Australia is a very large country that offers plenty of holiday activities for all tastes: whether you like the beach lifestyle and are a seasoned surfer or prefer cultural hubs and food festivals, there will be something for you to do Down Under.
The 6 Australian states also present a very varied climate: from the tropical rainforest of Queensland to the temperate oceanic weather of Victoria, it seems impossible to pack for all destinations and all seasons.
Of course, overseas travelers should consider their itinerary and holiday plans before packing for Australia. However, there are some common items that all foreigners should bring with them, like a valid Australian visa and other travel documents as well as toiletries and medicines.
On this page, you’ll find a complete checklist to travel to Australia, including:
- Travel documents and visa requirements
- Essential travel items and electronics
- Clothes according to the climate
- Customs information: what you can’t bring into Australia.
Documents and Visas Necessary to Travel to Australia
If you don’t hold an Australian passport, chances are that you will need a visa in order to cross the Australian border. You should identify the right visa and apply for your Australian travel authorization well before you start packing.
If you intend to go to Australia for tourist reasons, the easiest and quickest visas to obtain are the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and the eVisitor visa. That’s because both can be applied for entirely online in minutes without having to visit an Australian embassy or consulate in person.
As long as you have the relevant documents at hand (like your passport) you should have no issue completing the application, and if the information you have entered is correct, you’ll receive your approved Australian visa via email in a matter of days or even hours.
It’s also important to notice that for many, a travel and health insurance is necessary in order to obtain a permit to travel to Australia. This will depend on the bilateral agreements in place between Australia and your home country as well as the type of visa you wish to apply for.
If you intend to drive while in Australia, you will also need to bring your driver’s license with you. Remember that if your license is in English and includes a photo, you will be able to use it in Australia for up to 3 months.
Australian Checklist: Essential Travel Items and Electronics
These are the first things that you should find a place for in your suitcase or backpack. That’s because they’ll likely save you time and money as they’ll prevent costly accidents and you won’t have to look for them while in Australia.
- Waterproof phone case. Australians live on the beach and you will probably want to follow them. A waterproof phone case will protect your device from sand, dust, and water and allow you to take pictures that will last a lifetime.
- Power adapter. If you’re a seasoned traveler, you may want to invest in a universal power adapter so that you won’t have to buy one every time you’re overseas.
- Medications. Although no special vaccinations are required for Australia, you may want to bring your prescription medications (with the original doctor’s prescription) as well as allergy relief and jet-lag relief medications.
- Sunscreen. This should be one of your number-one worries while in Australia. The sunlight that hits Australia is one of the strongest in the world and people of all skin types should arrive prepared.
- Safe travel wallets. Pickpocketers are at work in all major cities around the world, including Melbourne and Sydney. Other places to watch out for are airports and events attended by big crowds like festivals.
- Earplugs and an eye mask. These are not only essential for the long flight but also for those who are planning to spend time in hostels or traveling long routes by bus.
- Toiletries and make up. As most items on this list, you will probably find everything you need in Australia. However and thanks to its strong economy, Australia can be an expensive place to shop for many international travelers, and bringing your own favorite products will save time that you can spend exploring.
How Do You Dress in Australia?
Australians are usually described as relaxed, laid-back people and that is reflected on their dress code. Unless you plan to attend formal events (a night at the Sydney Opera House, for example), pack mostly comfortable and informal clothes that you can easily fit in your luggage.
There are four seasons across most of the country and a dry and rainy seasons in the North — so it’s essential that you consider the areas you’ll visit as well as the time of the year you’ve chosen for your trip.
In general, bring breathable and comfortable clothes and shoes. Choose light colours if you intend to visit the rainforest or desert in order not to attract bugs — a hat is also an essential and often forgotten item. Australia offers some of the most stunning beaches in the world so don’t forget your best beachwear.
Many wonder what to pack for Australia in winter as this is when the peak season and school holidays fall in the Northern hemisphere. Although Australia can very rarely be considered cold, the weather can become unpredictable and definitely more humid during this time. Make sure to pack a raincoat and a thick wetsuit if you want to catch the best (and coldest) waves of the year.
What Can I Not Bring into Australia?
Australia is known for its strict customs regulations that are in place to protect the unique Australian environment and indigenous flora and fauna. Many overseas visitors are surprised by the amount of items they cannot bring into the country and by the fact that they can be fined if they do.
Most food items need to be declared to Australian customs, including commercially preserved, packaged and prepared foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables, uncanned meat and fish, and homemade meals are not allowed into Australia.
There are a range of other restricted items that will not surprise foreigners as they’re usually forbidden by most airlines around the world. These include, for example, firearms and other types of weapons as well as prescription drugs and medical devices that are not accompanied by a doctor’s note.