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11 Things I Am Glad I Packed for New Zealand

beautiful views of New Zealand

The following is a guest post by Charlotte Watson. See all packing list posts here.

Before packing for a 2 and a half week trip to New Zealand in December, I made sure to check The Ultimate Travel Pack list for NZ. Below is my list of the 11 things I am most glad that I packed, some of them are very obvious, but others might not be!

1 / 2. Sunglasses and Suntan lotion

It is really bright in New Zealand, with a very strong sun. I wore my sunglasses almost all the time on my trip and put a UV filter on my camera. The sun is also deceptively strong; I got burnt on our first day! We upgraded from our factor 15 to a factor 30 sunscreen whilst we were there. Ensure that you wear it even if it doesn’t feel that hot, or better yet, get some in your moisturiser to protect yourself.

3. Insect Repellent

The only thing I didn’t like about New Zealand was the so called ‘Sand Flies’. These aren’t actually sand flies, rather black flies that are very aggressive! Out in Fjordland particularly, they are relentless. They didn’t seem to be so bad in the towns, but I still wore bug repellent everyday. I would recommend taking some Deet with you, and buying some black fly repellent whilst you’re there.

>> Grab some fly repellent on Amazon.

pack for New Zealand - Need a camera for places like this -- Lake Mattheson
Need a camera for places like this — Lake Mattheson.

4. A Good Camera

The scenery in New Zealand is spectacular. Each time you turn a corner there is a breathtaking view that you want to capture on film. Whilst none of my photos will ever be as good as the actual view, I am glad that I took my SLR camera with telephoto and wide angle lenses to get the best photos I could. I ended up taking over 2000 photos whilst I was there. Remember to take a charger and spare memory cards. If you can, I would also take a laptop or tablet to download your photos every few days.

>>Check out our round-up of photography gear for travel.

5. A Good Pair of Trainers or Walking Shoes

They may not look so good with jeans or dresses, but trainers are functional. My running shoes and a good pair of Havianas were my go-to shoes whilst on holiday. We did a lot of walking over different terrains on our trip so I kept my trainers in the car to make sure they were there for any impromptu walks. The main thing about your footwear is that it should be comfortable and sturdy.

6 / 7. A Lightweight Waterproof Jacket and a Sweater

The weather can be very changeable, even in the summer. It can be raining in the morning, warm in the middle of the day and rather chilly in the late afternoon. Make sure you take a waterproof jacket and sweater with you at all times to ensure you don’t get caught short. You could purchase a Kiwi rugby shirt whilst in NZ like we did, or a cardigan or hoodie will do just fine.

8. Capri Leggings

It might sound very specific, but I wore my capri leggings a lot while travelling. They were comfortable for long car journeys, flexible for walking and activities, plus they were great for the changeable weather.

>>Take a look at more great travel pants for women.

bungy jumping in new zealand
Bungy jumping in New Zealand – you want the right clothing for that!

9. A Sports Bra

Or sporty gear in general. There are plenty adrenaline sports on offer from Bungy Jumping (like in Queenstown) and Skydiving, to Mountain Biking and Shotover Boating. As someone who is rather well endowed, I was glad that I felt secure whilst jumping off a 47ft platform…

10. An ID

We discovered that they are quite strict with ID in New Zealand, and not many places will accept a foreign driver’s license. Unfortunately we learnt this the hard way after a long walk around Lake Wanaka to a vineyard, only to find out that we couldn’t partake in the wine tasting without our ID, even though we were 24 and 25 years old! My advice would be to carry your ID with you at all times, (your passport if you feel comfortable enough to), you never know when you’ll come across a vineyard.

11. Money… a lot of it

I would recommend saving more money than you think you’ll need for your trip. Things are expensive in New Zealand, particularly activities such as Skydiving and Bungy Jumping, and petrol. You can get some good deals on food, but you will want to make the most of the amazing local produce on offer. As in most places, there is accommodation offered for a range of budgets, but make sure you look (and book) in advance; things are busy in the Summer season. In fact, that goes for most things that you want to do on your trip, if you’re going in the busy season, book in advance to avoid missing out!

>>Check out how one traveler visited New Zealand for 6 months with just 3000 euros.

Have a great trip. It will be hectic especially if you aren’t there for too long. Make the most of it, do everything you want to do, and enjoy one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

>> Be sure to also check out our ultimate packing list for New Zealand in winter (that’s opposite to the Northern Hemisphere by the way).

About the Author: I’m Charlie Watson; I’m in my early (ish) twenties, live in London and blog at The Runner Beans about trying to get healthy, keep fit, train for a marathon/half marathon, explore London and maintain a social life! I love food and travel, and combining the two! Follow me on twitter @charliedwatson and instagram with the same name!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Budget Travel Blog says

    Hi Charlie.

    They’re some great tips – I’m a Kiwi and take lots of this stuff for granted, so next time someone asks what to pack when visiting NZ I’m sending them here!

    Your last two points are so true! Kiwi bar staff are really anal when it comes to checking IDs (if they sell an underaged person alcohol it’s a $5000 fine to the staff member and $20,000 to the venue). And it is *insanely* expensive here for virtually everything. A current affairs show did a comparison just this week and found it is NZ$70 cheaper to buy an identical list of groceries in London than it is to buy in Auckland!


  2. Gemma says

    I would totally agree on the sports bra bungy jumping thing. I thought I was being clever wearing a bikini to get dunked at taupo and ended up flashing the guy in the boat who collects you after. Not cool :-p

  3. Catherine says

    You can buy a very efficient and natural insect repellent called “Goodbye Sandfly” here in local supermarkets. I’m allergic to citronella, and a natural mosie and sandfly magnet, but have been relying on this product both here in NZ and on my travels to Bali. A plus is that it smells wonderful!

  4. Bronica says

    We found the ‘Pocket it’ rain jacket from Kathmandu invaluable. Squished down into its own pocket and fit into our daypack nicely. Saved us from many a drenching :). Forgot to keep my passport on me and got asked for ID buying alcohol at a Pak n Save. Pfft, at 27 I’ll take it as a compliment haha


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