Navigation still proves to be a challenging skill for most outback travellers. At best, a few nav errors may result in stern words with your other half, at worst, your doomed fate could end up with you preparing your own meal. Long distances, limited services and the unpredictability of the outback mean a freshen up of your navigation skills before you hit the road is a must.


Like any technology, a GPS can fail, and on the odd occasion can be incorrect or take you the long way. Hot temperatures and the location of windscreen-mounted GPS units make them especially susceptible to malfunction due to heat. The preloaded maps can often be outdated and, in some cases, may not be field checked, resulting in inaccuracies. In addition, route calculation preferences and the algorithm used to select the fastest route may not be the most appropriate – for example, it may direct you along a 4X4 track which is unsuitable for a normal vehicle.

It’s become second nature to most of us to rely on the GPS in our cars to plan our route and to tell us when to turn. These handy gadgets are commonplace in most vehicles now, but their use also requires some common sense.

Understanding how to use hard copy paper maps is essential for any outback traveller, and, at last I found the ideal map. It is not too large and not too small, has a plastic ring binder meaning no more cut fingers, has a comprehensive index and is very easy to read which is a must.

Just released and put out by BMPRO in conjunction with HEMA it came in very handy recently when we found the need to stop earlier than planned due to tiredness. Our GPS was not going to solve the problem where to stop for the night, but this map gave us three excellent choices. The end result was a good night sleep and an early start the next day.

This map contains great information on points of interest, caravan parks, camp sites, rest areas, fuel stops plus good information on 4WD tracks. Toilets, BBQ areas, walking trails and ranger stations are also a feature.  It is certainly a map that will give you peace of the mind when you are on the road, no matter how far your 4WD or caravan is taking you.

It is easy to obtain this great atlas on line by visiting

Written by: John Westbury