New Zealand Packing List: Travel Essentials for North and South Island

person looking at snow covered mountain
Photo by Tim Grundtner on

Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? New Zealand is a land of breathtaking natural beauty, known for its rugged mountains, lush rainforests, and crystal-clear lakes. Whether you’re planning to hike the Milford Track, explore the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua or take a scenic drive along the West Coast Road, New Zealand is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. But packing for a New Zealand adventure can be tricky, as the weather can be unpredictable and you’ll need to be prepared for both cold and wet conditions. In this blog post, we’ll provide a detailed packing list that will help you navigate the challenges of packing for a New Zealand adventure.

Explore our recommended gear and items by clicking on the linked words and phrases below, to ensure you have everything you need for your next trip.

Quick Jumps

Know Before You Go

  1. Currency: The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
  2. Customs and traditions: New Zealand has a rich culture with a strong Māori influence. Visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as removing shoes before entering a Marae(Māori meeting place) and not taking anything from the natural environment.
  3. Language: The official languages of New Zealand are English and Māori.
  4. Food: New Zealand has a diverse culinary scene, with a mix of traditional British and Māori cuisine. Fish and chips, meat pies, and pavlova are popular dishes. The country also has an emerging wine industry and the famous New Zealand green-lipped mussels.
  5. Natural Disasters: New Zealand is located in an active seismic zone, and earthquakes can occur. Visitors should also be aware of the risk of volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.
  6. Outdoor Activities: New Zealand is known for its outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, and water sports. Visitors should also take time to appreciate the unique natural environment, including the native forests, mountains, and wildlife.
  7. Safety: New Zealand is generally considered a safe destination, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take care when participating in adventure activities such as hiking or skiing.
  8. Tipping: Tipping is not expected in New Zealand, but rounding up to the nearest dollar for good service is appreciated.
  9. Transportation: New Zealand has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses, trains, and ferries. Rental cars and campervans are also a popular way to explore the country.
  10. Transportation: New Zealand has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses, trains, and ferries. Rental cars and campervans are also a popular way to explore the country.
  11. Weather: New Zealand has a temperate maritime climate, but the weather can be unpredictable. It’s best to be prepared for all types of weather, including rain, wind, and sun.
  12. : Citizens of most European countries, as well as Canada, Australia, and the United States, do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.


  • Comfortable and versatile clothing for varying weather conditions such as a jacket, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • A light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers.
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho for unexpected rain.
  • Warm layers such as a fleece or thermal tops for colder temperatures.
  • Quick-drying clothing and swimwear for water activities.

Gear and Accessories

  • A small backpack or waist pack to carry essentials for the day or shorter excursions.
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or sneakers for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
  • Hiking gear such as a backpack, hiking poles, and a small first aid kit for outdoor activities.
  • A pair of waterproof hiking boots or shoes for outdoor activities such as hiking or camping.
  • Sandals or flip-flops for the beach and relaxing.
  • Portable travel pillow for a comfortable sleep on long flights or train rides – preferably one that folds up for easy transportation.
  • A small flashlight, or headlamp in case of power outages


  • Camera to capture all the stunning views and memories of your trip.
  • Phone charger to keep your phone charged during the day.
  • Portable phone charger to ensure you have a backup option.
  • Power adapter to charge your electronics as the outlets in New Zealand are different from the ones in the US.
  • Headphones to listen to music or podcasts while on the go.
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated during the hot weather.

Toiletries and Medication

  • Sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful rays.
  • Insect repellent to keep mosquitoes and other pests away.
  • Basic first aid kit including band-aids, painkillers, and any necessary medication.
  • Travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to save space in your luggage.

Travel Documents

  • New Zealand Travel guidebook or app to navigate your way around the city.
  • Passport, as it is a requirement to enter New Zealand.
  • Travel insurance documents to ensure you’re covered in case of any unexpected events.
  • Cash and credit cards for easy payment during your trip.
  • Copy of important documents such as your passport, insurance, and flight itinerary.
  • Travel visa if required

As you pack for your trip to New Zealand, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, so pack versatile clothing and a waterproof jacket or poncho in case of unexpected rain. Also, bring comfortable walking shoes or sneakers and hiking boots or shoes for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Remember to also pack any necessary documents, such as your passport and travel insurance documents. With this travel packing list, you’ll be sure to have a memorable and comfortable trip to New Zealand. Don’t forget to also pack a sense of adventure and an open mind, as New Zealand is rich in culture, history, and natural beauty, you will have the time of your life.

Pack Right, Travel Well!

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