The Complete Summer Packing List for New Zealand
Ah, summer! The purple lupins are out, the temperatures are soothing, and you can do just about every activity that’s on offer in New Zealand. But what should you pack for a summer trip to New Zealand? That’s easy! Just dive into this packing list for summer in New Zealand with items to tick off for all types of travellers.
About Summer in New Zealand
Summer in New Zealand is during the months of December, January and February. This is when New Zealand’s temperatures are at their mildest. Expect a good balance of sunny and cloudy days. Be prepared for rain at any point.
North Island Temperatures: Highs of around 25ºC (77ºF) and lows of 12ºC (54ºF).
South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 22ºC (72ºF) and lows of 10ºC (50ºF).
Note that the sun is harsh in New Zealand – it has some of the highest UV levels in the world. When the sun is out, it can feel very hot. When the clouds come in or night falls, however, it can feel much cooler so always have a warmer layer with you.
Summer is the most popular time to travel in New Zealand for both international tourists and locals. For this reason, it’s also when seasonal rates are at their highest. In addition, transport and accommodation can book up very quickly, so be sure to book your trip as far in advance as possible in order to get your first choice.
Summer Clothes for New Zealand
The key to packing for New Zealand summer is versatile outfits! Just a pair of hiking pants or leggings can see you the whole week while changing your tops when needed. As for the quantities of clothes, we recommend packing enough for almost a week. You’ll find laundry facilities in most accommodations.
The below list is per person, applying to every member of your group (or just yourself if travelling solo), including men, women and kids.
- 1 Leggings/sweatpants
- 1 Hiking pants
- 1 Shorts
- 6 Tops/T-shirts/singlets
- 1 Light long-sleeved top (protection from the sun)
- 1 Sweater/hoody/fleece/mid-layer
- 1 Waterproof and windproof jacket
- 6 Socks (a mix of woollen and cotton)
- 6 Underwear
- 2 Bras (if applicable)
- 1 Hiking shoes
- 1 Flip-flops
- 1 Swimwear
- 1 Suncap/sunhat
- 1 Sunglasses
The above list is the bare essentials for a summer trip in New Zealand. Some travellers might prefer to take an extra city outfit (jeans/sundress/shirt). However, you will not look too out of place wearing outdoor gear in a city – the New Zealand fashion sense is pretty relaxed.
Pyjamas were not included on this list, as you can always sleep in your sweatpants/leggings/shorts, tops or your undies. However, feel free to add them if you prefer.
Toiletries to Pack
We all have our own toiletry requirements and beauty regimes (or lack of one). Below are good things to remember but they won’t apply to everyone.
- Sunscreen (at least SPF 30)
- Insect repellent
- Aftersun moisturiser
- Hair bobbles/bands
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lenses/glasses
- Prescription medication
You may have noticed that we didn’t include soap in this list because it’s usually included in most accommodations except hostel dorms or campsites, so take some if you are staying in one of those.
Note all of the above (except prescriptions) can be bought in New Zealand supermarkets and pharmacies.
In Your First Ait Kit
Accidents can happen, so be prepared with a small travel first-aid kit. Take it in your day pack.
- Disinfectant wipes
- Gauzes with clips/tape
- Hand sanitiser
- Antiseptic cream
- Hydrocortisone cream
For more stuff to stuff into your first aid kit, see our Health Tips For Travelling in New Zealand.
And for all that extra stuff that doesn’t fit into a category, here are some other items to pack for New Zealand in summer.
- New Zealand travel adapter
- Electronic device chargers (extra batteries are a good idea)
- Driving license + IDP (if driving)
- Flight ticket + return ticket (or sufficient funds)
- Visa + supporting evidence (if required)
- New Zealand dollars (enough for the first few days)
- Credit/debit card
- Reusable water bottle/water bladder (tap water is safe)
- Food containers (if self-catering)
- Shopping bags (if self-catering)
- Travel towel (if camping or staying in hostel dorms)
- Travel games/entertainment (especially if travelling with kids)
If Camping or Staying in Huts
If you plan on camping in a tent:
- Lightweight tent
- Sleeping mat
and/or staying in huts:
- 4-Season sleeping bag
- Camping stove (get gas canisters in New Zealand)
- Camping cooking utensils.
For ideas on what to pack for camping in a campervan, see the 12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip and Camping Essentials Checklist for New Zealand.
Day Pack and Backpack/Suitcase
Finally, you need to pack it all in a suitable backpack or suitcase and day pack.
Everyone has an opinion on whether a backpack or a suitcase is better for New Zealand. A suitcase is often more convenient if travelling by car/campervan and with no intention of doing a multi-day hike. A large backpack, however, tends to be better using other transport means and if you plan on doing a lot of walking with it. Find a more in-depth comparison in our backpack vs. suitcase for New Zealand guide.
Make your day pack, i.e. the same one as you’ll use as your carry-on luggage, one that’s suitable for hiking, if that’s what you plan to do. Otherwise, a casual day pack will do just fine.