Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to bring?
- Sleeping Bag suitable for the conditions
- From May to September night time temperature can be very cold in some areas we camp, we recommend a 0 or +5 degree Celsius rated bag.
- At other times a +10 or higher degree Celsius rated bag will be OK
- Sturdy Shoes (hiking boots or runners)
- Torch / Head Lamp
- Refillable Water bottle
- Swimmers & Towel
- Hat & Sunglasses
- Light, cotton long-sleeved shirt to cover up from the sun
- Sun Screen / Insect repellent
- Jumper / Pullover for night-time
Please make sure you pack at least 1 jumper & long pants, cold snaps can come through, so be prepared. (During the winter, especially June to August the temperatures can drop below zero in outback regions).
Do you pick us up from our accommodation on the first morning of the tour?
Yes, we can accommodate most pick ups, however if you are staying a long way out of the way, we may ask you to get to a central point.
What time does the tour start?
Pick-ups start at 7am on the morning of the tour. Please be ready at this time and allow up to 30 minutes, depending on other pick-ups.
Do you drop us off at our accommodation at the end of the tour?
What time does our tour finish on the final day?
In general we will drop you off in the early evening at your destination. Around 6pm is usual. At time this can vary, if you need to be dropped off at a certain time, for example to catch a flight, them please let your guide know so that they can plan this into their schedule.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel Insurance is highly recommended. Problems requiring insurance are rare, however situations can arise when you will be glad you have it, eg injuries, medical evacuations, loss or damage of personal items etc.
Residents of Australia are generally covered for the cost of medical treatment including evacuation from remote areas. However non residents may incur very high costs especially for evacuation.
Travel Insurance can also be helpful for both residents and non residents for the following purposes.
- An accident or sickness prior to the tour prevents you from joining the tour and we charge you cancellation fees.
- Your luggage is lost or damaged while on tour.
- You need to leave the tour because of an accident/ sickness
All travel insurance policies are different, it’s your responsibility to know what you are covered for.
How can I book a tour?
You can book through our live bookings page, via email or by phone on our freecall number 1800 171616
Do I need to confirm my booking?
Yes. It is important that you ring, or email, at the latest 2 days prior to your tour to confirm where you will be staying on the morning of the tour.
Can I charge my camera / phone during the tour?
Yes, we have 240V inverter in each vehicle as well as USB charging points.
Is there any phone reception?
For the most part no, however depending on your phone plan you may get reception around the towns of Coober Pedy & Yulara (Uluru). The best carrier for reception appears to be Telstra.
Can someone contact me while I am on tour?
Yes but in most cases there will be a delay. They can call the office and we can get a message through to the tour guide, depending on where the tour guide is on the tour, this could be immediately or a delay of several hours.
Are there showers along the way?
Generally no. We are travelling through a very remote area and have a preference for wilderness camping. We do however spend time swimming (no soap in springs and creeks), and we have also developed several good bush options for those who are desperate. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!
What happens with toilets?
During the days as we travel, we often stop at places where there are normal flushing toilets and / or basic toilets, these places include petrol stations & National Parks.
When camping, we prefer to camp in the wilderness, which means there are no toilets. We do however carry a portable toilet which is used by both girls and boys doing a number 2, and girls doing a number 1. Boys doing a number 1 can find a tree.
When we are unable to wilderness camp, we are generally using a National Park campground, these are normally equipped with basic toilets.
If you are worried about doing your business in the bush, there is no need, your species has been around for at least 90,000 years, and for 99% of this time it has been very normal to take a shit in the bush, you have evolved to do this.
Are the tours suitable for me?
The Heading Bush products are one of the most adventurous on the market, they are exhilarating and special trips, and our customers tell us that they love what we do and to not change them. This website is full of information promoting the benefits and highlights of the tours, however our tours are not for everyone, so this answer attempts to point out everything, warts and all.
In general terms our tours are;
- At times uncomfortable.
- Require a reasonable level of heath & fitness.
We are about getting in touch with nature and truly experiencing the wilderness through which we travel.
Other companies work hard to shield their passengers from the wilderness, which is what many people want, however we feel that by doing this you actually miss what you are coming to see.
So sometimes our tours are uncomfortable, if it’s hot then we get hot, if it rains then we may get wet, if there is a great sunrise place to be, we get up before light and hike in the dark, we prefer to camp in the wilderness than at campgrounds, we have campfires so need to collect firewood etc etc.
Expect to be spending long days hiking and swimming further than the others, expect to go on rougher roads, expect to sleep under the stars, expect to camp in seriously remote wilderness areas, expect to go without a shower.
Expect to spend 4 – 5 hours travelling between destinations due to poor road conditions. Most campsites are located in remote areas with few to no facilities.
How fit / healthy do I need to be?
Our tours are guaranteed to show you the rugged beauty of the remote regions through which we travel.
As we want you to experience our country in the best possible way, you will be required to undertake physical activities such as hiking, swimming and climbing/scrambling for several kilometres at a time, in sometimes very hot conditions.
You will need to carry your own water with you.
To cope with and enjoy these conditions you will need to be physically fit and able. If you are unfit or have health conditions which restrict you ability to undertake physical activity, you will not enjoy this tour.
We generally camp in remote areas with few or no facilities. All our equipment for camping is carried with us in the vehicle and is set up and packed away by the tour group each day. In order to make the most of your holiday we are generally up and moving early each morning.
