Packing List for Summer in New Zealand© Pexels
Packing List for Summer in New Zealand

Packing List for SUMMER in New Zealand

© Pexels

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 25°C (77°F) and lows of 12°C (54°F).
  • South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 22°C (72°F) and lows of 10°C (50°F).

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 be fully booked very quickly, so be sure to book your trip as far in advance as possible in order to get your first choice. For more about the peak tourist seasons and the best time to travel, check out When is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?

Packing List for Summer in New Zealand©

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, therefore, saving more space in your suitcase for Whitakker’s chocolate to bring home. Either way, feel free to add them if you prefer.

Packing List for Summer in New Zealand© Unsplash

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
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Hair bobbles/bands
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Razor
  • Make-up
  • Q-tips
  • Tissues
  • 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 that all of the above (except prescriptions) can be bought in New Zealand supermarkets and pharmacies.

In Your First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, so be prepared with a small travel first-aid kit. Take it in your day pack.

  • Plasters/bandaids
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Gauzes with clips/tape
  • Tweezers
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Paracetamol/ibuprofen
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antihistamine.

For more stuff to stuff into your first aid kit, see our Health Tips For Travelling in New Zealand.

Packing List for Summer in New Zealand© unsplash


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.

If Camping or Staying in Huts

If you plan on camping in a tent:

  • Lightweight tent
  • Sleeping mat.

and/or staying in huts:

For ideas on what to pack for camping in a campervan, see the 10 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 guide, Backpack Vs Suitcase: Which Should You Take to New Zealand?

Make your day pack, i.e. the same one 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.

Packing List for SUMMER in New Zealand© Destination Queenstown

10 Final Tips for Packing for New Zealand in December, January and February

If there are only 10 things you’ll remember about packing for your trip to New Zealand in summer (December, January and February), make it these tips:

  1. Pack versatile outfits that can be mixed and matched throughout your trip.
  2. Consider the weather conditions in New Zealand during summer and pack accordingly.
  3. Bring a waterproof and windproof jacket as the weather can change quickly.
  4. Pack a mix of woollen and cotton socks for different activities.
  5. Don’t forget your hiking shoes and flip-flops for outdoor and indoor activities.
  6. Sunscreen and insect repellent are a must-have for protection from the sun and bugs.
  7. Pack a small first-aid kit with essentials like plasters, disinfectant wipes and painkillers.
  8. Bring a reusable water bottle as tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink.
  9. Pack a travel adapter, camera and chargers for your electronic devices.
  10. Consider whether you need a backpack or suitcase for your luggage, depending on your travel plans.

More About Summer and Packing Lists for New Zealand

That’s it for our packing list for summer in New Zealand. For more about preparing for New Zealand summer, as well as more packing tips, check out the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’ll find it in our FULL packing list, New Zealand Packing List: What to Pack for New Zealand.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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