This is What You Should Pack for Australia

I'd categorize Australia as a relatively low maintenance destination for packing, compared to places like Iceland or Asia. I would still do some pre-trip preparation because - well, it's so darn difficult to get there that you would NOT want to forget something that could ruin your trip!

Here are my top recommendations for what to pack after spending seven days in Sydney and Cairns. Keep in mind I went in late November, so these tips apply mainly during the spring/summer season rather than the winter season.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not sponsored by any of the companies or products mentioned. All opinions are my own.


We encountered a few Australians on the way to Sydney and their top piece of advice was simply...sunscreen.

While you should use a little SPF on a daily basis regardless of where you live, it is especially important to do so in Australia because the ozone layer is thinner. That means the UVA and UVB rays are much harsher than in other parts of the world. If you are usually sensitive to the sun, you need to be extra careful here and apply SPF liberally.

I recommend getting a reef safe sunscreen as it's better for the environment and any oceans or seas you plan on swimming in.


Related to the point above, I found out the hard way that if you're going to be spending a lot of time in the Australian sun, wear a hat. After doing the Bondi Beach to Coogee walk hat-less, I ended up with the worst sunburn of my entire life as well as a sunburnt scalp, creating dandruff that lasted around 5 days. Sexy, I know.


Most savvy travelers and backpackers have a universal power adapter they can bring no matter where they go, but it's definitely required for Australia if you're coming from Canada or the U.S.


Australia has some of the best beaches in the world, so you should plan for plenty of beach time. This means swimsuit, flip flops, and towels!


I promise this is the last sun-related packing tip! I'm sure most of you would pack sunglasses regardless, but they definitely reduce the squinting and glare when you're out and about during the day. Not to mention it looks stylish! I'm quite partial to polarized sunglasses from Le Specs as they strike a good balance between quality, style and price.


This goes for most places, but especially in Australia as there are plenty of beautiful places to hike and walk around. If you plan on doing more challenging hikes, get a pair of hiking shoes.


If you plan on going snorkeling or spending any time on a boat, you should definitely grab one of these waterproof pouches to protect your phone from getting wet. I used these for snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. It does take some practice to keep the phone steady!

Other than that, the usual suspects should be on your packing list, such as socks, underwear, allergy medication etc. If you're curious, here's what I ended up bringing on my Australia/New Zealand trip:
  • Passport, cash, credit cards, debit cards, pen for customs forms, etc.
  • My TSA-approved makeup bag
  • 5x pairs of underwear
  • 1x beach towel
  • 1x comb
  • 1x glasses
  • 1x pair of running shoes
  • 1x walking shoes
  • 1x toothbrush
  • 1x long iPhone cable
  • 1x pajamas
  • 1x selfie stick
  • 1x extra contact lens case
  • 1x pair of sandals
  • 1x epilator
  • 2x Tide pods (for laundry)
  • 1x flip flops
  • 1x water bottle
  • 1x universal power adapter
  • 2x sunglasses
  • 5x pair of socks
  • 1x razor
  • 1x pack of Claritin
  • Cotton pads and cotton buds
  • Feminine products
  • Extra pairs of contacts
  • Assorted clothes (leggings, dresses, shorts, T-shirts, etc.)
What You Don't Need to Pack: Like Iceland, you don't need a lot of cash. Most places in Australia accepts credit card, and if you bank with Scotiabank or Tangerine, you'll be able to withdraw cash at any Westpac ATM without any fees.

That is my simple packing list for Australia, which is completely doable even last minute before your trip. Worst case scenario, all of the items above are available when you land, albeit at a slightly higher price than what you'd get if you bought them in advance.


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