where do you classify as remote travel

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:24
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hi all
was in an over night lay bye earlier this week about half way between cooberpedy and alice.a cruiser with ct came a bit later. got talking to the guy who was travelling with his wife he was about my age 50ish
he showed me his comms. gear this guy had every that switches on hf,sat. phone, internet via sattelite ebirb. he said when travelling remote you need the gear. asked where he had been recently he said he travelled up from brisbane to cook town a across the gulf country to darwin via normanton and kurrumba, was heading down the stuart hwy to pt. augusta and was going a cross nullabor to perth and up to broome.at this point i started chuckle he was not impressed and asked what was wrong i said that is not remote a car goes bye every 5mins.i said remote is on the dirt in the middle of no where not on the black top! and with that he walked away not to happy never spoke another word the whole night. in hine sight i think i was very arogant and belittling to this man i feel quite bad at my comment to him his idea of remote must be respected althought i don't consider any where on the black top on main hwy. remote. just wondering what other people classify as remote ?
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:45

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:45
Anywhere too far too walk!
AnswerID: 291663

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:47

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:47
If there is a good possibility that you are unlikely to see another person for a couple of days or more would do it for me.
AnswerID: 291664

Reply By: Footloose - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:52

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:52
I would have chuckled also, but probably not told him why.
Remote to me is anywhere where I can't get out of strife with the help of passing traffic.
Having said that we helped two girls who hadn't seen another vehicle for two days on the Desert Road west of Kintore..and there's usually passing traffic on that track. Although ill prepared, they had stacks of water.
The Kidson track would be remote..especially if you broke down and nobody came along. So would the CSR especially in the off peak season.
Any track isn't remote ...once somebody comes along :))
Stand on the route he was taking and you'd get run over...but at least he was responsibly prepared I guess. If he had a heart attack along the way where there was no mobile coverage his satphone might be a blessing. Same with the radio.
However, really remote is often off the track.
But you don't have to go too far from home in most places to get into strife. It's no good being close to home if it's a 50k walk in the sun.
Remember that people have died by breaking down on tracks that many consider are a walk in the park.
AnswerID: 291665

Follow Up By: Member - Axle - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:32

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:32
Can't get help from passing traffic!!??. Bloody well need to be a long way from suburbia, probably get more genuine help out in the bundocks, than 10ks from home.. lol.

Cheers Axle.
FollowupID: 557001

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:17

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:17
I'd say that if you looked into the background of this bloke (the bloke with all the gear who reckons the Nullabor is remote etc), you'd probably find he has lived all his life as a city-slicker. If you asked him what he would do if he saw another vehicle broken-down on the side of the hwy, he would probably look at you in a strange way ... and then ask you

"why do you ask.....? .... I'd keep going of course, because everybody out there has to have their own gear and look after themselves...let 'em use their own HF or satphone or epirb"..... or words to that effect.

After all, he obviously doesn't expect anybody to stop for him, and wouldn't expect to have to stop to help anybody else.

I feel a bit sad for people who have so little faith in their fellow travellers (or the human race in general) that they consider anywhere out of mobile phone range as being "remote".
FollowupID: 557263

Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:33

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:33
Roachie, thats one of the ways you can tell a local from a city slicker. When you pull up to ask if they want a hand, the locals don't usually scowl or pull out the firearm :))
FollowupID: 557268

Reply By: Gramps (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:53

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:53

I can appreciate your definition of remote but maybe his depends on the type of emergency he is facing at the time. Nothing wrong with being well prepared. He could 'harden up' a bit though :)))

AnswerID: 291666

Follow Up By: Footloose - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:51

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:51
I guess nobody else knows the medical conditions that we travel around with. I heard of an elderly gentleman stuck at the Gunshot because neither he nor his wife could change a tyre. Luckily the rangers were only about 20K away and wandered down that way. You'd have to ask
a) what were they doing there if they couldnt change a tyre?
b) its heavily travelled country...where was everyone?
c) how did the rangers find them? (accidently I was told)

One of the rangers told me the story, and I have no reason to doubt him.

