Archive for the ‘Safe travel’ Category


Moto-Safari Australia: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe & Eco-Friendly

Moto-Safari Australia: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe & Eco-Friendly

K.C. Dermody 

K.C. Dermody is an experienced freelance writer dedicated to creating high quality articles, web content, copywriting, e-books and more. She has published work on numerous sites and printed publications including Yahoo! Travel, Sports & News, RunLiveLearn and The Sherpa Report.

Australia is not only a spectacularly beautiful nation, its home to an incredible amount of wildlife, including 450 species of mammals like echidna, koala, kangaroo and kookaburra. What better way to experience it than on the back of a motorcycle?

The Outback

Traveling through Australia’s outback offers the opportunity to travel across open spaces that seem to stretch forever as well as to glimpse wildlife like the red kangaroo, which inhabits Australia’s driest regions, like the deserts of the outback. At the same time, a road trip through this area is not for the inexperienced rider. Be prepared for long distances as well as quickly changing road conditions, fatigue and hazards like animals and road trains.

Avoid riding at night, dawn or dusk as animals are often feeding near roadways at this time. Headlights can blind and panic them, causing the animal to leap towards it. If you hit a kangaroo, wild pig or cattle, the most frequently encountered animals in the outback, it could not only total your bike, you might end up seriously injured or worse.

Carrying plenty of water and filling water containers at every opportunity is a must, and when traveling through any remote area, riders should also inform authorities of their destination, route and arrival time.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is home to some fascinating wildlife, as well as some of the most dangerous, like fresh and saltwater crocodiles [editor's note: freshwater crocs are not man-eaters, but could give a damaging bite if handled or cornered]. This means you’ll want to be extra-cautious at water crossings, looking carefully before proceeding without rushing in. During the wet season, from November through April, water levels can rise quickly and the force of that water is often stronger than you might think. If you get stuck between two rivers, it’s best to wait it out as water levels often go down just as fast as they came up.

This area is also home to snakes, spiders, mosquitoes and other biting insects, so be sure and wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes, particularly when venturing on off-road trails.

Australian Alps

Located in the country’s southeast region, the Australian Alps are home to a number of endangered creatures like the alpine skink and mountain pygmy possums. Kangaroos, wallabies and corroboree frogs can be found living in the granite landscape of Namadgi National Park. The summit of Australia’s highest peak, there are 20 plant species found nowhere else on earth.

As the weather here can change quickly, particularly when climbing in altitude, you may want to pack a pair of leather pants to help keep you warm, as well as some thermal underwear.

Safety

With that in mind, it’s important to be well-prepared for your exotic motorcycle journey in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Bringing a helmet is essential and required by law in Australia. At the same time, you don’t want your helmet to interfere with your experience of seeing animals and the beauty all around you, which means purchasing a helmet with protection along with high visibility is really a must.

When you encounter wildlife, use common sense by keeping a safe distance and never feed them. If animals, like kangaroos or wallabies get used to being fed, they may start approaching people with the expectation of receiving food, and when there isn’t any, they can become aggressive. Be sure to follow all guidelines and best practices for wildlife conservation when you travel.

 

Snake danger in Australia? Usually not, if you’re careful.

Dangerous snake bites tourist in Australia – but could have been easily avoided

The most recent snakebite in Tasmania will no doubt make news around the world, and I’ve communicated with a number of people who are already scared to travel out of the cities in Australia because there may be snakes

http://www.perthnow.com.au/lifestyle/british-tourist-bitten-down-under/story-e6frg3pl-1226273090051

Yes, a tourist was bitten, and yes, the snake was one of our most venomous species, but it could have been so easily avoided.

Snakes do not go out of their way to bite us – they know we are too big to eat, so they don’t stalk us the way crocodiles or sharks might.

I once was sitting on a hillside in Kangaroo Island watching birds.  After half an hour or so I shifted my weight and was about to put my hand down in the grass while finding a more comfortable position, when I realised there was something there that hadn’t been there earlier. It was a tiger snake – the same species that bit the above-mentioned tourist recently – curled up quietly beside me, sunning itself.  I gave a slight startle reaction and then froze. The snake also gave a startle reaction (it obviously had no more idea of my presence than I had of his) and then unwound itself and headed off down the hill.

snake handler demonstrating 'freezing' while a tiger snake quietly continues on its way

Freezing – as demonstrated with a tiger snake in the photo –  is in fact the best strategy when you find yourself very close to a snake – sudden movements could well cause it to panic, and you do not want to be close to a panicking venomous animal.

A Queensland zoologist  was once bitten by the same species after hiking so far into the forest alone he knew there was no hope of reaching medical aid, and had a few very anxious hours but it turned out the snake had just given a dry, warning bite, as they often do – it wasn’t going to waste its venom on something it couldn’t eat if it didn’t have to.

Many snake bites that lead to hospital visits actually do turn out to be dry, warning bites with no venom injected.  And many of the bites occur either through carelessness or macho bravado (often after a few drinks).

Now, the snake that bit this particular tourist.  I was night time, and all the snake knew was that something large and dark not only hovered closely over top but also deposited something quite unpleasant on top of it and continued to do so – fairly understandable that it panicked and bit.

Had the tourist shone a torch (‘flashlight’ for American readers) thoroughly around the area before squatting behind the bushes, he might have noticed the snake.  He apparently had a perfectly good toilet inside his accommodation but didn’t want to disturb others by flushing it at 4.00am – hence his sojourn outside amongst the bushes, which ended up somewhat more disturbing to everyone.

Another tourist earlier was bitten by a brown snake during somewhat similar circumstances, this time when making a roadside stop to relive himself

Both tourists survived their painful and frightening ordeals.

These incidents should not frighten anyone off normal, sensible activities in Australia’s outdoors.

Most people living their entire lives in snake inhabited country never get bitten.

The moral – just as you should not walk blindfolded across a road, you should not go putting any part of your body into places you can’t see. This includes not walking through long grass (and if you do have to, stamp your feet or tap the ground ahead of you with a stick – most snakes will soon get out of your way before you are aware of their presence), not  reaching your arm into dark bags, logs or corners, and checking the ground you are about to walk on (or do anything else on!), especially at night or other conditions of low visibility.