Queensland's Outback is vast and requires special driving skills and awareness of different conditions. Our remote wilderness areas have few towns and facilities, often with large distances between them, so be aware and plan your trip. Inform family and friends or the local police of your travel plans.
Bear in mind that some remote areas may not have consistent mobile phone coverage - especially away from populated areas or townships. Check with your mobile provider when you plan your trip or visit the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
Make sure your vehicle is in good working order and has been serviced recently. Always carry a spare tyre, tools and water. If travelling to remote areas off major highways, take extra food, water, fuel and tyres.
Road conditions can vary from a sealed surface to gravel and dirt. Use a four-wheel drive vehicle on unsealed roads in remote areas. Roads can be narrow with unstable edges. Be very careful of holes, soft road edges , narrow bridges, changing surfaces and dusty roads. Drive slowly on unsealed roads and take extra care - loose surfaces are unpredictable. If you drive off the side of the road, do not overcorrect but slow down and return to the road when the vehicle is travelling at a safe speed. Always check on local road conditions befor leaving major roads.
Turn your vehicle's headlights on low beam during the day so vehicles can see you. Take regular breaks and always obey road closure signs.
Take care when travelling in remote areas during summer. Temperatures in Outback Australia can reach over 50°C (122°F).
You may come across water on the road. Do not attempt to cross flooded bridges or causeways unless you are absolutely sure of the water depth and any road damage. Even shallow water can have the strength to sweep away vehicles. Most flash floods recede within 24 hours.
Huge trucks, known as road trains, can be the length of 10 cars. It can take up to 2.5 kilometres to overtake a road train at 100km/h. Also allow plenty of room before you overtake as they may sway from side to side as you overtake. Be prepared for the 'windrush' when passing as it can pull you towards the road train. When being overtaken by a road train, maintain your speed and don't move off the road. Only slow once the road train moves out to pass.
Watch out for animals on the road such as, kangaroos and emus. Livestock also graze on the side of unfenced roads. The most active time for many animals is sunrise and sunset. If an animal crosses in front of you, reduce speed safely, do not swerve as you may roll your vehicle.
Do NOT leave your vehicle because it will provide you with shade and protection from the heat. Wait for help to come to you. Consider hiring appropriate emergency communication equipment, such as a satellite phone and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) device.
For further information, download the Visitor Safety Handbook.