One of my customers was glad he'd hired an RFDS radio, his wife had a heart attack on the Stuart Hwy. That was the first they knew of her condition. They had passing traffic within 2 hours, but things were sorted by then. (she survived and they got her to hospital)

So I totally agree that it "depends on the type of emergency he is facing at the time."

FollowupID: 557006

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:20

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:20

I had a bloke ask me on the Battlecamp rd up nth of Cooktown "did I know where he could get a wheel alignment?" I asked, which way he was heading and he said "up to the cape, top of Australia" I said "don't bother with the alignment, you still have another 2000km of corrogations, I would get it fixed when I get back to Cairns"

Made me laugh, even though I was still nth bound also and had never been up the top, I knew not to worry about how the steering wheel was pointing, so long as the wheels were pointing in the right direction and staying on all was good.

Remote in my good health is somewhere were an incident, would take days for someone to find you or come across you. In poor health it could be classed as Fraser Is as it could take a few hours to get something happening to a very ill person, even here. All relative, I suppose. I had a sat phone on last years trip down the Birdsville track as security, but my wife was 36/37 weeks pregnant at the time.

Cheers, good post.
FollowupID: 557008

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:06

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:06
No one like being belittled but i get your point.
i used to go out without any form of proper comms.
Till I got bogged in a spot i would say is reasnably remote. i couldnt hazard a guess how often the track was travelled but probabbly not once a week.
I managed to walk the 40k to the nearest Station which was empty then waited on a nearby dirt road all day but no one went past.
Ended up using the station phone (place was unlocked)
and calling help. I wondered what would have happened if i was out another 20k - would i still have tried to walk (40k buggered me)
So i bought an HF.
did the GRR GCR and those spots without one and would not call them remote although i felt pretty alone when i lost my front wheel bearings near docker river at 11.00pm at night
AnswerID: 291669

Reply By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:16

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:16
Gidday Al

I think this needs to be said more often. The term Off Road and Remote has lost it's meaning over the years.

Off road, to me means just that. No roads, no tracks.

Remote is a little harder to define. In my mind it's an area rarely visited and well away from any form of civilisation...... everyone will have their own definifition.

Following on from that, I'm finding it increasing difficult to access remote land. Some of the prime areas are held under lease, or through Aboriginal ownership.

It can take a lot of time and effort to convince an Aboriginal community or Station owner to allow access.

So no, I don't think you did wrong.



AnswerID: 291670

Reply By: jeepthing - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:28

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:28
It's a long way between towns in the outback. When medical help is a fair way away that is remote as far as I'm concerned. No mobile phone coverage and you have to wait for someone to come along with a sat phone or a HF radio before you can get onto the authorities to alert the flying doctor that's remote.

Could be on the blacktop between Katherine and Halls Creek or between Halls Creek and Fitzroy River Crossing that's remote and I wouldn't count on a vehicle every 5 minutes either. I've been parked along the blacktop my wife prepared lunch, ate lunch made a cup of tea relaxed for a while and then headed off not a sole came along that road in either direction.

We came across a fellow on a motorbike between Barkley Homestead andCape Crawford a few years ago who had punctured the rear tyre his repair kit wasn't any good because the glue had dried up. He had left Bing Bong that morning for some days off in Mt Isa. We came across him at 3.00pm and he was in a bad state, didn't have any water or food.

I am aware of a husband and wife who broke down on the Buchanan Highway which cuts across from the Victoria Highway through Top Springs to the Stuart Highway and waited 9 days before someone came along!!! Luckily they had a camper trailer with enough water and provisions for 14 days but I can tell you by the time someone came along they were getting quite desperate!!!

I classify the outback as remote and I carry a HF radio and EPIRB
AnswerID: 291672

Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:45

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:45
In his mind he is traveling in remote areas and feels safe with his set up, Its his money and his gear and if it makes him happy and feel secure then good for him.
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:24

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:24
Too true, John. He is obviously much more relaxed and in a position to field test his goodies, which is enough to make me (and probably a few others) jealous LOL!!!

