Don’t Leave for New Zealand Without Packing These 4 Things

January 18, 2024   11 Comments »

I could hear him talking, but my mind kept going elsewhere thanks to my intense jetlag. My eyelids felt heavy and locked shut like magnets; I had just arrived after 24 hours of long flights. Then something about an ozone hole rang through my brain and jolted my eyelids back open. Craig was telling me why I needed to wear sunscreen in New Zealand, but the only thing on my mind was sleep, not sunshine. And all I really heard was “Blah, blah ozone. Blah sunscreen blah”

No matter how hard you fight it, jetlag eventually takes over and you can fall asleep in the middle of a completely normal conversation, like this one. The next day Lindsey and I took the ferry to Devonport, and before I knew it I was sunburned. Suddenly the warnings Craig was trying to give my jet-lagged mind were coming back to me…a few minutes too late.

This was the first lesson I learned about what should have been on my New Zealand packing list. Sunscreen was just one of the items I should have packed when I came to New Zealand, but it wasn’t the last. Here are the most important things you should include when planning and packing for a trip to New Zealand.

Check out my hiking packing list – essential gear for any hike

New Zealand Packing Essentials

1. Pack Sun Protection

No doubt within the first few days of being in NZ someone will tell you the tale of the missing Ozone layer. It might sound like a tall tale, but it’s true. There is a hole in the ozone layer around New Zealand. The thickness of the ozone layer is significant because ozone absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, acting as a filter against sunburn and other damage.

Sure, you can buy sunscreen in New Zealand like I did; however, it will cost you. I had to spend $20 NZ for a small little bottle. So save some money and bring stuff from home, and bring lots of it! It should be a minimum of SPF30.

Women Owned
Olita Tinted Mineral SPF30 Sunscreen Lotion
$19.99 ($6.66 / Fl Oz)

Golden amber tint ensures you don't have a white pasty look of mineral sunscreen!

Reef safe, fragrance free, With all-natural, ingredients, and zinc oxide as the active ingredient, you can feel confident in your daily skin protection. Women owned.

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03/04/2024 02:47 pm GMT

2. Pack a Hat for New Zealand …or Two

Don’t forget sunglasses and a good hat for sun protection! I use and love Wallaroo Hats. They have SPF in their hats! In fact, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the material of every Wallaroo hat with a UPF rating and a 3+ inch brim as an effective UV protectant. Plus – they have tons of fashionable choices to choose from! My favorite for adventures is the Cabo because it has a chin strap.

Favorite Brand - Woman Owned
Wallaroo Hats

I love all of their styles and normally always have at least 2 of their different hats with me on every trip I take! All of their styles offer superb sun protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the material of every Wallaroo hat with a UPF rating and a 3+ inch brim as an effective UV protectant. Plus - they have so many fashionable styles!

Use my Discount code, OTTSWORLD20, for an extra 20% regular priced items!

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3. Be Prepared for Pesky Bugs – Lots of Them

Why do bugs love me so much?! There’s a lot of water in New Zealand; lakes, rivers, and oceans abound. And so do the bugs. Hence make sure bug spray is on your New Zealand packing list.

“New Zealand is the generous home to one of the nastiest, most incorrigible, maddeningly annoying bloodsucking insect pests that lives. Called sandflies in common practice and roughly resembling gnats, these vampires of the genus Austrosimulium live throughout the islands.”

Smithsonian Magazine

At Lake Rotaroa the sandflies swarmed me as soon as I got out of the vehicle! I also had a gaggle of mosquitos (or mozzies as they are called in New Zealand) wage an attack on me at dinner one night in Nelson.

There are a bunch of remedies out there for pesky bugs ranging from the toxic to the bizarre, but I normally just stick to a spray with a high percentage of DEET and wear the right clothes (see below!) If you want you can also try natural remedies, garlic, and some even say Marmite also works (I’m not sure if you are to rub it on your skin or eat it…both are pretty gross!).

Ben's 30 DEET Tick and Insect Repellent
$19.97 ($5.33 / Fl Oz )

1.25 oz (Pack of 3 )

This is my preferred insect repellent. It does have 30% DEET in it so it's rather strong - but that's how I like my bug repellent!

