17 Top Australia Packing List Items + What to Wear & NOT to Bring (2018)

Updated on August 14, 2018 by Asher Fergusson

What should I bring on my Australia trip?

Ah, the Land Down Under. It’s a glorious place that’s sure to bring to mind endless stereotypes about certain animals and accents, but it’s so much more than that. (I know since I grew up in Sydney but have been living in the US for the last 15 years).

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!


1) Universal Waterproof Phone Case – This item is at the top of the list for a reason. This universal-fit case protects your phone from dirt and dust, water, scratches, and some impacts while also still allowing full use of your device even underwater including the camera! Perfect for an underwater selfie at the Great Barrier Reef – haha!
View on Amazon.com ➜

2) Affordable Underwater Camera – This camera is tough and waterproof down to 30ft. Practically all major cities in Australia are on the coast, which puts water activities such as snorkeling, surfing, or scuba-ing at the top of menu. If you want a much less expensive option than the GoPro, this is the camera to check out.
View on Amazon.com ➜

3) Australian Power Adapter – The Australian Type I power outlet is one of the lesser used in the world so if you want to keep your electronics charged you’ll need to bring a power adapter. I recommend bringing a universal power adapter that also has USB ports and built-in fuse protection. This adapter works in almost 100 countries.
View on Amazon.com ➜

4) Slip-on Mesh Water Shoes: Women’s and Men’s – Water sports are huge in Australia. You may snorkel, you may take a hike among tidal pools, or you may simply spend a day (or many) at the beach, but regardless, you don’t want to do those things in your regular shoes. You’ll want something sturdy and reliable, quick-drying and comfortable. These shoes are extremely handy and versatile, and will save you from having to ruin your best walking or hiking shoes.
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5) Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Three words: Great Barrier Reef. It’s important for the health of the aquatic environment that you wear sunscreen that’s free of damaging chemicals. In fact, in some places it’s actually mandatory that the sunscreen you wear (and you WILL need to wear sunscreen – the sun in Australia is incredibly strong) be reef safe to avoid causing damage to the already fragile aquatic ecosystem. Even if you’re not going to the famous GBR, you’ll likely be doing activities that involve the ocean, and you don’t want to leave chemical residue in the water wherever you go.
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6) Travel insurance – Travel insurance is a necessity – any experienced traveler will tell you that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Theft, medical emergency, etc. are covered under most plans, and they’re not much of an extra cost – it’s a price worth paying for the peace of mind you’ll have while on your trip. World Nomads comes very highly recommended by myself and many other well-traveled individuals.
View their plans at WorldNomads.com ➜

7) Activated Charcoal – A combination of jet lag, new food, and new environment seems to be a recipe for digestive upset. Almost every traveler has experienced traveler’s diarrhea at some point – if you haven’t, it’s not a fun way to spend your trip. Activated charcoal helps tremendously with this problem, and also serves as a great remedy for food poisoning, should that be something you encounter during your travels.
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8) Water bottle with built-in filter – Drinking water regularly is even more important in Australia than it is in the States. Heat, dry air, and beating sun combine to make it hard to stay adequately hydrated, so carrying your own supply of water with you is a great idea. This bottle has a built-in filter, too, so that you don’t have to worry whether the water from the tap is already filtered or safe to drink on its own.
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9) Lonely Planet Guidebook – You’ll need a guidebook. It will help you with ideas, culture, maps, and important facts about your travel destinations, and it’s honestly a lot of fun to read in your spare time. Lonely Planet’s Australia guidebook is very well reviewed, and has a great deal of wonderful information within its pages about popular destinations. It even details many locations that are off the beaten path so you can get a more authentic experience.
View on Amazon.com ➜

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.
View NordVPN.com options ➜


