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Packing List for New Zealand

It took me WEEKS to figure out what I was going to bring to New Zealand. The weather was changing every time I looked, wavering from cold to warm. Not to mention we were traveling a significant distance (over 1400 miles, essentially the distance between Orlando, FL and Minneapolis, MN). We were facing temps between 40 & 85 degrees, and occasions from high class wine tasting to hours, in the car, to climbing a mountain…. how do you pack for that?!

Layers, my friend. Layers.

The funny thing, is I ended up packing almost the same things I always pack; half of my suitcase was working off my Spring Capsule Wardrobe with a few tweaks, and the other half is Hiking Gear for New Zealand

nz 1


  • Beautiful Maxi Dress: Warm enough to protect me from the breeze, beautiful enough for nice dinners and wine tasting, but casual enough for strolling around town. I wore this dress several times. We went to a nice dinner and the girl next to me was wearing North Face style from head to toe, and I was so thankful for my one beautiful outfit!
  • Thin Sweaters: I practically lived in these while we were driving around. They were so comfortable, lightweight, but warm! 
  • Scarf: As always, a scarf can be a life saver. I used it as a blanket on the plane and in the car, as an extra layer of warmth on a slightly windy day, and even as a beach blanket in a pinch. 


Just a few ways I wore these while wine tasting, walking around town, checking out easy nature sites (nothing that required hiking clothes), flights, driving all over the country and more. I mixed, matched, layered up and down, and managed to dress for every occasion on a pretty limited wardrobe.
NZ Hiking clothes


  • Rain Jacket: I’ve said it 1,000x – I don’t know how I traveled before this thing. Even if it doesn’t rain, a thin black jacket can be extremely helpful.
  • Beanie: Keeps you warm, keeps the rain off your head, and can also be used as an accessory around town.
  • Moisture Wicking Layers: When we did major hikes, layers were key. Dry fit fabrics take the sweat away from your skin, keeping you from freezing later on. They don’t have to be expensive, they can come from Target or Wal Mart! But these fabrics are essential for hiking. Having layers around for less intense hikes was also good, so I could choose how many I wanted to wear. 
I definitely got my mileage out of that rain jacket. We penciled in a lot of activity (three longer hikes, sea kayaking, and several impromptu hikes along our way!) so being fully outfitted in activewear was necessary.
I would say that visiting New Zealand anytime of year would require suitcase half filled with active wear and half filled with nice, casual clothing. 
Have you visited New Zealand? What did you pack?!