Planning a trip down under and want to know what to pack for Australia? We have compiled a list of everything you could need!
There is often a consensus that Australia is hot and sunny all year round – unfortunately, that is not the case.
As Australia is such a large country, it consists of various different climates dependent on how far north or south you are.
The southern half of Australia is mostly consisted of subtropical temperate climates, meaning it can become quite cold and wet during the winter months. The north, however, is hot throughout the year but has a ‘rainy season’ to watch out for.
Therefore, if you are planning to see as much of Australia as possible, you will need to be prepared for all climates.
We advise you to pack as light as you can, especially if using a backpack. From our experience, a 60L backpack should be big enough for everything you need. It is worth paying a little extra for a decent bag. We would recommend a brand like Osprey.
You are not heading to the wild west so there are plenty of shops if you need to buy/forget anything. However, to keep costs down, here is our list of what to pack for Australia.
If you’re heading to Australia, you will need a visa to enter the country unless you are from New Zealand. There are different types of visas you can apply for prior to your arrival, depending on how long you want to stay. If you would like to work in the country as well as travel, you can apply for a working holiday visa. A WHV is valid for one year initially and lets you travel and work across Australia. The opportunity to extend for up to two more years arrises if you decide to partake in farm work.
You wouldn’t get very far without your passport, so this is the most essential item out of all of your belongings!
Unless you want to go off the grid completely you will need a mobile phone. Ideally, you will choose to unlock your phone before you travel so you can buy a local sim. Alternatively, if you are UK based, phone company 3 offers a great package called ‘feel at home’ which allows you to use your phone abroad.
If you have a phone with a good camera, this can often reduce your luggage elsewhere as you may not need a camera and laptop/hard-drive. If you are taking a mobile – don’t forget your charger!
Insure to ensure safety and security! Travel insurance is super important to give you peace of mind when travelling. Saying that, if you are heading to Australia on a WHV you may be eligible for Medicare when you get to Aus. Sign up for travel insurance with World Nomads below.
Normal banks can charge over the odds for exchange rates and card fees abroad. So, when you are travelling anywhere on a budget it is essential to have some sort of travel money card. There are many choices on the market it is hard to know which to go for. We used a Caxton Prepaid Currency Card. Caxton has an app that allows you to top up your card straight from your bank in seconds. It also instantly shows what you have spent/withdrawn so you can keep tabs on the go.
Other examples include WeSwap, FairFX, Post Office Travel Card, TUI Travel Money Card, Monzo and Revolut.
If you are on a WHV in Australia, you can apply for your own bank account on arrival. We used and would recommend Commonwealth bank as they have plenty of experience in setting up accounts for backpackers.
If you are staying at hostels, you will need a padlock to keep your belongings safe. Most hostels provide lockers, however, you will often need your own lock.
Unless you are planning on doing a lot of hiking in the outback, a versatile pair of trainers suffice. Hiking boots seem like a good idea but they aren’t necessary and take up loads of space in your backpack.
Without a doubt one of the most important things to pack for Australia. Flip flops or thongs as they are called in Oz will be your new day to day go-to shoe.
Sunglasses are essential! Especially if you plan on driving in Australia. Don’t forget to pack your shades.
The sun can be a problem at times, and it’s important to look after your skin. On top of using suncream, it’s advisable to wear a peaked hat to keep that midday sun off your nose and face. Also the perfect remedy to bad hair day.
Of course, swimwear is essential. Australia has no shortage of beautiful beaches, pools and lidos. Maybe even take two sets as like us you might just end up living in them more than your actual clothes!
Bamboo socks are great at regulating the temperature of your feet. Keeping you nice and warm in the Melbourne winters and cool when the temperatures rise.
Pack enough underwear for at least a week or so. You will be able to get away with not cleaning your other clothes so regularly but not your pants! Most hostels have laundry areas and there are laundrettes available in cities and towns of Australia.
One decent pair of jeans is all you need! For nights out, during the cooler evenings and in the southern winter. Most of the time you will be in your shorts so one pair should be more than enough. If they are black you may even be able to wear them to work if you pick up a hospitality or retail role.
Take at least two pairs of shorts! One smarter pair, and a pair you don’t mind hiking around in.
