Regions of Victoria - site descriptions for the best birding areas in each region
Australia is generally a very safe country to travel in, however there are some things to be aware of.
The weather in Victoria is quite variable, so for much of the year it is best to be prepared for any conditions. It is unusual for a trip to be spoilt by the weather, but at times it can be windy, wet, cold or hot ! January and February are the hottest months, but most of the summer it is still quite reasonable for birding. Heatwaves do occur however, particularly in the north of the state, when birding can become unproductive for much of the day, and some trips may be better postponed. Bushfires are part of life in Australia, and on “days of total fire ban” some Parks may be closed.
Road conditions can vary, and when travelling to areas of public land such as National Parks, State Parks etc, it can be worth checking on current conditions. www.vicroads.vic.gov.au is the website to visit to find out about road conditions across the state and www.parkweb.vic.gov.au gives details of current conditions in specific National Parks and reserves.
UV levels regularly reach extreme levels so covering up and/or wearing sun cream is essential. A wide brimmed hat is very useful, and carrying a water bottle is normal. Parts of Victoria are quite remote, and mobile phone coverage can be lacking. It is best to be well prepared if travelling well off the beaten track, and to let someone know where you are going. When out in the bush there are a few critters to be aware of. In the wetter, mountainous areas, especially in summer, leeches can be lively. They are generally small, and salt will make them drop off. Do not pick them off as it can turn to an infection.
Poisonous snakes are common, but rarely seen and usually have departed long before you get near. Avoid walking where you cannot see where you are treading. Walking slowly through grass or scrub is pretty safe, just don’t race around. Knowing what to do in the event of snakebite is advisable. Spiders are rarely an issue as they tend to stay hidden away, just take common sense precautions. Mosquitos can be locally common at certain times, and it is best to use insect repellent and/or cover up when they are around. Bush flies can be in plague proportions, especially in the north of the state in summer. They can be annoying but are harmless. Fly nets are not really practical for birding, and insect repellents don’t work against them. A sprig of leaves to swish like a horses tail helps reduce the numbers hitching a ride on your back as you walk, but learning to accept their presence and ignore them is the best way, as they only tickle when they land on you !