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What To Pack For New Zealand


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Leticia Whitehurst



Planning a trip to New Zealand? Congratulations! You’re about to embark on a memorable adventure in one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. Beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, and a unique cultural experience await you. But before you jet off, it’s important to pack the right essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey. In this article, we’ll guide you through what to pack for your trip to New Zealand.


New Zealand’s climate can be unpredictable, with temperatures that vary throughout the year and different weather patterns in different regions. It’s crucial to pack layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed to suit changing conditions. Whether you’re exploring the stunning fjords of Milford Sound, hiking in the rugged mountains, or strolling along the picturesque beaches, dressing appropriately will enhance your experience.


Outdoor activities are a highlight of any trip to New Zealand, so be sure to pack suitable gear. Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes are essential, along with comfortable backpacks, rain jackets, and hats. If you’re planning to explore the country’s scenic trails, don’t forget to pack a pair of trekking poles to support your joints and provide stability on uneven terrain.


Don’t forget to bring along your electronic gadgets, such as cameras and smartphones, to capture the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes. With its stunning mountains, pristine lakes, and unique wildlife, you’ll want to document every moment of your journey. Additionally, consider packing a power adapter to ensure that you can charge your devices wherever you are.


When it comes to personal care items, keep in mind that New Zealand is known for its clean and green environment. Opt for eco-friendly toiletries to help preserve the country’s natural beauty. Sunscreen is also a must, as the sun in New Zealand can be harsh, even on cloudy days.


It’s always wise to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Make sure to pack necessary medications and a well-stocked first aid kit. While New Zealand has excellent healthcare facilities, it’s essential to have your own supplies handy, especially if you plan on venturing into remote areas.


Lastly, don’t forget your travel documents, including passports, visas, and travel insurance details. It’s also a good idea to have backup copies of important information, such as flight itineraries and accommodation confirmations. Store these in a secure place, either electronically or in hard copy form. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


Now that you have an overview of what to pack for your trip to New Zealand, you can start organizing your suitcase. Remember, packing light and efficiently will make your journey more enjoyable. Have a fantastic time exploring the wonders of New Zealand!


Clothing and Accessories

New Zealand’s climate is known for its changeable nature, so it’s important to pack a variety of clothing options to suit different weather conditions. Here are some essentials to consider:

  • Layering basics: Pack lightweight, breathable clothing that can be layered for warmth. This includes t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, and sweaters.
  • Outerwear: A waterproof and windproof jacket is a must-have. Look for one that is lightweight and can be easily packed. Additionally, bring a warm fleece or down jacket for colder temperatures.
  • Trousers and shorts: Depending on the season, bring both long and short bottoms. Opt for quick-drying materials, especially if you plan on participating in outdoor activities or visiting the coastal regions.
  • Footwear: Comfortable, sturdy shoes are essential for walking and hiking. Consider packing a pair of waterproof boots or shoes for wet conditions. Flip flops or sandals are also handy for beach visits or relaxing around the accommodation.
  • Hats and accessories: Protect yourself from the New Zealand sun with a wide-brimmed hat or a cap. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also necessary to shield your eyes and skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Swimwear: New Zealand is blessed with beautiful beaches, lakes, and hot springs. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, so you can take a refreshing dip and enjoy water activities.

Remember to pack clothing suitable for both urban and outdoor settings. New Zealand has a casual dress code, so comfortable and practical clothing will be your go-to choices during your trip.


Outdoor Gear

If you’re planning to explore New Zealand’s stunning natural landscapes, having the right outdoor gear is essential. Here are some items to consider packing:

  • Hiking boots: Invest in a good pair of sturdy and comfortable hiking boots. They will provide the necessary support and grip for navigating New Zealand’s diverse terrain.
  • Trekking poles: If you’re planning on hiking or trekking, consider bringing trekking poles. They can help reduce strain on your knees and provide stability on rough or uneven terrain.
  • Backpack: Choose a backpack that is suitable for day trips or longer treks. Look for one with multiple compartments and adjustable straps for a comfortable fit.
  • Waterproof gear: New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack a waterproof jacket or poncho to stay dry during rain showers. Waterproof pants or gaiters can also be useful to protect against wet conditions.
  • Sleeping bag and camping equipment: If you plan on camping, bring a lightweight and compact sleeping bag. Consider packing a lightweight tent, camping stove, and cooking utensils if you plan on spending nights in the wilderness.
  • Headlamp or flashlight: Essential for any outdoor adventure, a headlamp or flashlight will help you navigate in low-light conditions and provide illumination when camping.
  • Insect repellent: While New Zealand doesn’t have many dangerous insects, it’s still a good idea to pack insect repellent, especially if you plan on camping or hiking in bushy areas.
  • Binoculars: New Zealand is home to unique wildlife, including birds, dolphins, and seals. Binoculars will allow you to get a closer look and appreciate the country’s incredible biodiversity.