Leggings are great to take with you (girls), perfect to wear casually during the days with a shirt, and can also be worn under other clothes to add a layer of warmth if needs be!
A couple of light dresses won’t take up too much room in your bag. Sometimes a dress is the perfect thing to throw over a bikini, or help you feel a little more girly and dressy when you don’t have the biggest wardrobe to chose from!
A couple of shirts are a solid addition to any packing list. Buttoned up for a smart look, or buttoned down and loose for a more casual style.
Taking four to five t-shirts is a must. Make sure to take pack some lighter t-shirts but avoid grey if you aren’t a fan of the sweat patch look.
Vest tops are great for Australia. They will keep you cool in the Australian heat, but be sure to get that factor 50 on your shoulders and upper arms if you are out during the day.
A jumper might not be something you may consider if you are going to Australia, but believe us when we say, the South can get very cold during the winter months! Pack at least one jumper to keep you warm. If you end up staying in the south you may even consider buying yourself a proper coat.
A lightweight rainproof jacket is an ideal item of clothing to take. Firstly it does not take up much room in your pack which is always useful. Rain may not be that common in most of Australia but when it does fall, it falls hard, especially in the tropical north so having a waterproof is a necessity.
We don’t travel anywhere without our Bluetooth speaker! It’s great to play some music for you and your fellow hostel pals when getting ready for a night, or just to take to the beach and chill. Our personal favourite Bluetooth speaker is the JBL Flip. It is small enough to take, waterproof, offers great sound quality and will link up with others of its type to create a surround sound.
A reusable battery charger should be at the top of your list of what to pack for Australia. We would recommend the Anker as you can charge it up overnight and use it for at least 4 full charges. It can also charge two things at once and has a torch on it. This is ideal if, like us, you decide to travel in a campervan or go camping. Don’t forget the charger for it too!
Books are heavy to carry around, so why not buy a kindle? You can purchase any book you want within seconds!
Alternatively, a tablet is great as not only can you read on it, you can use it on wifi, keep a diary on notes, or download Netflix shows to watch on the move.
A high-quality camera is great to capture those special moments on your travels. We travelled with a Canon 500D. The camera itself is quite bulky but the photo quality is fantastic when you learn to use it to its full potential.
If you are planning on making videos on your travels, look no further than a Go Pro. Super small yet so powerful with the capability to shoot in 4K. Ideal for getting creative when you use the accessories packs that you can purchase with it.
Tripods are an underrated accessory for capturing great photos and videos. Although quite bulky to carry around, they really do make all the difference in capturing the best quality footage
Drones are an amazing gadget to take with you if you can afford one. They can capture truly spectacular photos and videos and give you views you otherwise would not be able to see. We use the DJI Spark as they are small and compact and are great value for money!
There’s no question, a decent laptop is useful to have with you especially if you are spending a long time in Australia. With every hostel and hotel providing WIFI connections you can keep in contact with family, upload photos, and even work on your own projects if that is something that interests you.
If you are bringing your laptop with you, be sure to bring at least one hard drive with you. It might seem like overkill but two hard drives are ideal in case one break and you can lose all of the memories you have been collecting. It’s really not worth the risk in our opinion.
Suncream is an absolutely essential item to pack for Australia. Ideally, factor 50 as the sun can be extremely strong on that side of the globe. We would recommend taking a face and body suncream.
Australia can be hot! Make sure you look after and rehydrate your skin, especially after being out in the sun.
Of course, this isn’t an essential item when deciding what to pack for Australia, however, we don’t go anywhere without hand sanitiser. You can never be too careful with germs, and if, like us, you want to explore in a campervan, the opportunity to wash your hands may not arise so frequently.
A travel towel will be your best friend! It folds up really small and can dry in a number of seconds!
Toiletries can be heavy and weigh your bag down. They also can cause issues if you are travelling solely with hand luggage due to the millilitres included. However, a great way around this is by taking a soap and shampoo bar. LUSH has a fantastic range of shampoo bars of different scents for all different purposes (dry hair etc). You simply lather it up in your hands and use it as normal shampoo! you can buy a lightweight tin to keep it from getting smushed.
Way better than spray-on deodorant in terms of life and space!
Other things to consider
Staying hydrated is essential! Reusable water bottles are perfect to limit plastic waste and fill up on the go.
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