What to Wear in Australia

by | Jun 14, 2021

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Last updated on November 19th, 2023

In Melbourne, the weather is very changeable – you can have a nice, sunny morning and by afternoon it’s overcast and cloudy. Bring along a range of clothing – jeans, t-shirts/blouses and long-sleeved tops. (Some skirts and/or shorts if you feel comfortable in them.) It would be a good idea to pack a jacket – preferably a waterproof one with a hood (or an umbrella), as it tends to rain quite often.

And, please avoid calling that bag that fits on your waist a ‘fanny pack’ – you’ll get lots of strange looks. Call them a ‘bum bag’ instead!

Caroline, Melbourne, Australia

When travelling in Australia, you could encounter several different climates in one trip as I did when I visited. I went to Sydney, Melbourne where it was winter, Ayers Rock which has a desert climate, Cairns and an Island on the Reef which was very tropical. Knowing I had to carry my own bags anywhere I went, I packed light. My advice is to pack neutral colours in solid colours that can be layered. Earthy colours like white, tan, khaki, navy and black are great for Australia. A long cotton skirt, a pair of khaki pants, a plain white t-shirt, a navy blazer, a pair of shorts and a cotton sweater and you’re set for just about any climate. If you plan to go out to someplace dressy, you may want to include something to fancy up a basic outfit. Mix and match and layering are key.

Sherry, Washington, USA

Travelling to Australia? It’s best you to pack 1 or 2 formal dresses, in case you might want to go to a posh restaurant. Otherwise, jeans, shorts and lots and lots of t-shirts are good. As for footwear- track shoes and a pair of nice shoes are perfect.

Sharon, Singapore, South Asia

I travelled in Australia. My advice is to wear a bra under t-shirts or any other thin fabrics.

Jessica, Singapore
Ed. note: Another little bit of advice. Roots sweatshirts and T-shirts that are so popular in Canada are a no-no as women’s wear in Australia (unless you want to attract a lot of attention). There, the term “rooting” is slang for “sexual intercourse.”

I travelled to Australia and my advice is to pack neutral colours. (I’m talking khakis). If your shorts, pants, and skirts are all the same colour, then your shirts (what you need the most of) will match everything. Only take a couple of pairs of pants, a few pairs of shorts, a couple of long-sleeved tops, one skirt, and as many t-shirts as you like. You’ll be ready for any situation!

Heidi, Waterloo, Canada
Ed. note: Any situation? Theatre? Fancy lunch?

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  1. Danièle Heinen

    I worked in Australia and went back several times for long visits, at different times of the year, and different locations, where I had to carry my bag everywhere. Jeans are way too heavy and difficult to wash on the go. I favor transformable pants the kind with zippers where you take half of the legs off and that also have plenty of pockets. If, as I did , you spend a few days on a farm they would have jeans and a hat and boots to lend yo but hey buy the local elastic boots such as Blundstone. I bought stuff ( polar jacket, scarf, and yes gloves and the liner for my sleeping bag) from liquidation or surplus camping stores in Adelaide as the weather was very windy and cold and it was still the case over the next few days through the Flinders then peeled things off as we went North and the outback; that was in August. There are also plenty of second hand and recycling store for spare t-shirts or jacket and give them away when you leave. As a small person (size 6 or 8 North America 38 or 40 Europe so I guass a 10 in Australia) I often bought loose fitting clothes in the larger children sizes and the Kathmandu brand.

  2. Penelope Scott

    I live in Sydney .The clothes suggestions are very relevant to our climate .Suggest you don’t use a bum bag as denotes you as a tourist and most Aussie’s don’t use them.You can buy cheap clothing at places like Kmart and Target then discard it when you leave.We are very casual in our dressing but if going to a good restaurant then dress up definitely no thongs ( flip flops).Enjoy your time here and try to get out of the big cities.

  3. cynthia williams

    good articles – I love Journeywoman – I live in Adelaide and the article was spot on.


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