We're big fans of travelling light. It makes everything easier - getting to or from the airport, into your accommodation and around New Zealand. When planning for your New Zealand trip, be sure you don't overpack, and only bring the essentials.
Over on the What to Bring page, we detail a bit more about what you should be considering when packing for your once in a lifetime New Zealand adventure.
This Ultimate New Zealand Packing List isn't designed to be an entire and complete list of things you need for your trip. Rather, they're 7 specific items relevant to a New Zealand holiday that we think you shouldn't leave home without.
1) Layers of Merino Wool
As you're coming to New Zealand, the home of millions of sheep that produce tons and tons of wool, it's only right that you'd come with some Merino - one of our finest exports. When a lot of people think wool, they think of the itchy, scratchy sweaters they had to wear when growing up. Merino is different.
It's an ultrafine and consequently ultrasoft wool. Merino fibers are extremely fine, which enables them to bend far more than traditional, coarser wool fibers. This makes Merino wool feel soft and luxuriously gentle next to your skin.
This is important, but equally important (and especially if you're packing light!) is merino wool can absorb moisture vapor which means less sweat on your body. Merino wool even absorbs the odors from sweat, which are then released during washing. This results in an odor free shirt, or sweatshirt(or underwear!) that can be worn for days before it starts to smell.
It's also super breathable, so you can wear it on hot or cold days and be very comfortable. Perfect for New Zealand, as it's common to see four seasons in a day, regardless of the time of year.
As we've just mentioned you can see many seasons in one day, you should be prepared for any type of weather. Even in the middle of summer, it can get cold overnight, and especially on the South Island.
As a result, we suggest brining a lightweight down jacket you can stuff in your suitcase or backpack for cold days or cool nights. We wear the Montane Featherlite Down Jacket when we're out exploring our backyard in Queenstown.
3) GoPro to Capture Your Adventures
Even if you're not planning on doing a bungy jump or a skydive (and you should, New Zealand is the home of adventure tourism after all), having a waterproof action camera will be great for capturing memories from your New Zealand adventure. Even if you don't fancy yourself a photographer, the GoPro Hero 5 is the perfect choice for your trip. You can capture videos from your adventure sports, or even if you don't jump off any bridges or out of any planes, the GoPro takes incredible photographs. And most importantly, it's super small and super light.
You'll want to pack some high SPF sunscreen as the sun is extremely strong in New Zealand as a result of a hole in the ozone layer. You'll want to lather up even on cloudy days (really). Odds favor it being cheaper in your home country, so if you're checking your bag bring some from home.
5) Universal Travel Adapter
If you're a seasoned world traveller, odds favor you having an adapter to allow you to plug your electronics into various power points around the world. If not, you'll want to be sure you invest in one before setting off on your trip to New Zealand.
There's nothing worse than arriving at your hotel on the first evening, only to find you can't recharge your phone, or iPod or Kindle. The Skross Pro + USB adapter can be used in over 150 countries around the world, including New Zealand. It also has a couple USB ports so you can charge up multiple devices at one time.
Being an island nation, New Zealand has a maritime climate and with this comes a pretty good likelihood you'll encounter some rain whilst on your vacation. Don't let this ruin your plans, and be sure you bring a lightweight and breathable rain jacket for your adventures around the North or South Island. We love the North Face Venture Jacket, great for windy Wellington days.
7) Hiking Boots or Shoes
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you'll want to arrive in New Zealand with a comfortable pair of sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Even if you don't plan on walking the Routeburn Track, you'll almost inevitably be doing quite a bit of walking in New Zealand.
Whether that's along the waterfront in Wellington, up Bob's Peak in Queenstown or on one of our miles and miles of pristine hiking trails, you're bound to be on your feet a lot. There's nothing more important than a comfortable pair of shoes on your feet, so be sure you arrive with some worn in and ready for your adventure. We wear Scarpa on our New Zealand adventures.