Updated on January 7, 2021 by Asher Fergusson
With all of the activities and experiences there are to enjoy, knowing what to wear in Australia can be difficult. The lists below should help, plus our tips for what NOT to bring and some FAQs to help you plan your trip.
Most importantly, you’ll need to bring your best fun-loving, flexible, adventurous self, because Aussieland is going to show you a wonderful time!
What to Pack for Australia – 17 Essentials
11) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Believe it or not, in my experience, you need a good VPN for all travel.
If you ever use WiFi in a foreign place, whether at a cafe, airport, rental property, or a hotel, you could be putting your private info in danger of being hacked. I found this out the hard way when my credit card number was stolen after using the WiFi at a Paris Airbnb.
If you use a quality VPN such as NordVPN you can protect yourself on any device with 1-click.
Other items you’ll need for an Australia vacation:
Spare SD Cards
RFID Blocking Wallet
Travel Laundry Kit
Travel Washing Line
Travel Toiletry Bag
Travel Toiletry Bottles
Australia Power Adapter
Foldaway Tote Bag
Motion Sickness Tablets
What should you wear in Australia?
There are four seasons across most of the country, and also a wet and dry season in the tropical north. With their laid-back, friendly, and happy approach to life, Australian locals welcome tourists flocking in to enjoy and relax!
Be sure to carefully consider the activities you’ll be doing when packing clothing for your trip. Going to the Opera House, exploring the desert areas, lounging on the beach, and taking in the city sights all demand their own unique attire.
Pack with your planned (and potential unplanned) activities in mind. Trips to the Opera House and a river Cruise in Sydney visiting wine bars require different outfits than spending time suspended in a treehouse above Daintree Rainforest. Because of the wide range of entertainment options offered here, I recommend packing a diverse and practical set of outfits. Think “capsule-wardrobe,” with items that can all be mixed and matched, apart from the occasional formal outfit or hiking gear.
For anything outdoors and active, a pair of sturdy breathable sneakers or walking sandals will be crucial. Long pants or skirts are advised to ward off mosquito bites and keep off the evening chill. Australian ladies like to dress up when the occasion calls for it, so a show-stopping day to night dress and comfy but attractive heel would also be ideal. Australian weather can be wonderful much of the time, but it does still rain sometimes (particularly in Summer in the Northern Territory) so a light rain jacket may save the day. Finally, swimwear, a quality sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are must-haves!
If you are considering heading to the Outback or camping out, even in the peak of summer temperatures can drop at night time. Pack layers along with beach wear if you plan to visit the amazing coastline. Covering legs with pants may be advisable, especially if you are camping outside, to ward off unwanted attention from mosquitoes. A high-intensity spray will also work.
For the evening, dress to impress with a shirt and smart pants along with nice shoes. The dress codes in bars and clubs in Australia can be strict, especially in the cities, so ensure you look presentable if you plan to visit these establishments. Leave flip flops and casual attire for the beach areas – modesty when you leave these areas is advised. Pack a light rain jacket as well. It is very important to remember a high UPF factor sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield your skin from the strong sun and to prevent burns!
Australian weather can be thoroughly enjoyable, and likely will be for most if not all of your trip! There are some things to plan for just in case, though, and they can vary by season and location on the continent.
Spring – September, October, November:
Australia during springtime for the most part is warm. The temperature will feel especially pleasant to those visiting from colder climates! Depending on where you are in Australia the temperature will vary somewhat, but expect it to be warm and not overly hot during the day.
Mornings and evenings can still be rather chilly and crisp. Summer clothes will be just fine, but it is always handy to have a sweater or extra layer for the evening as night time sees a drop in temperature. Swimwear, shorts, t-shirts, and sun gear are all necessary. Temperatures average between 60°F and 80°F (15°C to 26°C).
Summer – December, January, February:
These are Australia’s hottest months. Sunscreen and other sun protection is of the utmost importance. Remember to cover body parts after sun exposure to avoid sun damage, and that hats and sunglasses are absolutely essential. Swimsuits are a must for these months, as well as shorts, t-shirts, dresses, and a rain jacket (Summer can be Australia’s rainy season).
A swimsuit cover-up is very nice to have for when you leave the pool or the beach – it will help protect you from the powerful sun. It’s best to carry around a shawl or light layer in the evening, though it may not be needed. Temperatures average between 80°F and 90°F (26°C to 32°C), and even higher in the Northern Territory.
Fall – March, April, May:
Fall in Australia will be warm and sunny for the most part, with a sense of Winter creeping in and a slight drop in temperature, particularly at night. It is important to pack cozy layers, warm-enough pajamas, and summer clothes for the daytime.
