ready to go or not provisioning for NZ?

Feb 10th, 2018, 11:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 31
ready to go or not provisioning for NZ?

Many thanks to all on this thread for your great advice on itinerary, activities and restaurants. I've managed to find a lot of great info from past threads and wonderful trip reports too, and we are excited.

We leave early March for 3 weeks in North and South Island. We do have a hike/kayak day as well as cruise on Milford Sound, and I'm sure we'll be walking and hiking spontaneously in our travels as well.

Would you all let me know if there is any essential I'm missing in provisioning for the trip? We are experienced travelers (over 40 countries) but, that said, NZ may have different requirements than our other trips to similar more "outdoorsy" spots such as Africa safari, Peru, Brazil, parts of India and Thailand.
I have ready to pack (can you tell we are excited the following:
  • solid stick sunscreen (travel and regular size)
  • lightweight rain jacket
  • tiny and durable travel umbrella (permanent place in my suitcase)
  • insect repellent
  • various sizes of travel plugs
  • Also ordered new waterproof hiking pants for both of us, and other clothing (slip on and hiking shoes).
  • Regular toiletries and clothing are well stocked for both of us

Anything I am forgetting?

Nntexas is offline  
Feb 10th, 2018, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,776
I never go to NZ (or anywhere for that matter) without my fleece jacket.

Sunglasses, sunhat, backpack

I usually take a few laundry detergent pods so I can wash laundry without having to buy a full sized bottle of detergent (although sometimes private cottages and motels will provide some, or have small amounts available for purchase).

I never travel without my hiking stick either, but we hike quite a lot.

And the most important thing - CAMERA with lots of memory and charger!
Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2018, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,751
Regarding the power plug adapter. You'll only need this one:

If you don't have one, you can easily pick one up in the airport or tourist shops after you've gotten here.

You never know with our weather. Chances are the weather will be perfectly lovely for your trip.
We're being battered by a heavy storm right now, the second bad storm in less than a month. Nonetheless, I'll be going out for a short walk, but I'll be wearing a long Gore-Tex jacket, waterproof pants, and I'll have a waterproof cover over my backpack. If you end up needing any of these things, you can get them here. New Zealand also makes beautiful merino wool active wear—thin, warm yet breathable.
Wet weather: Cyclone Gita set to further intensify and potential second cyclone forming - NZ Herald

NZ biosecurity is stricter than other countries and the fines are steep. It is important that you declare any food you are bringing into the country, even if it's just an energy bar. You must also have a note from your doctor for any prescription medications you are taking. Some alternative medicines are also more tightly controlled, such as melatonin, which many people take for jetlag. Make sure your hiking boots have been cleaned thoroughly, no dirt, no tiny seeds trapped between the treads.
You might want to preview NZ's passenger arrival card:
More details here:

You're seasoned travelers, so you probably already pack ear plugs, sleep mask—if needed. I also wear compression stockings, even though I'll often get up and walk around during the long flight.

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 10th, 2018 at 05:28 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Feb 10th, 2018, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,751
The other thing I'd be thinking about is a flu shot, if you haven't already got one. Mind you, I'm not recommending it, especially as the H3N2 vaccine is purportedly not as effective as previous flu vaccines, just saying if haven't yet gotten one, you should think about it. NZ does not yet have a problem with H3N2, but it's possible some of your fellow U.S. air passengers might be contagious. NZ is bracing for it, but vaccinations will not be available until late March here.
Some commonsensical advice you likely already follow.

And for a complete change of subject—I should have mentioned this is your other thread about restaurants. Do not expect NZ wait staff to bring you a check, or you might be waiting a long time (though some wait staff might intuit your desire for the check). When you're ready to leave, you can just go up to the cashier and pay. And tips are unnecessary.

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 10th, 2018 at 07:04 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Feb 10th, 2018, 10:23 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,198
Here is a link to my packing list: . This has worked well for many long (6 months +) trips and has included two, 2 month trips to NZ in winter/spring as well as Asia, South America etc. We travel carryon only and haven’t checked bags for years. Looking through my list I would probably reduce the numbers of certain items as experience has shown that I end up not using some stuff.
crellston is offline  
Feb 11th, 2018, 12:50 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 31
Oh such great additional suggestions. I had planned on a fleece and sunglasses and a hat (probably a baseball hat since they fold flat (DH has a foldable Panama Hat, but somehow that doesn't seem apt for NZ..or maybe I'm wrong
My phone has a fantastic camera but we'll probably also bring the digital. Thx for the good links on the power adaptors and plugs. I think you had linked that on another thread I found and I used your good advice when I added to our motley collection of plugs and adaptors.

Diamantina, thx for the reminders about customs. We had heard about those. I am hoping to get away with good tennis shoes as opposed to the weight of hiking boots. We have one main longer hike scheduled, otherwise plan shorter jaunts. And yes earplugs and masks for the plane. We splurged on premium economy Air New Zealand seats at the advice of our friends, who travel to NZ frequently to see their children.

Crellston, thx for the packing list. I do endeavor to pack sensibly, but I have to admit, honestly, that I just love clothes so I tend to pack more things. My rationale is that this is the time I get to be with my husband more, and I like to look good. I have heard from many that NZ is more informal, so won't be bringing many dressy things, though.

I've been reading about the wild weather of late and hoping it improves...but we've had a weird winter as well here--much wetter and colder than normal. I usually am able to swim most of the winter (pool is heated) but not this year, sadly.

Great! advice about paying at the restaurants, Diamantina! Is this true at all restaurants--even the higher end ones (such as the wineries, etc.)?
Nntexas is offline  
Feb 11th, 2018, 12:57 AM
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Crellston, your list is so great...particularly some of the multi-purpose items like string, and the "Buff". I am reminded of a time, many years ago, when my husband and I were in an Egyptian shaft tomb and the lights went out. VERY dark down there, but my DH, always a true "boy scout" in preparedness, whipped out his small flashlight. All the other tourists in the tomb were very thankful too.
I like having TP with me in the day pack when traveling more brought as well. Not sure I'll need that for 3 weeks in NZ though (Hopefully).

What fun you must be having. Travel Scrabble sounds such fun
Nntexas is offline  
Feb 11th, 2018, 04:44 PM
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While tipping is unnecessary, it has become more common to tip for good service. And in coffee houses you'll find a tip jar next to the cashier, just like in the U.S.
Many tourists are used to tipping and do so when in NZ. It's also possible your server comes from a place where tipping is common as well. NZ is full of young people who are here on "working holiday visas." They often work in hospitality or agriculture (picking grapes and fruit in season).
5 or 10 percent is fine. It's up to you. You are not obliged to tip.

The minimum wage in New Zealand is higher than in the United States (though perhaps not in absolute terms if you consider the exchange rate), and will rise under the present Ardern govt. And health care is free for New Zealand citizens and residents (though there could be a wait for some procedures as health care is underfunded and understaffed). Those on working holiday visas are required to carry comprehensive travel insurance, but if they are injured in an accident, coverage is free under NZ's ACC (this applies for all in New Zealand, including tourists). So some believe wait staff make a living wage, but I think in tourist resorts like Queenstown, where housing is scarce and expensive, it's harder to make ends meet. So tips can help.

Another thing worth mentioning. Unless the menu clearly states GST will be added to the prices, you should not see GST added to the bill. Say the prize for a small pizza is NZ$17. It's assumed this already includes GST. So this is the price you pay.

We're originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, where 20 percent tips are expected. At a restaurant like Chez Panisse, in addition to the price you'll pay for food and beverage, you'll pay a separate sales tax, and a 17 percent "service charge" which you're informed is not a tip, so you'll feel obliged to leave a tip, too. By comparison, dining out in New Zealand is a breeze!

It's a bit strange at first going up to the cashier to pay. For those of us who are accustomed to having a check brought to our table, walking away from the table without yet paying feels a bit like you're trying to sneak out without paying. In restaurants accustomed to many tourists, they'll probably let you know if you need to go up the front to settle you check. At the moment, I can't recall an instance where they've brought a check to our table..

If you think you might be buying wine to bring back to the U.S. with you, you might want to pack some bubble wrap and packing tape. When I travel to winemaking countries, nearly half of the volume of my suitcase is taken up with a 6-bottle styrofoam wine carrier. But my favorite souvenirs are edible or drinkable.

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 11th, 2018 at 04:47 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Too late to edit my last post, but I just re-read it (when it was emailed to me just now) and noticed a typo. I meant to write, "Say the price [not prize]for a small pizza is NZ$17 It's assumed this already includes GST. So this is the price you pay."

You've probably already thought of this, too. But I always pack a lightweight picnic knife (with a blade cover), metal fork and spoon in my suitcase. These come in handy for picnics, slicing cheese and so on (by the way, there's some wonderful cheese in New Zealand). Or if I want to eat a midday supermarket salad and don't want to use the plastic utensils.
Diamantina is offline  
Feb 12th, 2018, 06:59 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,198
"What fun you must be having. Travel Scrabble sounds such fun” - We are and it is, but as I keep losing, the scrabble is staying home next trip!
crellston is offline  
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