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What should I pack for my tour of Outback Australia?

Recently updated on August 13th, 2023 at 09:19 am

Everyone must dream of embarking on a grand tour of Outback Australia. The red dirt contrasting the blue sky, the Mars-like landscapes and the interesting characters you meet along the way. But in a landscape so different to that of the cities and coastline, figuring out what to pack for your Outback Australia trip can be tough. The harsh sun, heat and cold nights throw up extra challenges for any Outback Australia travel.

Below we’ve written a comprehensive guide to help you pack for your tour of Outback Australia.

Credit: Tourism Australia

Lightweight clothing

When planning your day-to-day clothes for Outback Australia, think about these two purposes: your clothes should offer you sun protection and keep you cool. Covering yourself in clothing head-to-toe doesn’t exactly sound cool to wear, but you will want the protection from the harsh UV rays out there so choose lightweight natural fibres like linen or cotton. 

A word of warning: avoid taking your favourite lighter coloured clothing. That iconic red dirt is unforgiving on white or light fabrics and your favourite shirt or trousers will never be the same again. The dirt will leave your clothing with a slight orange tinge that is impossible to remove.

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Long-sleeve tops

T-shirts are great to bring, but you will also want a cool-to-wear long-sleeve shirt to layer over the top. This way you can pop it on when you’re in the sun, and let your arms breathe while stopping for lunch or being in the shade. Your long-sleeve shirt will offer not only protection from sunburn but also from pesky mosquitoes in the evening too.

Credit: Tourism Australia

Broad-brimmed hat

Live out your Crocodile Dundee dreams and rock around the Outback in a broad-brimmed hat. Of course, you can just wear a regular straw or fabric hat with a wide brim but that’s not quite as fun. Either way you will definitely need a big, wide hat for your tour of Outback Australia. During the warmer month from October to April the flies can be irritating as they try to land on your face, so many gas stations or towns will sell you a small mosquito net (known as a fly net) that you pop over your hat. The wide brim will stop the net touching your face too.

Swimsuit

Even in the desert you will find a place to swim. There are lush Outback waterholes and waterfalls that might be the most spectacular places you’ve ever seen or experienced. We’d hate for you to arrive unprepared so pack a bathing suit, swim shorts and a towel to enjoy cooling off in nature. The best idea is to do as the locals do. Some spots will be signposted as safe to swim at, while others might be home to dangerous freshwater crocodiles. Either go with a guide or get advice.

Credit: Tourism Australia

Sunglasses

“Sunnies”, as the Aussies like to call them, are an essential for an Outback Australia trip. While it’s easy to forget your pair you’ll need them if you plan to stare out at those long, wide plains with the big bright sky filling your vision.

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Warmer layers

Yes, Outback Australia is lucky to enjoy warm weather year round, but in the desert when the sun dips the evenings can be quite cool. Like zero degrees cold. If you are exploring Outback Australia near Alice Springs or Uluru between May and September, definitely pack a warm jacket and warmer clothing like a fleece, beanie and long-sleeve t-shirts for the cooler nights. All year round, pack a lighter jacket in case you feel the cold at night.

Water bottle

Outback Australia travel will make you thirsty so it pays to bring a big refillable water bottle. The hot, dry weather will have you drinking more water than usual and it’s important to stay hydrated so you feel fit and healthy. Bring a reusable drink bottle and fill up every time you reach a new town.

Jeans

Not exactly an essential, but if you want to look nice on your tour of Outback Australia, jeans double as smart casual wear. So if you’re going out to dinner or for a nice glass of wine somewhere, pop your jeans on with a nice shirt or top and you’re good to go.

Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Hiking shoes

Forget those cute white canvas sneakers, they will just turn orange in the dust. If you are planning to go on any adventures or walks on your Outback Australia trip, take hiking shoes with you so it’s easy to hike up the rough and rocky terrain to waterfalls and other landmarks. Next best would be a sturdy trainer in a dark colour.

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Flip flops or sandals

Definitely pack a pair of flip flops (or thongs, as Aussies say) or pair of adventure sandals for your Outback Australia travel. The sandals are a great option, especially if waterproof as you can wade into rocky waterholes with ease and they will be more comfortable to wear all-day if you are not wearing your trainers or hiking boots.  

Sunscreen

While it’s easy to buy sunscreen around Australia, in more remote communities of Outback Australia they can sometimes run out of certain supplies if there is a gap between deliveries. You definitely don’t want to run out of sunscreen, so arrive prepared with SPF50+ and know you need to reapply multiple times per day. Australians take sun safety very seriously and you should too, especially out back.

Credit: Tourism Australia

Lip balm and moisturiser

Outback Australia is really dry so you will definitely want to pack a face moisturiser and good lip balm to stay supple. In fact, bring any toiletries or medication that you do need. Your tour of Outback Australia will take you to remote places where supplies will be limited and not guaranteed.

Are you planning to tour Outback Australia soon? What else will you be packing? Let us know in the comments…

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