Your Complete Australia Packing List: For Any State and Climate
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G’day! Are you venturing to Australia sometime soon and are confused about what to bring? I’m here to answer all of your woes with this Australia packing list. Whether you’re hiking in Tasmania or tanning in Queensland, this list of what to take to Australia can be fully customisable for you.
Firstly, I recommend some essential documents, electronics and toiletries to take with you and then discuss the issue of which clothes to bring; here you can tailor make your own packing list for Australia depending on which part of the country and during which season you’re visiting. Nifty, huh?
Australia Packing List: Documents and Essentials
You’ll no doubt remember all of this when you’re planning what to pack for Australia, but I find it so handy to have a checklist! Click the links to see products that I use and recommend.
- Passport (make sure you sort your e-visa before travelling to Australia!)
- Print outs – of your travel insurance details, flight information, hotel/ hostel information, copy of your e-visa acceptance email, a map of the city that you are staying in
- Boarding pass if you’ve checked in online
- A nice practical plastic wallet to keep said print outs in
- Australian dollars
- A travel card to top up money on – make sure you have at least 2 ways to access money
- Notepad and pen to jot down any details (most people use notes on their phone, I’m still somewhat stuck in the 90s and like to use a notepad still)
Australia Packing List: Electronics
This of course varies from person to person, and depends what you’ll be doing while on your jollies in Australia, but here’s some ideas of electronic items to bring to Australia. All the products that I use and would recommend are clickable, so you can purchase them right away.
- An unblocked smartphone so you can put an Aussie sim in it (WiFi isn’t great in Australia so it’s a good idea to have data). I love the BLU Vivo.
- A GoPro so you can film all of your awesome adventures. I use and recommend the GoPro Hero 5 and a GoPro accessories bundle.
- A camera that takes high quality pics – you wouldn’t believe some of the landscapes here! The one I use is the Fuji x-a3 and don’t forget this memory card – and it can be transported in this pouch.
- A kindle – they work so much better than carrying around endless books! I use this lightweight 6″ kindle.
- A laptop – not everyone’s bag, but if you’re on a working holiday visa in Australia, you might want to bring one of the best laptops for travel. I use the MacBook Air – and make sure you have a protective case. If you don’t want to carry a laptop everywhere, you could also think about bringing an Ipad.
- A power bank to charge your appliances with. One with lots of power to enable multiple charges is great – like this one which can charge a phone up to six times.
- A universal adaptor so you can use all of your electronics in Australia and worldwide. Choose one like this which has 2 USB sockets as well as a plug socket.
Australia Packing List: Books
Here’s some great Australia related books that are great to read on the plane over!
- Lonely Planet Australia
- Down Under: Travels in A Sunburnt Country by Bill Bryson
- Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara
Australia Packing List: Toiletries & Medicines
Of course, this varies depending on tastes and necessities. You can buy anything you forget in Australia (although for many things it is more expensive) but some of my essentials are (click on the links to purchase each product):
- Shampoo – I use the LUSH bars as they’re vegan and carrying one of these is a lot easier than transporting heavy bottles which may explode!
- Conditioner – LUSH do conditioner bars too, but I find them a lot harder to use than the shampoo bars.
- Face wash
- Toothbrush – these bamboo ones are a lot more eco-friendly than plastic ones!
- Shower gel or LUSH soap
- Make-up – I go as minimalistic as possible (ie. just mascara and eyebrow pencil normally!) You’ll likely only want a full face of make-up if you’re spending time in the cities or going out clubbing, so pack accordingly.
- Suncream – lots of it, the sun in Australia is fierce
- Mosquito repellent – especially if you’re in the tropics (but there’s mozzies in the south too!)
- Clippers/ nail scissors
- Tiger balm – it works wonders on headaches and itchy mosquito bites
- Earplugs – an essential if you’re sleeping in hostel dorms
- Eyemask – ditto
- Senekot if you often get an upset tummy when travelling
- Mooncup for the female travelers – they’re a lifesaver when travelling on your period
- Micro-fibre towel
Australia Packing List: Travel Items
These items will make travelling that little bit easier. Click through to purchase each item.
- Water-to-go bottle – tap water is safe in most places in Australia, but in more rural areas it is recommended that you treat before drinking. This water-to-go bottle takes care of that for you!
- Collapsible Tupperware – this is ideal for people who want to cook in hostels and take food on the go or those who are road tripping Australia.
