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So you have booked your New Zealand walking holiday and are looking forward to the trip of a lifetime, great news! Depending on when you travel, your next step may well be to start thinking about packing. If this is the first time for you to travel to New Zealand you are bound to have questions about what to bring, to help you prepare for an active New Zealand outdoor holiday we have put together this simple guide.
Getting ready for your New Zealand Trails walking tour - General Tips:
Dress Code: New Zealand is typically an informal place, so bring plenty of comfortable, casual clothes. Most bars and restaurants do have a dress code, but, again, this is commonly just smart casual. Men are generally not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the top formal bars and restaurants in major cities. If you read a sign saying: “No thongs” don’t panic - it’s another word for flip-flops, jandals, pita-patas etc, depending where you are from. As a basic rule of thumb ‘Smart Casual’ will suffice for most of the places you wish to visit.
General guideline: Clothing should be lightweight, hard-wearing and easily washed. Almost everyone brings too many clothes, so try to travel as light as possible. If you are travelling in high summer months (January to March) we recommend that you take loose fitting clothing, preferably made of cotton, as this will help you to keep cool. Bear in mind in New Zealand you can experience 4 seasons in 1 day!
Getting ready for your New Zealand walking holiday - Suggested Packing List:
- A good waterproof rain jacket and pants (Gore-tex or similar)
- Polar Tec or similar windproof fleece jacket / sweater
- Non-cotton base layers (top and bottom); choose fabrics such as polypropylene, Capilene or Thermax. We use and recommend Merino wool.
- 1 pair hiking boots or strong walking shoes (waterproof, with ankle support)
- 2 pairs thick walking socks
- Short sleeved shirts (quick dry material)
- Long sleeved shirts (quick dry material)
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sunhat / cap
- Lightweight, quick dry long pants (or shorts if you prefer)
- Mid sized backpack
- Water bottle or camelback
- Dry bag for clothes / valuables
- Walking poles
- 1 pair jeans or other casual trousers
- 2 pairs shorts (or a skirt)
- 3-4 Shirts (think layering for colder days; quick-dry clothes are best)
- 2 button up front long sleeve shirts
- 1 sleep shirt & sleep shorts (or whatever you sleep in)
- 1 light sweat shirt or long-sleeve t-shirt
- 1 swimming suit
- 4-5 pairs socks both thin and thick
- 1 pair sport sandals (like Tevas)
- 1 or 2 changes of smart casual clothing for restaurant dining
- Motion sickness tablets (if you require them)
- Insect repellent (with Deet)
- Medications and copies of prescriptions
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Current converter and outlet adapter
- Travel alarm clock or watch with alarm
- Spare bootlaces
- Camera and spare memory cards
Keeping Warm: We visit alpine regions on our walking tours and can encounter cold weather any time of the year - the best way to beat the cold is by wearing two or three thin layers of clothing, rather than one thick layer. Air trapped between layers becomes warmed by the body and instant insulation from the effects of cold is created. Keeping dry also plays an important role in beating back the effects of cold. Finally, it is important to have the proper covering for head, hands and feet. As a general rule, wool, silk and synthetic fabrics are recommended as they trap air better than cotton. These items are available in a wide range of clothing articles in soft, stretchy, water- and wind-resistant fabrics. Jerseys, camisoles and underwear help “wick” moisture away from your body and can act as your first layer. For your second layer, you might want a sweater. A third layer, if necessary, may be a cardigan-type jacket made of waterproof synthetic or a lightweight down vest.
The Sun: Just 15 minutes in the New Zealand summer sun can cook you. Temperatures can be low but the ultra-violet rays are vicious due to the hole in the ozone layer. Wear a hat, sunglasses and a high SPF sunscreen.
Footwear: We recommend you bring sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. If you decide to take hiking boots, it is vital that you wear them in before you travel (one suggested method is to put them on, submerge them in water and then take a brisk 5 mile walk at least twice). You should also bring spare laces. Sport sandals, boating shoes or beach footwear—may be useful in some locations.
Dry Bags: These are really handy and can be a lifesaver if you’re caught out in the rain on a hike with your precious camera in your hand. They come in all sizes, we recommend at least one for your spare clothes on day hikes and one for each piece of valuable electronic equipment like phones or cameras. These are available in most outdoor supply stores.
We hope this guide is helpful for you to prepare for your upcoming New Zealand hiking trip. If you have any specific questions about what to pack for walking in New Zealand please contact us now. I'm a hiking guide with New Zealand Trails, we operate small group guided walking tours in amazing World Heritage Area. For more information or to get in touch please visit us at newzealandtrails.com
See you on the trail soon!
Andrew Wells - New Zealand Trails
Written: 44 articles
The World Heritage Walking Tour, perfect for your trip of a lifetime. The best walks in New Zealand, iconic outdoor activities, 4-star accommodation and delicious food and wine - in a friendly small group led by expert 'Kiwi' guides.