New Zealand is one of the world’s top travel destinations. From the snow-dusted mountains and ancient rainforests in the South Island to the balmy beaches and geothermal wonderlands in the North Island, New Zealand is known for encapsulating all the world’s landscapes in one country.
This can make packing for your trip a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge if you’re traveling to both the North Island and the South Island, as they couldn’t be more different than night and day.
That’s why we’ve created a New Zealand packing list and a guide on what to wear in New Zealand.
You can also download and print this New Zealand packing checklist.
New Zealand Packing List Essentials
- Travel Documents – Always know where your travel documents are and keep photocopies of them in case anything happens. One of our favorite tips is to keep online copies of travel documents. Simply email copies of your passport, trip vouchers, flight confirmations, etc. to yourself, giving you the ability to access your documents wherever you can log in to your email. This can be a lifesaver, even if you lose your phone!
Download and print this New Zealand packing checklist.
Clothes Packing List: What to Wear in New Zealand
Figuring out what to wear in New Zealand can be a bit challenging. Sunny beach days are common at the top of the North Island, yet its urban cities often see changeable weather with winds and rains. The South Island is home to the sunniest regions in New Zealand, yet its mountains accumulate snow and cold weather the further south you go.
This is why we’ve made it simple with our guide on what to pack for New Zealand based on each island and season.
Summer (December, January, February)
These are New Zealand’s warmest months of the whole year, with temperatures averaging between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, daylight can last until 10pm, so be sure to keep up with sunscreen!
Northernmost regions such as Cape Reinga, Bay of Islands and the Coromandel enjoy subtropical weather. Think balmy sunshine, warm golden beaches and inviting bays. Summery clothes with a light jacket for any sudden changes in weather are ideal.
You may want to pack your swimwear and jandals (New Zealand’s word for flip flops!) if you fancy a dip at the beach. Sunhats and sunglasses are also great sun protection.
For more urban areas including Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington, comfortable walking shoes are a must. You might like to bring some dressier clothes for nights out in the cities. Don’t forget a rain jacket and cardigans or sweaters for the cooler mornings and evenings. Pants or trousers are recommended over shorts, but for any outdoor activities such as hikes or beach days, shorts are fine.
Nelson is one of New Zealand’s sunniest regions, so sunhats and sunglasses are essential. Summer clothes are perfect, with cardigans or light jackets for the evenings and cool mornings.
The further south you travel, the lower the temperatures drop. Christchurch sees temperatures in the low 60’s, so pack thin layers with a sweater or light jacket. In southernmost destinations such as Queenstown and Dunedin, bring light layers you can mix and match, with a sweater or light jacket.
Fall (March, April, May)
Cooler temperatures create perfect conditions for outdoor activities with a gorgeous setting. Colorful changing leaves, tufts of gold and orange, snowy peaks in the distance – autumn in New Zealand will take your breath away. With less crowds and temperatures averaging between 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, this is one of our favorite season to go to New Zealand.
Cold mornings and evenings are common, with sunshine during the day. It’s important to pack cozy clothes you can layer up or down as the day goes by, with a jacket to keep warm against any drops in temperature.
A rain jacket is a must, as this is when rains start to pick up in major cities such as Auckland and Wellington.
The South Island is where you’ll see those changing autumn colors. Comfortable layers with a warm sweater or jacket will keep you most comfortable. Boots or comfortable walking shoes will keep your feet sheltered from the elements.
Winter (June, July, August)
Winter in New Zealand brings cooler temperatures averaging between 35 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The one essential item you need to pack for winter in New Zealand is a raincoat, as these months see the most rain.
Winter is temperate enough to explore the northernmost region of the island on hikes and scenic walks. Warm layers, a cardigan or sweater, and a light jacket will be enough to get you through the day. Bring a warm jacket for the cold mornings and evenings, especially in major cities.
July is the wettest month, so apart from a rain jacket you might also want to bring an umbrella.
The mountain ranges are blanketed with fresh snow, making for stunning views. Frosts and heavy snowfall are common, so warm layers, sweaters and jackets are recommended. You might like to bring scarfs, gloves or hats to help protect you from the cold in wilderness areas such as national parks, the glaciers and fiords.
Spring (September, October, November)
Blossoming trees, cascading waterfalls and colorful blooms – New Zealand in spring is a wonderful time to visit. Keep in mind the average temperatures for your New Zealand packing list in spring, ranging between 40 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm sunny days gave way to crisp evenings, so definitely pack a sweater or light jacket. Thin layers you can mix and match are highly recommended, keeping you prepared for any sudden drops in temperature. If you can easily withstand cooler temperatures, one layer and a light jacket will be just fine.
One basic jacket or coat and versatile layers are perfect for South Island destinations. A warm sweater with a light jacket is also a good alternative. Keep in mind that mornings and evenings can still get quite cold. If you’re traveling along the west coast to the glaciers or Mount Cook, be sure you’re prepared for rain.
No matter what time of the year you’re visiting New Zealand, it’s always important to use sunscreen – yes, even in the winter!
Now that you know what to pack for New Zealand, you’re ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
Safe travels from your mates at About New Zealand!Tags: New Zealand