The Complete Winter Packing List for New Zealand
There’s no such thing as bad weather; just bad gear! Well, with this packing list for winter in New Zealand you certainly won’t be underprepared. We’ve listed items that anyone travelling to New Zealand in winter, from backpackers to families, should pack in their bags.
About Winter in New Zealand
Winter in New Zealand is during the months of June, July and August. Snow falls in mountainous regions, such as the centre of the North Island and South Island, while it occasionally rains everywhere else. That’s not to say that winter doesn’t get its fair share of sunshine too.
North Island Temperatures: Highs of around 14ºC (57ºF) or more, and lows of 2ºC (36ºF).
South Island Temperatures: Highs of around 13ºC (55ºF) and lows of -3ºC (27ºF).
Winter is also the least popular time to travel around New Zealand, except to go to the ski fields. For this reason, you’ll find the best travel deals and quieter attractions during this season.
Winter Clothes for New Zealand
The key here is to pack versatile outfits so that you pack less but are prepared for anything. We recommend packing enough clothes for almost a week. If you’re staying in New Zealand longer, use the laundry facilities, which are available at 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 Sweater/hoody/fleece/mid-layer
- 1 Thermal underlayer (top and/or bottoms)
- 1 Warm, waterproof and windproof jacket
- 6 Tops/T-shirts
- 6 Socks (preferably woollen)
- 6 Underwear
- 2 Bras (if applicable)
- 1 Hiking shoes
- 1 Flip-flops
- 1 Swimwear (hot pools, baby!)
- 1 Beenie
- 1 Scarf/neck warmer
- 1 Sunglasses
The above list is the bare essentials for a winter trip in New Zealand. However, some travellers might prefer to take extra pairs of thermal underlayers and mid-layers if they have room. Pyjamas were not included on this list, as you can always sleep in your sweatpants/leggings and tops or underlayers. 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.
- Hair bobbles/bands
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lenses/glasses
- Sunscreen (yes, really)
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.
In Your First Ait Kit
Accidents can happen, so be prepared with a small travel first-aid kit. Take it in your day pack.
- Prescription medication
- Disinfectant wipes
- Gauzes with clips/tape
- Hand sanitiser
- Antiseptic cream
- Hydrocortisone cream
For more stuff to stuff in your first aid kit, see our Health Tips For Travelling in New Zealand.
And for all those annoying things that don’t fit into a category, here are some other items to pack for New Zealand in winter.
- 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)
- Credit/debit card
- New Zealand dollars (enough for the first few days)
- 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 more tips on camping in winter, see How to Stay Warm When Camping in New Zealand 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. Whether you choose to travel with a backpack or suitcase depends on what style of travel you are doing in New Zealand. Make your day pack one that’s suitable for hiking, if that’s what you plan to do. Otherwise, a casual day pack will do just fine.