Packing for a vacation can get a little stressful, but if you are flying to the other side of the world then it can be completely overwhelming. We know this pain all too well!
So, to help you get ready for your trip to the Land Down Under, we’ve compiled the ultimate Australia packing list based on our own packing list that has prepared us for any Australian adventure.
General Guidelines: What to Wear in Australia
There are some things that are just non-negotiable when it comes to packing for Australia!
Pack Lots of Beach Wear
There are over 50,000km of coastline in Australia and over 10,000 beaches to choose from! Many of Australia’s most popular activities and sights are on or near a beach, so you’ll likely be wearing shorts and tank tops (or singlets as they call them in Australia) more often than any other clothes in your pack!
It’s Not all Sunshine!
No matter what time of the year you are visiting, a rain jacket will definitely come in handy in Australia. It rains a lot in the summer, so a high-quality water resistant jacket is a great thing to add to your list. It will also be an ideal item of clothing to pull out when it gets chilly on an overnight bus, or when you need that extra layer on a cold windy day.
Layers, Layers, Layers!
The weather in Australia can change on a dime, especially in the South. Melbourne is known as the city with 4 seasons in one day, so it’s always good to pack clothing that can be easily layered to allow you to go from cold chilly morning to hot afternoon and rainy evening.
Our Recommended Australia Packing List
5 x Underwear
You don’t need to pack a pair of undies for every single day. If you’re going for a month, you’d fill half your backpack just with socks and pants! Take 5x socks and 5x undies and you can wash them along the way!
Ladies – bikini tops can double for bras most days, but you might also want to take a soft sports bra, too. Think comfort and something that won’t restrict movement or drive you crazy in the heat!
1 x Flip-Flops/Sandals
Flip-flops, or thongs as the Aussie’s call them, are absolutely necessary for any trip to Australia. Bring a pair that’s well worn-in, comfortable, and durable.
We recommend Chacos, as they make the best flip-flops that are never going to break the way other cheapies do. They also sell great sandals that can act as beach shoes as well as hiking shoes and water shoes.
2-3 x Swimwear
Men should pack 2-3 pairs of board shorts. If you can, choose swimwear that can double up as shorts so you can wear them out and about. You’ll save valuable space in your backpack.
For women, 2-3 bathing suits/bikinis should do the trick. If you plan on checking out the gorgeous beaches, you’ll most likely end up wearing your bathing suits more often than your underwear!
1 x Sarong
This is not just an Australia-related packing tip, but a packing tip for anywhere in the world. A sarong is incredibly versatile and is an amazing item to pack in your backpack. Use it as something to sit on while at the beach, bunch it up into a makeshift pillow, or a lightweight blanket while travelling.
2-3 x Singlets/Tank Tops
Australians dress very casually, so don’t be afraid to wear the same pair of beach shorts and tank tops around the city. The locals do it!
2 x T-shirts
The sun here is much stronger than you think, so pack a few light t-shirts to cover up your shoulders if you plan on spending a whole day out in the sun. Opt for breathable fabrics like recycled polyester and stay away from cotton. It takes forever to dry and isn’t very practical for the humid hot Australian environment.
2 x Shorts
You might not want to parade about the city in your swimwear, so pack a couple of pairs of regular shorts for your trip. Consider packing a pair that you can wear around town, another pair that’s more suitable for hiking, or maybe an even nicer pair for going out at night.
1 x Long Sleeve Shirt/Top
The weather in Australia can be really mental sometimes, going from really hot and sunny to windy and cold; just ask anyone that lives in Melbourne. A cardigan, jumper, or light hoodie will save you on windy nights, cold air-conditioned buses and rainy days.
For a lightweight yet warm option, pack a sweater made from merino wool.
1 x Jeans
It may come as a surprise, but we always travel with a pair of jeans. Jeans are great for casual city nights when shorts aren’t enough. In Australia, it is common for nice restaurants and clubs to mandate long pants as a dress code. Jeans are also great if you are visiting in winter or for nights when it gets cooler.
Bluffworks Departure Jeans for men are a great addition to your Australia packing list.
One of the best things about a trip to Australia is the range of activities on offer, from hiking to skydiving, mountain climbing, and forest trails. So, depending on what you plan to do on your Australia trip, you may wish to pack some extra items.
Pack a pair of good hiking pants that you’ll need for all those nature and wildlife activities. A pair of convertible pants will work well and allow you to be adaptable to the weather.
