Some people believe that everything in Australia is out to kill or seriously injure you. Even the cute and cuddly koalas have sharp claws and teeth, and are prepared to use them if necessary. But don’t worry; much like koalas won’t attack if they are treated with care and respect, most other things in Australia will leave you alone if you keep a respectful distance. It’s all just a matter of knowing when to back away slowly, and when to run the other way. Australia can be dangerous, but if over 24 million people manage to live there day after day, then it’s not the death trap that some newbies fear. Besides, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger Here are just a few survival tips to help you explore the best Australia has to offer, without suffering any unfortunate accidents.
Cancer of any kind is bad, but melanoma is the nastiest kind of skin cancer. The Australian sun, particularly in the Queensland area, is the cause of so many deaths in Australia due to skin cancer, and should therefore be taken very seriously. Many tourists don’t worry about the sun because, after all, that’s one of the reasons they came to Australia in the first place. They also believe that it won’t affect them too badly because they’re only staying for a short visit, and they need to return home with a golden tan to make everyone jealous. But there is one big difference between the sun in Australia, and anywhere else in the world; there is a hole in the Ozone layer, and it’s right above Australia and New Zealand. Even on a chilly day in Auckland or Melbourne you can get a serious sunburn. Never go anywhere in Australia without a hat and sunscreen, particularly during peak sunlight hours. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a tan.
Animals in Australia are the biggest reason why it has a reputation as a dangerous country. Even ants, ticks, and centipedes have managed to earn a spot in Australia’s Top 30 Deadly Animals, and these are small enough for you to step on. Not to mention the chances of you sharing a toilet with a frog, spider, or snake greatly increase during your visit to Oz. Fortunately, Australians have had to deal with the ongoing fight against nature longer than you, so they can plenty of advice for avoiding nasty encounters. Going to the beach for example; in the northern parts of Australia, box jellyfish swim closer to shore between October and May to breed. Before you even put down your beach towel, check to see if there are any stinger nets in the water – these are provided by the council to all their beaches. If you don’t see any, then go to a swimming pool or a creek. On the off-chance that you see someone else get stung, you need to pour vinegar on the affected area (these are usually sold in northern beaches), and use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR if the victim loses consciousness, because the toxins paralyze the muscles for breathing and heart beat. Of course it is better to not get stung in the first place and to wear a stinger suit.
Another water animal to watch out for is the saltwater crocodile. Unlike their freshwater cousins, who won’t eat you and might even be okay with you swimming next to them, the saltwater crocodiles do want to eat you. Fortunately, they don’t have much muscle to open their mouths so if you wrap your arms around his mouth you can stop him from biting. Bites can be just as dangerous because their mouths are full of bacteria, which can lead to horrible infections even after the skin has healed. Saltwater crocodiles will also let you go if you poke their eyes out.
In the bush
Then there are the people who visit Australia for a bush experience. Some basic safety rules for bushwalkers include letting your friends know that you’re going on a bushwalk, and when you’ve returned so they don’t think you’ve gotten lost; to keep an eye out for coconut trees because they could mean the difference between life and death; and to carry a survival kit of some sort. There are also a few safety regulations to bear in mind if you come across any animals. Australian bats have rabies, so it’s best to visit a travel doctor to make sure you’re up to date on all your necessary vaccinations. Cassowaries like to chase people so if you come face to face with one do not turn your back and run, this will encourage him to chase you and they can run 50km/h. This is one of those instances where it’s best to back away slowly.
Unlike other Australian wild animals, which are not supposed to breach the barriers of your home or hotel, spiders can cause more fear because they’re found where they’re not wanted. In cupboards, in the corner of your bedroom ceiling, and even in your bathroom. The most dangerous one to watch out for is the Sydney funnel web spider, which produces highly toxic venom in large amounts, and has large fangs to inject it. The funnel web spider is mostly found in New South Wales, in forests as well as populated urban areas, and they’re very aggressive when threatened. Any species of funnel web spiders, and the redback spider are considered the top three most dangerous spiders in Australia, but since antivenoms for all their bites has been available since 1981, there have been no recorded deaths from spider bites. Finally, it’s important to remember that, although all arachnophobes will always run away in fear, the Australian bees are worse.
Australia has certainly earned its reputation as a dangerous country, but there’s a reason hundreds of tourists fly in to visit every year. Australia is a beautiful country, it’s great place for a winter escape, an adventurous getaway, or even a family holiday.