A British backpacker who was lost in outback Queensland for three days has been restricted from elaborating on his ordeal because of a media deal.

Sam Woodhead, 18, went missing from Upshot Station, 130 kilometres south-west of Longreach, on Tuesday.

He could not find his way back from a fitness session to the property where he had been working.

Mr Woodhead drank his own urine and contact lens fluid to survive 40-degree temperatures in the area.

A search helicopter found him about 5.5 kilometres from the station on Friday afternoon.

He was taken to the Longreach hospital dehydrated, sunburnt and with suspected kidney problems.

On Sunday, Mr Woodhead paid tribute to his rescuers in a statement he read outside the hospital but did not take questions.

He has sold his story to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, and his family says all money raised will be donated to the Australian search and rescue authorities.

"It was really helpful to have friendly, smiling faces as opposed to just trees that I've had out there," Mr Woodhead said outside hospital.

"So it was just a really amazing feeling to be picked up, and realise I was going to make it through."

He thanked the helicopter crew, police officers and State Emergency Service volunteers who helped look for him.

"If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here today."

Two of the volunteers suffered heatstroke and were taken to hospital themselves.

Selling his story

Mr Woodhead, from Richmond in England, has sold his story to the Daily Mail for an unknown amount.

As part of the deal, he was not allowed to answer questions from local reporters.

His cousin, Rob Derry, said: "Sam is here to make a statement and he will not be taking any questions.

"It's not that he doesn't want to but it's a question of, these funds are now going to be ploughed back in."

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reports that Mr Woodhead made an SOS symbol out of clothes he had.

The paper reported that he experienced hallucinations due to severe dehydration and that thoughts of his family and grapefruit squash inspired him to carry on.

It also said dingos prowled around the clearings where the backpacker slept at night after losing his way back to the station.

"My mistake was that I picked the quickest route through the trees. I ended up zig-zagging around and I lost my bearings," the newspaper quoted him as saying. 

"I suddenly saw a familiar path. Then I saw my own footprint. I could tell it was mine because it had a very distinctive triangle on the sole from my trainer.

"I kept seeing it, but going in the opposite direction to the way I was walking."

Mr Woodhead today enjoyed lunch at a Longreach museum and was expected to travel to Brisbane this afternoon.

His mother, Claire Derry, says her son wants to stay in Australia.

"He's going to have to persuade his father, I think," she said.

Mr Woodhead says he still plans to hike in the Himalayas in Asia.

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