Unbelievable I know, but Australia isn’t just a massive island of bouncing kangaroos and eternal sunshine!
Ok, well it is a massive island and there are a lot of kangaroos and sunshine, but this place is seriously diverse and you’ll probably be surprised when you get here to discover the range of climates and cities you’re likely to experience.
As such, taking a read of my complete female backpacking Australia packing list will definitely make sure you’re prepared when it comes to your time Down Under.
It’s designed for us ladies who want to travel light (especially when we have to carry our bags on our backs!) and broad enough to cover your whole time in Australia whether you’re sticking to the cities or planning on getting remote in the Outback too.
And to help you even further, I’ve also included a free downloadable version of this female packing list at the bottom of the page, so that you easily refer to it whenever you’re trying to decide what to take!
So, what are you waiting for?
Get yourself ready for a trip of a lifetime with my ultimate female backpacking Australia packing list.
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When Are you Visiting Australia?
Thinking about the time of year you plan to visit Australia will be crucial in getting your packing right; after all, it pays to remember that this southern hemisphere country will not be experiencing winter when the northern hemisphere is.
As such, most people tend to visit Australia during November through February. This is when the major cities of Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart are experiencing their most pleasant weather.
Things also tend to be warm and sunny up in Brisbane in Queensland during this time, although storms are not uncommon in this subtropical region.
Once you start getting as far as Cairns and beyond to Darwin however, it’s definitely worth noting that the summer season here brings insane humidity, scorching temperatures and a lot of rain!
In other words, November through February is not the time to visit the Outback!
Instead, May through September are the best times to visit the Northern Territory and Red Centre, so make sure you plan and pack accordingly for the season you’re travelling in.
Where Are you Travelling in Australia?
I’ve already touched on it in the above section, but thinking about which part(s) of Australia you are heading to will make a big difference when it comes to planning what to wear and pack.
Central regions such as Uluru, Darwin and Alice Springs will be much warmer than southern areas such as Tasmania, Adelaide and the Great Ocean Road, so that is well worth bearing in mind.
The northern parts of the coast, such as Cairns and Broome are much more tropical in climate too, while places like Perth and Sydney further south along the country’s coastline have a more Mediterranean climate.
Finally, different parts of Australia also offer different activities – the Red Centre is ideal for road tripping, Sydney and Melbourne are the places for sightseeing, while in lower Queensland it’s all about the beach and surf. The area around Perth and Adelaide is amazing for wine, while hiking is huge in Tasmania.
What I’m getting at here is that you’ll want to think carefully about what region in Australia you’re heading to, as well as at what time of year, before you decide what to pack.
Plan what to wear in accordance with what you’ll be doing, so that you are prepped for the type of holiday you want to enjoy.
But what if you’re travelling to several different parts of the country and are looking to experience a bit of everything during your time there?
Then read on, I’ve got you covered!
What to Pack: Clothes
1x Rain Jacket
Who knew it rains in Australia?!
News flash, it definitely does!
If you want to learn about some more surprises you might experience, then check out my post about the 10 things I never realised before coming to Australia, otherwise do yourself a favour and pack a great lightweight, waterproof jacket like this one from Colombia.
2x Hoodie or Sweater
Essential for evenings and winter days, especially down in Melbourne or Sydney.
Trust me, it ain’t always sunny in the Land Down Under!
3x Cardigan or Shirt
Helpful in the evening and / or if you want something a bit smarter.
7x Singlets or T-Shirts
Choose a range of colours that match the trousers / shorts you’ve selected.
Things get hot in Australia and tops get sweaty (lovely!) which is why I recommend so many.
T-shirts, rather than a singlets, will protect your shoulders from sunburn when outside too.
I love my Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Legend Short Sleeve T-Shirt, which is perfect for Australia.
2x Long Jeans / Trousers
Great for going out in the evening or wandering around cities when shorts won’t do.
One of my travel essentials, especially ideal when you’re exploring Australian National Parks, hiking, camping etc.
Also good under a casual dress or shorts for a relaxed evening feel.
If you have room, take 2 pairs!
Well you’re going to need something for those beach days right?
2x Summer Dress
A great item for beach days or if you want to spruce up a bit at night.
Choose a dress that you can wear over the aforementioned leggings!
2x Activewear Sets
You’ll quickly get used to the very outdoors and active lifestyle in Australia and, sooner or later, will definitely want to join in, so come prepared!
I love my Nike Crew Dri Running Shorts which are ideal for keeping up with the locals in the Land Down Under!
Don’t forget to pack sports bras too ladies.
Compact and quick to dry, again Nike do a great range.
You can’t take enough sarongs travelling in my opinion and, as they are so light, I recommend 2 as a minimum.
Perfect for using as a beach towel, a scarf, a bathrobe, a sheet, a laundry bag… the list goes on.
Check out my post about the 20 reasons why you should always take a sarong travelling for more details and then take a look at the gorgeous collection from 1 World Sarongs if you’re looking for some inspiration.
2x Bikini / Swimwear
Well you need something to enjoy those fabulous Australian beaches with that’s for sure.
Hopefully they’ll get so much use, you’ll see packing 2 pairs as a worthy use of space in your backpack!
I love Rip Curl’s funky bikini designs – perfect for looking and feeling great!
One hiking pair for outdoors stuff, one ankle-length pair for city days and another backup is my recommendation in the sock area!
Underwear & Bras
Sun Hat & Sunglasses
Whether you want to bring a cap, a floppy, or a large designer number, the choice is yours.
Personally, I love this super fun one from Fun Verbiage.
Just make sure you bring a sun hat of some description and some sunglasses with UV protection because that Aussie sun sure does burn!
What to Pack: Shoes
Versatile, comfortable and essential if you want to see the natural beauty of this country.
My Nike Flex are great for this because they weigh next to nothing and can be used for city walking too.
Flip Flops aka Thongs!
Bizarrely known as thongs in the Land Down Under, these guys are basically the national dress of Australia and therefore essential!
Can’t go far wrong with a pair of Havaianas in my opinion.
Day Shoes / Pumps
Either converse, pumps or sneakers for exploring cities and towns on foot will look a bit more stylish than running shoes!
Smart Sandals or Flats
Nonessential in my book, but many people like to take them especially if they are spending a lot of time in a city.
Toiletries / Medical Items to Pack
Thin Toiletries Bag
To hook or not to hook, that is the question!
Either way, just make sure your toiletries bag is light and thin with multiple compartments.
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Small travel bottles are available, although these are pricey and so often leak in my bag.
My new favourite thing is therefore shampoo and conditioner bars.
Totally life-changing for your packing and the environment!
Soap & Deodorant
I always prefer a natural crystal deodorant as they last forever.
SPF Sunscreen & Lip Salve
I always use a chemical-free sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher for those hell-strong Aussie rays.
And when it comes to SPF lip balms Burt Bees are my fav!
Natural Insect Repellent
See my post about how to make your own cheap DEET-Free insect repellant or else there are plenty of ready-made products on the market like this one from Greenerways.
An ideal remedy for headaches, sore muscles and insect bites.
Tea-Tree Essential Oil
A powerful antiseptic, anti-mould, anti-fungal cleaning agent.
Tea tree is great to throw in with your washing and ideal for freshening up smelly bags / laundry etc.Tea-tree oil also comes from Australia, so double points there!
A Moon Cup or Dive Cup really is the best way to deal with your time of the month when travelling ladies.
Paracetamol, Antiseptic Cream, Antihistamines, Band Aids & Safety Pins
The only medicine cupboard you need to.
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
Face Wash, Toner, Serum & Moisturiser
Body Scrub & Moisturiser
Razor & Spare Blades
Nail Scissors, Nail File & Tweezers
Cotton Buds & Cotton Pads
Hair Brush & Hair Bands
Electricals to Pack
Smartphone & Bluetooth Headphones
Taking your smartphone to stay in touch with those at home and to upload some pics is a great idea.
Also, download some audiobooks and music onto your phone before you leave home – a great idea for longer journey days.
I recommend Amazon Audible and Spotify Premium for these purposes.
Camera, Lens, Charging Unit, Spare Battery & Cables
You can’t go wrong with a Sony Mirrorless A6000, small, compact, sturdy and light, it’s perfect for travel.
I love mine as it was ideal for capturing those gorgeous Aussie landscapes!
SD Memory Cards
Take large SD memory cards if possible and 2 in case you lose one or fill it up.
I recommend at least 64GBs!
How are you going to charge otherwise?!
Australia and New Zealand have the same type of plugs, so you can get one just for this area.
However, I also recommend splashing out on a worldwide adapter – better value for many if you’re travelling elsewhere after Australia or anytime in the future!Skross are a great brand that I highly recommended.
Portable chargers are great when travelling without a solidly reliable charging source, like in the Outback!
