Be aware and prepare
Stay safe and get the most out of your park visit by preparing for natural hazards and other outdoor risks in Victoria’s parks. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.
Research your trip and make the right choices
Always match your adventures to suit your abilities, fitness and stamina. Check the conditions online or by contacting the local park office and be well prepared by making sure you have the right gear including appropriate clothing, first aid, navigation equipment, extra food and plenty of water.
Check the weather
Before venturing out check the latest weather forecasts and warnings with the Bureau of Meteorology and be prepared to change your plan if conditions are unfavourable. Some parks may close due to major weather events so check for Change of Conditions in the park you plan to visit before you leave.
Be fire aware
The warmer months are the perfect time to experience parks in Victorian. However, Victoria is fire-prone. Stay informed and be prepared to ensure your experience is safe and enjoyable during the bushfire season. Check www.emergency.vic.gov.au for information about current fires and for Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans.
Remote parks have very few facilities or services, and the weather can quickly change. If you walk, ski, kayak or camp in these areas, you must be fully prepared and completely self-reliant. Understand the risks associated with backcountry skiing and snowboarding, including unstable and deep snow; steep icy slopes; cornice formation; avalanches; and, extreme weather. Tell a responsible friend where you are going, give them a map of the park, marking which areas you plan to visit, your vehicle registration number and when you plan to return. Skills in using a topographic map and compass are essential and we recommend you never travel alone.
Setting up camp, parking your car and picnicking under trees can be dangerous as branches and whole trees may fall unpredictably. Take extra care in hot or windy weather or during severe weather events. Observe all warning signs and stay well away from trees that appear to be dead or have dead branches.
In the event of an emergency, call Triple Zero 000 to access police and emergency services. Be aware that mobile phone coverage is often limited in remote areas.
Drone use in parks
Parks Victoria has regulations, building on Civil Aviation Safety Authority guidelines, that govern the operation of drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The use of drones presents a number of health and safety risks for other users of airspace and our native species.
Recreational use of drones is not permitted on Parks Victoria managed land and visitors should refrain from flying drones or you may receive a penalty infringement notice.
To fly a drone for commercial reasons on Parks Victoria managed land you must have a permit. This ensures we protect the local wildlife, consider other people’s privacy and use of our parks, prevent accidents and interference by following Civil Aviation Authority rules and abides by relevant policies and plans.
We have one of the highest levels of UV exposure in the world. Use a combination of sun protection measures such as applying sunscreen, covering up and avoiding heading out during the middle of the day when UV levels reach their maximum. For more information on how to protect yourself from sunburn, visit www.sunsmart.com.au
Play it safe by the water
Our parks offer lots of opportunities for fun in and around the water but the aquatic environments can be unpredictable. Obey all water safety signs, never swim alone, avoid alcohol around water and be aware of local water environment and weather conditions before entering the water.
Inland waterways may have hidden dangers, such as submerged objects, debris and strong currents so always check before entering.
Beware of blue-green algae blooms in lakes and river systems, especially in mid-late summer, and avoid direct contact where blooms are affecting water.
Conduct full safety checks of your boat/watercraft before you leave and pack appropriate safety equipment in case of emergency.
Beat the bite!
Visitors allergic to insect stings, should come completely prepared to reduce the likelihood of an incident. Wear protective footwear, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts to avoid insect bites. In Australia, some diseases may be passed on to people through mosquito bites. These may include Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus and dengue virus so make sure you are covered and use effective repellent.
Water - make it safe to drink
Drinking untreated water from natural sources such as streams can lead to illnesses. Be self-sufficient and always take water with you. If you run out of water or cannot carry enough then think before you drink, use natural sources with caution and treat the water.
Before drinking from a natural water source follow these common-sense guidelines:
- Check how it looks.
- Water that is clear, free of surface scum or debris, and has no odour is more likely be to free of contaminants than cloudy, smelly, scummy water.
- Choose free flowing water rather than water that is stagnant.
- Avoid collecting water downstream of camping areas, mining sites, agricultural area or unsewered towns.
- Water treatment methods include boiling, filtration and disinfection with chemicals like iodine and chlorine. In all cases follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions for use.