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What to Wear in Australia: The Australia Packing List You Need

Australia is an incredibly popular destination, filled with extraordinary places to visit. Its beaches, the coral reef, the rainforest, the desert… Australia is home to some of the most amazing landscapes in the world.

However, Australia is such a big country with so many different climates that it can be difficult to know what essentials to take on your vacation. This article has all the information you need on what essentials to take on your trip down under, and what you’ll need for the different climates you might experience.

Must-Have Essentials for your Australia Packing List

  • Sunscreen

The Australian sun is powerful regardless of the time of year you visit, so make sure you pack a good quality sunscreen. For the best protection, go for a minimum of SPF 30, and make sure it has a 5 star UV rating. Many beaches will require you to have reef-friendly sunscreen, which means it’s free of chemicals that might damage aquatic ecosystems… please let’s protect the environment!

  • Flip flops

Flip flops (called thongs in Australia) are a necessity for any trip because of how easy they are to wear. Don’t use them as your primary footwear because you’ll need something more sturdy, but flip flops are ideal for wearing to the beach to protect your feet from the hot sand… and they always go with a little dress for a casual night out too.

  • SIM card

If you’re travelling through Australia and want to stay connected, it can no doubt be useful to get a local Australian SIM card.

The easiest way to stay connected is to bring your unlocked phone and buy a prepaid sim card once you arrive. For some of the best value around, check out amaysim; they offer some of the best mobile plans in Australia. If you’re looking to make ​international calls from Australia​ to your friends and family back home, consider one of their plans that includes international calling benefits.

  • Hat

This is a no-brainer in the hot Australian sun. Make sure you get a hat with a brim so it provides maximum protection. Plus, it’s much more instagrammable that way 😉 If you forget to buy one on your way out there, no worries, there will be plenty of options when you arrive in the country. Shopping for hats and the cutest outfits is one of the​ things to do in Byron Bay​, for example!

  • Travel insurance

Travel insurance is important for any trip abroad. Even if you think nothing can happen to you and you are invincible (trust me, I’ve been there), you never really know what can happen, and medical care abroad without insurance can be incredibly expensive. Travel insurance is not necessarily expensive and most of the time will also cover you for theft, delayed flights, and more.

  • Power adaptor

Australia’s plug sockets are very different from other countries across the world so a power adaptor is a must. It can be helpful to get a universal adaptor with USB ports so you can charge several things at once. If you live in the USA or Canada, make sure it has a voltage adaptor too.

  • Underwater camera

A must if you’re doing any kind of water sports or you are going diving/snorkeling in the ​Great Barrier Reef​… and you definitely should. The first choice would be a GoPro, but these can be expensive. There are plenty of cheaper models online, or you can buy a waterproof case for your phone.

  • Sarong

The versatile piece of clothing can help you out in many situations. It can be used as a towel, a pillow, a blanket, and more! They can be packed into incredibly small spaces, so it makes sense to pack one for all kinds of adventures.

  • Warm jacket

Although Australia is a hot country, it can get cold at night, especially in the desert. Consider a good quality hiking jacket as these will be waterproof and warm, but won’t be incredibly bulky.

What to pack for the beach in Australia

Make sure you pack sunscreen and plenty of sun protection when heading to the beach in Australia. Other beach essentials include a hat, sunglasses, a long-sleeve top, and your sarong. It also makes sense to take a towel if you’re swimming. Also, if you’re doing any water sports, make sure you pack a camera and swimming gear (you can often rent snorkels and fins at the beach).

The climate on Australian beaches varies massively depending on your location and the time of year. The temperature can range from the high-30s (centigrade) to the low-20s/high teens. The water can reach temperatures of 28 degrees or more in the summer, and is only slightly cooler in the winter. Either way, make sure you research the local climates you’re visiting so you know what to pack.

READ ALSO: ​The Ultimate Roadtrip Itinerary in the East Coast of Australia

What to pack for the forest in Australia

Forests can be fascinating, but require their own specific inventories. Regardless of whether you’re going for one day or several, be sure to pack insect repellent, sunscreen, insect bite relief products, sturdy walking shoes, a waterproof jacket, and long clothes. You might not want to wear long sleeves or pants, but it’s much better than getting bitten… what about something in linen or some technical gear that won’t bother you?

Like with beaches, the climate depends on where you go. You can be certain that the forests will be hot and humid all year round, so bring plenty of drinking water. You can expect temperatures to peak in the mid-30s, and drop to around the low-20s depending on the time of year.

What to pack for the desert in Australia

As you could expect, the deserts in Australia are hot, but get cold at night. Pack the strongest sunscreen you own, and a good hat and sunglasses. Your sarong will come in handy here as another way to protect yourself from the sun. Also, make sure you bring plenty of drinking water to keep hydrated.

You’re unlikely to experience rain in the desert, but your main danger will be the heat. In the summer it can be hotter than 40 degrees, dropping to around 2/3 degrees at night. Don’t forget to pack a sweater and a jacket for the nights! In the winter this drops to a more comfortable mid-20s, but make sure you still have plenty of sun protection.

What to pack for the big cities in Australia

When visiting a city, make sure you have a secure bag for your valuables, and that you keep it in sight at all times. If you’re doing tours, good walking shoes will be helpful, as will your phone for directions and your phone camera.

What to pack for the mountains in Australia

Australia also boasts some ​beautiful mountains ranges! Mountains will be much cooler than anywhere else in Australia, so pack warm clothes. It can be useful to bring a good quality hiking jacket, and some sturdy shoes. Although it is cooler the sun is still as strong, so bring sunscreen and a hat. Sunglasses are also useful, especially if you’re going anywhere with snow.

The climate varies depending on the time of year and altitude. There’s more chance of rain in the mountains, so waterproof gear is useful. You can expect temperatures to be around 18 degrees in the summer, and 4/5 degrees in the winter.

Australia has very versatile climates, so preparing for all of them can be difficult. Don’t forget this list of must have essentials for Australia. Sunscreen and a hat and you’ll be good to go!

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.


Tuesday 28th of May 2019

[…] What to Wear in Australia: The Australia Packing List You Need | Every Steph […]

Mark Wood

Friday 16th of November 2018

It is really nice blog information for us.