Is Australia safe?
There is much to see and explore in Australia, a country abounding in natural beauty and excitement. However, as with most countries, it is not without its share of risks. There are points that you should be aware of, therefore, in order to have a safe and enjoyable experience during your visit.
As you may know, Australia is home to some of the world’s most interesting insects and animals, which are also some of the most dangerous. Yet, millions of visitors come to the country every year and enjoy safe, incident-free experiences. To make sure your visit goes according to plan, all you need to do is to be aware of the potential risks, and take the steps suggested by our experts.
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Staying Safe on Australia’s Beaches
Australia’s beaches and their laid-back culture are world famous. This is for good reason as many of Australia’s beaches are exceptional, and local Australians and visitors alike love to lounge and spend an afternoon relaxing by the sea. But sometimes, the waves can be quite strong and while this makes them perfect for surfing, swimming can be challenging.
Luckily, from October – April, Australia’s beaches are patrolled by volunteer lifeguards, with the safest areas to swim being marked by two large red and yellow flags. So, when you hit the beaches, ensure you stay between the two flags to make sure you’re in the safest place to swim.
Beaches in Queensland
If you wish to head to the beaches in the Queensland area of Australia, there are additional dangers you should be aware of. It is possible, though extremely unlikely, that dangerous animals might head to the waters near the beach. Crocodiles, sharks and stingrays have been known to swim in the waters around the region.
Luckily, there are a number of easy precautions you can take to help mitigate the already extremely rare chance that you will come face to face with these creatures. If a dangerous animal has been spotted, the local lifeguard will ensure that people at the beach are made aware, so pay attention to any warnings.
If you see a crocodile, ensure you get out of its way. Don’t attempt to feed it or take photos, and once you are at a safe distance, alert the authorities.
Stingrays are more common and enjoy swimming in the shallower waters of Queensland. Although they aren’t aggressive animals, they will attack if they feel threatened, jabbing at you with their sharp and poisonous stinger. To avoid any such situations, shuffle and drag your feet as you walk. Not only will this make it impossible for you to accidentally step on a stingray the motion will cause it to swim away.
Despite what news reports or movies may suggest, shark attacks in Australia are unbelievably rare, with roughly one attack reported per year. But to ensure you stay safe, listen to any warnings made by lifeguards and keep to shallower waters. Also, avoid swimming at night or getting into the sea if you are bleeding.
Staying Safe in Australia’s Rivers
Some of Australia’s rivers are home to dangerous insects and animals. Chief among them are crocodiles and alligators. So, before venturing into the waterways and rivers, take some time to research the dangers in that particular region, or if there have been any local warnings.
To avoid crocodiles, keep a good distance from river beds surrounded by mangrove trees. Crocodiles like to rest under mangrove trees for shade, so it is possible that one could be settled nearby. Once again, if you do come across a dangerous animal, move away from it as quickly as possible.
By following these tips, and researching ahead of time, you will find it is extremely easy to stay safe in Australia.
In the extremely unlikely event that you will need to call the emergency services, it is advisable that you take the time to memorise or write down the emergency phone number. Like most countries, the Police, Fire Service, and Ambulance Services can be reached with the same number. In Australia, the number is 000. The number is free to use, but it is advisable that you should only use it in a genuine emergency situation.
There are different numbers for non-emergencies. For example, the non-emergency number for the police is 131 444. This number applies for everywhere in Australia except for Victoria, where you should call your nearest police station directly. Knowing these numbers is the most important step you need to take to ensure you stay safe in Australia.
Top Travel Tips for Safety in Australia
- Make sure someone knows where you are at all times if you’re vacationing alone
- Be careful walking around cities at night, especially in unlit areas
Never accept lifts from strangers
- Make copies of any important travel documents in case of theft or loss
- Be alert in rural regions in Australia for dangerous animals and insects
- Always take out travel insurance to protect you against theft or in case of medical emergencies
For more information, visit the travel advisory page here.
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