20 Top Australia Packing List Items + What NOT To Bring (2017 Update)

Australia Packing List

1) Travel Insurance – Traveling in Australia without coverage is not recommended. Healthcare can be expensive and many of the popular activities in Australia, such as surfing or bushwalking, carry a certain degree of risk

2) Lonely Planet Australia – Australia is a huge country with diverse regions, it’s very handy to have all the information you need in one place. Lonely Planet guides offer everything you need to know about attractions, activities, transport and safety. The guidebooks are both good for pre-trip research and for guiding you during your trip.
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3) Australian Power Adapter – The Australian type I outlet is one of the lesser used in the world so it’s likely you will need an adapter to power your electronics. These adapters will also work in New Zealand.
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4) Waterproof Pouch – Many of the most popular activities in Australia revolve around the beach. A waterproof pouch is essential to keep sand and water away from anything you do not want damaged. Whether you are surfing in Byron Bay, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or simply taking in the sun on one of Australia’s many beaches, the pouch will give you peace of mind that your valuables are protected.
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5) Hiking Shoes: Mens and Womens – There is so much nature to explore in Australia. Bushwalking is very popular among locals and visitors and the country’s stunning and diverse scenery begs to be explored. Even in the larger cities you will find yourself exploring for hours. Good hiking shoes are essential. While they should be breathable for hot weather, they should also be water resistant as rain is not uncommon in the coastal areas.
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6) Sun Hat – In the summer the Australian sun can be relentless. If you plan to be outside for any significant portion of the day you will want to be in the habit of wearing a hat. They will keep you cooler and shade your face from sunburn, which should not be underestimated.
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7) Water Bottle – It’s important to stay hydrated in Australia. Most of the tap water is drinkable, so you will want to be in the habit of keeping a water bottle handy. Many of the cities and beaches have public drinking fountains with taps for refilling bottles so you can save a lot of money compared to buying bottled water.
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8) Adventure Camera – Many of the attractions in Australia are not exactly friendly to normal cameras. For beaches, snorkeling, cycling and surfing an adventure camera such as the GoPro may be the best option. They are tough, waterproof durable camera with multiple mounts for different situations.
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9) Flashlight – If you are planning on camping or visiting the smaller rural regions of Australia it’s recommended to pack a good flashlight. If you are on a budget and are staying in hostels, they also come in handy if you need to navigate a dorm room without causing too much disturbance.
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10) Swimwear: Mens and Womens – With Australia’s heat, you never want to be too far away from the sea or a pool. I would recommend taking a few swimwear options as you might find yourself using them multiple times a day.
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11) Sand Resistant Beach Mat – If you are planning to spend hours on the beach, these mats can be very useful. They filter the sand one-way through the mat so you and your group can sit comfortably or even have a picnic without too much sand bothering you.
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12) Sandals: Mens and Womens – Sandals, or as the Australians call them, “Thongs” (leading to much confusion and giggles) are commonly worn in Australia all year round. On the days when you are not hiking or walking extensively, you will probably find yourself wearing sandals 90% of the time, especially on hot days.
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13) Headphones – For journeys long and short, a good pair of headphones will always come in handy. The bigger cities in Australia have intensive public transport systems so you will find yourself on trains or buses pretty often. If you like listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks to pass the time, it’s worth investing in some good headphones.
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14) Tough Phone Case – As I have said above, Australia can be pretty tough on electronics. Protect your smartphone with a tough, perhaps even waterproof case to avoid having to replace it at high expense.
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15) Sunscreen – The Ozone layer is famously depleted over Australia meaning the sun can be even more damaging to your skin even when the weather is mild. Make sure if you are spending any significant time outside in the heat that you use sunscreen.
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16) Mosquito Spray – There are over 300 million species of mosquito in Australia and you can often find yourself part of their meal if you sit outside in the evening. It’s not just itchy bites to worry about, they also spread viruses and diseases. While malaria and dengue are not carried by Australian mosquitos, they can still pass on nasty illnesses.
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17) Antihistamines – If you suffer from allergies, you might want to prepare yourself. Many cities and areas of Australia have a high pollen count. Make sure to have some antihistamines handy as allergies can irritate you and ruin your day.
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18) Eye Mask and Earplugs – If you are travelling around Australia you will find yourself on plenty of long journeys. Train, bus or plane rides are a good opportunity to catch up on sleep. You may also find eye masks and earplugs helpful if you are planning on sleeping in dorm rooms with people coming and going at different hours.
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19) Sarong – Sarongs come in very handy in Australia. As they are lightweight you can carry them with you and use them for lots of different purposes. The versatile accessory can be used as a scarf, skirt, shoulder covers or even a towel if need be.
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20) Power Bank – While travelling in Australia you will probably find yourself doing all day or multi day activities. Smartphones are not reliable for heavy use without charging. A power bank can give your phone anything from 5-10 full charges meaning you can use it as and when you need to without worrying about running out of battery.
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Other items to bring

What to wear in Australia

As Australia is a large country, the weather can vary. For many places you need to pack for heat. Shorts and flip flops are acceptable to wear in most hot places. Lightweight t-shirts, hats and sunglasses are recommended if you are heading out in the sun.

