(Photo by Geoff Lea)
Plan to Stay Safe
Wilderness can be a harsh and unforgiving place – unwary bushwalkers have lost their lives by not respecting it.
Careful planning is essential – follow these guidelines before every trip.
Plan to walk safely
Know your way, walk within your capabilities. Choose walks suitable to your experience and fitness. Study maps and route guides and seek advice from experienced bushwalkers or local PWS staff (see contacts) about track conditions and campsites.
Take clothing and equipment to suit changeable weather and track conditions. Weather conditions in Tasmania can change quickly and frequently, especially in mountain areas. Snow, rain, wind and sun are all possible at any time of the year. Ensure you have suitable clothing, equipment, food and water to cope with all conditions. Always carry a tent on overnight walks. Huts may be full or weather conditions may prevent you from reaching huts before nightfall.
Avoid walking alone
Walk with friends. Solo bushwalking creates its own risks – it is better to arrange a party of three or more, especially in remote areas. Consider taking a PLB (personal locator beacon) if you are walking in remote areas.
Let a reliable person know your plans, before you go
Be sure to advise them of your safe return. Leave details of your trip with a family member or reliable friend. Make sure that they know what to do if you fail to return as planned (eg advise Police).
Record your trip intentions in the log books
This will help searchers to locate you if you are reported overdue or missing. Record your intentions and progress in the log book at the start of the walk, and in log books along the way. Remember to sign out at the end of your walk. Log books are not checked regularly and a search will only be mounted if you are reported overdue. Log book records also provide useful statistical information to guide management of the area.
Be prepared to turn back
Be prepared to turn back, or change your plans, if the weather deteriorates or the walk is more difficult than expected.
Pushing on beyond your limits may result in injury or even death. Be sure that you can recognize signs of hypothermia and know how to respond. Check the weather forecast before you depart. Depending on the conditions you may need to change or adapt your itinerary.
Plan for Tasmania's weather
Tasmania’s maritime climate means that the weather can change very quickly – in alpine areas, hot and sunny conditions can become squalls, heavy rain and even snowfalls, within a very short time.
That means you must be prepared with warm, windproof and waterproof equipment at any time of the year and in any region of Tasmania.
Before you begin your walk, always check the weather in detail – you can do this online at www.bom.gov.au
. Visitor centres in many Tasmanian national parks also display detailed weather forecasts.
Check your gear
Packing the right equipment makes the difference between a good experience and a bad one. If your pack is full of unnecessary stuff you’ll be carrying a heavy load and you won’t enjoy your walk. (As a general rule, around one-third of your body weight, depending on fitness, is a comfortable carrying load for most people.)
But if you leave essential gear behind to save weight, you risk discomfort and danger when weather conditions change.
Correct bushwalking equipment is also important to help minimise your impact on the environment.
If travelling from mainland Australia, please also be aware that many food items are not allowed into Tasmania -see details
Essential gear for your comfort and safety
Use our Walker's Checklist
[PDF 832 KB] to make sure you’re carrying the right equipment.
Click on above image for a full walker's checklist