What to Pack for a Month in New Zealand

View of Auckland from green hilltop

NitiChuysakul / Getty Images

Whether it's a New Zealand road trip or just one city your traveling to, if you're fortunate enough to be heading there, you'll want to make sure you bring the right items with you—especially if you are there for a full month.

Pack a Backpack That Will Last for a Month

The most important decision you'll make is which backpack you opt to travel with. Aim for around 60 liters, with a front-loading panel, and a decent support system. Head to REI to try on some packs before committing to buy. 

If you want to travel carry-on-only, try the Osprey Exos Farpoint 40 liter backpack.

Pack the Right Amount of Clothes

New Zealand has a reputation for being warm, but depending on where you'll be visiting and during which time of year, it can still get pretty cold.

Here is a detailed list of what you should pack: 

  • Four short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Four vest tops
  • Two strap tops
  • One workout top
  • One long-sleeved top
  • One thick fleece
  • One dress
  • One pair of jeans
  • One pair of workout shorts
  • Two pairs of denim shorts
  • One scarf/shawl/sarong
  • Two bikinis
  • One pair of flip-flops
  • One pair of walking shoes

When you need to find something in your backpack in a hurry, you'll often find yourself throwing your clothes all over the place while you delve straight to the bottom.

By using packing cubes or compression sacks, it's much easier to find your clothes, organize your backpack, and speed up the unpacking process. 

Prioritize the Technology You Want

These days it's rare to find someone traveling without a backpack full of technology, and as much as you can bemoan the state of travel because of this, you can't deny it makes exploring so much easier.

  • Laptop: Plenty of people have mixed feelings about traveling with a laptop. Travel isn't as busy and stimulating as you think it'll be and you'll definitely spend time hanging out in your room every day -- even if you don't want to spend any time resting, you'll most likely need it or you'll get sick from exhaustion.
  • Camera: You don't know when you'll next have an opportunity to travel around New Zealand again, so you'll want to capture as many scenes as possible and have your photos be of as high quality as possible, though there are some smartphones that take great photos as well.
  • Phone: Travel with an unlocked phone, so that you can pick up local SIM cards to gain affordable and easy access to data. With data, you can use Google Maps to navigate your way around a city, use Yelp to find somewhere great to eat, upload Snapchats live and on the go, and arrange to meet up with friends through WhatsApp.
  • Kindle: You'll want to work plenty of downtime into your trip to avoid burnout, and filling your Kindle with books is a great way to unwind after a day spent hitting the museums. 
  • Chargers and adapters: An essential for using your technology abroad! Make sure you don't forget any of your chargers and be sure you get a good travel adapter so you'll be able to charge everything no matter where in the world you are.
  • External hard drive: The last thing you want is to lose your camera or damage your SD card, losing all of your precious vacation memories along with it. Make sure to make a small external hard drive with you to prevent this from happening. Back up all of your photos every night when you're in your room. 

Do you need to bring all of this technology with you? Of course not! They're not essentials for everyone. You may want to use your phone for taking photos and not want to bother with a laptop.

You might not want to bother with an external hard drive. That's fine—you only need to take what you're comfortable with. 

Put Your Safety First

As with any trip, it's important to bring a first-aid kit with you. 

New Zealand is a Western country, of course, so you'll be able to find the vast majority of medications you'd take at home there. It's still worth bringing some with you at all times because you never know when traveler's diarrhea might hit.

Here's what to pack in a first-aid kit: 

  • Painkillers
  • Antihistamines
  • Plasters/band-aids
  • Antibiotics (Amoxicillin/Cipro)
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Imodium
  • Birth control pills

You Don't Need to Pack Enough Toiletries and Cosmetics to Last a Month

Try to limit the number of toiletries you carry because you can replace them pretty much anywhere in the world.

One item of note here is the solid shampoo bar from LUSH. These tiny bars of shampoo are more like bars of soap and last for around three-to-six months each depending on how frequently you wash your hair.

  • Six week supply of contact lenses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Hair straighteners
  • Various makeup supplies (eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss)
  • Dozens of hair ties
  • Solid shampoo/conditioner bar
  • Sunscreen
  • Bar of soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razor blades
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss

Miscellaneous Items You'll Need

And here's everything else that makes up the rest of a well-packed backpack! 

  • Water Bottle: You can drink the tap water in New Zealand, so you should definitely take a water bottle with you to be a more environmentally sustainable traveler. Try the Vapur water bottles, which fold up so they don't take up much space in your bag. 
  • Journal: Look back on your travels when you journal.
  • One Extra Large Travel Towel: Travel towels are fantastic because they're lightweight, fold up very small and dry quickly. Try an extra-large one from Sea to Summit. 
  • One Dry Bag: Lots of activities in New Zealand involve water, so it's best to bring a dry bag with you to keep your stuff safe while you're out on the ocean. Take it to the beach when traveling solo to take your Kindle and camera into the sea with you for security reasons. 
Was this page helpful?