Remember to pack your outdoor gear based on the activities you have planned. Whether you’re embarking on a multi-day trek or enjoying day trips to national parks, having the right equipment will enhance your outdoor experience in New Zealand.


Electronics and Gadgets

In this digital age, it’s hard to imagine traveling without our electronic devices. Here are some electronics and gadgets that are worth considering when packing for your trip to New Zealand:

  • Camera: New Zealand is a photographer’s paradise, with breathtaking landscapes at every turn. Whether you’re a professional or just love taking snapshots, be sure to bring a camera to capture all the memorable moments.
  • Smartphone: Your smartphone is a versatile tool that can serve as a camera, GPS, communication device, and travel guide. Don’t forget your charger or power bank to ensure that your phone stays charged throughout the day.
  • Adapters and converters: New Zealand has different electrical outlets than many other countries. Make sure to bring the appropriate adapters and converters to charge your electronic devices.
  • Portable charger: If you plan on spending long days outdoors, a portable charger can be a lifesaver. It will allow you to recharge your devices on the go, ensuring you never miss a photo opportunity or lose touch with loved ones.
  • Earphones or headphones: Whether you want to listen to music, podcasts, or watch movies during your flights or long bus rides, a good pair of earphones or headphones is a must-have.
  • E-book reader or tablet: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-book reader or tablet loaded with your favorite digital books. It’s a great way to relax during downtime or while traveling between destinations.
  • Travel adapter: In addition to the electrical adapters, consider packing a multi-port travel adapter to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Waterproof case or bag: If you plan on participating in water activities or visiting beaches, it’s worth investing in a waterproof case or bag to protect your electronic devices from water damage.

While it’s great to have electronic devices while traveling, remember to strike a balance between enjoying the experience and being present in the moment. Take time to disconnect from technology and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes.


Toiletries and Personal Care

When it comes to toiletries and personal care items, it’s important to pack the essentials while considering the environment and your own health. Here’s a list of items to include in your toiletry bag:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Maintain your oral hygiene by packing a toothbrush and toothpaste. Consider using eco-friendly alternatives to reduce plastic waste.
  • Shampoo and conditioner: Bring travel-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, or opt for solid bars to minimize liquid restrictions and reduce plastic waste.
  • Body wash or soap: Pack a compact, travel-sized bottle of body wash or bring a solid bar of soap for a more eco-friendly option.
  • Deodorant: Keep fresh throughout your trip by packing a deodorant that suits your preferences.
  • Sunscreen: New Zealand is known for its harsh sun, even on cloudy days. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by bringing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Moisturizer: Keep your skin hydrated and protected from the elements with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.
  • Insect repellent: Depending on the season and the areas you plan to visit, it’s a good idea to bring insect repellent to ward off pesky bugs.
  • Razor and shave gel: If you prefer to shave, pack a razor and a travel-sized shave gel or foam.
  • Menstrual products: If applicable, bring an adequate supply of tampons, pads, or menstrual cups.
  • Hairbrush or comb: Tame your hair with a compact hairbrush or comb.
  • Cosmetics and makeup: Pack your favorite cosmetics and makeup items for those special occasions or to freshen up your look.
  • Nail clippers and file: Keep your nails in tip-top shape with a nail clipper and a file.

Remember to pack all liquids in a clear, resealable bag for ease during airport security checks. Consider using travel-sized or refillable containers to minimize waste and avoid carrying bulky items.


It’s also important to be mindful of the environment while traveling in New Zealand. Use eco-friendly and biodegradable products whenever possible and support local, sustainable brands.


