Packing is an arduous task at the best of times. Trying to squeeze in everything you think you will need for your travels in Australia can be horrendous. But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you follow my following list of essential items to pack for a working holiday in Australia.
There could be some of you who imagine that all you will need to pack is swim wear, a towel for the beach, a pair of shorts and walking shoes for the outback. For those following the sun this might be all you need. Weather can change though and be wet and cold and during winter the southern states see snow in the high country. So what do you actually need to pack for your working holiday in Australia? Please note the following suggestions are just that, suggestions. A lot of things can be bought on the road when you need them. I have divided this packing list for your Australian working holiday into Clothes, Documents, Toiletries, Useful Items, Electronic Items and What to leave behind. So let’s get packed for your Australian working holiday.
Clothes to pack for a working holiday in Australia
Underwear Maybe a week or two’s worth, as you don’t know when you’ll be able to wash it while travelling. Cotton garments that breathe in the heat are highly recommended.
Shorts One or two casual pairs to wear to the beach and for sightseeing plus a good pair for going out. Yes–during hot summer nights dressy shorts are worn out.
T-shirts I love t-shirts, I have a number of them, some have short sleeves while others have long sleeves. They are a very universal item, lightweight and suit many occasions.
Sarong Very useful item which can be used as a skirt, beach mat, towel, sheet or scarf. It will provide instant modesty on beaches and in temples so you can adhere to religious requirements.
Hat/Cap A very good idea if you plan to follow the sun. A wide brim hat if you are spending a lot of time in the sun, like picking fruit and vegetables.
Pants/Trousers/Jeans One or two pairs that you can dress up or down. Loose cotton with a drawstring/elastic waist is good for warmer weather. Jeans can be heavy to carry and take ages to dry.
Track pants/leggings One or two pairs.
Jumper/Hoodie One or two; try to avoid bulky ones as they can be cumbersome.
Coat/Jacket A good, light waterproof (then you don’t need a raincoat) and/or windproof jacket (preferably with a hood).
Gloves A necessity in the winter months.
Beanie to keep my head warm when its cold.
Snowgear Plan on skiing or snowboarding bring your own gear or you can hire it.
Thongs/jandals/flip-flops or sandals Very useful to wear to shower blocks in camping grounds and for walking in hot weather and/or down the beach or around the pool.
Joggers/hiking boots/walking shoes One pair with good thick soles.
Socks A few pairs.
‘Going out’ shoes (which can double as work shoes if needed) One pair.
Work clothes Adapt these to the type of work you hope to be doing. You may need a suit if you get a job in an office. A pair of gloves and outdoor gear if you secure picking fruit and vegetable work. Casual clothes if you become an au pair or nanny.
Work tools having some tools will come in handy though you could buy some when you arrive so teachers may want to take some resources with them while tradies might need tools and hairdressers scissors, etc.
I have discovered packing cubes. They are just the best as they help me coordinate my clothes. No more unpacking to find items, I simply go to the right packing cube and pull out my item. You can purchase packing cubes from Amazon here.
Documents required on your Australian working holiday
Passport with visas/entry clearances.
Bank statement (showing your balance if on a working holiday to show immigration officials at your point of entry).
Driving license home country and international.
Spare passport photos for student identification cards, bus/rail passes and other purposes.
Medical prescription details if required.
Travel Insurance never leave home without travel insurance. I suggest you shop around and get a few quotes. I have purchased travel insurance from various organisations but mostly nowadays purchase it through World Nomads.
Bank reference You may need one of these to open a bank account unless you did this from home.
Personal references Some landlords require them for long-term accommodation.
Police clearance/Working with children check: Some employment sectors require them.
CV and references take electronically.
Address book To keep in contact with friends and to add new ones.
Receipts showing when and where you bought your computer or audio equipment to certify that the equipment is for your own use and that you will be taking it home with you when you leave.
When I pack for a working holiday, or any holiday in fact, I like to keep all my important documents in a Travel Wallet because this way I know where my important documents are. You can purchase a travel wallet here.
Toiletries for your working holiday in Australia
Toiletries Toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, shaver/razor, hairbrush and comb, tampons, contact lenses (disposable or back up). Buy travel-sized items, like roll-on deodorant instead of a large can or two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. You can always revert later.
Roll-on insect repellent Mozzies, flies and other insects are a pain.
Plug Not always provided in shower blocks. If you like to wash your face in a basin, take one.
Toilet roll Don’t laugh, toilet paper can run out fast in public toilets.
Condoms Better to be safe than sorry.
Sunscreen It is advised to wear minimum SPF15+ unless you’re after the lobster look. Bottles/tubes can be bought easily in chemists, supermarkets and shops near the beaches. Try and wear moisturisers with sun block already in them for added protection.
After sun cream
Medicines Brands can differ overseas so obtain a supply and a note from your doctor advising why you need the medication.
First aid kit Constipation, diarrhea and upset tummy tablets, bandaids (plasters), headache tablets, travel sickness tablets, etc.
I never leave home without my hanging toiletry bag. It is waterproof keeping my toiletries dry inside the pockets and has a hook to hang it up. It is one of the best travel accessories I have every purchased. You can buy one from here.
Useful items to pack for your Australian Working Holiday
Sleeping bag Very handy for dossing on friends’ floors, travelling and staying at hostels (though most hostels provide sheets and blankets). It should withstand very cold weather and be light.
Sheets Some accommodation may provide bedding. When you find somewhere to live you might want to use your own bedding. You could take sheets with you but I suggest budget to buy some cause you don’t know what size bed you might have.
Money belt A safe way to carry money, credit/debit card, tickets and other valuables. I found these uncomfortable to wear which is why I prefer my Travel Wallet.
Torch You will be surprised at how often a small one comes in handy. I recently discovered a torch on my phone. But I travel with a head lamp.
Travel clothes line and pegs It is hard to find a clothes hoist when you need one.
Plastic bags To hold dirty washing and stuff. Also for wearing over socks if ever caught without waterproof shoes.
Coat hangers A couple will be useful. Not metal ones.
Towel/s A chamois towel rather than the traditional type may be useful and can take up less space. One that can double as a beach towel.
Hand towel For long journeys when you need to freshen up. It feels much better than paper towelling or toilet paper.
Water bottle Or drink bottled water.
Neck/head pillow For those long journeys when you might need to sleep sitting up.
Flag To take to sporting events.
Electronic Items to take on your working holiday in Australia
Phone Buy a sim on arrival.
Powerbank Maybe a solar Powerbank
Travel Adapter Plug . If you are taking a number of electrical goods with you such as phone, laptop, hairdryer, electric shaver, Powerbank, etc.
As I travel with a number of electronic tech items I like to keep all my chords, adaptors and other bits and pieces in an electronic accessory bag. I haven’t lost a thing from this bag so far! You can purchase one here.
What to leave behind on your Australian working holiday
Leave behind a copy of your itinerary, flight details, accommodation addresses, important details in your passport, credit and debit card numbers and travel insurance details
So there you have it, my suggestions on essential items to pack for your working holiday in Australia. But don’t forget, you can buy things in Australia as you need them. I hope you have a great time on your Australian travels and that your travelling life is made a little easier from my Australian working holiday packing list suggestions. Happy Packing!
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.