Cheers, Trevor.
FollowupID: 557010

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:06

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:06
Your right John. I'd be pretty happy to see this bloke come along if I was in serious trouble somewhere. Why anyone would want to embarrass or belittle him is beyond me.
FollowupID: 557060

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:50

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 20:50
How remote travel is could very well be tied to the experience of the individual, the distance from help, the number of people you would come accross over the course of a day & the consequences that could happen should one break down. Your buddy was probably being a little over cautious with his preparations for a road trip but each to their own. I suppose the poor fella could be excused for thinking he needed all that gear as that's what everyone would have been telling him to take from the guide books & forums to all the salesmen that sold it to him ;-)
A backpacker on that same route would buy a 20 year old Bongo Van with bald tyres then throw a 20L jerry of water in the back & head off :-)
Cheers craig......................
AnswerID: 291675

Reply By: The Geriatric Gypsies - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:24

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 21:24
goodday al
had it been me you would probably have needed the use of some of his gear after you picked yourself up if you were putting me down i dont blame him for not talking to yuo after that and myself if you had come crawling over in the middle the night needing help i would have had a couple of deep thoughts about it
we do more ks on black top than off but do our fair share off and i carry a lot of that gear and will soon add an epirb and that gear may be to help YOU and not neccessarily myself

AnswerID: 291677

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 08:50

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 08:50
Good response Steve. The more emergency equipment we get out there, whether in our vehicle or someone elses the better. Once it's out there it's available for anyone, anywhere, in trouble, even Richard Craniums like the instigator of this thread.
FollowupID: 557057

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:31

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:31
Yep, I'll second that!!

It's abit like the conversations you might yourself involved in with a bloke about 4x4s in general. You might have the biggest, meanest-looking 4x4 with huge mud tyres and lift etc etc.... But if the bloke you're talking to says he does a lot of 4 wheel driving in his bog-stock Pajero (or insert your favourite soft-roader), I have a policy of how I talk to these blokes. They usually say things like "oh my rig is nothing compared to your big Patrol" etc etc. I try to play it down and turn it around by replying along the lines: "hey, I only need all this extra lift, tyres, winch, lockers etc because it helps me make up for my lack of driving skill". This tends to difuse the conversation and they feel less intimidated by my truck.

All the stuff that bloke was carrying is like an insurance policy.... I'm sure he hopes that he never has to use it, but it's comforting to know he's got it on board. Also, the instigator of this post (al) had no way of knowing if the bloke or one of his passengers may have had some severe medical problem that required him to be able to make contact with civilisation urgently etc etc.

You cannot go around judging others and laughing/sniggering at them for the decisions they have made.
FollowupID: 557267

Reply By: wdric - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:01

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:01
It would seem that remote to most of us is when help is not close by should things go pear shaped.

So I guess if you are better prepared to handle what comes your way you are less likely to find yourself in a remote place.

Having said that you could consider to be in a remote place if you ran off the pacific hwy and down a bank and no one noticed you for a few days or if your car broke down and you were the last one to cross the simpson in that season.

AnswerID: 291684

Reply By: Middle Jeff - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:16

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:16
Hi all

As far as first aid goes I was taught if it takes more than twenty minutes for an ambulance to get to you, you are remote.

Have fun

AnswerID: 291688

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 00:35

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 00:35
That makes the middle of town remote
FollowupID: 557042

Reply By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:32

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:32
Like a lot of 'stuff' we tend to carry,

it's far better to have it and not use it than
to not have and need to use it.....

AnswerID: 291694

Reply By: equinox - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:34

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:34
Hi Al,

Last year I came across a couple in a Troopie at Well 2 on the Canning Stock route. The Troopie was one to die for, it had all the mods and gadgets set up for remote travel.

The woman was having some sort of panic attack, spewing up, diarrea etc. The guy, who I chatted to said they were going up the CSR to Well 23 before heading west. Now they would take the softer options west instead. Their remote adventure had concluded. He told me also that they were here last year (2006) as well but it was him that time that had symptoms of panic?? Basically they were both Psyched out of going any further than Well 2.

