10 Day Packing List for Australia: Carry On Only

January 17, 2018 2 Comments
Packing List for Australia

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Packing for an international trip can be stressful, especially when you are visiting multiple cities that offer a diverse range of activities. My packing list for Australia is designed to quell all of your anxieties about packing leading up to your big trip. It will allow you to pack for Australia effortlessly using only a carry on.

Why Only a Carry On?

They are small and lightweight which makes them easy to transport. Also, the less stuff you have, the less mess you will have to deal with. I personally hate a crowded suitcase full of dirty clothes. It takes forever to find anything in giant luggage and the whole point of the trip is about what you do, not what you wear. I hope that this packing list for Australia will help you keep things simple.

My Trip

I traveled to Australia in April and visited the following cities on a ten day trip: Sydney, Cairns & Newcastle. The temperature was in the mid 70’s (°F) most of the trip, but at some points dropped as low as the mid 60’s (°F) or rose as high as the low 80’s (°F) depending on our location and the time of day. I spent time scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, lounging on the famous beaches in Sydney, feeding kangaroo in a wildlife park, climbing my way through a high ropes course, attending a show at the Sydney Opera House and exploring the streets of various cities.

Packing Tips

Mix and Match

>>>> Download the full checklist here: Australia Packing List  <<<<

Most Worn Item: A sundress that can be worn day or night. I was able to wear my sundress to the beach as a cover up, but also to a fancy casino because it could be transitioned from day to night.

Favorite Outfit: T-shirt dress, army jacket and sneakers. In this outfit I felt super comfortable, but I also felt stylish in an effortless kind of way.

Change it up

Item I Could Not Live Without: This is a tie. Sunscreen or sunglasses because the sun is so strong in Australia. I actually had to go buy a better pair of sunglasses the second day after mine kept falling off.

Item I Could Have Left at Home: I didn’t spend very much time participating in water sports so I could have left my rash guard at home. However, if you know you will be surfing and snorkeling a bunch on your own, then this is definitely a must. Most tours at the GBR will provide you with a stinger suit so you will not need one there.

Item I Wished I Had Packed: A raincoat. Its always a good idea to pack a raincoat even if the forecast is not calling for rain. We happened to go to Australia just after Cyclone Debbie so there was a lot of residual rain during our trip.

Airport Outfit: I wore comfy black leggings, a cute but casual t-shirt, my canvas sneakers and a stylish hoodie.

Bathing Suit Dilemma: Yes they are small, but you don’t need to bring that many. One bottom and 2 tops is enough. Be sure to bring one top for lounging at the beach (strapless maybe?) and another that is secure enough for water sports.

Rinse and Repeat

Luggage/Bags I Used: 

I use a hardside carry on by it luggage. What do I love about it? Even though it is a carry on, it has zipper compartments on the inside to keep my stuff organized, the wheels turn 360 degrees so that I can maneuver easily and it’s expandable! My carry on came from TJ Maxx so it wasn’t super expensive.

I packed a backpack with my airplane essentials and valuables so that I could keep them under my seat during plane rides. I like traveling with a backpack instead of a large tote because it is easier to manage while in transit.

I always use packing cubes when I am traveling (ever since a backpacking mishap I had back in college) to keep my suitcase or backpack organized.

What Other Gear Should I Bring:


-Mask and snorkel

Gopro/underwater camera

-Kindle or e-reader

Outlet adapter

-Packable beach bag

-Travel Towel

If you’re headed to the Blue Mountains or the Outback for a couple days, switch out the canvas sneakers for lightweight hiking boots or running shoes and trade the leggings for hiking pants. I would also bring some good insect repellent.

Interested in planning a trip to Australia? Check out my Complete Itinerary for 2 Days in Sydney.

Australia Packing List

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Ellie Mondelli

Great post, thank you! We’re going to Russia for ten days in June and plan to only take carry-ons, so this is a big help!