Camping safety

This page provides information on how to stay safe on camping trips.

Before setting off, make sure you get advice about the area where you will be travelling.

Tell a friend or family member where you are going, who will be with you and when you expect to return.

Plan carefully. Make sure your camping equipment and vehicle are in good working order.

Before setting off you should read about:

Take plenty of water

In the Northern Territory (NT) you need to drink at least two litres of water a day - more if you are outdoors or exercising.

Pack for the conditions

Take a hat, sunscreen and sturdy shoes for when out and about in the bush.

Be aware of the different weather conditions at different times of the year. Extreme cold in the south can be just as dangerous as heat in the north.

Insect repellent

Mosquitoes are active around sunset. Take insect repellent with a DEET base.


Dogs and cats are generally not allowed in national parks and reserves in the NT.

Read about rules for pets in parks.

Lock your vehicle and secure any valuables.

If you are out in the bush, you should carry:

  • a first-aid kit
  • a compass
  • a map
  • a whistle
  • a lighter
  • water purifier tablets and some salt or salt tablets.

Stay on walking tracks and carry water and food on longer walks. Stay well back from cliff edges and waterfalls.

Read about bushwalking and hiking, including tips, rules and the best places to walk or hike in the NT.

The waters of the NT are home to many saltwater crocodiles. You should only swim in signed areas.

Never dive or jump into waterholes or rivers. Supervise your children, especially near water.

Find out more about where you can swim. Read about crocodile safety.

You will need to plan ahead and take extra care if driving on unsealed roads and tracks.

Driving a four-wheel drive does not mean that you can go anywhere. It does mean that you will be able to access more remote areas.

Please take care, particularly at high speeds. On unsealed roads braking distances are longer and four-wheel drives are more unstable.

Extra concentration will be needed if you are new to four-wheel driving.

Aboriginal land

You must get a permit to enter Aboriginal land. Read more about permits for entry and other activities.

Pastoral land

Pastoral properties are private property. If you are going off-road, make sure that the road is a public access road or get permission from the landowner.

When passing through, leave everything as you found it. Closed gates should be shut again and open gates left that way.

Do not clean fish or dispose of carcasses in or near the water. This can attract saltwater crocodiles.

Never wash your hands over the side of the boat.

Read more about recreational fishing.

You should take the following fire safety advice when camping:

  • do not park your car or tow vehicle in areas where a fire could start, like long dry grass
  • have a portable radio to keep updated about the weather and fire restrictions
  • never leave children or pets alone in a tent
  • never cook or smoke in tents and consider buying a flame-retardant tent
  • set up your fire downwind and a safe distance from tents
  • do not use fuel of any type to start or promote a fire
  • never leave cooking unattended and always secure matches and lighters
  • turn off any lanterns and put out campfires before going to bed.

Last updated: 20 May 2022

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