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If you need a packing list for New Zealand in winter you’re in the best possible place. Packing for New Zealand in June, July and August is simple as long as you remember to pack warmly (see winter wear here), but in a practical way that will allow you to zip up your suitcase.
If you’re planning to pack carry on you’ll need to lower the amount of the above mentioned gear to one per item, and you’ll do best to wear the jacket and boots when you’re going on the plane. However if you feel as if you’ll need more than one coat and pair of boots you’ll likely have to travel with a checked bag.
The New Zealand winter packing list below is best suited for a 2-4 week trip. If you’re only visiting for a week you can cut down the items mentioned below to fit the amount of days you’ll be there.
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**Also, I need to apologies in advance. I grew up in New Zealand but I don’t have too many digital photos, hence most of the photos are from a short, recent visit. Its mostly caving shots and a few from the Go Pro.
What’ll you’ll learn:
- Seasons overview
- What to pack for NZ in winter
- Accommodation and sightseeing tips
When to Visit New Zealand: Weather and Seasons
What to pack in Fall in New Zealand (March, April, May): New Zealand in fall is a beautiful time to see the colors of the trees change into bursts of orange and red. Early to mid fall has comfortable weather (17-21C / 62-70F) and holiday goers should still be able to do some swimming at the beaches before it gets too cold. Be sure to bring one to two jackets, especially if visiting closer to Winter in May.
What to pack in Winter in New Zealand (June, July, August): With average temperatures around 12-16C / 53-61F, winter in New Zealand is cold but not as much as other places around the world. Read on to find out what to pack for winter in New Zealand.
What to pack in Spring in New Zealand (September, October, November): Spring in New Zealand brings blooming flowers, blue skies and moderate weather. Its a great time for visiting New Zealand and October and November have many suitable swimming days. Bring two or more cardigans to get you through colder days and add a jacket if visiting in September, or if you’re susceptible to the cold.
Expect temperatures around 16-19C / 61-66F.
What to pack in Summer in New Zealand (December, January, February): Summer brings even more sunshine and warm weather to the country, with it being a perfect time to visit beaches, mountains and all other types of outdoor scenery. Temperatures average around 20-25 C / 68-77F making it a pleasant temperature for all activities.
Since the summer is still pretty mild, I’d recommend bringing a cardigan or two especially if you’re used to warmer temperatures like I am.
What to Wear in New Zealand in Winter
How to dress for Winter in New Zealand:
- 1-2 x warm boots – I’d recommend just the one pair but its up to you and how much you want to carry around. These are pretty cute – see boots, or you can see more options here.
- 1-2 pairs of flats
- 5-6 x socks
- 6-10 pairs of underwear
- 3-5 bras
- 1-2 x pair of gloves
- 2 x Woolen hat / beenie
- 1-2 x coats
- 2 -3 cardigans – two is probably a good number
- Tops x 4-7 – go for longer sleeves
- dresses x 2 – you can layer these with leggings or stockings, or bare your legs depending on your experience with the cold
- Bottoms x 3-4
- Leggings x 1-2 – great for hikes, sleeping in and under dresses
- Stockings x 1-2 – wear under dresses or skirts if you get cold
- 1-2 x scarfs
- 1 jumper / pullover – good for cold nights in the hotel room
What to Pack for New Zealand in Winter: Other Items
- Any required medication (don’t forget to take your prescription if you have one incase custom’s asks)
- Basic first aid kit – however you’ll easily find medicine in NZ
- Phone and charger
- Camera and lens. I personally love the Sony a6500 + 19mm f2.8 + 35mm f1.8 combination. Its amazing for videos and photos.
- Batteries and charger for your camera
- Adapter for plugs if needed.
- Portable battery – for charging on the go – see prices here.
- 2/3 x 8-16gb memory cards. I personally prefer bringing a few smaller ones than putting all my photos on one card. This is to protect myself if I loose one or it gets damaged.
Makeup & Toiletries
- Toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste
- Make up – don’t go overboard and bring every shade of eye shadow. Get yourself a cheap and compact makeup bag like this one (see prices).
- Shampoo + conditioner, or solid shampoo. Solid shampoo can also be used as soap or for washing clothes.
- Moisturizer (travel-sized) if prone to dry skin
- 2 or more bank cards. One Visa, one Mastercard to ensure you wont get rejected at too many international bank machines
- 2 x photocopies of your passport incase something happens to your actually passport. Keep one photocopy at home, and one with you in a separate place to your actual passport
- Lock for dorms, and for your suitcase or backpack
- Suitcase: You’ll have no trouble lugging a suitcase around NZ. See suitcase options here.
- Backpack: Anything under 75L will work well. Anything over that and you’ll tire yourself out. I personally love a pack around 60-65 litres, but go for 70-75L if you need to pack more than one big coat.