As a general rule, if you enjoy a healthy lifestyle and can walk 5 kilometres in the heat then you will be OK.
Are the tours safe?
We take safety seriously.
Each vehicle is equipped with a Satellite Phone which enables us to contact authorities in the event of an emergency and we carry first aid kits.
However we operate in very remote regions and even with the satellite phones help can be several hours away.
Most of the places we hike are reasonably level and apart tripping over a rock represent few dangers.
In some places it is necessary to hop from rock to rock or to scramble up or down steep slopes, sometime there are slippery rocks when we are swimming / exploring gorges. To participate in these activities you need to be physically fit and able.
Sometimes we may stand close to the edge of a cliff, sometimes on a hike we may climb down to the water in a gorge for a swim, and then climb back up to continue the hike, sometimes this climbing will require you to use your hands and arms to steady yourself and pull yourself up or down, again you need to be physically fit to do this, sometimes slipping in one of these situations could result in a fall where significant injury, even death could result.
Year on year we do these things without incident, however only you know your limitations and if you are not happy doing something do not do it. If at any point you are not entirely happy with the route being taken, you must express your concern to the guide, do not put yourself in a situation which you consider to be dangerous.
Are there age restrictions?
Our tours are not suitable for young children however teenagers over 16 travelling with adults are welcome join the tour. If you are travelling with young children we offer several departures a year which a designated family departures where young children are welcome to travel, the dates coincide with Australian School Holidays, see Outback Family Tours for more details.
Most passengers travelling with us are between 20 and 55 years old.
We do not have an upper age limit, if you are in the older bracket and really want to do this tour, providing you are up for an adventure and happy with everything written on this page then you are more than welcome to join our tours, some of our most interesting and adventurous passengers have been really old!
However, there are a number of factors about our tours which some people in the upper age bracket may not enjoy, such as;
- Travelling in a group with a mixed age range.
- Sleeping on the ground (on a mattress)
- Not having a proper flushing toilet at camp.
- Travelling in a cramped & uncomfortable vehicle.
- Travelling in the heat
- Hiking in the heat.
- Travelling in a spontaneous nature where plans change if opportunities arise.
If you are OK with all this and want a big adventure, then please come with us, if not, then contact us and we can suggest other options for you, which could include one of our Private Charters or another operator.
What’s the weather like?
If you are travelling from September to March, it will be BLOODY HOT.
Days over 40 degrees Celsius are common.
To counter these hot conditions we do things like;
- Try and do hikes / walks in the early morning before it gets hot.
- Ensure that we swim as much as possible.
- Do shorter hikes and spend more time in the water.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Camp in sheltered & shady areas.
But, it will still be BLOODY HOT and most of the time we cannot do a thing about it, it is after all one of the things that happens when you travel in Australia.
To get the most out of trips we need to immerse ourselves into the natural environment and this is what we do. If it’s hot in the natural environment then we get hot, if it’s wet in the natural environment then we get wet, if it’s cold we get cold etc etc.
Are the vehicles airconditioned?
The vehicles we use have air conditioning which has been designed to cope with the hot conditions and areas through which we travel.
However nothing is bullet proof and the rough conditions can impact all air conditioning systems, we do our best however if an air conditioner breaks mid tour, there is no possibility to get it fixed on the road.
Our vehicle are fitted with large opening window, this is a feature many modern vehicles no longer offer, however we thought it was an important addition, not only if the aircon breaks, but also so we can feel the wind in our hair and smell the bush as it goes past.
(I once guided a tour where we ran into another tour group who were travelling in one of those large trucks with very good air-conditioning and sealed windows, interestingly the passengers were complaining that it was too cold in the vehicle and it was like travelling inside a fridge!)
What’s the food like?
We provide lots of fresh food on our tours and often receive positive feedback re the cooking skills of our guides.
Each guide is responsible for their own menu so we cannot provide you with specific details of each meal, however here’s a general guide of what to expect.
Normally consists of cereal & muesli with milk & toast with spreads, teas and coffee. Each passenger is responsible for preparing their own breakfast.
Normally consists of wraps, rolls & bread with cold meat, salad and condiments etc. Each passenger is responsible for preparing their own lunch.
Each night will different, expect BBQ’s, Pasta dishes, stir frys, roasts in the camp oven etc. Your guide is responsible for preparing the evening meal, however will request assistance in preparation of vegetables etc. If you are a keen cook there are normally opportunities for you to take over and put your own stamp on a meal or two.
Whats about food Allergies and other special diets?
Our meals are designed to cater for meat eaters and vegetarians.
Whilst our guides are often praised for producing great tasting food, they are not trained chefs and cannot know or be responsible every single ingredient contained in bottled sauces and condiments etc. If you have specific allergies, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not eat any food on tour containing these allergens. You will need to read the labels on the ingredients and if in doubt, do not eat it. Our tours operate in extremely remote areas and medical assistance can be several hours away at the best.
Your guide will do his best, if a meal contains an ingredient you cannot eat, then 2 separate meals may need to be prepared, in this case it would be expected that you assist in this process.
Gluten Free Diets
If you require a Gluten free diet, we ask that you bring with you replacement gluten free food, this should include replacements for bread, wraps and pasta.
I have lots of luggage, can I bring it all with me?
Luggage space is very limited. We have a general limit of 15kg per person in a soft bag, however if you have more than this please contact us in advance as we would be happy to try and accommodate this.