If you venture into the Australian bush during the warmer months of the year chances are you will eventually encounter a snake. Now don’t get me wrong I am not a passionate snake lover but I certainly don’t let the possibility of meeting one deter me from getting out doors, respecting them and accepting the fact you are in their environment is the best thing you can do.
Australia is home to many different types of snakes, some venomous and some not, but the risk of being bitten is very low. In 7 years of bushwalking in various parts of Australia I have come across about 8 snakes and not one has become aggressive towards me. Most of the time they are gone before I have even had time to identify them. That being said one thing that is always in my pack is a good quality snake bite kit. After purchasing a couple of kits I was very disappointed in the quality of items they contained and they did not install me with a lot of confidence. I then came across a kit from the guys at Next72hours.
The kit is assembled in Australia using specifically chosen quality components and has been well thought out. It comes vacuumed sealed so is completely waterproof, makes it more compact and as long as it is sealed you know all the contents are there. The kit is based around the pressure immobilisation bandage technique so is suitable for snakebites, and stings and bites from: the Cone Shell, the Blue Ringed Octopus and the Funnel Web Spider. Obviously knowing how to use this kit properly is very important, I would recommend anybody travelling to remote areas be trained in first aid, or at the very least research information regarding the treatment of snakebites.
Contents of the Kit
1 Pair Latex Gloves
1 Packet Sterile Gauze Squares
1 Permanent Marker
3 x 10cm Compression Bandages
1 Triangular Bandage
1 S.O.L.A.S Approved Rescue Whistle
1 Comprehensive Instruction Pamphlet
1 User Friendly Patient Notes Card
I highly recommend this kit for anyone interested in the outdoors, I keep one in my 4WD and have another ready to pack on any adventure be it a short day hike or multi day trek.
‘My reason for building this hut is for the purpose of fishing.’ Bob Ritchie 1947
Ritchie’s Hut is a perfect introduction to overnight hiking or can be completed in a day walk, 6km one way or a 12km return. It is a beautiful walk situated in the Alpine National Park, which follows the Howqua River. The walk begins from 7 or 8 mile flat camping area, about 49km from Mansfield. There is a high and low track. The low track contains approximately 14 river crossings and dependant on the weather is sometimes impassable.
Ritchie’s Hut is located at the junction of 14 mile creek and the Howqua River. The original hut was built in the 1940’s by the Ritchie family and Fred Fry but was destroyed by the 2006/2007 Great Divide fires. The hut was rebuilt in 2008/2009. The hut has a large fireplace with a table and benches to roll out a sleeping bag, or there is plenty of room outside to pitch a tent.
Our hike began from 7 mile camp. We chose to walk in on the high track and out on the low track. Our reasoning was that way we would not have the possibility of having wet footwear at the start of the second day. It took us 2.5 – 3 hours to get to the hut. We left our vehicle at 1pm and it was a 30-degree day so it was rather warm. We only carried 1L of water and a Sawyer filter as you are close to the river, although on the high track you don’t have access to the Howqua there are a couple of feeder creeks making there way down which were perfect spots to top up containers. The upper track is a combination of grassy slopes and cool tree covered gullies, which can be a nice relief from the intense sun on a hot day.
Arriving at the hut we set up camp and headed down to the river for a swim, the Howqua is fed by alpine streams and melting snow so it is always fresh even on a hot summers day.
Leaving in the morning we followed the signs for the low track and got our feet wet. This track took us a little longer with all the crossings but when you are somewhere as beautiful as here why rush. Depending how brave you are there are multiple water holes to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Howqua on the way out.
Ritchie’s Hut is an amazing place to visit. We were lucky enough to have had the hut to ourselves on both occasions we have visited.
“The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain” Bob Cooper
Hopefully I never find myself in a survival situation. Any form of outdoor adventure can carry some form of danger or potential for things to go wrong. Being prepared could be the difference between life or death and anything you know no matter how small could be that difference.
A lot of my adventures in Australia see me exploring alone. I always carry a First Aid Kit, a separate Snake Bite Kit and a PLB (personal locator beacon). When I was researching information on survival situations most of what I found was based over seas mainly in America. That led me to Bob Coopers book titled Outback Survival. Bob Cooper is one of Australia’s leading survival experts, he has written an excellent book which covers; survival kits, finding water and shelter, bush tucker, snakes and spiders, dealing with fear and more.
Part 1: My Story is the beginning of the book and has some great stories on Bob’s experiences with survival situations and SAS training and I found it a very interesting read. Bob is definitely a very talented man and has some great experience in the outback. Part2: Outback survival goes on to cover all the different areas of survival including; Control, The Big 5, Dehydration, Finding water, Fire, Shelter, Distress Signals, Navigation, Snake bites and stings and much more.
Outback Survival by Bob Cooper contains a lot of hugely valuable information all relevant to Australia and I think anybody venturing into the wilderness should have some knowledge of survival situations and what to do in the event of. I highly recommend this book for all persons that venture outdoors as a refresher or as new knowledge as I feel it is invaluable to be prepared for any situation that may arise. Outback Survival is well written and easy to read, Bob Cooper has done an amazing job.