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Australia is set to be a key holiday destination in 2014. With its stunning cities, amazing beaches and expanse of bush and outback to explore it is a country with something for everyone. However, as it is a destination that has a disproportional share of the world’s natural hazards - it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with some common-sense rules before setting off.

Personal Safety

Australia is blessed with a comparatively low crime rate and it is generally safe country for tourists.

Sun Sense

The Australian sun is extremely powerful. Good sun protection – long sleeves, hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must when out exploring. Keep your fluid levels topped up to prevent dehydration and avoid the sun between midday and three pm when the sun is at its most intense.

Bushfires

Australians are accustomed to living with bushfire risks. The main time of risk is from late spring through to midsummer. Always check the media for bushfire reports, only camp in areas that have a separate fireplace, and it you have to light a fire, make absolutely certain that it is fully extinguished (with water) before moving on.

Swimming Sense

The stunning beauty of Australia coastline masks the multiple hazards that lurk in the clear waters. Rip currents can be avoided by only swimming between the yellow and red flags. Lifeguards patrol the beaches, in the case of the main tourist destinations there is likely to be a safety presence all year round. You should never swim at night, on your own, after you have consumed alcohol or right after eating. Don’t dive into water without checking the depth. Many beaches at risk of shark attack are fitted with netting to keep them out, but don’t swim in known risk areas. The same rules are applicable to jellyfish or ‘stingers’ which are often found in the water between November and April. Remain within the designated enclosures that will protect you.

Snakes and Spiders

When walking in the bush or outback, wear sturdy footwear at all times to avoid bites. If you are bitten, you must seek immediate medical advice. The emergency services in Australia are well set up to deal with snake and spider bites, and carry the required anti-venoms.

Drive Aware

Australia is an almost unimaginably vast country, and if you’re intending to head off the beaten track, you need to be fully prepared. Your vehicle should be in excellent condition – if you are unsure have it checked over by a mechanic before setting off. GPS is a must, plus a mobile phone (check the network) extra fuel and an emergency supply of food and, more importantly, water. If you are unfortunate enough to breakdown, sty with your vehicle until help arrives. Careful route planning is important – and always let someone at your destination know before you set off, so that they can swiftly raise the alarm should you fail to arrive.

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