what to pack for new zealand in winter

What To Pack For New Zealand In Winter

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Winter in New Zealand is a beautiful time to visit. There isn’t really a bad time to visit though, but there is something extra special about snow-capped mountains and the crisp NZ air! It helps when you know what to pack for New Zealand first!

Go prepared with our ultimate New Zealand packing list for winter – for adults and kids!

New zealand packing list for winter

No doubt you are excited to be heading to New Zealand. And you should be! New Zealand is one of our favourite destinations in the world, with some of the most stunning landscapes, friendly locals and cultural traditions.

There are a few important things you won’t want to forget when packing for New Zealand in winter. We share our top packing tips and ultimate New Zealand packing list so you are organised for your adventure!

This New Zealand winter packing list includes what to pack for men, woman and some tips for what to pack for kids too. After all, NZ is a perfect family destination!

If you need more trip planning resources for New Zealand, check out our guide to how much travel in New Zealand costs and our collection of city guides and itineraries for NZ travel.

So here are our packing tips for New Zealand:

Top 5 Essentials To Pack For New Zealand Winter

  • Thermals – Thermals are essential for men, women & children to keep warm during NZ Winter by adding a non-bulky extra layer beneath your clothing.
  • Wind / Waterproof Jacket – Keep dry and avoid the chill factor of the New Zealand wind with a quality windproof & waterproof jacket. Here are some great options: male, female, children.
  • Scarf – Keep your neck warm with a scarf or neck warmer to stop the chill around the collar.
  • Beanie – Keep your head and ears warm with a quality woollen beanie. A lined beanie will help protect against the wind chill.
  • Sneakers – For everyday wear and nature walks, a pair of comfortable sneakers are essential for your NZ winter packing list!
What To Pack For New Zealand In Winter for families

Tips For Packing For New Zealand

There are a few things to consider before you start packing for your trip to New Zealand:

  • Where in New Zealand you are going
  • What type of trip you are doing
  • How much walking you will be doing during your stay
  • The type of activities you are planning

Winter In New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand is between June and August with the shoulder months on either side being somewhat cold too.

The weather can be quite unpredictable all year round, so even visiting in the warmer months, you will want to be prepared for a few cold or wet days too!

If snow sports and winter activities are high on your list of priorities, July and August are the best months to visit New Zealand.

The temperatures can differ significantly between the North and South Islands during the different seasons. This is something to keep in mind when packing.

New zealand winter packing list in snow at snow farm

Average annual temperatures for Auckland:

  • Winter (June to August) – 12 to 16 degrees Celsius
  • Spring ( September to November) – 16 to 19 degrees Celsius
  • Summer ( December to February) – 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
  • Autumn ( March to May) – 17 to 21 degrees Celsius

Average annual temperatures for Queenstown:

  • Winter (June to August) – 3 to 5 degrees Celsius
  • Spring ( September to November) – 7 to 12 degrees Celsius
  • Summer ( December to February) – 14 to 15 degrees Celsius
  • Autumn ( March to May) – 7 to 13 degrees Celsius

kids in winter gear for new zealand

What Type Of Trip Are You Taking?

There are so many great ways to explore New Zealand, such as taking a road trip around one island (or both), by car or by campervan. Or simply spend a few days exploring one city or region.

The type of trip you are taking will influence the type of items you need to pack since what you need for hiking mountain trails is certainly different from an Auckland city break.

If you are planning any winter sports, such as skiing or snowboarding, you need to consider packing extra equipment or whether you will be hiring it when you arrive.

We haven’t added these items to our packing list for this reason.

The Best Luggage For New Zealand Travel

The type of trip are taking will also impact the best luggage options for your New Zealand travel. While a suitcase is the typical top pick for most of us, this is not always the best option.

For a fly in fly out city break, you may be able to fit everything you need in cabin bags. However, bringing heavy winter clothing makes it more likely you will want checked baggage.

For campervan or road trips around New Zealand, soft bags will make your time much easier! While some motor homes substantial storage in the rear (such as the Outback 4 we hired), many do not and you want to make sure you have the most space to move around.

Use packing cubes to organise your belongings and keep them in the campervan storage compartments. Then you can fold down your soft bags in the storage compartment until it’s time to repack.

If you are going hiking, a backpack is essential so you can wear it comfortably on your back during your hike.

Click on links for prices: Samsonite Duffel Bag | Packing cubes | Hiking Backpack

Don’t Forget These Travel Essentials

  • Passport – Make sure you have at least 6 months remaining on your passport before expiry. Scan a copy of your passport and save in your email or cloud storage just in case.
  • Visa – Check the Visa requirements for travelling to New Zealand before you go. If a Visa is required, you can apply online before you leave.
  • Insurance – Don’t risk not having an insurance policy in place. Especially if you have plans for hiring a vehicle or participating in outdoor activities.

We recommend World Nomads travel insurance for peace of mind. Plus you can claim online if anything does go wrong.