While you are unlikely to encounter freezing temperatures, cities such as Melbourne and Sydney have cold and rainy winters and mild Spring/Fall seasons. It’s worth packing a few warmer clothes if you are heading that way.

What NOT to take to Australia

1) 🚫 Lots of Cash: Australia has ATM’s almost everywhere and nearly all shops and restaurants take card. Many Australians do not even bother carrying cash. Having a little cash on you may come in handy if visiting markets or you want to make small purchases, but there is no need to carry lots of cash at once.

2) 🚫 Heavy Books: As they heat can be unforgiving in Australia, you really don’t want too many unnecessary heavy objects weighing you down. Books can take up a lot of room in your bag and add to the weight, consider a Kindle or limiting yourself to one or two small paperbacks.

3) 🚫 Fruit or Milk Products: Australia has a fragile eco system that was untouched from the rest of the world only until the last few hundred years. The government does its best to prevent foreign diseases coming in on food products and attempting to bring them in can result in heavy fines.

4) 🚫 Muddy Shoes/Camping Equipment: For the same reason as the foods, any dirty shoes or camping equipment are not allowed past customs. Make sure anything you bring into Australia is cleaned thoroughly or you could find yourself getting stopped by officers in the airport.

5) 🚫 Expensive Jewellery: While crime is relatively low in Australia, tourists are still a target for petty thieves. It’s worth leaving your expensive jewellery at home if you don’t want to stand out more than you already do.

6) 🚫 Everyday Supermarket Items: Australia has large and well stocked supermarkets with most the types of products you would expect in the western world. Do not worry too much about toiletries unless you prefer a specific brand.

Australia Travel FAQ

1) Will I get eaten by sharks or bit by snake or spiders?

Although Australia is full of killer animals, it is unlikely you will get into any trouble if you follow local advice. Make sure to find out if a beach or lake is safe for swimming before going in. Many places with shark or crocodiles as a danger have netted swimming areas which are safe. Avoid snakes if you see them, they will usually try to avoid you too and be vigilant for spider webs. More safety advice for visiting Australia here

2) What is the best way to get around?

The bigger Australian cities have extensive transport systems including trains, trams and buses. Smaller cities usually have less consistent buses but public transport is usually available in some form. Uber is popular in Australia and is usually cheaper than taxis.

For interstate travel it is often easiest to fly. There are a few low-cost carriers that make the longer journeys affordable. Greyhound buses have an extensive network and offer passes for multiple destination trips. Many people choose to rent cars or camper vans to give themselves more freedom. Most towns have camping areas with access to restrooms and even outdoor public barbecues.

3) Is it really expensive?

Australia is an expensive country by most western standards. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are comparable with London or New York for travelling. This does not mean you can not travel on a budget. The supermarkets are competitive and there are eating-out options for people on smaller budgets. It’s advisable to get familiar with the prices in Australia before you travel and be sure that you have the available funds as many people are surprised by some of the prices of everyday items.

4) Do I need to tip?

Tipping is never required in Australia and is never expected. Waiters in more high end restaurants will appreciate a 10% gratuity but the majority of locals don’t tip. This includes hotel staff, hairdressers and taxi drivers. The amount quoted is usually the amount paid.

5) Do I need a visa?

Passport holders from the US and Canada must obtain an Electronic Visa Authority (ETA). You can apply online from the link below and allows you to stay for up to 90 days and costs a $20 processing fee. European Union citizens may obtain an evisitor online which is basically the same. As the ETA.

Working holiday visas are available for US, Canadian and UK citizens as well as many others. These allow young people (typically 18-35) to live and work in Australia for 12 months. For more information on visas click here

6) Can I drink the tap water?

Australian tap water is safe to drink in most places. In certain rural towns the water will not be drinkable so it is worth asking your accommodation if you are unsure. Most towns and cities provide free water fountains in pedestrian areas, parks and beaches.

7) How can I be respectful to Aboriginal culture?

The Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of Australia and many of the popular tourist spots are sacred in their culture. The most famous of which is Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). There is usually signposts with guidance on how to be respectful to the local culture. Do not take anything from sacred land as a momento. Due to cultural beliefs many Aboriginal people also do not like having their photo taken, respect this unless you are specifically given permission.

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