Vulnerability to natural hazards is a central concern of emergency management. Most articles published in this journal in recent years have been concerned with aspects of vulnerability and communities. As Handmer (2003) has expressed it “we are all vulnerable”, but we are not homogenous (Marsh & Buckle 2001). Mitigation of hazard impact and vulnerability through education and awareness raising has had to treat communities and population groups as separate targets for information (Anderson-Berry 2003). Backpackers are one such identifiable group within the tourists and visitors to the cyclone prone north of Australia. Some recent disasters, such as the Childers hostel fire and highly publicised accidents involving backpackers have underscored their vulnerability. They are part of a wider group of independent travellers, including four wheel drivers, caravanners and the “grey nomads”, the elderly long distance caravan and campervan travellers.