How To Pack For Your Working Holiday 

If you google Australia backpacker lists you will find a range of lists. My advice is do not blindly copy any of the suggested lists. Every backpacker is different thus the contents of every backpackers bag should be different.

Below is an edited version of my original packing list. I have added and removed particular items from the list as some of my bulky items have not been used while  there are  a handful of items I really regret not bringing. I have also included a range of questions and points you may want to consider before packing certain items.  While my specific list will not suit all Australian backpackers, perhaps my advice will.

If you need guidance on other parts of your Australia trip, such as how to get a visa or find work then read my Setting in Australia article.

My List


Laptop charger
Laptop case
Digital camera
Digital camera charger
Smart phone
Smart phone charger
International travel adapter
USB drive
Bank card reader


Photocopy of passport
Photocopy of visa
ICE money travel card
ICE backup money travel Card
Debit card
Driving license
Australian and Singapore currency

Wash Bag

Sore throat sweets
Tooth paste
Tooth brush
Razor blades
Shaving foam
Hair brush
Anti bacterial soap
Wet wipes

Casual Clothes

Polo shirts
Flip flops


Spare glasses
Sun glasses
Large lock
Small lock
Printed maps for Australian and Singapore hostel
Note pad
Plastic bottle
Bag tags
Ear plugs
Playing cards
Alarm clock

Hiking gear

Trekking coat
Trekking fleece
Walking trousers
Belt for walking trousers
Walking socks
Walking shoes

Swim gear

Swim bag

Tips and Advice


SLR CameraIphone.jpgLaptopbarclays-pinsentry
Insurance packages will likely have a maximum payout limit for lost baggage. When packing your favourite gadgets just consider this upper limit.

Laptop or Tablet – While the major travel companies such as Sky Scanner and Trip Advisor have smart phone apps the smaller companies will not. Navigating websites on a smart phone screen can quickly become cumbersome. For Inter Railing I took my iPad, for researching new places and backing up 5 weeks worth of photos the iPad was great. For my Australia trip I took a laptop instead. I did not think the iPad would be sufficient for backing up a years worth of photos, sending long emails home to the parents, filling in online forms such as the Tax File Number one, or editing my CV and applying for work.

Bank Card Reader – For online banking Barclays customers are provided with a card reader. I know other banks have similar schemes. As discussed in my banking crisis article, having your bank card reader on you can be very handy.

Casual Clothes

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I will let you in on a secret, you can buy clothes anywhere in the world. You do not have to pack every piece of clothing you own. If you are not concerned about brands, then even in expensive countries such as Australia you can still pick up clothes cheaply. For cheap clothes I have gone to markets, Kmart and Target.

Pack tshirts which can be worn with many different shorts and vicer versa. If a particular pair of shorts get damaged you will still want to be able to wear the tshirt that goes with the shorts.

You will repeatedly wear the clothes in your backpack. So the clothes you take with you will get worn out. Personally I would recommend leaving all designer clothes at home. Plus remeber that certain designer logos will be meaningless outside of your home country.

In my experience laundry services were very cheap in India, the same cannot be said about the Australian ones. To cut down on laundry costs I would advise, not taking white clothes and taking enough clothes to last 10 – 14 days. This may seem excessive but bear in mind that tshirts and underwear are light weight and can be squashed into small gaps in your bag.

Walking Sandals or Flip Flops – In my eyes flip flops are fashionable and walking sandals are pratical. The minimal foot support offered by flip flops is adequate for some people. If I am planning on exploring a new city for a couple of hours, or going walking in an area which is mildly hilly I will wear my walking sandals.

Sport / Hiking Equipment

Hiking fleeceWalking shoesTrunksSwimming goggles

There is a lot of sports equipment which will simply be to large and heavy to travel with. If you have sports equipment which is small, lightweight and you feel will get a lot of use then take it. I love swimming, my buoy and finns were to large to carry but it was easy to get my swim goggles in.

Also remeber that certain sports equipment can be used in everyday situations. My treking jumper has become my everyday jumper.

For the Inter Railing trip we had planned in advance to do boofing in Sachische Schweiz national park. This activity involves sleeping in the park without a tent. I took my sleeping bag on the trip, it was bulky but for 5 weeks it was fine. For long term trips to Australia I just recommend you buy a sleeping bag out here if you need one.

Work Clothes

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I thought my jobs in Australia would be office based and therefore packed shoes and shirts for the office environment. In the end none of my jobs have been office based. The realtity is when looking for work in Australia you have to be flexible. There are a range of environments you may end up working in. My advice is just buy your work clothes out here when you know the specific environment you will be in.

Wash Bag

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For basics such as soap, shampoo and shaving foam I have noticed little diffence between Australia and the UK.  Therefore it probably is not neccesary to take a overloaded wash bag with you. Just ensure you have enough for the first few days of your trip.

If you are a fan of a very particular cosmetic you can check if it is sold in Australia by looking at the Coles, Woolsworth and IGA websites. They are the major Australian supermarkets.

I travel with Compedes and sore throat sweets. You can buy these products outside of the UK but I find it very useful having instant access to these products.

Travel Towel or Convetional Tower – Travel towels are faster drying, lighter and smaller than convetional towels. These towels can be ideal  if you are hiking up mountains with your backpack, frequently changing location or exploring cold places. In my opionon convential  towels feel more luxurious.  If you plan on spending your whole time in Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns a conventional towel would probably be sufficent.  If you buy a travel towel make sure you check the dimensions of it. Quite a few extra large travel towels will just be the same size as a normal convetional towel.

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