12) Jet lag remedy and allergy medicine – Allergens and pollen are surprisingly tough to adapt to in Australia, so it’s best to remember to pack some non-drowsy allergy medicine so that you don’t have to spend your best travel days sniffling and sneezing. Likewise, jet lag is a fierce foe when you’re on the opposite side of the world from home so I highly recommend this natural jet lag remedy to counteract its effects. Use it before and at the beginning of your trip and you’ll arrive feeling much more ready to dive right in to exploring!
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13) Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger – This small, user-friendly portable charger is powerful and extremely handy. Charge it while you’re resting in your accommodations, and bring it with you to recharge your other devices while on-the-go! It’s the size of a tube of lipstick and just as sleek, and it uses a USB cable so it’s compatible with any device that can use a charger cable with a USB end on it.
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14) Sarong – I never travel without a sarong. I’ve used mine for a beach cover-up, a privacy screen, an emergency towel, a cover for a questionable pillow, and a lightweight blanket while riding the train. These thin, tapestry-like items are so handy, and so easy to bring with you – I highly recommend bringing one or two on your trip.
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15) Quick-dry travel towel – Anywhere there’s water you’ll need a towel, and this one is absorbent, quick-drying, and easy to pack. It’s also nice to have if you find that the hostel or room you’re staying in doesn’t provide truly clean towels, or even any towels at all!
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16) Quality sun hat – A hat is a key piece of travel gear while exploring Australia. It provides extra protection from the sun and the heat, and it happens to look pretty stylish as well. This hat is perfect for men or women and is incredibly well-reviewed and accessibly priced.
View on Amazon.com ➜

17) Packing cubes – These packing and storage cubes have made life so much easier while traveling. They allow travelers to pack items in a way that’s organized, accessible, and compact without adding much bulk. I find that locating the exact item I’m looking for is a breeze with these, since my belongings aren’t simply packed all together in my suitcase or daypack.
View on Amazon.com ➜
packing-cubes

Other items to bring to Australia


What to wear in Australia


Australia is a large and diverse country offering holiday-makers warm weather, expansive outback, cute surfing towns, and bustling cities. The Australian climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories.

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.

What should WOMEN wear in Australia? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
















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!

What should MEN wear in Australia? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
















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).

What to wear for the activity in Australia – (Click to expand)

Historical Sites and Museums
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.

Beaches
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


1) 🚫 DON’T BRING lots of cash: Australia has ATMs almost everywhere and nearly all shops and restaurants accept cards. Many Australians do not even bother carrying cash. Having a little cash on you may come in handy when visiting markets or if you want to make small purchases, but there is no need to carry lots of cash at once.
2) 🚫 DON’T TAKE items made of wood: If you can avoid it, it’s best not to bring wooden items into Australia, as you’ll have to declare them for the same reasons that foods and camping equipment are banned – Australia is very keen on protecting their native species from foreign and invasive species.
3) 🚫 DON’T PACK heavy books: 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 instead, or bring a couple of small paperback books.
4) 🚫 DON’T BRING expensive jewelry: While crime is relatively low in Australia, tourists are still a common target for petty thieves. It’s definitely worth leaving your expensive jewelry at home if you don’t want to stand out more than you already do.
5) 🚫 DON’T TAKE foods: Australia has a fragile ecosystem that was untouched by the rest of the world 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, so please respect their regulations and leave these items at home.
6) 🚫 DON’T PACK muddy shoes/camping equipment: Just like foreign foods, any dirty shoes or camping equipment are not allowed through customs, as they may be carrying foreign seeds, plants, or insects. Make sure anything you bring into Australia is cleaned thoroughly or you could find yourself getting stopped by officers in the airport.

What NOT to wear in Australia – (Click to expand)

Beachwear for all occasions
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.

Expensive Jewelry
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.

Stinger suits
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.

 

Australia Travel FAQs


1) Do I need to worry about dangerous animals?

Although Australia is well-known for its dangerous and sometimes deadly 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 where sharks or crocodiles pose any danger have netted swimming areas which are safe. Snakes are something to be on the lookout for, but the old adage “they’re more afraid of you than you are of them” is absolutely true. Check out more safety advice for visiting Australia here.

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?

Australia is an expensive country by most western standards. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are comparable with London or New York for traveling. This does not mean you cannot travel on a budget, but you should be prepared for a larger daily budget than many countries. The supermarkets are competitive and there are dining 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 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?

Passport holders from the US and Canada must obtain an Electronic Visa Authority (ETA). You can apply online from the link below. This ETA 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 an 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 visa information click here.

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?

The Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of Australia and many of the popular tourist spots are sacred to the Aborigines. The most famous of these is Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). There are usually signposts with guidance on how to be respectful to the local culture, and be sure never to remove anything from their sacred land as a memento. Due to certain beliefs that they have, many Aborigines will not allow their photo to be taken – it’s considered a serious offense if it’s done without express permission.
 
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