Long shorts or leggings are another good option for the ladies. Just keep in mind that some adventure companies actually mandate that you wear long shorts/capris and t-shirts and won’t let you on in a singlet and short shorts.
A good day pack is a must in Australia, but the challenge is finding a pack that’s suitable for a hike and also looks good when exploring cities like Sydney or Melbourne. We love our Peak Design Everyday Backpack and highly recommend it as a great backpack option for anyone heading to Australia, especially if you are looking for a bag that can protect your camera and not just your clothes!
It’s got a nice urban look, so we were able to take it out while exploring the cities, but it was also really comfortable as a hiking backpack thanks to its many compartments and great padding.
1x Hiking Shoes
Unless you are planning to tackle some serious treks, you don’t need to pack anything specifically for hiking/trekking in Australia. There is no need to wear hiking boots unless you are visiting in the fall/winter and planning to head south to Tasmania or Victoria.
You may want to pack 1 pair of trail running shoes, these typically have a nice grip and can handle a bit off terrain but can also be used for running, workouts, or any activities that may require closed-toe footwear.
Going Out Wear
We’re guessing that you won’t spend ALL your time on the beach! Many of the bars in the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne will have a strict dress code, so you’ll want something a little more dressy that you can pull out of your backpack for these occasions.
Depending on where you go, the dress code will vary dramatically. In beach towns like Byron Bay and Airlie Beach, the style will be more casual–flats with a singlet and shorts or a summer dress will do just fine. But if you are planning to go out in any of the cities, be prepared to doll up a bit more. Many nightclubs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, have strict dress codes and often refuse entry for those not dressed up to their standards. So pack with that in mind!
Women can get away with short shorts and a nicer top, but you will find that women in Australia do like to dress up for a night out so high heels and little dresses and nice outfits are what the locals typically wear on a night out in Australia.
Men often have to wear jeans and a dress shirt, so it’s important to pack both so you don’t miss out on any activities/outings as a result of mispacking.
Blazer and Chinos
For the guys, pack items that are versatile and can be worn in different situations, casual or formal. A men’s blazer and pair of chino pants will do the job and are perfect for urban afternoons or fancy restaurants. Add in a dress shirt, preferably a good no-crease one that will travel well!
Some bars and clubs in Australia can be quite particular, so take one pair of nice shoes and leave flip-flops for the beach! For women, that can be a nice pair of flats. For men, running shoes won’t do, so consider packing a nice pair of loafers. Max loves his sustainable loafers from Olukai.
If you want to look a bit more stylish, pack a few dresses. Light and floaty would be perfect for the beach, daywear, or even hitting the bars later. The more versatile the items, the better.
Other Australia Packing Tips
Don’t forget your sunnies! The sun is strong and not only will you need them to protect your eyes, but to make sure you can really appreciate the beauty of the country without screwing your eyes up!
Avoid sunstroke and keep the sun off your head with a peak cap or sun hat. If you’re visiting in winter, you might also want to consider a beanie hat to keep the heat in!
Don’t forget a flashlight (torch in Aussie speak). You’ll need it for all those camping sessions, hikes, and other adventures.
Being a first world country, Australia has everything you have at home, so there is no need to pack oodles of shampoo/conditioner/moisturizer/etc. to last you the entire trip.
Laptops, cameras, phones, etc. are all safe to travel within Australia. Most hostels will have lockers to keep your valuables safe. Here are some extra things to consider when packing your electronics for Australia:
Tips for Mobile Phones
If you can, unlock your phone before coming to Australia. You will save hundreds of dollars in roaming fees by purchasing a cheap Australian sim card with text/data plan that will allow you to stay connected to friends and family back home while you are on the road. Be careful not to drown your phone in the ocean/pool or soak it in one of the torrential downpours.
Tips for Cameras
Waterproof is the way to go. If you don’t have a weatherproof camera, then watch out for the sand on the beach, as one windy day can damage your camera beyond repair. We recommend keeping your camera in a plastic bag whenever it’s not in use.
Our Last Tip for Packing for Australia? Pack Light!
It may sound like a lot! But, you don’t have to take it all with you, you can always plan to do some shopping while you are here. If you forget anything, don’t worry, there is literally nothing you can’t find in the shops in Australia, so pack light, and don’t lose sleep over it leading up to your trip