New Zealand Summer Packing List

New Zealand is a dream destination in the summer for photographers, hikers, and anyone who appreciates outstanding natural beauty. From epic hikes to beautiful ocean views to cute towns, there is plenty to see and do. However, you need the right gear to get the most out of your upcoming trip to NZ. You want to be prepared… but without overpacking. To help you out, I’ve put together a complete summer packing list that includes clothing, technology, and toiletries.

This NZ Packing List has got you covered:

Table of Contents


isthmus peak
A warm day in Wanaka

Even in the summer, New Zealand can experience several seasons in one day. It’s also rarely super hot, particularly on the South Island. Although temperatures can reach the mid-20s around Wanaka and Queenstown, I usually wore pants and brought a jacket, even in the height of summer. Here’s what I recommend bringing:

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Keep in mind that I visited New Zealand in the summer. You will encounter snow in the winter or at higher elevations in the spring and autumn months, so come prepared for colder temperatures. If hiking, remember the importance of spikes for your shoes and specialized equipment depending on the conditions. Avalanche training is a must for many winter NZ hikes.


Picking the right backpack could make or break a trip. I almost always prefer using a backpack over a suitcase, as I never have to worry about walking through cobblestone walkways, along dirt roads, or climbing the staircases – it is just so much more convenient. If you do not own a backpack, go to a store that allows you to try the packs on with weight in them (I like REI in the US), or if that’s not available to you, order multiple bags online and return within the time window. Something like this bag is perfect for hiking and for traveling.

If you’ll be backpacking, check out this post for a comparison of the top women’s travel backpacks in the market.

Bring a day pack and a sling bag for daily use.

Hiking Gear

gertrude saddle
Beautiful Gertrude Saddle

A quick note on bringing food: security checks at the airport are extremely strict. Almost all food items are banned unless they’re highly processed, so you are better off not bringing any and stocking up when you are in the city. Supermarkets and outdoor stores carry dehydrated backpacking food, although you will need some type of stove if you’re going that route. Just remember that you can’t fly with fuel.

For day hikes, I like to bring nuts and dried fruit, or a couple of energy bars.


Though everyone is different, my dry skin tends to need moisturizers that have lots of aloe. The sun is very intense in New Zealand and it’s extremely easy to burn, so ensure that you always wear SPF 30, at least. These are the products I’ve used for years:

  • Your usual hair products
  • Sunscreen
  • Whatever deodorant you prefer. I love this one.
  • Floss, 1 under 100ml toothpaste, toothbrush
  • 1 DivaCup (it makes life easier for that special week each month)
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • 1 palette of eyeshadow, powder, bronzer, and eyeliner – or go natural!


I’m a photographer, so I can’t imagine going without a camera. But even if you’re fine taking pictures with your phone, there are still some pieces of technology that you should bring. Here’s what I always take with me:

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