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Life in the Outback – 5 Survival Tips

Team Sonnenwagen will be spending a few nights camping in the Australian Outback. We thought, we should give them (and you) a few survival tips for a night in the bush!

Spending the evening under a starry sky in the stunning natural landscape of the Australian outback – what could be better? 

This is what our friends from team Sonnenwagen will be doing at 5pm when each daily stage of the World Solar Challenge finishes and they need to make camp.

But the Australian outback can come with a few surprises and we thought this is a good opportunity to give some survival tips for safe camping in the wilderness for our intrepid Sonnenwagen team!

1.) Snakes & Stomping

Do you know why you should stomp on the ground in the Australian Outback before camping?

Because of Snakes!

While poisonous snakes don't hear, they do feel vibrations! But they can feel vibrations, and often rather disappear when there is too much commotion. So, remember, when you have found a nice spot for the night stomp around for a bit to make sure all snakes are gone!

2.) Sun protection

The sun is unsurprisingly an essential part of the World Solar Challenge. However, it is also very dangerous to spend too much time outside without enough sun protection, especially Down Under. If your next vacation leads you to Australia, make sure to bring sun blocker (SPF 30+) with you and always wear clothes and a hat. Seriously, a hat is very important!

Otherwise you’ll get sunburned, and additionally fall victim to Australians joking about red-skinned tourists. 

3.) Traffic

This point is relevant not only for solar racers in the middle of nowhere. Australians drive on the left – unlike many countries in Europe or North- and South America. You have to make sure to drive your vehicle on the right side – in this case the left side. You get what we mean.

Another thing to note, are wild animals crossing the roads. As there are endless roads through vast landscapes without any people living there, the chances to cross paths with a kangaroo or camel is bigger than seeing another car. You should never drive after dawn because that is when the temperatures drop, and the animals become active again.

To avoid that, just do it like Team Sonnenwagen and rest after 5pm. And enjoy the most amazing stargazing you will ever see!

4.) Taking a dip

Cooling off in the water on a hot summer's day is simply the best. But here caution is required also. Australia is not only home to koalas and kangaroos, but also sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish.

In the Outback, you can occasionally find waterholes, commonly known as ‘billabong’, in which you can dip your toes to cool down from the heat. But be aware that these billabongs can sometimes be populated by ‘Freshies’, a sweet-sounding name that Australians have given their ‘Freshwater Crocodiles’. They are rather small and not really deadly; however, they can easily bite off one of your toes. 

When you are at the coast and want to go surfing be aware of shark warnings. There are also signs close to areas that warn of jellyfish, which can be very painful. The good thing is, there are nets in the water which should protect the beaches. In addition to sharks and jellyfish, there are also ‘Salties’ roaming the waters. Yes, like above, this refers to a type of crocodile. These specimens, however, are very big and can be very deadly. So, stay out of the water!

5.) Going to the dunny (toilet) 

For most of us a routine experience, but for team Sonnenwagen an adventure. If you ‘have to go’ in Australia, you should always check for spiders or snakes first. 

Spiders often nest in toilets in national parks. Especially the Redback Spider, or ‘Australian black widow’ likes water, and is highly venomous. Snakes often flee into wastewater pipes during hot summer. So, keep your eyes open! 

And if you find a snake staring at you in the toilet, you know what to do. Just stomp! (see no. 1).

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