Australia travel essentials: what to pack for Australia

Heading to Australia and not sure what to bring? This list of Australia travel essentials will help guide you. Read on to discover what you should pack for Australia.

A collection of Australia themed icons, including an Akubra, earrings with an Aussie bird, a passport, Best Walks Australia and Welcome to Country books, RM Williams boots and a camera. Discover Australia travel essentials to pay for a trip to Oz.

It can be difficult to know what to pack for Australia, really to pack when you’re travelling anywhere, for the first time.

What will the weather be like? Which clothes will you need? Will you be able to pick up anything you forget?

As an Aussie who has travelled around the country, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what you need to pack to navigate through Australia. Let me pass on what I’ve learned, to assist you with your packing.

If you leave anything behind, don’t fret. There are plenty of places in Australia where you can pick up anything and everything you need. Clothing, medical or otherwise.

So here’s a packing list, full of Australia travel essentials. Consult it while planning for your big adventure Down Under.

Along with this packing guide for Australia, I have a list of eco-friendly items for travel, which you may also find helpful.

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Australia travel essentials

People at Coogee Beach in Sydney.
Beach weather in Sydney.

What to pack for Australia: clothing

What you will end up packing will largely consist of where you are going in Australia. And of course, the season you are travelling.

It’s good to remember that Australia is massive; its own continent. So while you may be envisioning bright sunny weather and warm temperatures, this may not always be the case!

In winter in Australia, it can be nice weather of 25 degrees + in the north of the country, while people down south are suffering through the cold, or living it up on snowfields, if they’re lucky.

The good thing is, there’s no restrictions on what you can wear in Australia. You can bare as much or as little skin as you like. And trust me, in the summertime, you’ll see plenty of locals doing just this.

I’ve broken this list of Australia travel essentials down into different sections, according to the seasons.

Packing for an Australian summer

I personally don’t think summer is the best time to travel to Australia, as it’s peak season and dreadfully hot. However, there’s no denying it’s a popular time to visit, so we’ll kick off this Australian packing list with some summer-specific suggestions.

As a rule, here’s the clothing I recommend having on hand if you’re visiting Australia in the summertime.

  • A few pairs of shorts or skirts. To avoid chafing due to heat and sweat, I recommend wearing boy-leg underwear under skirts and dresses, or using anti-chafe cream
  • Dresses in breathable fabrics like linen
  • T-shirts and/or tank tops
  • A long-sleeve shirt in a lightweight fabric you can wear for sun-protection or to protect against slightly cooler weather at night
  • Swimmers
  • A hat, preferably wide-brimmed for extra coverage. It’s worth having one that fits your head securely, or has a drawstring, as parts of Australia can be quite windy. Otherwise it’s one gush and bye-bye hat
  • Sunglasses, preferably with UV protection
  • Shoes you can walk in; hiking boots if that’s what you plan to do, or just a decent pair of sneakers
  • Sandals, once again ones you can easily walk in. Teva’s are great for this.
  • Thongs/flip flops for the beach. And you know, depending on where I’m staying, I sometimes wear them in the shower
  • Comfortable athleisure if again, you plan on going hiking or doing some outdoorsy activities
  • Hiking socks
  • Ankle or sports socks
  • Underwear: jocks, bras, etc
  • A light jacket
  • Summer pjs
  • One pair of long trousers you can wear repeatedly without having to wash, like jeans
  • A lightweight raincoat or small umbrella, in case the weather turns.
A woman stands overlooking bright yellow rocks wearing a snow jacket and a beanie.
Yup it gets pretty cold in Australia, so a decent jacket is a must!

Packing for an Australian winter

Again, it largely depends on where you’re travelling to, when you’re packing for Australia in winter.

I highly recommend checking out the weather report for the bureau of meteorology, as you may require a mix of the above list and what I’ve recommended below.

Here are some Australia travel essentials for winter.

  • Layers! Layers are your friend for an Australian winter
  • Beanie
  • Scarf
  • Gloves. I wear leather gloves lined with wool and they keep my hands warm and dry
  • Jumpers/sweatshirts
  • A good, all-purpose jacket, like a denim jacket to layer on top
  • Trousers
  • Thick socks for walking and bed socks for night
  • Warm pjs
  • Sturdy boots you can walk around in
  • A decent coat, preferably one that is waterproof. The key is having one that buttons or zips up, to avoid the freezing cold winter winds of places like Melbourne
  • Jackets with down in them are popular. I suggest seeking out one that has either synthetic or recycled down. Patagonia is great for this; I got mine from one of their outlet stores

You may need thermals if you plan on going to the snowfields. Merino wool is fantastic for thermals. Avoid fabrics like cotton.

Packing list for Australia: the shoulder seasons

While autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November) are in my opinion, an excellent time to travel to Australia, they can be tricky to pack for.

This is because the weather can be totally erratic. Warmth and sun one day, torrential rain and cold the next. Or if you’re in Melbourne, often both on the same day. Lucky us.

Again, I’d consult BOM regarding the temperatures of the regions you’re travelling to. Then, pack a mix of what I’ve suggested above.

As the seasons change, again, layers are your friend. In autumn or spring, I always bring a jumper or jacket with me when I go out and tend to wear enclosed shoes.

Looking out a plane window during a flight.

Australia travel essentials: what to pack for the flight to Australia

It’s a loooooong flight to Australia from just about anywhere, besides New Zealand/Aotearoa.

