Brooke Phillips, from Mount Gambier in South Australia, set out with her pet cat and dog last November for a simple 70km journey from Jameson in Western Australia to Blackstone Community near the borders of Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia.
But a wrong turn led to near-disaster, with Ms Phillips stuck on a remote road with no water or phone reception for six days.
“Someone’s got to realise I’m missing, someone’s got to realise that something is not right,” she told Today Tonight.
“You start panicking thinking, ‘oh God, is anyone going to find me’.”
Ms Phillips realised something was not right as she drove a couple of hours down the wrong track. As she turned around she got bogged in sand.
Ms Phillips hoped somebody would drive past because there were tracks on the road – but that didn’t happen.
The South Australian mum is no Bear Grylls, but she called on his survival-style instincts during her desperate attempt to stay alive.
After drinking all 125ml of water on her first night, Ms Phillips was forced to get creative.
As the temperature heated up in her black car, she survived on a can of pasta sauce, condensed milk and Cruskets. She used cleaning spray to keep her skin cool.
Five days into the ordeal her rations were running out and she started drinking the car’s windscreen fluid.
On the sixth day she was almost out of options.
“I felt these are desperate measures and it’s going to come down to drinking your own urine to keep yourself going,” she said.
“I’ll do anything to keep going another couple of days.
“If you want to live and keep going you will try anything.”
Mum rescued as hope dwindles
Ms Phillip’s daughter Imogen realised her mother had not reached her destination after five days and contacted police as well as starting her own search party.
As her daughter drove up the remote track where her mother was stranded, she saw something reflecting off the road.
“No one else in the car had seen it,” Imogen said.
“I opened the door and just ran out and said ‘mum’ and she said, ‘do you have any water’.”
Ms Phillips was taken to the Blackstone community where nurses were surprised by her condition.
She only needed a check-up and did not need to be hospitalised.
The grateful mum now vows to be prepared when travelling on country roads and always carries at least 10 litres of water in her car.
She was also praised for staying with her car, something police encourage anybody in that situation to do.
Backpacker Emma Collishaw was stranded in 40C heat near Mt Isa in west Queensland and was 300 kilometres way from the nearest petrol station with no phone signal.