What would I know about packing my bags for a holiday to Australia? I’ve never done it because I’m already here. But I have bumped into more than a handful of visiting photographers who’ve found a few things out about Australia the hard way (not all unique to Australia by the way).
As a keen observer of human nature and the caring, sharing, sensitive type that I am, I always lend an empathetic ear to the moaning & groaning of some dribbling twit who’s fallen foul to the perils of no research and zero planning. In fairness some things you wouldn’t know to research unless pointed out to you (number 3 for example).
So without further delay, here are some solid tips that will keep you from breaking down like a blubbering baby and spoiling your visit to Australia. Please follow them, dealing with sooks is a real punish.
A Few Simple Things That You Should Pack When Visiting Australia
- Memory Cards and Hard Drives – Yep, pack them in your bag and back everything up, memory cards fail, get corrupted and get lost. Memory Cards and Hard Drives don’t take up much room in your luggage. Don’t buy them on your visit to Australia though, photographers will have a heart attack at the price of electronics, SD cards and hard drives etc. I’m all for buying Australian and supporting the local economy. But really, the markup on some things in Australia is simply outlandish and can’t be justified. Even I buy my memory cards from Amazon in the US.
- Sunscreen – (sunscreen should really be number one on the list, in my opinion. I just put memory cards first, because you’re a photographer and I didn’t want to lose your attention). Nothing will ruin your great Australian holiday than getting sunburnt. I won’t mention any names because I don’t want to embarrass my old mates from the UK, but I’ve seen it time and again. Either bring some SPF 50+ with you or get it as soon as you’re off the plane. Whether you’re fair skinned or dark skinned, everyone can get Skin Cancer, I’d be very sad if you did.
- Insect repellant – Some pesky blowfly buzzing around? Maybe a little mosquito bite here and there? Meh, who cares, you’re tough you can handle them. Sure they’re not the worse things in the world. BUT if you get mauled by sandflies (or midgies as they’re known) You will wish that a shark had bitten you in half and put you out of your misery fast. Sandflies will have you irritated, itchy and going insane, sandflies suck! Get some strong DEET insect repellant when getting around sandy wet areas and stay happy.
- International Power Adapter – Australia does not have the same power outlets as the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Don’t arrive expecting to charge your batteries with your regular power plug, get yourself an international power adapter for your devices.
- Hiking Boots – Roll, twist or break an ankle and your Australian photographic trip of a lifetime has just come to a halt. Photographers are notorious for looking at everything except for what’s under their feet. Getting some of those epic photos of the Australian landscape will have you at the least on unpaved paths, if not over rocks and boulders. Get hiking boots that will strap up those ankles and give you a steady footing. And bring a pair of thongs for when you’re laying around or going to the beach. Note: Thongs = Flipflops = Jandals = Sandals etc. They don’t go up your bum! You can wear one of those kinds of thongs too if that floats your boat, but Aussies call them G-strings.
- Quick Dry Cargo Shorts and Walk Shorts – When most people visit Australia it’s in warmer weather, Lightweight good quality quick dry cargo and walk shorts are a modern day marvel. Photographers will appreciate packing a pair of cargos on their Australian vacation because they have pockets galore. Get a pair of quick dry walk shorts for bludging around at your hotel, the shops or the beach. I have a pair of stretch walk shorts that double as boardshorts for swimming, they look pretty smart and pass as casual wear for going out to the pub or restaurant.
- Lightweight DSLR Weather Protector – Australia is surrounded by water and 90% of the population live within an hour from the sea. Photographers like to take photos of the great Australian beaches, ocean and waves or push their luck a little when there are clouds about. Get yourself a cheap weather, dust protector for your camera and protect it from rain & salty seaspray (you might not see it but it’s there). They fold up small and are easy to pack in your luggage.
- A Large Garbage Bag – Where ever my cameras go so does a garbage bag. If it starts raining just throw everything inside and go home. My Camera bag and backpack have weather covers but by the time you’ve sorted that all out and put your camera back in the bag it’s too late. If it smells like rain put the garbage in your pocket and drop everything in there. You can make a raincoat out of a garbage bag too.
- Microfiber Hand Towel: Just like above if it rains and things get a little wet you’ll want to wipe them down fast, regardless after a shoot by the ocean give your camera a nice wipe over with a microfibre hand towel before putting it away.
- Silica Gel Packets – When you visit Australia in summer (if you’re not from a subtropical climate yourself) you’ll soon learn what humidity is, particularly in the northern states. Stick some cheap and nasty silica gel packets in your camera bag to protect against mould in your lenses and camera bodies.