Medications and First Aid Kit

While New Zealand has excellent healthcare facilities, it’s always wise to be prepared for any unexpected health issues or injuries during your trip. Here’s a guide on what medications and first aid items to pack:

  • Prescription medications: If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring an adequate supply to last throughout your trip. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your healthcare provider, especially when traveling internationally.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Include common over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, antihistamines, anti-diarrheal medications, and motion sickness remedies. These can come in handy for headaches, allergies, digestive issues, or motion-related discomfort.
  • First aid kit: Pack a compact first aid kit that includes adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, medical tape, tweezers, scissors, and any specific items you may need for your personal health concerns.
  • Insect repellent: New Zealand has relatively few dangerous insects, but it’s still advisable to bring insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes and sandflies, especially if you plan on spending time in rural or bushy areas.
  • Sunburn relief: In case of sunburn, bring aloe vera gel or soothing creams to provide relief and help heal the skin.
  • Allergy medications: If you have known allergies, pack any necessary medications such as antihistamines or epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPen) to manage allergic reactions.
  • Personal health items: If you have specific health needs, don’t forget to pack any necessary items like contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids, or orthopedic supports.

Remember to keep all medications in their original packaging, and carry a copy of your prescriptions with you. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with emergency numbers and healthcare facilities in the areas you’ll be visiting.


Lastly, ensure that your travel insurance covers any medical emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. It’s better to be prepared and have peace of mind while exploring the stunning landscapes of New Zealand.


Documents and Important Information

When traveling to New Zealand, it’s crucial to have all the necessary documents and important information readily available. Here’s a checklist of what to include:

  • Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from New Zealand.
  • Visa: Check whether you need a visa to enter New Zealand and ensure that you have obtained the appropriate visa before your trip.
  • Travel itinerary: Keep a copy of your travel itinerary, including flight details, hotel reservations, and any planned activities or tours.
  • Travel insurance: Carry a printed copy of your travel insurance policy and the emergency contact information of your insurance provider. Make sure your coverage includes medical expenses, trip cancellation, and other relevant aspects.
  • Driver’s license: If you plan on driving in New Zealand, ensure that you have a valid driver’s license and an international driver’s permit if required.
  • Credit cards and cash: Bring your credit cards, and make sure they will work internationally. It’s also a good idea to carry some New Zealand currency (NZD) for smaller expenses and emergencies.
  • Emergency contacts: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers for your embassy or consulate, as well as important contacts such as your travel agent, accommodation, and local emergency services.
  • Health and vaccination records: If you have any specific health concerns or require certain vaccinations, keep a copy of your health records and any necessary certificates with you.
  • Travel guides and maps: If you prefer traditional paper guides or maps, bring them along for easy reference. Alternatively, you can download digital versions on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Important phone numbers and addresses: Note down the contact information for your accommodation, tour operators, and any local friends or acquaintances you may have.
  • Photocopies or digital copies of all documents: Make photocopies or take pictures of all your important documents, including your passport, visas, and travel insurance. Store them securely in a separate location, either physically or in digital form, in case of loss or theft.

It’s essential to keep your original documents safe and secure during your trip. Consider using a money belt, hotel safe, or a hidden travel pouch to store your valuable items.


By having all these documents and important information well-organized and easily accessible, you’ll have a smoother and more enjoyable journey in New Zealand.


Money and Banking

Managing your finances and understanding the banking system in New Zealand will ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip. Here are some important things to know:

  • Currency: The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Familiarize yourself with the current exchange rates to have an idea of the value of your home currency.
  • ATMs: ATMs are widely available throughout New Zealand, allowing you to withdraw cash in local currency. Look for ATMs affiliated with major banks to avoid excessive fees.
  • Credit cards: Credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and shops. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely recognized, followed by American Express and Diners Club. Inform your credit card provider of your travel plans to avoid any issues with transactions being flagged as suspicious.
  • Travel money cards: Consider using a travel money card, which allows you to load multiple currencies onto a single card. This can be a convenient and secure way to manage your spending while overseas.
  • Banking hours: Banks in New Zealand usually operate from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Some branches may offer limited services on Saturdays.
  • Tipping and service charges: Tipping is not a common practice in New Zealand, as a service charge is usually included in the bill for restaurants and accommodations. However, tipping for exceptional service is always appreciated.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST): New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15%, which is included in the advertised prices. Visitors are not eligible for a GST refund, so keep this in mind when budgeting for your trip.
  • Budgeting and expenses: New Zealand can be relatively expensive, especially in tourist areas. Plan your budget accordingly and research costs for accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities to ensure you have enough funds for your trip.
  • Currency conversion fees: When using credit cards, be aware of potential currency conversion fees. Some credit card companies charge a percentage fee for each transaction made in a foreign currency.
  • Safety and security: As with any travel destination, take necessary precautions to keep your money and personal belongings safe. Use ATMs located in well-lit and busy areas, and avoid carrying excessive cash.