- Head torch – this is an essential camping item but is so handy in hostel dorm rooms as well!
- Pack of cards – perfect for long journeys!
Australia Packing List: Clothes
All hostels and some hotels in Australia have laundry facilities, and there are launderettes aplenty in the land down under, so I’d advise only taking one week’s worth of clothes with you. Some staples that you will want to remember are:
- Bikini/ swimsuit/ trunks
- Beach towel/ sarong
- Flip flops (they call them thongs in Australia!)
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket
- Hiking trousers
- Thick socks
- Running leggings or shorts
- Sports bra for girls
- Trainers/ running shoes
- Loose top for exercise
- Dress/ skirt/ smart trousers
- Shirts, tops
- Smart shoes
- Jeans/ shorts/ skirt
- T shirts
- Casual shoes
- Tracksuit bottoms
- Hippie pants
Underwear & Pyjamas
- Set of Pyjamas
What to wear in Different Climates
Of course, whether you take trousers or shorts or pack one or three hoodies will, in many cases, depend on the weather.
There are some common misconceptions about Australia, one being that it’s always hot. If you’re talking about the Northern Territory, or right at the tip top of Queensland then you’re right: the temperature verges between hot and ridiculously hot.
But, further south, the temperatures can be a lot more variable. There are even ski resorts in New South Wales and Victoria and in Tasmania, it once snowed in December (that’s summer in Australia!).
So your packing list depends a lot on what area you’re going to, and what season you’re visiting in. Here’s a few pointers:
Darwin and the Top End
Summer: this is the wet season so pack a waterproof mac and waterproof shoes. It’s not the best time to visit this area as getting around is tough and many attractions are closed; hiking isn’t recommended nearly everywhere in the Top End during this period. But if you are going to be outside for lengthy periods of time, waterproof pants are probably essential too. Bear in mind that temperatures are often in the late 30s, sometimes topping 40, so breathable clothes are essential as well.
Winter: this word doesn’t exist in Darwin and the Top End – while the rest of the country experiences cooler temperatures, Darwin enjoys a lush wet season with temperatures normally in the low 30s (although increasing in September and October as the build-up starts). So pack your shorts, t-shirts, thongs (that’s the Australian word for flip flops!) and prepare to not experience a cloud in the sky.
Alice Springs and the Red Centre
Summer: it’s nearly always dry in Alice (apart from when I was there…) but in the summer, it is hot. So pack your summeriest clothes and prepare to be sizzled. During the evenings, it does get considerably cooler (although is often still t-shirt weather in the summer months), so take some longer clothes if you are prone to the cold.
Winter: it stays hot during the days, although sometimes dips to the teens – so bring some long clothes for the cooler days. It gets bitterly cold at night – often below freezing – as you are literally in the middle of the desert. Take some warm clothes for the evenings, and if you are camping, thermals might not be a bad idea!
Tropical North Queensland
Summer: North Queensland enjoys a similar climate to Darwin, although the seasons aren’t quite as dramatic. You can still get out and explore most of the attractions in the wet season – but be aware that it does rain more. So take your summer clothes as well as rain gear, and if you want to do any hikes in the Daintree or elsewhere, think about some serious waterproof gear.
Winter: the temperatures stay pretty warm in Cairns and surrounds, and although rain can happen, it is generally quite dry. Pack your summer clothes, and bring your mac just incase – you are visiting a rainforest in the wet tropics, after all! 😉
Central and South Queensland
Summer: Central and South Queensland scorch in the summer, with temperatures often between 30-40 degrees. It does rain slightly more in the summer, so if you’re going to be doing lots of outside activities, remember a waterproof coat along with your summer gear.
Winter: it rarely gets too cold in Central and South Queensland, so you’ll most likely have the chance to wear your summer wardrobe, but take some warmer clothes just in case. It gets cold at night too – so if you’re camping, pack some layers and a warm sleeping bag!
New South Wales
Northern New South Wales
Summer: I lived in a tent in Byron Bay for 5 months in Spring/ Summer 2016/17 and let me tell you, it was warm. You won’t be needing any long trousers of any description! There are, however, lots of thunderstorms around this time (which is an interesting phenomenon when you’re living in a tent!) so bring your waterproofs.