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03/02/2024 06:47 am GMT

Whatever your weapon of choice is, bring it from your home as bug spray is also very expensive to buy in New Zealand.

4. Bring Layers that are High Quality

I’ve been to New Zealand in the heart of summer (Dec/Jan) and in the Spring (Oct/Nov) – and both were still equally chilly! Go ahead and look at a globe; New Zealand is pretty far south, so it’s never going to be super hot. Cold fronts move in quickly, you have to be prepared for sudden changes in weather – especially if you are doing outdoor adventure travel in New Zealand like me!

New Zealand weather

Learn more about New Zealand Weather

Pack layers, the temperature changes rapidly from hour to hour. Once the sun goes down, even in the summer, you’ll want to be prepared with some warmer clothes. I always pack a t-shirt or tank under-layer, a thermal pullover, and a jacket with me at all times.

Layering System for Warmth, Wind, and Rain in New Zealand

This is my normal layering system for any kind of outdoor activity where the temperatures are volatile like in New Zealand!

  1. MARMOT Scree Pant Women's Black
    $122.00

    These make great winter hiking pants. They're heavier, with fleece pockets, stretchy, and great for snowshoeing. I consider them midlayer pants offering extreme water repellent, stretchiness, softness, and packability - Yay! I have multiple pairs!

    Buy Now

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    03/02/2024 10:32 am GMT
  2. Krimson Klover Bridger Base Layer Top - Women's Blue, Small Top
    $119.00

    This seamless top is a perfect high-performance base layer for your winter adventures from sunrise to sunset!

    Buy Now

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    03/02/2024 08:17 pm GMT
  3. Marmot EVODry Torreys Jacket
    $250.00

    Great for a wind and rain barrier as a top layer for your adventures. EVODry Torreys Jacket offers the weather protection you need for unpredictable days and the lightweight breathability you want in a high-performance shell. I always have it with me in my pack.

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  4. Fjallraven Expedition Pack Down Hoodie
    $264.95

    A great top layer for winter months. Perfect for snow shoeing and winter travel. Plenty of pockets and a great hood with fleece lining that is soft on your face.

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    03/04/2024 10:47 pm GMT
  5. Ultra-Lightweight Liner Socks
    $11.42

    A base layer for sock layering. WICK Dry technology quickly draws moisture away from your skin so your feet stay dry and comfortable. Removing the moisture build up reduces hot spots and friction that causes blisters

    Buy Now

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    03/04/2024 09:02 pm GMT
  6. The North Face TKA Glacier Snap-Neck Pullover

    The North Face TKA Glacier Snap-Neck pullover for women keeps you comfy and covered in lightweight, tone-on-tone recycled fleece.

    Buy Now

    I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  7. The North Face Freedom Insulated Snow Pants
    $169.00 vsx1q

    A great outer layer for extreme cold environments. Seam-sealed 2-layer DryVent™ fabric provides waterproof/breathable protection from the elements

    Buy Now

    I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

More of My Recommended Gear for New Zealand

Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the rain; pack rain gear! New Zealand is the type of country that you want to spend your time outside, and it’s also a country that gets quite a bit of rain. So make sure you are prepared – rain pants and a jacket are really necessary items! Conditions vary from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and subtropical in Northland.

See my Essential Hiking Gear List
See my Rain Gear Packing List

New zealand packing
Layers are essential in New Zealand

How to find Gear that Does it All for New Zealand!

Or you can tick all three of these things off by packing the right travel clothing! The Exoffico travel clothing line that I love has special Bugs Away clothing, and Sun Guard Clothing with SPF 30+ in it already, and it is great for warmth and layering! And bonus – they all dry super fast! Here are a few favorites of what is included in our packing for New Zealand travels.

Finally, Pack an Adventurous Spirit for New Zealand

Don’t forget to pack a positive attitude and use the word “YES!” a lot! New Zealand is full of adventures and experiences if you are open to trying new things.

Disclosure:

Exofficio provided me some clothes to try out on this trip.  However I’ve been an Exofficio wearer for a long time now and all of my opinions here are my own!

This list contains some affiliate links. If you choose to purchase items through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the costs of running this site


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