Here are a few Australia travel essentials for the plane trip to Oz:

Australia travel essentials: electronics

Let’s face it; modern life means carrying around a bundle of electronic gizmos and gadgets. Here are a few times it will help to have on hand if you’re travelling in Australia.

Australia has different power sockets to other places in the world. We use the same one as New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and China. I recommend investing in a universal adaptor, so you don’t have to faff around with a stack of different plugs. As far as Australia travel essentials go, you probably want to be able to charge your devices!

If you’re planning on road tripping around Australia, it wouldn’t hurt to have a power bank on hand, for charging your phone or other devices.

Likewise, bring a USB cable for charging. Many rental cars will have ports for charging, along with some buses, planes and trains.

I love buying books when I travel (especially as souvenirs), but there’s no denying they take up ample room in your luggage. An eBook reader or Kindle will help you while away the hours on long train or plane rides (or even ferry rides, if you plan on visiting places like Tasmania). Here are some books about Australia, if you’re looking for ideas on what to read next.

If you’re planning on being in Oz for awhile and don’t want to bring a laptop, I recommend bringing a keyboard for your tablet or iPad. I’ve found mine to be invaluable while travelling.

A good pair of headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones will prove invaluable on the long plane ride to Oz and any other public transport you may take. Something like Apple airpods are easy and invaluable on long flights.

A camera! Get prepared for some stunning scenery and beautiful views. I always travel with my Fuji Film too, as I love having the printed pictures as reminders of my travels. I personally recommend a Canon GX7 as an Australia travel essential. And I love my Fujifilm Instax for instant memories.

An eSim, if your phone has that capability. Be aware that reception in rural Australia can be patchy. I like Holafly for travelling; however, they offer data only packs. If you need a full sim, Telstra are generally a good provider.

Some toiletries, including a toothbrush, comb, deodorant, cleanser and tea tree oil, plus a copy of The Bell Jar.

Packing for Australia: toiletries

Here are a few Australia travel essentials for your toiletries bag.

  • Deodorant: it’s a hot country and you’ll probably sweat tons
  • Moisturiser. Bring one with some kind of SPF in it for your face, ideally 30+
  • Sunscreen! The sun in Australia is particularly vicious and it’s easy to get burnt. Wear SPF50+ if possible and please select one that is reef safe if you plan on entering our oceans
  • Aftersun gel or lotion, in case you do get burnt
  • Face wash, soap, etc
  • Shampoo and conditioner. These reusable bottles are great for travelling with liquids for a long trip
  • Make up. I recommend wearing less make up than you may usually in summer, lest you want it dribbling down your face
  • Menstrual cup, if you’re a person who menstruates and lightweight pads or period pants. See more on travelling with your period.
A suitcase with the world map on it.
Australia travel essentials: a small backpack will be helpful for your trip to Australia.

Packing for Australia: miscellaneous items

Here are a few things you may need to pack for your Australian holiday.

  • Medicine. Australia is pretty safe and you can get just about anything you need from our pharmacies. However, it’s always worth carrying around paracetamol, cough drops, band aids, anti-acid tablets and gastro-stop (or something like Travelan) wherever you go. I speak from experience!
  • If you get bad allergies from pollen and are travelling in spring or summer, I recommend bringing antihistamines. Melbourne in particular is terrible for hay fever. Trust me: I live there and am allergic to just about everything
  • A lightweight towel for the beach. When I’m travelling, I pack one I bought in Thailand years ago, which doubles as a sarong
  • Insect repellent, especially for summer. The bugs here are no joke, particularly the flies. an Australia travel essential for sure
  • Packing cubes. They’re great for separating your dirty laundry from clean, packing shoes and such
  • Gaiters for bushwalking (especially in the summer), to protect your ankles. If you’re a keen walker, check out my list of books on walking
  • Again, if you plan on bushwalking, you may want to bring a small backpack. I also recommend a hydration bladder, so you can stay, well, hydrated
  • Binoculars if you’re a birdwatcher. There’s some great bird life here!
  • A reusable water bottle
  • A pen
  • Passport holder
  • A bumbag/fanny pack. They used to be the mark of a tourist, but have now cycled back to being trendy, because that’s fashion. I find them really handy for keeping my phone, hotels room key and wallet in. Plus they’re pretty safe, although Australia doesn’t tend to have a massive issue with pick-pocketing (but always good to take precautions, just in case)
A woman with a backpack looks out over Werribee Gorge in Victoria, a popular day hike near Melbourne.
Looking out over Werribee Gorge, a popular day hike near Melbourne.

Should you bring a suitcase or a backpack?

Good question! I think it really does depend on what you plan on doing and where you are in… life.

If you’re young and heading to Australia to, well, backpack, then by all means, pack your gear into a backpack. There’s no denying they are handy for adventurers and especially good if you’re travelling lightweight.

If you’re after a bit of a slow-paced trip or have a bad back, you’ll be totally fine to bring a suitcase. I’ve travelled with one all over Oz and have no problem getting around. I’ve used American Tourister bags for years and like them a lot.

Australia travel essentials: wrapping things up

Well, that’s about it; everything you should need to pack for a trip to Australia, no matter the season.

I hope this guide to packing for Australia has been helpful. Any questions? Let me know in the comments.

For more, check out my tips for visiting Australia for the first time and this guide to Australian slang. And here’s the rest of my Australia content, to help with your trip planning.

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Heading to Australia and not sure what to bring? This list of Australia travel essentials will help guide you. Read on to discover what you should pack for Australia.

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