Winter: the days can be sunny and warm, or slightly on the chilly side, so it’s best to pack both summer and warmer clothes – and if you’re camping don’t forget your layers, it seriously gets so cold at night here! It can rain, so pack a mac too.
Southern New South Wales and Canberra
Summer: the weather is generally pretty warm, with the odd cool day. Take shorts, t-shirts etc but also an emergency pair of trousers and a hoodie – just in case. Again, it can get wet, bring yer mac.
Winter: as you approach cooler climates, it can get very cold here in the winter. Sydney always stays fairly mild, but in the mountains there can be a lot of snow – so much that there are even a couple of ski resorts! So pack accordingly depending on where you’re going – you’ll need trousers, hoodies and maybe even thermals.
Summer: there’s not much point in separating Victoria into seasons, because its capital, Melbourne, is perhaps most well known for having ‘4 seasons in one day’. The summers can be over 40 degrees, or they can be 15, cold and rainy. So pack for any eventuality – shorts, t-shirts, trousers and hoodies are all great ideas. And don’t forget waterproofs!
Winter: to be honest, winter weather in Victoria is pretty miserable. If you are visiting at this time of year, bring plenty of waterproof clothes, warm items and winter woolies.
Summer: summers in Tassie rarely get to the heat of the mainland, but they can be quite pleasant, with temperatures in the late 20s. However, they can also be chilly – as I mentioned, it once snowed in December! So pack for any weather and make sure you have plenty of warm clothes if you’re camping. You’ll most likely be hiking in Tasmania, so bring waterproof gear.
Winter: I hope you don’t mind the cold! Tassie in winter is very chilly and pretty rainy; not ideal camping weather! But if you are visiting then, take layers and waterproofs. And don’t forget thick socks!
Adelaide and Surrounds
Summer: Adelaide enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers. Although the temperature can vary, it’s normally pretty stable in the 30s. Pack summer gear and an emergency pair of warm clothes just in case.
Winter: Adelaide is Australia’s driest capital city, so you shouldn’t have too much rain – although of course it can and does, so pack a mac just in case. Warm clothes are a good idea for visiting Adelaide at this time of year, as it does get a bit chilly.
Summer: it gets so hot in the South Australian outback in the summer that people in Coober Pedy live underground to escape the heat. No joke. It can reach up to 50 degrees celcius. Take the bare minimum of clothes possible and think about investing in a mobile air conditioning unit to cool down. It gets marginally cooler at nights, but not that much – you might need a pair of trackies if you’re camping.
Winter: temperatures range between 10-30 degrees, so take both summer and warmer clothes. If you’re camping, take plenty of layers for the outback nights. You’re unlikely to see rain, and if it you do it won’t be a huge amount.
South Western Australia
Summer: there’s nowhere quite like Perth in the summertime. It’s Australia’s sunniest city and basks in idyllic low-30s temperatures, with zero rain. Take your summeriest clothes and prepare for a good time! If you’re heading to the outback, you’ll be graced with soaring temps, so pack accordingly.
Winter: it can get cold and rainy in Perth in the winter, so take some warmer clothes and waterproofs. That being said, you might luck out and get some nice days – I was there for one of the warmest Aprils on record, and even when I left Perth in June it was over 20 degrees.
Central – the Pilbara Region
Summer: It gets pretty scorching in the summertime in the centre of Western Australia – by the coast it can be just about bearable, but if you’re going inland you’re in for one hell of a roast.
Winter: winter is the rainy time of year – although it doesn’t rain a huge amount – so bring a mac and other waterproofs if you’re hiking. Temperatures are generally still pretty warm – in the 20s – so summer clothes should suffice, but bring some longer clothes for cooler days. If you’re camping, take some thick layers – it gets really cold at night here.
North – The Kimberley Region
Summer: similarly to Darwin, the summer here is the wet season and it’s not recommended to visit during this time, as towns such as Broome often get cut off due to flooding. If you must visit then, take summery clothes and waterproofs – and bear in mind that sometimes the minimum night temperature is 30 degrees, so bring the airiest pair of pyjamas you have!
Winter: winter is a great time to visit north-western Australia! All the most beautiful spots of the amazing Kimberley region are accessible, and you’re nearly guaranteed blue skies every day. Summer clothes are all you’ll need for the day time – but it can get very cold at night. If you’re camping, take layers.
That concludes our Australia packing list – and whether you’re heading there for a week, a month or a year, there should be everything you need here!
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