Australia Packing List: Your Essential Guide

Australia packing list

Considering what to pack for Australia is vital if you’re planning to go backpacking in Australia.

Devising an Australia packing list can be difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you’re doing a working holiday in Australia you might feel inclined to pack more than someone who is only going for a few months.

Or not! Who knows! But that was the general trend that I noticed. I did feel quite happy that I packed light when people were backpacking Australia with massive suitcases full of stuff.

Let me assure you now. You don’t need nearly as much stuff as you think you do. The less the things you bring the better. You don’t want to be trawling 20kg of dead weight around Australia!

Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and find out the items you need on your packing list for Australia!

Australia Packing List


Bobby anti-theft backpack

This is one item that I wouldn’t leave home without. If you’ve ever worried about losing your valuables, then this is the bag for you! I nearly got pickpocketed twice on my travels. Pickpockets are everywhere and you can never be too careful.

The beauty of the Bobby anti-theft backpack is that the compartments are hidden. Any would be pickpocket would have a hard time getting your valuables with this bag!

If you value protecting your belongings while you travel Australia, then you simply need this bag. It’s an investment.

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Osprey 40L Backpack

As well as a smaller backpack, you’ll need a bigger backpack to carry the bulk of your clothes. This is it becomes crucial to not add too much to your Australia packing list.

If you’re doing a working holiday in Australia, you’re going to be travelling around with this backpack for 12 months. You don’t want to pack too much, otherwise, you’ll break your bag carrying your belongings around.

A 40-litre backpack is more than big enough for most backpackers. You can fit a lot of clothes and items and still have a fair amount of space. This Osprey backpack is a great option, as it’s front-loading.

Most backpacks are top-loading. It can be frustrating rooting around trying to find what you want. With this backpack, you just open the bag up and find what you want. Easy!

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Duct Tape

Duct tape might seem like a strange item to include on your packing list for Australia, but there are a few reasons why you should include it.

Travelling around Australia entails a lot of wear and tear on your backpack. Unfortunately, this can result in your bag splitting. Carrying duct tape with you allows you to fix the split without buying a new bag.

You can also use duct tape in a more imaginative way. If you enjoy hiking, you’ll know that blisters are a common occurrence. One tip to manage them is to place duct tape over them to avoid the blister getting worse! Simple, yet effective!

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Hanging toiletry bag

These bags were everywhere when I was in Australia. I remember thinking that they were such a good idea. Unfortunately, I kept my toiletries in a big clumsy bag! I cannot describe how annoying it was rifling through the bag trying to find what I wanted.

The value of having a hanging toiletry bag is that it makes it easier to find what you want because of the array of compartments. The bag keeps your items without the fear of them spilling out, as well as being easy to access!

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Power adapter

Unless you’re from Australia or New Zealand, you will need a power adapter. This is simply an essential item when considering what to pack for a holiday in Australia.

The power outlets in Australia use 230V, 50hz and Type I prongs. Purchasing a travel adapter will allow you to charge your electrical items without worrying about them running out of power at any point.

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Portable charger

The distances between places in Australia are big, really big. You could be looking at journeys over 12 hours to some places. If you don’t have a portable charger on your Australia packing list, you may run out power on your electricals quickly!

Carrying a portable charger with you ensures that you won’t run out of power. This can be crucial in Australia. You don’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere with no battery on your phone!

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Eco water bottle

Buying bottles of water while travelling is one of my bugbears. I used to buy one every time I went to a new destination, not realising that there was a better option.

I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic that I consume and make a difference when I travel. Buying a reusable and eco water bottle is a great way to do that!

Just think about all the plastic you would prevent ending up in the ocean by getting one of these bad boys!

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Security padlock

This is an absolutely essential item to have while backpacking Australia.

There are a lot of hostels in Australia, most of the people that stay there are lovely. However, there’s always the possibility of someone staying in your room who is a bit dodgy!

Having a padlock to keep your belongings safe in a locker is a necessity. You could just buy a key padlock, but that has one drawback. Lose the key and you’re screwed.

Using a padlock with numbers is safer, all you need to do is remember the code! It couldn’t be easier! You can also change the code at a later date if you wish. For such a cheap item, it’s a must to include on your packing list for Australia!

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Flip flops (thongs)

The beaches in Australia are some of the best in the world! Bondi Beach and Surfer’s Paradise are famous all around the world. Simply put, it’s inevitable you’ll visit the beach during your trip to Australia.

Flip-flops, or thongs as the locals call them, are an essential part of any Australia packing list. Not all flip-flops are made equal. I went through a number of pairs in Australia before I finally some that didn’t break or disintegrate rapidly.

I swear by Havianas. They are the best flip-flops money can buy, and they last a lot longer than other brands that I’ve used. Plus, they are extremely stylish as well! What’s not to love!

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Australia may be a warm country for the majority of the year, but you will definitely need to include a jacket on your packing list.

Depending on where you go, the weather can vary, especially during winter. If you visit Melbourne during the winter, a jacket is a necessity. The weather can change in an instant, with heavy downpours not uncommon.

Likewise, if you visit the tropical regions of Australia during the wet season, you’ll need to pack a jacket. It can rain for days on end without stopping. Without a jacket, you’ll be soaked in seconds!

I like this jacket from Columbia. It’s light, waterproof and won’t take up too much space in your backpack!

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The sun is ridiculously strong in Australia. The country has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. In light of this, you’re obviously going to want to take precautions!

As well as suncream, one of the best methods of protecting yourself against the sun is to buy a hat. Keeping the sun off your face is a necessity in Australia, especially when temperatures regularly creep over 40 degrees in summer!