  • Travel Documentation – Booking confirmations, itineraries and any printed tickets you need. Scan a copy of each that you can access online from anywhere.
  • Money – There are many options for international spending money now. Travel cards are a good option and work like ATM/credit cards globally. We now use our everyday accounts as it has free international transfer fees and can be used anywhere.
  • Wallet – Downsize to a smaller purse or wallet, only taking essentials. Leave the rest at home. We always start our trip with a little local currency in cash too.
  • Medication/Prescriptions – Don’t forget your essential medications and prescriptions. You may need a letter from your doctor if carrying certain prescription medication.
  • Mobile Phone – Make sure you activate international roaming if you plan to use your phone overseas. Don’t forget your charger!
  • Portable WIFI/International Sim Card – Rather than expensive mobile phone roaming charges, we often travel with a portable WIFI device, such as Skyroam. This way we can use social media to stay connected with family and friends.

USE COUPON “FOURAROUNDTHEWORLD” TO SAVE 15% ON SKYROAM.

Winter In New Zealand Packing List

This New Zealand packing list is of course for both men and women, so disregard anything that isn’t relevant.

As a rule of thumb for quantities, less is best, so choose a few items that mix and match well and create your own capsule wardrobe.

The type of facilities available will also impact on quantities if you have access to a washing machine and dryer.

  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Short sleeved shirts
  • Thermals
  • Scarf
  • Beanie
  • Sneakers/walking shoes
  • Flip flops (jandals if you want to talk like a local)

Click on links for prices: Fleece jacket | Convertible gloves | Women’s snow boots

Toiletries To Pack

For shorter trips or products we use less of, we try and take travel-sized versions of our toiletries. Sometimes this means putting them in travel containers ourselves.

Keep liquids in zip lock bags to avoid leaks.

Tip: Choose a hanging toiletry bag for road trip/camping holidays so you can hang it from a hook in holiday park showers.

  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste / floss
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail file / scissors
  • Razor
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • First aid kit
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Hair brush / comb
  • Hair bands
  • Insect repellent
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Moisturiser
  • Make-up
  • Tissues
  • Paracetamol

Click on links for prices: Travel bottles | Hanging toiletry bag

New Zealand Packing List For Kids

This list is aimed to be a rough guide of what to pack for your kids for New Zealand. When travelling with children of different ages, you will need to adjust items and quantities accordingly.

For babies, you will be able to easily stock up on essentials while travelling New Zealand. Otherwise, don’t forget to pack enough nappies, baby food, wipes and formula for your trip.

Other items you may require for visiting New Zealand with kids is a stroller. We love the compact Mountain Buggy Nano stroller for travel. A car seat or baby capsule and portable high chair may also be on your packing list.

If you are hitting the snow and want to keep hire costs down, be sure to get a waterproof and windproof snowsuit or jacket and comfortable snow boots.

  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Short sleeved shirts
  • Thermals
  • Scarf
  • Beanie
  • Sneakers/walking shoes
  • Flip flops

Click on links for prices: Kids Snow Suit |Toddler Snow Boots | Kids Ski Jacket

Tech & Entertainment

We aim to pack light when we travel with kids, yet a bit of entertainment while on the move is essential for keeping everyone content.

If you have roaming WiFi, you can use your phone or tablet into an entertainment hub with Kindle books, podcasts, audiobooks, streaming services and apps to keep you entertained and connected to home.

Here are the top tech essentials to add to your New Zealand packing list:

  • iPad/laptop – We always travel with an iPad as it doubles as a TV, book and allows us to manage the blog on the go too.
  • Camera & accessories – Phones are getting pretty good at photos but sometimes you want to take it up a level with a camera.

We travel with a Nikon DSLR camera, a GoPro Action camera and a gimbal smartphone stabilizer for capturing travel photos and video.

  • Portable charger – Don’t get caught out with a dead phone battery while out and about. We never travel without a portable battery pack.
  • Adapter – Unless you are travelling from Australia, you will need a travel adapter to use your electronic devices in New Zealand. New Zealand uses the 2 angled pins, sometimes with a 3rd pin.
  • Travel activities for kids – Check out our travel activity packs for ideas on putting together your own fun kits for the kids.

Click on links for prices: Portable charger | Travel adapter

What You Don’t Need

Packing light is something I am pretty good at these days. Trust me, travelling with kids will motivate you to carry as little as you can while in transit.

There are a few bulky things you can definitely do without!

  • Guidebooks – Read them before you go or download digital versions instead so you can read them on your tablet or phone instead.
  • Novels – Just like with the guidebooks switch to digital books or audiobooks instead.
  • Expensive jewellery – Leave your valuables at home in a safe place to minimise the risk of loss or theft.
  • Hairdryer/Straightener – Most hotels and holiday park bathrooms will have hair dryers. Save room and weight in your bag by leaving them at home.
  • Big, noisy or messy toys – If travelling with kids, stick with small activities and nothing heavy.

We hope now you have a clear idea of what to pack for New Zealand in winter… and for any time of the year!

Planning to camp in New Zealand? Check out our camping with kids checklist too.

What To Pack For New Zealand In Winter

If you are still planning your trip, check out our favourite booking resources below:

  • Book your flights – We use Skyscanner to research and book flights. You can set up a price alert for your travel dates, plus it compares most major airlines in one place.
  • Book your Accommodation – We use Booking.com or Hotels Combined to book most of our hotel accommodation when we travel.
  • Book your tours & attractions – Our favourite attraction and tour booking services are Get Your Guide and Viator. Booking ahead will mean you don’t miss out on popular tours!

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Click here for more information

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