It’s also a good idea to have a mix of payment methods while traveling, including cash for small purchases or establishments that may not accept cards. By being prepared and knowledgeable about the currency and banking system in New Zealand, you can have peace of mind when managing your finances during your trip.


Travel Essentials

There are certain travel essentials that are commonly overlooked but can make a big difference in your overall trip experience. Here are some items to consider including in your packing list:

  • Travel adapter: New Zealand has a unique outlet configuration, so make sure you have a travel adapter to fit the local sockets. This will allow you to charge your electronic devices without any hassle.
  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is essential, especially when exploring New Zealand’s outdoors. Bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day and reduce plastic waste.
  • Travel pillow and blanket: Long flights or road trips can be tiring, so having a travel pillow and blanket can make your journey more comfortable and help you catch some much-needed rest.
  • Travel insurance: It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Review your policy and ensure it provides adequate coverage for your needs.
  • Earplugs and sleep mask: If you’re a light sleeper or are sensitive to noise and light, earplugs and a sleep mask can help you get a restful night’s sleep, especially in shared accommodations or when dealing with time zone differences.
  • Reusable shopping bag: New Zealand is known for its commitment to environmental sustainability. Packing a compact, reusable shopping bag will come in handy for groceries or shopping trips, reducing your plastic consumption.
  • Travel locks: Keep your belongings secure by using travel locks for your luggage, backpack, or even lockable daypacks.
  • Travel-sized laundry detergent: If you’re planning an extended trip or are staying in accommodations with laundry facilities, having a travel-sized laundry detergent will allow you to do laundry on the go and pack lighter.
  • Travel-sized sewing kit: A small sewing kit can be a lifesaver for quick repairs on clothing or gear while on the road.
  • Travel guidebooks or apps: Research and plan your trip ahead of time using travel guidebooks or smartphone apps. They can provide valuable insights, maps, local tips, and recommendations for your destination.
  • Portable Wi-Fi hotspot: Stay connected during your journey by using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. This allows you to have internet access wherever you go, making it easier to navigate, communicate, and research information.

Each traveler is different, so adapt this list to your specific needs and preferences. The goal is to make your travel experience more comfortable, enjoyable, and convenient. Remember to pack light and only bring what is necessary to avoid unnecessary burdens during your trip.


Miscellaneous Items

Aside from the essential items, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your travel experience in New Zealand. While not crucial, they can add convenience and enjoyment to your trip. Here are some miscellaneous items worth considering:

  • Travel journal and pen: Capture your thoughts, memories, and highlights of your trip with a travel journal. It’s a great way to reflect on your experiences and document your adventures.
  • Reusable cutlery and utensils: Reduce your plastic waste by carrying your own reusable cutlery set and utensils. This comes in handy for picnics, takeaways, or when eating on the go.
  • Travel towel: Lightweight and quick-drying travel towels are ideal for beach visits, hikes, or staying in accommodations where towels may not be provided.
  • Ziplock bags: Pack a few ziplock bags of different sizes for organizing and protecting your belongings. They are great for keeping your electronics, toiletries, and travel documents organized and protected from any potential spills or moisture.
  • Travel-sized sewing kit: A small sewing kit can be useful for emergency repairs on clothing or gear while on the road.
  • Travel-friendly snacks: Carry some travel-friendly snacks, such as energy bars, nuts, or dried fruit, to keep hunger at bay during long journeys or hikes.
  • Waterproof pouches/bags: Keep your valuables, such as your phone, wallet, and passport, safe and dry by using waterproof pouches or bags. This is especially useful when participating in water activities or exploring rainy areas.
  • Travel umbrella: New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, so having a compact travel umbrella can come in handy during unexpected rain showers.
  • Reusable face mask: In light of unforeseen circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, carrying a reusable face mask can provide added peace of mind and help you comply with any local regulations or guidelines.

Remember to pack these miscellaneous items based on your personal preferences and the nature of your trip. They can make your journey more convenient, organized, and enjoyable. As always, pack smart, travel light, and have a wonderful time exploring the beauty of New Zealand.