Jeans & T-shirt. Skirt & blouse. Technical pants & T-Shirts. What shall I wear? An obvious question we all ask ourselves all the times before packing. What to wear for travelling in Australia is a challenging question especially for the first time traveller, who does not know much about Land Down Under and its environment.
Travelling around Australia means crossing different climate zones with different weather conditions and temperatures.
You can be travelling from desertic areas of the Australian Outback with hot and dry weather to the mild mediterranean climate of the South-West regions, to hot and humid areas of the Tropical North.
And this happen within a few hours flight. To enjoy Australia's great outdoors and its diverse environment you have to be active and quickly adjust to weather changes. And weather can suddenly change in Australia with big temps drop overnight.
So it's good to be prepared and know when it's the best time to travel around the country and how to pack efficiently.
How to choose what to wear in Australia
To be able to get active in the nature you will need comfortable light-weight travel wear which offers maximal freedom with movement as well as high comfort in any situations and with any kind of weather.
I have been travelling long-term around Australia and know how important it is to travel light and at the same time to wear proper clothes that make you feel warm, dry and protected in all-weather conditions.
While I found this list of what not to wear when travelling abroad, I have learnt a lot on my solo Australia trips to be able to put together these tips to help you get started with the essential things when packing for your Australia trip.
What to wear in Australia in Summer
Australian summer starts around beginning / middle of December and lasts till end of February. Depending to which region you travel, the weather changes a lot. In the southern regions from west to east weather can be quite hot and dry so you will need to wear shorts, and T-shirts possibly in light colours. I would recommend wearing long sleeves if you are sensitive to sun. In Australia you must protect your skin from the high UVs in the sun-rays. At the beach always wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover your shoulders and arms to avoid sun-burning. Make sure you protect your eyes from the strong sunlight with good sunglasses.
In Northern Tropical Australia during summer it will be raining a lot and it will be hot and sticky with temps around 35-45°C (, not really the best time for a visit! If it happens to travel to North Queensland, Darwin or Nort Western Australia be sure you pack functional light-wear to minimize the side-effects of the high humidity in the air.
More about the benefits of multi-functional wear on the following sections of this post.
What to pack for a trip to Australia
I know how difficult it is when it comes to choosing what to pack for a trip to Australia. No matter when you travel to Australia, climate zones and weather conditions can change abruptly, even in peak summertime. So my best tip is to pack functional clothes that are multifunctional and can easily adjust to weather and temperature changes. Clothing that you can wear anywhere at all the times.
Wear travel clothes that are versatile
By choosing the right travel clothes you will feel comfortable in all situations. From bush-walking to dining out, from camping in the red dusty outback to sunbathing in the tropical beaches, you will need to have the right travel wear that are versatile and can be easily combined with other garments and used in different situations. So pick travel garments that can used for different purposes and situations.
Prefer functional clothing
I love technical wear. It's the my favourite clothing because of the ultra lightweight. It allows you to stay dry, it adjusts to your body temperature, it keeps you warm and comfortable with all-weather conditions. Most fabrics are technologically advanced, they are waterproof, breathable and moisture-wicking, i.e they allows the body’s own moisture to pass through.
Moreover functional wear is easy care and durable, you can wear technical clothing for years and years. I only use technical wear when I am on the road, as it is the most comfortable clothing for travelling.
Choose clothing that allows the layering principle
This means trying to use a piece of garment in as many as different situations. Either as a lower, a mid or an outer layer. I pack these items into my travel bag: 3-4 singlets, 3-4 T-Shirts, 2 shirts, 2 fleece jumpers, 2 pair of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, 1 rain & wind jacket and a waterproof jacket. All technical wear of high comfort. You can click here if you want to shop. Here are my best tips on how to pack smart and what to wear on the long haul flight to Australia.
Footwear – 3 is the right number
Footwear is very important when travelling in Australia. As you will be walking a lot in all kind of weather and landscapes. You will be constantly in the outdoor. Therefore comfortable and suitable shoes are a must. The same principle is valid here. Pack possibly not more than 3 pairs of shoes that can be used in different situations. Like the example here below:
- Technical Boots for outdoor activities, walking, hiking, in different environment+ climate.
- Technical Sandals or sneakers for leisure activities, city walking.
- Flip flops, an institution in Australia! You can use them everyday and everywhere if you feel comfortable with. And they can be used indoor too. But avoid using them in public. On trains, airplanes, buses, as well as public toilets, eateries, etc, where you can get infections.
Travel underwear and sleepwear – discover multi-functional garments
You may think what? They are also important garments as well as travel trousers, travel jackets and anything else. If you plan to be physically active in the outdoors, you need underwear that keeps you dry when you sweat. Sleepwear is also important, no matter what you use: either a pair of leggings and a top, a shirt or a pajama. In Australia temperatures drop dramatically in Outback areas and in the forest. In my last trip I tried to use leggings and top but it was no good in the Outback. I remember waking up feeling cold.
It was in Melbourne when I discovered a functional Body Map which is ideal for running or to use as a base layer. And then I turned my body map into a fantastic piece of travel sleepwear too!
Choose and pack travel wear with purpose
Make a list of things and outdoor activities planned and make a short list of categories along the time allocated. Here it is a simple example:
- Outdoor 60%
- Entertainment 20%
- City Sightseeing 20%
This list will help you to quickly identify the what to pack for your trip to Australia. It will also how to take advantage of multi-functional garments, while combining clothing altogether and use them on different situations.
By choosing wisely what to wear in Australia it will be easier to move onto the next step which is packing your luggage.
Finding a balance between choosing the right travel clothing and packing light is also crucial. While it takes time to create your own packing ritual, travelling is the best way to put into practice ideas and develop new habits that work well.
Some time ago I put together a list with 23 travel packing tips that will be useful for your trip to Australia.
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Now over to you: If you have a tip to share with us about what to wear when travelling in Australia leave your comment on the section below.
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Update: This post was last updated in January 2018