To answer your question of what is remote travel - To this couple anyway Well 2 on the CSR was the border between Remote and Non-remote.


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In whatever comes our way.
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AnswerID: 291695

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:52

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:52
Thats very interesting, they must have planned for the trip for quite awhile and yet could not go through with it??
I take it they were traveling alone??
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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:59

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 22:59

Yes they were alone. I couldn't do much - I was only going to Well 6 that time and by the sounds of it they might have been a handful to tag-along.


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Follow Up By: Crackles - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 10:31

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 10:31
Yes Alan have seen several people myself even travelling in our own group behave quite stressfully when about 2 days out from civilization. One guy just lost the plot going into a rage, no doubt panicing by what could possibly happen so far from help, yet when approaching the next town acted like nothing had happened. Makes it interesting choosing a group for remote travel.
Cheers Craig..................
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:30

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 14:30
Craig, much like when I had my brother as a passenger. It was a bit like travelling with Ghengis Khan. He had never been off the tar before, and went Birko on the Kidson.
He showed signs at Charleville when non of his 3 !!! mobile phones would connect.
Comfort zones are so important to many people.
It was unsettling for him not to be able to listen to the ABC news on the broadcast radio along the Plenty.
I failed to tell him that we could listen to it on the Codan(he was being a pita at the time).
First thing he did when he got home was to thank me for the trip of a lifetime....
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Reply By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:04

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:04
I can just imagine what we'd all be saying if he was on one of his less travelled 'blacktop' roads, then broke down without the gear...... "...bl@@dy idiot, unprepared, relying on others etc......".

I have HF radio and have had for over 20 years. When I first got it there were less people travelling in some of the places that we all seem to go these days....Simmo, Cape, Kimberleys etc I like to be self sufficient, in terms of (reasonable) spares, recovery equipment, food, fuel, water etc. Don't like to rely on others for help unnecessarily.

Over the years, I've learned to keep my big mouth shut when someone starts big-noting themselves about how good they are, where they've been, what they consider a 'hard' track, 'remote' etc... I see no reason to steal their thunder. Remember that these days there are lots more who travel in 'remote' areas due to the fact that they don't have to drive an old bone-shaking rattle bucket, like we used to before 4WD's became so comfortable. This tends to bring those with less 'skills' into the outback, mountains and other 'remote' areas. It maybe a good thing that they have all the fancy gear!


AnswerID: 291698

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 08:55

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 08:55
Very sensible and constructive reply Mark IMHO.
FollowupID: 557058

Reply By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:10

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:10
So al have you ever been between Cook town and Normanton in the Monsoon season??

Assuming recently means within the last 3 months, then I would consider were he has been as remote, under monsoon conditions.

Therefore his equipment would be well justified, had he been that way at that time of year without all that gear what would you have posted then.

It's funny how 2 weeks ago a lot of people on this site chastised
and condemned a tour operator for not having any coms on his bus when he broke down on the Oodnadatta track, and today you make fun of a person that was well prepared.

I have a 3G phone in each car a UHF in each car and 1 soon to be 2 sat phones, each car can talk to each other 100% of the time, I don't consider Jim Jim falls remote in comparison, as a person on 1 of my tours you would expect nothing less.

Cheers Steve.

AnswerID: 291700

Reply By: Voxson - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:55

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 23:55
I would call anywhere "REMOTE",


1. You are far enough from a hospital that a brown snake bite would kill you before you could get to help.

2. Where if you had to get towed back to a repair shop and the cost for the tow was over $1500.

I dont think it matters about whether you see another vehicle for two hours or two days....
You could be on your own an be only 15kms off a main dirt road and take fall breaking your hip,,, all of a sudden that would feel pretty remote.

