outback and tropics: the days are bright, warm, and clear, the nights cool and dry; the floods that fill canyons and cover plains have dwindled to bubbling creeks and muddy billabongs frequented by abundant wildlife, and the seas are free of box jellyfish.

Few antipodean animals pose a threat to travelers, but it pays to tread carefully. Australia has more venomous snakes than any other country, and several of the most deadly. Boots and long trousers will offer some protection, but you can also comfort yourself with the knowledge that almost all snakes beat a hasty retreat as soon as they sense your approach and that Australia's annual tally of fatalities per million inhabitants is a miniscule 0.13. To treat a bite, bind the wound tightly, then get the injured person to a doctor at once. Antivenins are widely available.

Several species of spider can inflict a painful and sometimes life-threatening bite, so treat all arachnids with caution. The most deadly spider is the Sydney funnelweb; fortunately, this species is restricted to the Sydney region and an antivenin is seldom far away.

Toxins carried by bush ticks can paralyze and even kill. After hiking in eastern grasslands or forests, check your body thoroughly. If you find a tick, soak it in methylated spirits and then draw it out carefully using tweezers. Try not to squeeze the tick's body, as this will force more toxin into the system.

Continued In: Top 3 Things To Do In Australia - Going Bush Part 2


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      Well, definitely don't go to Central Queensland. I remember standing on a bridge over the river in Rockhampton and the water was so thick with jellyfish you could almost walk on them. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      I wanna go as far away as possible from those creatures that sting! Can you name some place? :)