If you are a nature lover, New Zealand is THE country to visit. With its magnificent mountains, pristine beaches, wild forests, glaciers – it has it all…
New Zealand is a country where you can surf in the morning and ski in the evening!
You might ask yourself – “What do I pack for such a country where all 4 seasons can easily occur in the period of 1 day?”
It is not that obvious, right? This is exactly why I made a packing list suggestion for you to use so that you don’t forget anything important.
Keep in mind that it is very important to prepare for your trip in advance as things are pretty expensive in the country. The reason for this is because New Zealand has to import most of these items and the transportation costs are high.
This list gives you tips on what to pack to New Zealand in ANY month of the year and then it goes season specific.
Here are some things that I would not go to New Zealand without:
New Zealand All-Season Packing List
- Windproof/waterproof jacket (multipurpose clothes for the win!)
- Good hiking boots – I can’t stress enough how important sturdy hiking shoes are, as they will keep your ankles fixed
- Active wear T-shirts – 3-5 pieces, depending on the length of your trip
- Fleece – saves you when it is windy, but not as cold for a jacket yet
- Zip-up hoodie – same as the fleece
- A dressor two – for the nice pics in Hobbiton 🙂
- Hiking pants – the quick dry convertible ones are super handy, I love them!
- Jeans – for wearing in the city
- Cardigan – in case you need to look a bit nicer 🙂
- Tank tops– so useful for layering
- Underwear, bras and socks – take a sufficient amount so that you will not worry about the laundry
- Warm socks – will be also needed for your long flight!
- Swimming suit – yes, even if you visit in the winter, there are some amazing hot pools you will want to visit
- Long sleeve shirt – take it even in the summertime to protect your skin from sun burns
- Microfiber towel – handy, as it will save you some space
- Sunglasses – same, use them even during the winter, the sun can be strong, I love polarized glasses and only wear those for many years now!
- Gloves and neck warmer – yes, these can still be useful even during the summer
- Hand & Toe Warmers – can be a life saver if you are doing some hiking in the cold weather.
- Sun block SPF 50 – this one is absolutely essential! The ozone hole is right above New Zealand and you will feel it fast if you won’t be using any sun protection! I would use something even stronger for the face (SPF 70-100)
- Lip balm – because dry lips are the worst
- Motion sickness pills – if you are sensitive to this, keep them close for ferries and dolphin watching tours
- Insect repellent– in some parts of the country this is going to be SO useful! I have never seen so many mosquitoes at once in my entire life!
- First Aid kit
- Shampoos, toothbrush, creams and anything else you would take to any other country.
- Your phone
- Your camera – I love my little mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark ii
- Wires to connect your phone to the car – if you will rent a car
- Adapter/power converter – they use electrical plugs with two or three flat pins (the same as Australia)
- Portable battery – you might drain your phone battery pretty quicky with all the beauty around you, so I recommend taking at least a small battery
- Headphones – it is illegal to use hand-held cellphones when you’re driving in New Zealand, so headphones can come in handy
- GoPro – you will need it for some action shots. If you do not have it, a trip to New Zealand is a good enough reason to buy an action cam!
- Drone – New Zealand was my first trip where I flew my DJI Mavic Pro drone, it is a fantastic country for some drone footage! You cannot fly your drone anywhere though, here are updated drone regulations for the country.
- Gimbal – for those of you who want to take their video game to the next level – I just bought my Osmo Mobile recently and my videos look professional now!
- All the chargers for all the electronics you are taking with you and some extra batteries if needed
- Packing cubes – This is one more life saver for me! It is so easy to be organized (and not search for stuff in your luggage forever) with packing cubes!
- A good backpack – take a smaller backpack for day hikes with enough space to put a bit of extra clothes, a water bottle, a couple of sandwiches and your camera. Try to choose a waterproof one too.
- Reusable bottle for water – you can go for one with a built-in filter too (even though water in New Zealand is extremely clean anyway).
These are the most important things that I took with me for my New Zealand vacation.
Of course, your list might vary depending on the weather and your needs.
You should bring warmer clothes if visiting in the winter time and less layers in the summer (it can still get windy and unpredictable though).
Let’s talk about each season one by one:
New Zealand Winter Packing List
Winter – June, July, August. Average temperature – 12- 16 C (53-61F)
This season is the hardest one as you will need to pack a lot of warm clothes. Trust me, there are never too many!
You will most probably want to go explore, hiking and conquer some mountains.
