Camping with flies; how to deal with them

Australia is a truly incredible destination to travel around, but when camping there’s one thing that can be almost insufferable, and that’s the flies. Different parts of the country, at different times of the year can be absolutely shocking, to the point where they are flying up your nose, into your ears and inevitably you’ll breath one in, or swallow them.

They are a natural part of the ecosystem here, and there’s a number of things that you can do that will hugely reduce the chance of dealing with flies, or make your encounters far more pleasant. On a recent 3 week trip to the Pilbara, we got slammed when we were returning to Perth, and actually changed plans due to the huge swarms of flies that were annoying for us as parents, let alone our kids.

Oliver and Cooper crack it big time when the flies are constantly landing on their face, arms and everywhere else, and to be honest I don’t blame them. It really is incredibly unpleasant at best, and being able to get away from them is hugely appreciated by all.

Flies at Francois Peron National Park
Flies can be incredibly unpleasant when camping

So, how do you deal with flies in Australia when camping?

Pick where you travel to

By far and away the biggest tip I can give you for avoiding flies in the first place is to pick where you head, and when. The coast is almost always going to be better than inland for flies, and its even better when its windy.

Heading inland where its warm, after a heap of rain has fallen is a recipe for fly heaven, and you won’t enjoy it at all.

We’ve travelled extensively across Australia and had bad flies in a couple of places, but its all about visiting in the correct season when the flies are less dominant. Colder weather tends to keep them away too, which can make for a nice winter camping experience.

Mullewa Waterfalls
If you head inland where its warm, expect flies

Take fly nets

Fly nets aren’t the most pleasant things in the world, but they can be purchased for a couple of bucks online and are so much nicer than having a million flies landing in your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. We always have a couple in the car and use them as required, which thankfully is very rarely.

Take insect repellent

Like you should carry insect repellent for sand flies and mosquitos, you can use it for flies too. Roll on works well around the face, and its generally enough to stop them landing on the parts of your body that are sensitive and likely to annoy.

Mosquito repellents
There’s lots of repellent options out there; find one that works and use it!

Avoid cattle and sheep areas

Australia does a lot of farming, and anywhere that is warm, with lots of sheep or cattle you can guarantee is going to have swarms of flies. Head away from them and the flies go away, or visit when its cold and you’ll have virtually no problem at all.

Sheep walking in Bullara
If there are sheep around, expect flies

Keep things clean

Flies love to hang around rubbish, food and toilets. If you can keep things clean, enclosed and hard for flies to get to then you’ll be off to a much better start.

What have we missed?

In general, we just do our best to avoid areas where flies are prevalent, and if we do have to deal with them we use repellent or fly nets, or move on. What do you do to deal with flies when camping?

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