Australia carries a bit of a stigma as being that place where everything wants to kill you. ‘Everything’ in this case being the weather, the landscape and especially the wildlife!
On some levels it’s a justified concern, but mostly it’s something that you don’t really have to worry about — it calls for being sensible, not locking yourself indoors or avoiding the country altogether!
Is Australia Dangerous?
The Aussie wildlife is probably the number one thing people worry about. Admittedly, yes, Australia is populated by some pretty deadly creatures.
The good news is that your chances of finding yourself in a life-or-death situation with them are pretty slim if you’re paying attention and not doing anything stupid.
Here’s a round-up of the top creepy, crawly, furry concerns.
This is probably the category I’m most worried about, but mainly because I spend so much time in the ocean surfing and scuba diving! They’re all over the news too, which never helps to settle people’s fears.
Have I seen a great white? I’m not going to lie, I have seen one whilst I was surfing, but it was early in the morning and it didn’t attack me or even act like it was going to.
The fact I’ve only ever seen one in all my time in Australia is a testament to how small the risk really is. I surf on a near-daily basis.
Am I worried? Yes, a little bit. But I’d be stupid not to be. Realistically, I’m entering their domain — their territory — and that comes with a small amount of risk.
Does it stop me surfing? Nope! I’m statistically more likely to be killed on the way to the beach than in the water.
The only other time I’ve seen sharks in Australia is when I actively went looking for them on a scuba dive at Julian Rocks, in search of some near- harmless grey nurse sharks, which are awesome to swim with!
These little buggers are probably the most under rated risk in Aussie waters and species like box jellyfish and blue bottle aren’t super pleasant to encounter.
But they are pretty seasonal and even if you’re snorkelling spots like the Great Barrier Reef most tour providers provide a stinger suit so you’re safe!
…and if beaches have a blue bottle problem (usually due to storms or currents) most times they’re flagged up or have warning boards. If in doubt, ask a lifeguard!
Australia is home to some of the most deadly snakes in the world. Luckily, run-ins with super poisonous snakes are few and far between, and any snakes you might come across are going to do their best to avoid you at all costs!
I’ve actually only seen 3 snakes in my time in Australia, none of which were being aggressive or a threat. They were simply sunbathing and minding their own business.
Of course, if you go hiking in the bush or moving things around in the garden snakes are something you should definitely be aware of, so be slightly cautious and keep an eye out.
Whether it’s scales, fangs, or fins that have you shivering, I can assure you that the risk is pretty low, and not worth putting off that bushwalk for a second! As long as you respect these creatures’ personal space, they’ll most likely respect yours!
There’s one thing you should be worried about though. Dropbears. those things are just pure evil!
When you head up into places like northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, crocodiles and salt water crocodiles (aka ‘salties’) might be on your mind, and rightly so.
The key with these places is to be sensible and avoid heading into the ocean or lakes without asking locals first. Most croc hotspots have big fat warning signs, so you should be adequately warned, but if in doubt always ask!
Yup, Oz has some pretty epic spiders crawling around, from the deadly redback to the massive hairy huntsman.
Have I been bitten? Nope.
Do I know anyone who’s been bitten? Nope.
Have I seen any? Yes. I’ve seen a total of 1 redback and 4 huntsman spiders in all the times I’ve visited Australia.
Am I worried about them? Yeah they look kinda scary but they’re easily avoided!
The weather is also something you need to be a bit aware of in Australia. It’s not a huge issue, but there are certain places and certain times of year that are worth looking into.
Bushfires are probably the biggest concern — especially during the dry summer time — so keep an eye open for the signs and don’t start any campfires or anything like that. It only takes one ember to spark something incredibly destructive and out of control.
Cyclones and Thunderstorms
Cyclones and huge tropical storms are particularly prominent in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory during the wet season, and are something you should keep an eye on the news/papers about. These are probably the most likely to disrupt your travel plans too, as the resulting flooding can cut off roads and leave you stuck for a bit.
If you’re heading into cyclone season, check out what the locals have to say, and have a backup plan in place in case you need to shuffle your travel plans around to avoid them.
The dangers of the landscape are pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t make them less dangerous!
Here’s an obvious one: the outback is super hot. Make sure your car is well fuelled and you have plenty of water. Also, you should always let people know where you’re heading and when you expect to arrive, just in case.
The bush and the rainforest areas are home to all sorts of bitey things, so wear the appropriate clothing and keep an eye on where you’re stepping.
Reefs contain poisonous fish and urchins, so just avoid touching anything underwater…it’s good conservation in general, anyway!
Again, just be sensible!
In fact, the three things you should probably be most worried about in Australia are sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration. Make sure you slap on heaps of suncream, seek shade during the hottest parts of the day and drink lots of water!
The bottom line is: yes, Australia can be dangerous, but most of the dangers are easily managed with a bit of common sense and foresight. Just be prepared.