You surely didn’t come all the way to New Zealand just to sit shivering in your car, did you?
I would not count on buying things there because:
- it will be super expensive
- some stores shut down during the winter
This is what you need to add on top on our all-season basic packing list (above) if you are traveling to New Zealand in winter time:
- Thermal underwear
- Gloves – the ones that are smartphone sensitive are super awesome!
- Merino wool socks – merino is not cheap, but it will last you for years. It’s also light, quick to dry and warm – perfect for what we need!
- Winter hat
- Jeans – not obligatory, but I personally wore the stretchy ones and they were so useful
New Zealand Spring/Autumn Packing List
Autumn – March, April, May. Average temperature: 17- 21C (62-70F)
Spring – September, October, November. Average temperature: 16-19C (61-66F)
Shoulder seasons are quite hard – you never know what to expect – rain or sunshine?
It can get rainy and windy during the autumn, so prepare yourself with some wind-proof and waterproof clothes. It can also get very sunny on some of the days, so prepare to wear layers and take them off throughout the day.
It’s crazy, I know, but this list kind of combines the Winter AND Summer packing lists.
When I was in Milford Sound, we took a cruise and it started to rain and we also got really close to a waterfall. And guess what? My camera lens doesn’t work ever since.
It’s a pity as it is costly to repair, so do not repeat my mistakes!
New Zealand Summer Packing List
Well, I have already named all the summer attributes such as swimming suit (you will need it in any season, as you will probably try one of the famous thermal spas in New Zealand). Sunglasses are also very important at any time as the sun is strong and New Zealand is particularly known for its ozone layer.
Other things to pack depending on your activities
Hey traveler, if you go to New Zealand you will hike, you will kayak, swim, ski, paraglide, zip line, bungee… and many other activities!
You will be outdoors a lot and, thus, bringing waterproof and windproof layers of clothes will help you tons (yes, I know I mentioned this before and not just once, but this one is important).
If you plan on camping, please do not forget to stock up on camping gear such as cooking stove, sleeping bags etc. Check the full list here.
Here is also a video with some packing essentials:
If you will only take a short hike a couple of times, you might be better off renting all camping gear than buying it and carrying it all the way from your country. An approximate price for renting gear is ~60 NZD (around $43 USD) for 3 items for 4 days.
I would say that’s not bad considering that, otherwise, you would need to buy all the gear from scratch and carry it all the way from your home country.
What NOT to take with you to New Zealand
- If you are not a travel blogger like me and don’t need access to your computer every day, I would highly recommend leaving at home as many electronics as possible.
- New Zealand has a really strict policy on everything that concerns edible products (that includes fresh fruit, honey products, liquid food and even seeds). More details here.
- Keep in mind that you will need to leave all your valuables in your car (you surely don’t want to hike with your laptop, do you?), and, even if New Zealand is safe, I have seen car robberies there with my own eyes. So, it’s better not to take any extra expensive electronics unless you really need them.
- This shouldn’t even be mentioned here, but I will say it just in case – no heavy books in the trip. If you want to read something in New Zealand, get a Kindle and you will have all the books in your library there. I’ve had my kindle for over 5 years now and I couldn’t be happier with it.
- For the same reason, I would not carry a lot of cash with me. You can pay with your card in many places and there are also ATMs everywhere, even in small towns.
- Do not over pack – no need for fancy clothes and high heels, they will be an extra useless weight in your luggage. No need to pack an 80 L backpack with everything you might need for all seasons. Unless you are a serious hiker that goes away from civilization for 10 days, what is mentioned in this post will be enough for you.
- A hair dryer – you can leave this one behind as well
- An umbrella – if it rains in New Zealand, the wind will probably be so strong that it won’t even be worth trying to use an umbrella, trust me.
I guess that is it for your packing tips, guys!
Please read more details about food, transportation accommodation, when to go, how long to stay, etc in this post, where I cover all the basics – How to plan your ideal trip to NZ
This was a list of recommended things to bring to your New Zealand vacation, sorted by type and season.
In short – pack layers, give preferences to waterproof and winter-proof clothes, make sure your hiking boots are comfortable and sturdy. Stress on comfort over style and make sure your clothes are easy to dry and wash.
Follow these simple rules and you will be fine!
And lastly, do not forget to pack your adventurous spirit and you will be ready to go and discover this amazing country! 😉
Did I miss anything?
What do you think is the most important thing to bring with you to New Zealand?
Let me know in the comments!
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