Ready for a trip to Australia? Then here are some essential items to make your journey more enjoyable.
Published 23.08.2020. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links which could result in Many Journeys Blog receiving a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Does Australia have mosquito borne diseases?
Let’s just get straight to the point – mosquitoes in Australia suck (literally!). These blood suckers are big, they are persistent and I am yet to meet anyone who likes them!
So what mosquito repellent should you pack? Firstly, repellent is widely available in Australia and range from all natural, right through to nuclear grade (not really, but close!).
Do some research on the area you are visiting in Australia to work out the level of protection you might need as mosquito borne diseases are present in Australia. A quick summary of the more common diseases with links to government websites is below. However, don’t let this list scare you off visiting Australia, just do some research and take precautions.
Queensland: Dengue, Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Virus
Northern Territory: Murray Valley encephalitis, Kunjin, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus
Western Australia: Ross River virus, Barmah Forest Virus, Murray Valley encephalitis, Kunjin
South Australia: Ross River virus, Barmah Forest
New South Wales, ACT: Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus and rarely Murray Valley encephalitis.
Victoria: Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Kunjin virus, Murray Valley encephalitis
Tasmania: Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus
Australia is malaria free, however some travellers do come back from overseas infected which is included in Australia’s statistics.
How to choose a repellent
Moving onto the trusted insect repellent brands. The Australian Government advice is for repellents to contain picaridin and DEET (higher % is more effective).
Bushman Repellent –20-80% DEET and up to 15 hours protection. Bushman has a solid reputation in Australia for being highly effective.
Off! – this is my preferred option when I need strong repellent as it is only lightly fragranced (strong fragrances annoy me!). Whilst it doesn’t contain DEET, it has picaridin and lasts around 8 hours.
Brands generally offer a range of strengths and application type (spray, lotion, aerosol). Combinations of repellent and sunscreen are also widely available (I hate the smell of these and don’t use them, but some people love them).
Natural based – living in Victoria the statistical chance of being infected is low, so I generally use a more natural based repellent. The Biome brand Mozzie Mist provides a good level of protection and smells wonderful.
Do your research for diseases in the area you are visiting before using a natural based repellent.
Looking for more ideas on keeping mosquitoes away? Have a look at the detailed Tips For Avoiding Mosquitoes post by World Travel Family.
Sunscreen and sun protection
Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide
When I was younger the slogan was SLIP, SLOP, SLAP for Slip on a UV protective top, Slop on sunscreen and Slip on a hat. SEEK and SLIDE were added om 2007 to encourage people to Seek shade and Slide on a pair of sunglasses.
Further to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP we were taught “Between 11 and 3 sit under a tree” as that was when the UV was highest. However, now the UV can be strong for most of the day, don’t assume it will only be strong over lunchtime.
Advice from Cancer Council Australia is to use a water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
Supermarkets and Chemists/Pharmacists stock many different brands of sunscreen, whilst Health Food Stores and online stores will offer some more natural alternatives. The main thing is to ensure the SPF is high enough as many natural alternatives can be lower in protection levels. My preference is to cover up more and limit my time outside when the UV is high rather than relying on sunscreen for full protection.
I have started investigating reef safe sunscreens as the chemicals (particularly oxybenzone) in sunscreen have been found to damage coral reefs. Informative articles that I have found include Laura in Waterland blog, Travel for Difference blog, and the Travel and Leisure website. I think I will start with Sunbutter Skincare since they are Australian, cruelty free and SPF50+. Stay tuned for a future blog post with reviews!
I am looking to make the switch to reef-safe sunscreen.
Rain coat and warm jumper/top
Australia has a reputation for being hot and dry, but it still rains in much of the country! Depending on where you travel you might experience tropical style rain up North, or just cold miserable rain along the south-eastern coast. Pack a lightweight coat just in case – those ones that fold up super small are perfect.
Australia gets cold too, so pack a jumper or warm top as even the desert can get below zero overnight!
I love my Pocket-it raincoat from Kathmandu. I don’t have a photo of me wearing it, so you will have to just enjoy this image from the Kathmandu website. The whole coat stuffs into the coat pocket which you zip closed for compact storage.
Thongs (not the underwear!) also called Flip Flops
Whilst they are an unattractive (I will wait for the hate mail!) national dress for Aussies, they are really handy for beach visits and are super easy to clean. Personally, I don’t share the love of thongs that the rest of the nation does, I prefer sandals, but I do appreciate the simplicity and ease of thongs.
Don’t forget to bring a power adapter – type I which has either 3 or 2 pins.
Guide books and maps
If you plan on driving around Australia you might want to source some printed maps. These are often included in vehicle rentals or grab some from Tourist Information Centres. Programs/Apps like Google Maps aren’t always that accurate away from main towns, and mobile reception can be limited.
Lonely Planet has a mixture of general guide books and maps to help you plan. The Gregory’s Touring Atlas of Australia is very popular for maps and handy advice like free camping locations, public toilets and visitor information centres.
The standard stuff
Don’t forget to carry a water bottle to stay hydrated and pack any other items specific to your activities. Remember you can buy pretty much everything you need to Australia, it will only be in outback/rural areas that the range of products might be limited. Hopefully this list of essential items helps you with planning you adventure to Australia!