I recommend the Anker Powercore which offers lightening charging speeds, even for iPhone Pros.
Headlamp & Spare Batteries
Never travel without a headlamp and try to choose a product that uses commonly found batteries and has a red night light function.
I love this one from Black Diamond.
And Don’t Forget These…
Eye Mask & Earplugs
Key for remaining sane on long bus journeys and in hostels dorms!
Travel Laundry Wash & Washing Line
Great for doing emergency washing, such as underwear in a sink!Sea to Summit do a great-sized bottle.
Travel washing lines are the best, especially in Australia, where things dry quick!
Again, I always recommend Sea to Summit travel towel because they don’t get smelly at all.
I love mine!
Good for hiking and beach days.
This Osprey number is perfect.
Very useful for locking up bags and valuables when staying in hostels.
The Go Travel ones are super and cheap.
Lots of people say you don’t need one of these, but I find them very helpful.
Choose a light, inexpensive one and make sure it has a bottle opener, corkscrew and knife!
This Leatherman is a great option.
Try to get a metal one, like a Kleen Kanteen, and steer away from those nasty plastics!
Sleeping Bag & Silk Liner
If you’re hiring a campervan or going remote, a sleeping bag and liner are a must.
Check out my top-rated backpacking sleeping bags for some great ideas or else hop straight into buying a Snugpak Travelpak and Sea to Summit silk liner.
Passport & Photocopies
Travel Insurance Policy
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Credit Card and Debit Card
When it comes to paying for things in Australia, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Aussie Dollar account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
Cash in Small Thin Purse
Got to love those waterproof Aussie dollars!
SAVE THIS ARTICLE TO PINTEREST!
So that’s it ladies, my complete backpacking Australia packing list.
Have I missed anything out?
I hope not!
But if so, do drop your thoughts into the comments box below…
16 thoughts on “Complete Female Backpacking Australia Packing List”
Stephanie, thank you for sharing! I have got to share this with my lady! She always ends up either packing too much or too little and it is a travel nightmare! What a lovely article I love how you put together these information on packing. Easy to read, very relatable and great tips! Can’t wait to read more!
Hey thanks Ralph, that’s really kind of you to say so. Glad you found the piece useful and please feel free to share it with whoever you want!
Great list and extremely helpful for my upcoming trip! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Awesome Laura, so glad you found it helpful and, more to the point, so jealous you are off to South America! Have a fantastic time!
Hi Steph, do you know if it is worth bringing a sleeping bag if you’re staying in hostels? and what size backpack would you recommend?
Hi Tess, great questions, so thanks for taking the time to ask them.
In terms of sleeping bags – if you’re tight on luggage space you can probably do without this for hostel sleeping. All hostels provide linen and generally in Australia the weather is warm enough to just take a sleeping bag liner and maybe a thin (airline!) blanket if you’re looking for a more compact alternative. The exception to this might be if you plan on camping or raod tripping. Then a sleeping bag might come in handy.
When it comes to backpack size, I’m always a fan of the smaller the better and usually go for a 40-50litre bag if I’m on the road for a while. Anything bigger than this is hideous to lug around in my experience! If necessary you can alwasy strap a sleeping bag to the outside!
Great list! I’m definitely the overpacker that brings 10 pieces of underwear so I don’t have to do my laundry every 5 days, haha! Worth the extra space for me though.
I have one addition though: One thing to take into account when packing is well is the type of work you’re going to do when on a WHV. Working in a bar or restaurant, for example, will usually require you to wear long pants so in this case I would definitely bring two (wash 1 wear 1). I know you can buy them everywhere but with my loooong legs it’s not always that easy (and cheap!) 🙂
Claudia, this is such great advice and you are absolutely right. Many thanks for the great addition, I totally know what you mean being tall and having worked in many Australian bars / restaurants too. Great call, thank you 🙂
Wetsuit! If you want to enjoy swimming, boogie boarding or surfing, this is tops on our list.
Oh that’s a good one Karen – although maybe not necessary up in the north of the country!
I loved it, thanks for sharing this interesting post.
Thank you 🙂
Hi Steph! I’m going traveling for the first ever time to New Zealand & Australia for 4 months and this has helped settle my packing worried mind so much. As a women, I always overpack so back packing for me sounds rather tough but this post has made me feel more at ease. Thanks for sharing 😄
Hi Ella, so great to hear you found the list useful and put your mind at ease. Have an amazing time travelling in beautiful NZ and Aus. Steph 🙂
really decent posts and information
Thank you 🙂