Dreamy New Zealand is incredible to visit at any time of year. With two gorgeous islands and endless adventures to choose from, how can you be prepared without overpacking?
The following New Zealand packing list has you covered:
Even in the summer, New Zealand can experience several seasons in one day. It’s also rarely super hot, particularly on the South Island where even in the height of summer, I was usually wearing a jacket and pants. Here’s what I recommend bringing:
- 3-4 warm undershirts
- 2 pairs of leggings (1 in black for hiking, 1 in a bright color to pop in your photos!)
- 3 tops (1 tank top for layering, 1 t-shirt, 1 long sleeve shirt)
- 1 nice dress for going to town (like this tunic dress or this flannel shirt dress)
- 1 pair of warm, comfy ski underwear to sleep in
- 1 pair of lightweight rain pants and/or water-wicking pants
- 1 thick rain jacket
- 1 super lightweight windbreaker to layer
- 3 pairs of thick socks (just make sure they fit with your boots!)
- 1 pair of hiking boots
- 1 pair of Toms for going out
- 1 pair of flip flops
- Beanie and hat for the sun
- A couple of sports bras, and enough undies for a week
- Microfiber towel
Keep in mind that I visited New Zealand in the summer. You will encounter snow in the winter or even spring and autumn months, so come prepared for colder temperatures. If hiking, remember the importance of spikes for your shoes and specialized equipment depending on conditions.
Picking the right backpack could make or break a trip. I almost always prefer using a backpack over a suitcase, as I never have to worry about walking through cobblestone walkways or dirt roads, and climbing the staircases – it is just so much more convenient. If you do not own a backpack, go to a store that allows you to try the packs on with weight in them (I like REI in the US), or if that’s not available to you, order multiple bags online and return within the time window. Something like this bag is perfect for hiking and for traveling.
If you’ll be backpacking, check out this post for a comparison on the top women’s travel backpacks in the market.
- Hiking poles
- 2 liters of water storage (can do a Camelbak + Nalgene combo to be covered regardless of activity)
- Light tent (here is a complete backpacking checklist if you plan on backpacking New Zealand)
A quick note on bringing food: security checks at the airport are extremely strict. Almost all food items are banned unless highly processed, so you are better off not bringing any, and stocking up when you are in the city. For day hikes I like to bring nuts and dried fruit, or a couple of energy bars.
Though everyone is different, my dry skin tends to need moisturizers that have lots of aloe and I always wear SPF 30 as well. These are the things I’ve used for years:
- Your usual hair products
- DeVita Solar Moisturizer with SPF 30
- Whatever deodorant you prefer. I love this one.
- Floss, 1 under 100ml toothpaste, toothbrush
- 1 DivaCup (it makes life easier for that special week each month)
- Nail clippers
- 1 palette of eyeshadow, powder, bronzer, and eyeliner – or go natural!
I’m a photographer, so I can’t imagine going without a camera. Here’s what I always bring:
- An unlocked smartphone if you want to use local SIM cards.
- Computer if you are a digital nomad like me – check out this post for a digital nomad’s packing list
- Camera – check out this post for my camera equipment
- External battery pack
And that’s everything I brought along to New Zealand! I hope this list helps to make your trip more worry-free and easier to plan. Be sure to read my other guides for more on itineraries and how to make the most of your road trip: