Clothing for NZ in February

Old Dec 19th, 2019, 07:11 AM
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Clothing for NZ in February

I'm starting to figure out what to take for a trip this winter. We will be in Sri Lanka at the beginning and Malaysia at the end of our 2-month trip. I will have very lightweight clothes and sandals. I'm wondering about what I might need for the S.Island portion of our trip? We begin in Abel Tasman and then go down the West Coast. From there we travel to Franz Glacier (assuming the road is open by then). Onto Wanaka, Te Anau for an overnight cruise and then Mt Cook before ending in Christchurch at the very beginning of March. I know to layer, but what should those layers consist of? I plan to bring a lightweight raincoat & thinking of taking a packable puffy jacket. Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 07:41 AM
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In the areas you are visiting you can expect average daytime high temps to range from the high 50's F. to the low 70's F with the average being in the high 60's. of course it's summer in New Zealand then so there is always a possibility you can have a few days when a "heat wave" comes through with temps rising to the 80' F. You can research weather statistics for every major city/town/area in NZ here: New Zealand Travel Weather Averages (Weatherbase)

You don't say where you are from so the best advice anyone can tell you is to "layer" with the same type of clothing you'd "layer" with back home (assuming you don't live in an area that always warm like the tropics or always cold like near the Arctic Circle). Typically what works best is having some short sleeve shirts for warm days, long sleeve shirts for cooler days, a sweater or sweat shirt and a medium weight "water resistant" windbreaker jacket. I'd leave the raincoat at home. Pack a small collapsible umbrella (but only if you are the type of person who can't stand getting a little wet).
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 08:56 AM
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The above advice is pretty good, I'd say.

I had a trip a couple years back mostly South Island second half of February and we were lucky enough never to have any truly cold weather, mostly 60's and 70's (F). However, we also had a few days well into the 80's, but it sounds like you'll have clothes for that if coming from warm climates. I looked at pictures to refresh my memory and I'm wearing a mid weight fleece in some (I'm always cold) but husband is in short sleeve polo shirt in same photos. We seemed to take a number of boats, and I think he wore a light windbreaker type thing then. Note, we did not go to the west coast, so it may be cooler/rainier there.

There will be rain, so a jacket with a hood would be good or a rain hat (umbrellas are fine for urban activities, but I find them less useful for nature, hikes, etc). I find if I want to pack light (well, light for me) and don't want to bring a heavier jacket, just bringing a scarf can make the lighter jacket more effective.
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 10:13 AM
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Thank you both! Very helpful info. I'm from the mid Atlantic, so cold winters, but not artic and hot, humid summers. The rain coat is really a rain jacket with a hood that packs into itself. I was thinking I could use it was a layer on the overnight cruise and hiking. From your responses, I'm wondering if I could skip the puffy jacket although I may need it to leave home.
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 11:27 AM
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Front your latest description of the rain jacket I’d leave the puffy jacket at home and use the rain jacket when needed.
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 07:29 PM
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In the week I've been in New Zealand, I've experienced highs of 70° in Christchurch to lows of 35° in Aoraki Mt. Cook and in Queenstown. It should be warmer by the time you get here, but we brought a mix of short- and long- sleeve clothing, khakis, a pair of jeans, and a pair of rain pants. I brought a lightweight jacket with a hood, which has come in handy on a couple of days.

As for the West Coast road, it was mentioned to us a couple of time yesterday that it reopens today. I can try to get updated information for you.
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 08:12 PM
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Road to Franz Josef is now open!
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118...-than-expected

Your rain jacket should be able to stand up to a strong wind. I'd bring a long sleeve or light fleece or wool top to wear under the jacket, which you can tie around your waist or easily tuck away into your daypack when not needed. If you need to buy something here, NZ makes beautiful thin, soft and light, yet warm and breathable merino wool garments. I agree with RoamsAround, leave the bulky puffy jacket at home.
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Old Dec 20th, 2019, 05:38 AM
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tp -- thanks! I like having my own personal on site weather and travel reporter.

"Road to Franz Josef is now open!
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118...-than-expected"

Thanks for the up to date info.

"Your rain jacket should be able to stand up to a strong wind. I'd bring a long sleeve or light fleece or wool top to wear under the jacket, which you can tie around your waist or easily tuck away into your daypack when not needed. If you need to buy something here, NZ makes beautiful thin, soft and light, yet warm and breathable merino wool garments. I agree with RoamsAround, leave the bulky puffy jacket at home."
I've not worn the rain jacket in heavy winds -- guess I'll find out. It does have a nice hood. The puffy jacket will be decided upon depending on the weather here when we leave. I know NZ makes Icebreaker clothes which I love. I was wondering if they were any less money there?
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Old Dec 20th, 2019, 02:51 PM
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A link to my packing list which works fine in NZ https://accidentalnomads.com/2016/05...ck-like-a-man/ there is also a link to my wife’s list at the bottom. We usually visit in the depths of winter/spring. Layers work fine, especially merino. In Feb you can ditch the puffer jacket. Any waterproof jacket will be sufficient to keep out the wind.

Last time there we stocked up with Icebreaker at an outlet store we happened across along the way and got some bargains but generally it was about the same price at back in the U.K. i.e. expensive! There are Kathmandu stores everywhere and they stock there own brand merino stuff but it is nowhere near the same quality, although I think they also stock Icebreaker. as you will be there in summer I imagine there may be a lot of merino gear in sales.
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Old Dec 20th, 2019, 09:54 PM
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February is known for having the warmest, mildest weather. But there might be a few instances when you might need a good rain- and wind-resistant jacket.

If you take a cruise to Abel Tasman and sit outside on the top. You're sheltered when crusing in the bays, but as you round headlands, you'll be exposed to wind. I was there last week and it was pretty nice with daytime temperatures fluctuating between 20C (68F) and 22C (71.6 F); the preceding week had been windy and wet. I wore a cotton sleeveless tank top, and for the boat wore a merino hoody over this and a light fleece jacket over the merino hoodie. When walking the track I tied both around my waist, as I was warm enough walking. I also had a thin, white, long-sleeved shirt in my daypack in case I needed to cover up for sandflies, but, fortunately, didn't see any.

Queenstown can get windy in summer. At the end of Jan. 2019 (almost Feb.) surfers were riding Lake Wakitipu's waves (see clip below). Powerful winds knocked down trees, one falling onto a group at the Shotover Jet site. Three helicopters rushed four of them to Dunedin Hospital for care. If it's extremely windy, stay away from large trees.
https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queens...int-break-lake
https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queens...me-winds-again

Your Milford Sound cruise will get as close as it can to the fiord's waterfalls. You'll want to be on the deck for photos and, because you be going close, you might get a little wet. Also, Milford Sound, in general, is one of NZ's wettest places so it could be raining when you're there. Don't let the rain stop you from enjoying the great outdoors.

You must be prepared for any kind of weather on the West Coast. Could be gloriously sunny or wet.

My favorite merino clothes come from Macpac, but I don't find their current styles interesting or as versatile. For day to day use, I buy Crown Range brand long sleeved merino thermal tops from Postie, which I'd describe as a budget clothing shop. These costs NZ$35 (though are sometimes on sale for less). Problem is they might not carry these in summer; in winter they carry a wide range of colors. Comparable merino tops at Kathmandu cost twice as much.
https://www.postie.co.nz/lu-cr-activ...-ls-top-806700

I think most of the merino clothing you'll find in NZ is now made in China, including those of the pricier Icebreaker brand. Icebreaker was sold to VF Corporation, the owner of The North Face, Vans and Timberland brands, in Nov. 2018.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/...ectid=12028882
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Old Dec 21st, 2019, 09:17 AM
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crellston - a few years ago I looked at your packing list (or rather your wife"s). That's when I started buying merino wool.

Diamantina - Wow! thanks so much for the great info! I'm thinking I should find myself a white lightweight long sleeve shirt to use as protection from bugs if need be. I tend to be cold when others are not, so I will pack accordingly. Your descriptions are perfect.
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Old Dec 21st, 2019, 11:05 AM
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"I tend to be cold when others are not" I am the other way around which is why I love merino. It just seems to regulate ones temperature, regardless to the weather.

I didn’t realise icebreaker was now made in China by BIG BRANDS. Such a shame. Not exactly helping the fight against global warming!
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Old Dec 21st, 2019, 10:14 PM
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The white shirt I pack is of a very thin material, so it weighs next-to-nothing. It's from Kathmandu's BuzzGuard line. The one I have is a discontinued style, which I found on sale. They no longer carry anything that even close to what I bought. I never buy anything from Kathmandu unless it's on sale.
https://www.kathmandu.co.nz/buzzguard-range.html

Last edited by Diamantina; Dec 21st, 2019 at 10:22 PM.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2019, 10:32 AM
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Not familiar with that brand . Will check it out. ThAnks
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Old Dec 22nd, 2019, 02:17 PM
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It's Kathmandu's own line of perrmetrin-treated clothing. You can find other brands of permethrin treated clothing on Amazon and elsewhere. This article from Consumer Reports notes that regular clothes sprayed with DEET are about as effective.
https://www.consumerreports.org/inse...osquito-bites/

You probably won't be bothered too much by sandflies; it is a concern for people who'll be spending a lot of time walking on the West Coast or in Fiordland. Sandflies are slow so you can usually get away from them if you pick up your pace. They can't see at night, so seldom bite in the dark. They are often found at beaches, near lakes or wetlands. If you run into them at alland you might not encounter anyit'll likely be along the West Coast or at the dock in Milford Sound. You might run into a few in Abel Tasman NP. As I said, I had no problem with them over 3 days, but did see a few wasps.
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...-before-you-go
Sandflies are said to be attracted to darker/warmer colors then light colors.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2019, 02:30 PM
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Good to know about the sandflies. I do have the permethrin to spray on my clothes. I'm actually more concerned about our time in Sri Lanka because they are having a Dengue outbreak.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2019, 10:11 PM
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I've had dengue, caught it about 35 years ago in Nicaragua. It was awful. Another name for it is "breakbone fever". I agree, you should take every precaution to not get it.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Diamantina View Post
I've had dengue, caught it about 35 years ago in Nicaragua. It was awful. Another name for it is "breakbone fever". I agree, you should take every precaution to not get it.
How awful! It sounds really terrible. Supposedly it's not peak season for it, but still, I intend to be super careful. I'm a bit of a mosquito magnet.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 10:32 AM
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Fingers crossed, but so far we’ve lucked out from the sandflies. I had one attempt to bite me at Aoraki Mt. Cook in the middle of the day and several at Walter Peak Farm later in the evening, but otherwise haven’t seen them. Most attribute it to the wetter and cooler weather. Now, I may have jinxed myself, as we are headed to Milford Sound today.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Fingers crossed, but so far we’ve lucked out from the sandflies. I had one attempt to bite me at Aoraki Mt. Cook in the middle of the day and several at Walter Peak Farm later in the evening, but otherwise haven’t seen them. Most attribute it to the wetter and cooler weather. Now, I may have jinxed myself, as we are headed to Milford Sound today.
Hope your luck with the sandflies prevails.
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