Packing List for a Month in Australia and New Zealand
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. WHEN YOU CLICK ON THESE LINKS WE RECEIVE COMPENSATION, AT NO EXPENSE TO YOU, THAT HELPS THIS BLOG RUN. ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.
One of the hardest parts of longer-term travel is figuring out just how you are going to pack a month’s worth of clothing and accessories into easily manageable luggage. This is an added challenge when visiting Australia and New Zealand, where you have to manage multiple different climates and activities within the same trip. During our month in Australia and New Zealand, we went from snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef to being surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Milford Sound. Temperatures ranged from 115ºF (45ºC) to 40ºF (4ºC). While New Zealand has a fairly mild climate all year round, Australia was battling bushfires, flooding, numerous heat waves, and a cyclone during our visit. With all that in mind, between the two of us, we shared one checked bag and one carry-on to ease the hassle of hauling multiple bags while traveling. While it might require some forward-thinking, it is definitely possible to pack light for a month-long vacation.
We use packing cubes for all our trips, but they were especially useful for this one. Dividing your clothes into compressible cubes not only saves space but also keeps different types of clothing organized. All of your beach and warm-weather items can be kept separate and out of the way when you are searching for that jacket to wear on the cold nights in New Zealand.
List out the places you’re Visiting
Make a list of each place you are visiting and for how many days. Next to each place, put estimate temperatures. Then, summarize your list into the number of days you will be at someplace hot, number of days at someplace warm, and number of days at someplace chilly. For example: 8 days in 90º+, 15 days in 70-90º, 9 days <70º. This will give you a better understanding of what your t-shirt to sweater ratio should be.
Plan to do laundry 3-4 times
There is no way around it. If you want to pack light and travel for a month, you’ll need to do laundry. Book accommodations with a washer/dryer on-site or scout out laundromats in the cities you’re visiting. Staying at Airbnbs with in-unit laundry is ideal.
Mapping out what days you’ll do laundry on your trip will let you plan how much clothing you actually need. If you know you will only be able to do laundry once while you are in colder temperatures, pack enough long-sleeve shirts for every day. However, if you know you will only be swimming 3 times on your trip, each divided between laundry runs, you only need to bring 1 swimsuit and cover-up.
There are Carry-on baggage weight limits
This was our biggest surprise when traveling around Australia. When checking in to domestic (and international) flights in Australia, they will weigh your carry-on bags as well as your checked bags. Your carry-on bags must be below the weight limit, along with the size limit. This is not common elsewhere and was a bit of a shock.
For Virgin Australia, you are allowed one carry-on and one personal item which must weigh less than 7kg (15 lbs) combined. For Qantas, it is 7kg (15 lbs) per bag. For both airlines, in our experience, they were lenient up to 8kg.
Our personal items are our backpacks, which includes all of our electronics, and were nearing 8kg. To fit within the weight guidelines, you may need to check a bag you were planning on carrying on or redistribute weight between bags.
Bring the right bags
New for this trip, I got a new camera backpack which has now earned its spot as my number one travel item ever. It has separated space for my DSLR, lens and other camera accessories. There is additional pockets for my other items – a change of clothes, passport/documents, sunglasses, water bottle, and cables.
For suitcases, we recommend getting a good quality affordable bag. You do not need a fancy brand, matching set, or neat design. In my experience, those tend to fall apart or get damaged quicker. We’ve had great luck with both the AmazonBasics line and Rockland.
The following packing list is what we brought (or wish we brought) for our 1 month trip around Australia and New Zealand. We visited from mid-December to mid-January and spent equal time across both countries. You may need to adjust this list to fit your trip.
Try to keep your shoes down to a maximum of 3 pairs (athletic, causal, and fancy) – including the ones you are wearing on the flight. Unless you are planning a lot of fancy nights out in Australia, you won’t need any more shoes than that. Ensure that all of your shoes are comfortable, as you likely will be doing a fair bit of walking.
Even in parts of Australia where the day-time temperature gets up above 90ºF, the nights will likely be chilly. Pack a light-weight jacket if you plan to be out late a lot. It will also be beneficial in New Zealand. Check the forecast for your trip, if you visiting during a particularly rainy time, bring a water-proof jacket.
2 Thin Sweaters
3 Long-sleeve Shirts
6 Short-sleeve Shirts
Undershirts, if needed
1 Causal Dress
1 Fancy Dress
7 Pairs of Socks
10 Pairs of Underwear/Bras
Pick clothes that follow a similar color scheme so you can mix-and-match outfits. 11 shirts and 7 pants are 77 different outfit combinations – plenty of variety for a month-long trip. In addition to what is listed, I wore a thick sweatshirt on the plane over since I was traveling from a cold location.
Gear & electronics
Documenting our travel is a big passion of ours, so our list of electronics we take on every trip might be a bit excessive to some. If you plan to bring significantly less camera gear that just means you have more room for clothes, make-up, or souvenirs.
Laptop (Macbook Pro)
Drone (DJI Mavic Air)
Gimbal (DJI Osmo Mobile 2)
To us, all of these are essential. However, for the average traveler, make sure you bring: a universal power adapter, headphones, a portable battery (for hikes or long plane rides), and a GoPro (with the Handler if you plan to use it underwater).
Toiletries in travel containers
Passport & Travel Documents
If you are visiting the tropical rainforest or plan to hike, be sure to bring bug spray or buy some while you are there. You will also need reef-safe sunscreen if you plan to swim in the coral reef. Typically reef-safe sunscreen isn’t the most comfortable to wear on a daily basis, so bring another bottle of high SPF sunscreen.
To save money on single-use laundry detergents at laundromats or large containers if doing your laundry in airbnbs, pack enough laundry pods in a plastic bag from home.