AnswerID: 291708

Reply By: normglenda - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 00:20

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 00:20
Voxan covered it pretty well. I have a 4X4 with all the safety gear including UHF. No Sat. phone though. I live in the country. Last year went up the middle and down the west coast. Also side trips.
An example we came out of Tom Price on the bottom sealed road 2 hours seen no one and stopped for 20 minutes seen no one. So can never be to safe. UHF can call any time and there will be someone in range. Also have a winch which I have not used once for me but twice for city slickers than come up here and get bogged. Any equipment will pay for itself if it is needed once only.
The bullbar has paid for itself 3 times, 2 roos and an emu, although emus are not that boney, but roos can do damage.
I also have a recovery kit still sealed , hope it stays that way.
To me carrying safety equipment is like carrying plenty of water.
AnswerID: 291710

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 07:58

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 07:58
Other thing is although that was his route he would have taken sidetracks to see attractions. it doesnt take much driving off the main tourist loop to justify good comms in some areas even without a majour woop woop expidition
AnswerID: 291723

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:36

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:36
If you're more than one days drive from help, its remote. Might be 800k or might be 50k.

Madigan Line - at times you'd be up to 5 days from help (can't turn back);
Canning: may be 3-4 days from help
Hay River: may be 2 days
Anne Beadell Hwy: may be 2 days
Southern Simpson: just scrapes in - 1-2 days
AnswerID: 291737

Reply By: obee - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:39

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:39
me, I have trouble taking the rubbish bin out to the verge.

AnswerID: 291740

Reply By: Waynepd (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:57

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 09:57
Gee Al,
I think you were a bit harsh on him. If he is a suburbanite like me, anywhere that you can't see the Golden Arches is remote. He was obviously having this fantasy of being one of the Leyland Brothers or Malcolm D and you burst his bubble.

He may have been over-equipped but that's a shyteload better than the opposite case.

When i did the Darling Run as my first big 4WD trip, i felt so adventurous out there in the big sky country, it's soooooo remote and isolated with only sheep stations and small towns to get help from. I could hardly find a free channel on the UHF where there wasn't any chatter hehehehehe but i still felt isolated...

It all depends on your perception at the time compared to what you are used to.
AnswerID: 291741

Reply By: Member - Littleborgy (SA) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 13:45

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 13:45
"where do you classify as remote travel"

Anywhere the TV remote goes when i can't find it :)

Cheers, Brad
AnswerID: 291771

Reply By: Member - Mary W (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 19:47

Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 at 19:47
I don't think anyone shouldknock anybody for being prepared.Maybe this bloke was just careful and as his travels and experience increased his bank balance for 'safe travel" would have been quite safe!!!
Cheers ,
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AnswerID: 291821

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 13:07

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 at 13:07
It not so much about how remote a place is, but how quickly you can communicate and access assistance in an emergency.

The Bruce Highway could hardly be called remote, and it is black top all the way. But during the flooding in recent times if you were stuck along there and needed urgent assistance you may well have been happy for someone to have a sat phone/HF radio even though you may have been no more than 50 kilometres from a major centre.

We’ve been in isolated areas at times and in the bush close to home on other occasions. Many of our travels have been in between, but we have a HF radio to make sure we can call for help no matter where we are.

I’m sure the intention wasn’t to belittle this chap, but geez the comments you made are the sort that bite you sometime down the track….wherever that might be.
AnswerID: 291909

Reply By: Member - Craig M (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 21:00

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 21:00
Anyone who travels in North Queensland is 'remote'

I am fortunate (unfortunate?) to have a mobile that beeps as it goes into and out of service. On a recent trip to Charters Towers I thought I ws playing the pokies. More out of service than in. Also paluma dam, hidden valley, paluma/ harveys range etc. No mobile service despite the signs telling you to call 000 in an emergency.

I would be hesitant to pay out on a well equipped fellow traveller. It might be his equipment that saves my bacon. As soon as your mobile says 'no service' you are remote.

Ever tried to get someone to stop to assist you in semi/urban/remote areas? You are more likley to get a face full of gravel as they swerve around you than any assistance. I know that there are good number of community minded travellers out there but murphys law wil intervene just when you don't need it to.

Quebec 1770
AnswerID: 295688

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