Popular Day Tours for Winter in New Zealand
- If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you’ll want to join this one day locations fromt the movie tour. See details of what you’ll visit here.
- Visit the main sights of Christchurch either on foot, with a guide, or by vintage tram.
- Whale watching and wine tasting – see more details here. A day trip to Kaikoura to see the whales, seals and enjoy a glass or two.
- You can also do a day trip to Hamner Springs to do some wine tasting and take a dip in the thermal pools. Find more information here.
Auckland is full of things to do, and a ton of day trips to surrounding areas can be done from here, saving you time. For more ideas click here.
- If you have limited time in New Zealand its best to base yourself in Auckland and do day trips. This tour helps you go to both the Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton in just one day! Hobbiton is where the hobbits from Lord of the Rings live, and Waitomo Caves is a glow worm boatride adventure. Click here for prices and more details. If you’d rather just visit the movie set, view this day tour instead.
- If you’re visiting in whale watching season you’re going to want to be on this dolphin and whale watching cruise – see more details here.
- You can visit the Bay of Islands in a day trip from Auckland. The islands themselves are beautiful and its a great place to go swimming, even in winter. Find more information here.
- One of the coolest things to do in Auckland is to visit the Sky Tower to get epic views over the city. See prices for entry here.
Being a tourist hotspot and such a beautiful place, there are a tons of sightseeing ideas in Queenstown, but I’ve picked just a few below. See more ideas on the Get Your Guide website here.
- Gondola ride – Hop in the Queenstown gondola to see epic views over the town and lake. See prices for just the ride here, and for the ride + meal at stunning Stratosphere option here.
- When I visit somewhere scenic I love to get up in the air whether its by plane or by paragliding. There are actually quite a few options to get above it all in Queensland, whether its by skydiving, ziplining, or by scenic helicopter flight (with a landing up high where only a helicopter can reach). There’s also a flight and cruise combination that can save you money rather than booking them separately – see prices and more details here.
- If you’re looking for a simple cruise of Milford Sound and lunch here’s a relatively affordable cruise option – click here to see more details.
- Finally if you’re hoping for a bit of adrenalin, you can race around on a jet boat here.
Don’t Forget to Pack Travel Insurance | New Zealand Packing List for Winter
What would you do if you have an accident or have something stolen while on holiday? The answer is travel insurance of-course!
I have used World Nomads on all of my trips which is why I recommend it. I’ve only had to claim twice and found the process relatively easy and the staff helpful. I also like that its cheap (but still lots of coverage) and you can book insurance even if you’ve already left for your trip.
To get an instant quote without having to put in your email, you can visit the website here.
Packing List for New Zealand: Safety and Health
New Zealand as a country is relatively safe, similar to safety in Australia, Canada and the UK (minus the deadly animals), and safer than the US. As you would anywhere though keep your wits about you, and don’t wander into any dark alleys alone at night. General safety precautions work well here to keep you out of trouble such as not leaving your valuables unattended.
New Zealanders are quite friendly so don’t be afraid to politely approach one if you get lost.
Where to Stay in New Zealand in Winter
- Budget: There aren’t any dorms I could recommend, have a look yourself by clicking here.
- Mid-range: Waldorf Bankside Apartments are great if you’re looking to save money as they include a kitchen and a laundry inside. They’re often under $100 a night and are close to the center of the city. See the latest prices here.
- Luxury: There are quite a few luxury hotels in Auckland and prices start relatively cheap around $200. My pick is the Skycity Grand Hotel which has an edgy vibe to it and is super close to restaurants and main sights (see pictures and prices here). Oh, and there’s a bath in the room!
- Budget: Dorset see more details here) is one of the higher rated dorms in Christchurch and is a good choice for backpackers. There’s a kitchen to help you save money, luggage storage and an airport shuttle you can book. Backpackers (
- Mid-range: City
- Luxury: Just outside the city center, Bellano Motel Suites is a good choice to relax after a day of sightseeing. The rooms have a dark decor and many offer a size-able spa bath. See prices and more details here.
- Budget: The YHA Queenstown Lakefront is the best spot for backpackers. Located on the lake and with rooms that have windows (seriously, why are there so many dorms in Queenstown without windows?), its affordable with pretty views. See prices here.
- Midrange: The Pinewood Lodge and Apartments has simple rooms for a decent price. There is a shared kitchen on the property to help you save on food. There aren’t too many choices for private rooms under $100 in Queenstown. Find more information here.
- Luxury: It’s really ahrd to pick a luxury option in Queenstown as this price range is where the town really shines. Obviously you’re going to want a room with a lakeview, and probably a balcony. The QT Queenstown is great if you want a nice tub and a good view (see prices), otherwise the Copthorne Hotel has a bigger balcony (seating area) without the bathtub (see deals).
All other cities in New Zealand
- For other cities I’d recommend checking prices at Booking.com.
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