The Essential New Zealand Packing List | What to Wear for Every Season - About New Zealand

Essential New Zealand Packing List & What to Wear for Every Season

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Young man on peak

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

  • Waterproof Phone Case – New Zealand is a place of extreme adventures, photo-worthy landscapes and marine wildlife experiences. You’ll want to make sure your phone is well protected against water, dirt and other debris. A waterproof phone case not only lets you stay in touch, but also allows you take pictures of your travels no matter the environment.

    Shop for a Waterproof Phone Case

Black Waterproof Phone Case

  • New Zealand Power Adapter – New Zealand uses the same power outlet as Australia, which is different compared to the rest of the world. You’ll need a power adapter to keep your electronics charged while traveling in New Zealand. We recommend a universal power adapter with USB ports, making it easy to charge your phone and other handheld electronics that charge through a USB cord.

    Shop for a New Zealand Power Adapter

Australian and New Zealand Black Power Adapter

  • Rain Jacket – No matter where you’re traveling in New Zealand, you will absolutely want to bring a rain jacket. The weather is known to vary from region to region, more so from the North Island to the South Island. A good rain jacket can also double as a light jacket for those chilly mornings and evenings.

    Shop for a Rain Jacket, Men’s and Women’s

Black Men's Rain Jacket

  • Camera – The moment you set eyes on New Zealand’s stunning mountains, turquoise lakes and lush coastlines, you’ll know your phone won’t do them any justice. As you travel throughout New Zealand, the jaw-dropping scenery will have you snapping photos every second. Bring a camera to capture crisp photos of your travels.

    Shop for a Camera

Silver Camera with kit

  • Sunscreen – Whether you’re visiting the mountainous South Island or the beaches of the North Island, sunscreen is super important. Due to the strong Southern Hemisphere sun, skin damage from UV rays can happen even on a cloud-covered day. Avoid the nasty sunburn – always a downer on any trip.

    Shop for Sunscreen

Reef Safe Sunscreen

  • Portable Charger – Perfect for the days where you’re always on the go. Simply charge it up at your hotel and bring it with you on your travels. This is incredibly useful for long days on the road in tour buses or day trips.

    Shop for a Portable Charger

Black Portable Charger

  • Prescriptions and Over the Counter Medicines – If you know you are prone to motion sickness, sea sickness, headaches or even allergies, it’s a good idea to bring OTC medicines to ease any discomfort. It’s really daunting when you have to wonder around a foreign pharmacy looking at unfamiliar brands trying to figure out which medicine is best to cure a sour stomach. We also recommend Kaopectate for traveler’s tummy. And of course, bring along any prescription medicines you regularly take.

    Shop for Kaopectate Upset Stomach Reliever

Kaopectate Stomach Reliever

  • Insect Repellent – You can expect a few mosquitoes around most of New Zealand, but if you’ve got a good insect repellent they’ll be a non-issue. If you’re traveling along the west coast of the South Island, you’ll want to make sure your insect repellent also works on sandflies. These small, gnat-like creatures can be a greater nuisance than mosquitoes.

    Shop for Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent

  • Reusable Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is important anywhere, especially while on long-haul travel to the other side of the world. A reusable water bottle is a great way to always keep water at your side, and is refillable wherever you go.

    Shop for a Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable Gray Water Bottle

  • Hiking Shoes – New Zealand is full of scenic walks and day hikes, and you’re no doubt at least going to be walking around the cities. Walking shoes are always a must, but if you’re exploring the mountains, geothermal hot spots, glowworm caves or even beaches, you’ll want shoes that can do it all.

    Shop for Hiking Shoes, Men’s and Women’s

Black and Purple Hiking Shoes

  • 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.

Young people at the Coromandel credit Adam Bryce

Coromandel, North Island. Photo: Adam Bryce

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!

North Island

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.

South Island

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.

Canterbury credit Fred Rood and Elite Images

Canterbury, South Island. Photo: Fred Rood and Elite Images

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.

North Island

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.

South Island

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.

Queenstown in Winter credit Skyline Queenstown

Queenstown, South Island. Photo: Skyline Queenstown

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.

North Island

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.

South Island

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.

Couple exploring Bay of Islands credit Alistair Guthrie

Bay of Islands, North Island. Photo: Alistair Guthrie

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.

North Island

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.

South Island

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!

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