Having a hat handy will reduce your risk of any permanent damage to your body and put your mind at ease!

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A good pair of shoes will go a long way in Australia. If you decide to visit the Northern Territory, you will need a decent pair of walking shoes. The outback has numerous walking trails at places such as King’s Canyon and Uluru that call for sturdy footwear.

There are numerous hikes dotted around Australia. No matter where you go, your feet are going to get a good walk. Invest in a reliable pair of walking shoes and they will last you a trip to Australia and beyond!

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I’m not the biggest fan of socks, but you will need to pack a few pairs. Depending on what time you visit Australia and where you go, you might not need to wear socks. However, it’s best to pack a few pairs just in case!

I recommend buying happy socks. I like my socks to be funky and the cool patterns they have are certainly that. Plus, they are made out of cotton and help sweaty feet, like mine, breathe! Essential in the Australian heat!

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If there is one item you will absolutely need in Australia, it’s a good pair of sunglasses!

The sun is incredibly strong Down Under, you want to ensure your eyes are protected at all times! My advise to buy one of the best polarized sunglasses you can find! They protect you from 100% of harmful UV rays, and reduce glare too!

My preference is for the Oakley Frogskins. They are unique, as the hinges are detachable. If you rop your glasses by accident, and the hinges fall off, you can simply reattach them with no hassle whatsoever!

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After sun cream

If you’re considering what to pack for Australia, this is an absolutely essential item!

The sun is incredibly powerful in Australia. The country has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. If you do get sunburnt, it can be painful and linger for days.

Investing in after suncream is a great way to soothe the effects of sunburn. The aloe vera formula cools your skin and reduces the pain that comes from sunburn.

I used to spend days in pain before I bought this cream, and my sunburn faded after a few days. I can’t recommend this item enough!

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Deodorant Cream

This is a new product that I’ve recently started using, but it’s one of my favourites already.

Deodorant has been a bug-bear of mine on my road to eliminate plastic from my life. It’s nearly impossible to find deodorant that does not come packaged in plastic. Thankfully, I found this handy deodorant cream!

It comes in a recyclable tin and is ridiculously easy to use. You simply dab your hand into the cream, wipe it under your armpits and you’re done! Simple and environmentally friendly, what’s not to love!

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Reef-safe suncream

If you plan on going to the Great Barrier Reef, then you’ll need to invest in reef-safe suncream. This specific type cream is free of chemicals which damage the underwater ecosystem.

You will 100% need suncream in Australia. Not packing any would be lunacy! In some locations, it’s mandatory to wear reef-safe suncream due to stringent environmental restrictions.

Packing this keeps you protected physically and ensures that you don’t damage the fragile ecosystem as you travel!

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Solid shampoo

I know what you’re thinking! Solid shampoo? What is this madness!?

Well, there are a few reasons why I would include it on your packing list for Australia. Firstly, it reduces the space taken up by bottles. Secondly, it reduces the amount of plastic that you’ll be using on your travels.

Finally, it’s simply more convenient! Plus, there’s less likelihood of the shampoo spilling in your bag, which happened a few times to me! If you’re sceptical, give it a try, you might be surprised!

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Antiseptic Cream

This is one item that is always on my carry-on list! Antiseptic cream is one of the most versatile products that I know. You can use it to treat any number of ailments. From rashes to spots, and even sunburn, antiseptic cream can treat the lot!

It lasts for ages! It will definitely a few months in Australia or even a year. Ugly blemishes can appear out of nowhere on the road, packing antiseptic cream ensures you’ll be prepared should this happen!

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As well as the above items, here a few other items that are an essential part of my  packing for Australia checklist!


Hard drive

This is one item that I neglected to include on my Australia packing list. I really, really, wish I had included it! I actually had one before I left on my trip to Australia, I just never thought I would need it.

The reality is, that long-term travel is exhausting. You’re not spending every day chasing rainbows and waterfalls. There are days when you really can’t be bothered to do much. Access to a hard drive allows you to stick a film on and relax! It certainly saves you renting films!

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I love books! The only problem is, they take up space, a lot of space. When I was in Australia, I was carrying seven books around with me at one point! It was ridiculous! Eventually, I shipped them back to England, but it was a pain travelling with them!

Investing in a Kindle completely avoids this scenario. Even if you’re only going for a short trip, I’d recommend getting one as they save space. Leaving you with more room for things to take on your Australia trip!

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Travel Insurance

A wise man once said, “if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel!” Travel insurance may not seem like a necessary purchase, but it absolutely is. I have first-hand experience of this.

When I was in Australia, I got hit by a car on my way to work. Thankfully, I escaped with a few cuts and bruises. It could have been a lot worse. I had insurance, so if it had been worse, I would have been covered.

At least that was what I thought!

When my year was up, I realised the insurance I bought did not last for a year, but just 30 days! I was extremely fortunate I didn’t have serious injuries, otherwise I would be looking at a huge bill.

You have no idea when accidents can happen. If you’re insured, at least you have peace of mind. World Nomads are my recommened insurance company. they are tailored towards backpacker and travellers. If you plan on being adventurous, during your Australian trip, they are the best company to go with!

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Lonely Planet Guidebook

The Lonely Planet guides are a useful sounding board for finding out what to do in Australia. I’m not one to advise planning every, single, detail of your trip. However, I find having a rough idea of what you want to see certainly goes a long way.

The guide is detailed and will inform you about places you otherwise might not have heard of. This was the case when I went to visit Wilson’s Promontory. I might not have visited had I not checked out the Lonely Planet guide beforehand!

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Concluding thoughts

Packing for Australia can be a stressful process. Hopefully, this list has put your mind at ease and let you look forward to your trip down under!

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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog.

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