You may wake up to sunshine and warm temperatures many days, but prepare for all weather here. Swimming is definitely doable in the North, and sun protection is still a must. Temperatures average between 60°F and 70°F (15°C to 21°C).
Winter – June, July, August:
Australia has a naturally warm climate, but winter will see more unpredictable weather. You may wake up to sunshine and warm temperatures, but they could quickly turn into a cold and windy day. This occurs even more on the coastline and can happen in the north as well. It is a good idea to bring a light coat that can protect you from all weather elements.
Plenty of layers of different thicknesses are the way to go so that you can layer heavy or light depending on the temperature at the time. Australia’s coldest months may still be rather warm for some of us, and swimming, sunbathing, and even beach days are achievable in the North. Sunscreen is still vital. Temperatures average between 50°F and 70°F (10°C to 21°C).
If visiting museums and historical sites, dress appropriately and modestly to respect culture, heritage and values. Make sure you wear well-fitted, durable, and practical shoes (such a sneakers) that allow you to walk in comfort for long periods of time.
Be mindful to read all safety notices around the beaches and only choose a beach that is safe to be on. When swimming, stinger suits are advised in Australia and can be rented directly from most beaches (to protect you from small jellyfish ‘stingers’). Sometimes swimming is not safe, so please seek out a lifeguard. Crocodiles and Sharks may be present. Wear a wetsuit if you plan to surf or do water sports, as the water can be cold and the sun is extreme. Normal beach attire is also suitable.
Sailing or Boat Tours
A very popular way to see locations such as the 74 Whitsundays islands is by boat tour. The boat will usually provide everything you need in terms of snorkels, stinger suits and wetsuits. It is best to take a sturdy sandal (not flip-flops) so that you won’t trip or slip on wet surfaces. Pack as if you were off to the beach on a summer’s day, but remember plenty of warm dry clothes and a sweater for the chilly evenings out at sea.
Churches, Monasteries, and places of worship
Australia’s major religion is Christianity, however, it is a multi-cultural and multi-religion country with lots of different people living and worshipping there. When visiting any places of worship, modest dress is advised. Outside some churches or important buildings you may see a sign stipulating for guests to cover knees and shoulders. If you are visiting during summer months and want to explore these incredible buildings, carry a shawl and some loose fitting trousers or a long skirt in your day backpack. This way you can quickly cover yourself to go inside, without having to miss out.
What NOT to take to Australia
Although it is a hot, sunny destination, remember to cover up after leaving the beach or poolside. This is for your own good as it minimizes exposure to harmful sun rays.
Do not wear expensive, eye-catching jewelry. Highly-populated areas, as with everywhere else in the world, do attract pickpockets and thieves, and if you wear valuable pieces they will attract unwanted attention. This is a good rule for any traveler, as it’s a great way to avoid potential trouble.
Do not worry about buying a stinger suit or even a wet suit; they are easy to rent at the beaches and will take up a lot of space in your suitcase.
Impractical or ill-fitting clothing
Make sure you are comfortable in light, breathable fabrics. Sunstroke is a risk, so stay hydrated and wear clothing to keep your body cool and prevent overheating.
Flip-flops for everyday wear
Flip flops are great for the beach or the pool, but not so practical for long wear or walking. If you are walking for a long time, invest in comfy and presentable sandals or hiking sandals/shoes.
FAQs about traveling to Australia
1) Do I need to worry about dangerous animals?
2) What is the best way to get around in Australia?
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, and even offer hop-on-hop-off style passes. 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 Australia an expensive place?
4) Do I need to tip in Australia?
Tipping is never required in Australia and is never expected, as even the minimum wage is substantial enough for fair living. Waiters in higher-end restaurants will appreciate a 10% gratuity but the majority of locals don’t tip. This includes hotel staff, hairdressers, and taxi drivers.
5) Do I need a visa to visit Australia?
6) Is the tap water safe in Australia?
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 if you are unsure. Most towns and cities provide free water fountains in pedestrian areas, parks and beaches, and you can also bring a water bottle with built-in filter to avoid any question about water safety.
7) How can I be respectful of Aboriginal culture?
8) What are the top things to do in Australia?
There are the classics like visiting the Great Barrier Reef and visiting Uluru, but there are also quite a few things off the beaten path to do all over Australia. There are a few islands to visit, several incredible coastal natural parks and beaches, and even rainforest areas to explore! Research the area you’re visiting and decide how far outside that spot you’re willing to day-trip so that you can determine which activities will be right for your plans.
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