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Cape York Essentials — GPS Satellite Communicators


When travelling in remote areas such as the Cape York Peninsula, you’ll need to consider how you are going to communicate in the event of the emergency.

Mobile phone reception is improving on the Cape – you’ll get reception at some towns and roadhouses along the route – however, despite it being such a popular destination, there are still large sections of territory with no reception whatsoever.

However, being on the road in a remote location such as Cape York doesn't mean you have to be out of touch. There are a few options for keeping you in contact with family and friends or, more importantly, so you can get help in the event you get into trouble.

GPS satellite communicators are a relatively new product class in the outback communications toolbox. These devices are GPS trackers with limited but essential communication functions. The Garmin inReach Mini2 and the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator devices connect with satellite networks and allow for ‘check-in’ texts to be sent. A check-in text is a pre-worded text which includes GPS locations. In an emergency the ‘SOS’ function sends an alert and GPS coordinates to a 24/7 emergency response coordination partner. These are great options for very basic communication to loved ones. They are small and a great option if you’re heading to the Cape or other remote destinations.

Garmin inReach Messenger

The Garmin inReach Messenger is a handheld GPS satellite communicator which allows you to stay connected with loved ones through text messages and location updates, no matter how remote your destination. You’ll feel secure with access to Garmin's global satellite network and 24/7 emergency service. Receive weather reports for upcoming destinations to plan ahead for your journey. Find your way back home effortlessly with Garmin's TracBack navigation, guiding you back to your starting point.

Garmin inReach Messenger

Key features include:

  • 28 days of battery life
  • A compact (7.8cm x 6.4cm), tough, durable, water and impact-resistant design
  • Seamless connectivity inReach messaging uses a mobile connection of your smartphone when it’s available, then it seamlessly switches to a 100 per cent global Iridium® satellite network when you go beyond available mobile coverage range
  • Two-way messaging via the Garmin Messenger app on your smartphone to exchange text messages with loved ones via satellite or mobile networks
  • Interactive SOS alerts to a 24/7 staffed emergency response coordination centre
  • Location sharing with loved ones back home anytime 
  • Group messaging with the Garmin Messenger app so you can share your adventures with multiple contacts simultaneously
  • Annual package or a flexible month-to-month plan to access the global Iridium® network
  • Sync with your compatible smartphone’s contacts list
  • Display screen gives you the ability to confirm that messages have been sent, and you can even read responses right on the device
  • Access to detailed weather updates 
  • TracBack routing feature navigates you back to your starting point the same way you came

For more information to buy a Garmin inReach Messenger visit the Hema Maps website.

Garmin inReach Mini 2

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 (available in Flame Red on Hema Maps online shop) is a mini satellite connector that is compact and lightweight, making it easy to take on all your off-grid adventures. 

The Mini 2 has global satellite coverage that keeps you connected to the world when your phone doesn't have reception. It also features location sharing and two-way messaging so you can keep family and friends updated and they can know you're safe too.

Garmin inReach Messenger

This is a perfect safety and convenience device with interactive SOS alerts, location tracking, communication using a global Iridium® satellite network, and updates on weather conditions. The Garmin inReach Mini 2 has combined tough strength and durability with a compact and lightweight structure.

Key features include:

  • Pocket sized (5.17cm x 9.90cm)
  • Ultra rugged
  • Two-way messaging
  • Interactive SOS alerts
  • Location tracking and sharing
  • Digital compass
  • Water rating
  • Access to weather information
  • Long battery life

To find out more or purchase the Garmin inReach Mini 2, head here

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator allows you to send and receive messages anywhere over satellite, mobile network, and wi-fi via the free app. Featuring the industry’s first progressive SOS, you’ll receive timely status updates throughout your emergency via the app, as well as unlimited check-ins and the ability to check the weather forecast for any location.

The IP68 rating means the ZOLEO device is shockproof, dust-proof and waterproof, and compact enough to take with you when you go hiking, camping, skiing and more!

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

When you are on your next adventure and want to let your loved ones know you are safe, simply press the check button and you will send an automatic message to your selected contacts, letting them know where you are or if you are OK. If something goes wrong, your SOS alert and GPS coordinates will be sent to the 24/7 emergency response coordination partner.

Key features include:

  • A familiar ‘texting’ experience through the free ZOLEO app
  • Global two-way text and email with app-to-app messaging
  • Coverage beyond mobile reception via the Iridium® satellite network
  • Dedicated ‘04’ Australian mobile number and ZOLEO email
  • Unlimited check-ins
  • Location Sharing
  • Weather forecasts for any location
  • 24/7 monitoring for check-in and SOS
  • Compact, lightweight satellite communicator with GPS

All ZOLEO monthly plans include your own ZOLEO (Australia-based) SMS number and email address and flexibility to change, suspend or cancel if your needs change. For more information about plans, head here.

Apple’s safety service Emergency SOS via satellite is now available for customers in Australia and New Zealand. Limited to iPhone 14 models, the innovative technology enables users to message with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

Comparison chart

Communicator Comparison chart

Next steps

At Hema Maps, we strive to provide the most comprehensive and accurate maps and guides for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Australia's natural wonders.

Did you find this information useful? If so, please share it with your fellow explorers. Whether it's by sms, social media, or email, your friends and fellow adventurers will appreciate the valuable tips and insights we've shared.

Let's work together to make the most of every adventure. 


  • Colin Organ: November 16, 2023

    I carry a ZOLEO for check-ins when travelling alone and for SOS on other trips but for e- mail and streaming nothing beats Starlink. Super fast broadband any where.

  • John: September 12, 2023

    You failed to mention StarLink.

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