Hitchhiking around Oz: is just a sleeping bag and foam mattress enough?

by Simon Akesson
(Perth, WA)

I plan to leave in one month and go hitchhiking all around Australia. (I'm a Swedish guy living in Perth at the moment.)

I plan to go south-east to start with, then follow the coast all around. I also want to do a trip to Alice Springs from Cairns and so on, nothing is set in stone. I'll just go wherever the road takes me.

Being a guy with quite a lot of previous hitchhiking experience I know it will happen that I get stuck in the middle of nowhere along the road and have to spend the night there. Just wondering, what you would recommend for this?

Back home a sleeping bag and foam mattress would do the trick, but in Australia you have dangerous mosquitoes, snakes, spiders and so on which could crawl into a open sleeping bag. But hitchhiking I wanna carry as little baggage as possible and those swags and some of the tents just look to big.

What would you recommend?

Response to: Hitchhiking around Oz—is just a sleeping bag and foam mattress enough?

Hi Simon,

I would get a small mosquito dome and a cover for it and then I'd probably never use it. But if you don't get it you will get stuck in some mosquito infested swamp and get rained on for days etc. Murphy's law...

In my experience a sleeping bag and foam mattress is enough on the road. I always managed. But you won't be on the road all the time, will you? I used to carry a little tent as well. I used it when I stopped in one place for longer, never when on the road.

Today I use a mosquito dome. They don't weigh much and I just hate having mosquitoes buzzing around my ears at night.

And if you get a fly for it, too, you have rain protection as well. Getting caught out in rain without a cover is the worst thing I can think of.

Don't worry about the snakes and spiders. That's nonsense.

If you can find something small and light weight, take it. If you don't, take your chances. That's how I'd approach it :-).

Comments for Hitchhiking around Oz: is just a sleeping bag and foam mattress enough?

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Bicentennial National Trail
by: Anonymous

Dear Simon, if you really do not wish to take a tent, just carry some netting and a slip of plastic _for rain.
I am wondering if there is anyone out there who might be interested in doing a trip along the Bicentennial Trail. Of course it would take some planning - alas my email address is helenblyth@yahoo.com.au

by: Simon Åkesson

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the answers and for a great site :)

I went hitching all around Australia, took me 5 months which is way to short time.. missed out on alot of things I wanted to see (for example the Red Centre) and didnt stay very long in any place because I wanted to do the whole trip around before my visa expired.
But still was the most awesome trip I ever done in my whole life and would so love to do it again :)

Ended up bringing a tent with (and a mosquoito dome which I never used so sent it back to Perth).
Was very well worth it, but some nights I just slept on the tarp and foam matress on the stars and some nights I just used the mesh part of the tent.. but it really saved me some rainy nights so glad I brought it.
Didnt experience much mosquitos and as you see the spiders and snakes part is just nonsense :)

Keep up the great job!

PS. and oh, on a sidenote.. the best part, the most fun part and most friendly part of oz is west of the dividing range.
Just love the NT and WA :D

by: Birgit

So do I :-). Good to hear you had such a great time. It sounds like you'll have to return one day for longer.

Thanks for coming back here to let me know how it went. And thanks for the kind words!

PS.: Glad our deadly snakes and spiders didn't get you.

PPS.: The mesh part of the tent, that is your mozzie tent. You wouldn't need another one on top of that... My tent in the old days wasn't that fancy :-).

Bicentennial Trail
by: Birgit

Hi Helen,
Wow, sounds like quite the adventure. As much as I love extended wilderness hikes, 5330 km is a bit too ambitious for me...

by: Helen

I should mention that I did not intend to do the entire trail.

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