Australia is a beautiful and topographically diverse country. It has some sights of truly breathtaking splendor and a climate that’s cheerful and welcoming virtually all year round (even if its summers are a little on the hot side for outsiders). The Australian people are near universally friendly, welcoming and delightful. There’s certainly a lot to recommend Australia to travellers from across the globe but as Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly once said, “it’s a miracle Australians make it to adulthood at all… the place is fraught with danger!”. For all its natural beauty, Australia also has some of the most efficient predators in the natural world and while most of them tend to shy away of the densely populated towns and cities they could still curtail your travel plans with a bite, a sting or something equally venomous.
Fortunately, there’s nothing in Australia that a little forward planning can’t put paid to. Before you jet off to the Gold Coast make sure that you talk to a travel specialist clinic like summittravelhealth.com. They’ll be able to set you up with the right vaccinations as well as advising you on how to mitigate your risk of falling afoul of the indigenous insect, marine and animal life…
Your vaccines should be up to date whenever you travel overseas, anyway so you should be up to date on your MMR, DTP, chickenpox and flu vaccines. If you’re coming to Australia you will likely also need to be immunized against;
- Hepatitis A and B.
- Rabies- This is present in Australian bats and while not a major risk it’s recommended if you’ll be travelling in the more remote parts of the country (i.e. the outback).
- Japanese Encephalitis- This may be required if you’ll be in the more rural parts of the country for over a month.
- There is no yellow fever in Australia but if you’ll be coming to the country from parts of the world where there is yellow fever you will need to provide proof of immunization.
Australia is home to two of the world’s deadliest spider breeds, the funnel-web (which hasn’t killed a human since the antivenom was developed in 1981) and the redback. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to see a funnel-web even if you’re visiting the more agrarian parts of the country. You may be more likely to encounter a redback but most likely you’ll encounter one of the larger (harmless) breeds like the Huntsman. These spiders tend to be shy and keep to dark places. Avoid leaving your shoes outside to dry and turn on the lights when you enter a room and you’re unlikely to encounter a spider at all.
Snakes tend to avoid being seen in populous areas and even if you’ll be camping in the outback they’ll keep a respectful distance. Wear gaiters since 90% of snake bites are on the ankle area. Step onto, rather than over logs as a snake may be resting on the other side. A snake may raise its head to alert you to its presence and let you know it is prepared to defend itself if necessary. You can easily reassure it by backing away slowly and giving the misunderstood creature a wide berth.