That bucket list motorhome road trip around New Zealand is finally on the horizon and your excitement levels are reaching new highs. But a few decisions still need to be made — what will you pack to help make your adventure enjoyable and comfy?
In this blog, we detail everything you’re likely to need on your New Zealand roadie including clothing, cooking, health, electronics and entertainment.
We’ll also touch on some Kiwi packing tips and offer a little advice if you’re travelling from overseas.
The time of year you’re planning a campervan hire is vital for deciding which clothes to take. New Zealand has a temperate climate that’s changeable — and can change fast. Lightweight, easy-carry gear is best, so you can quickly adapt to any unpredictable weather while on short walks or seeing the sights.
Find out more about exploring New Zealand by campervan in different seasons.
Layering for all types of weather
Taking clothes that are easy to layer is a smart move. For instance, for winter travel you might consider a merino base layer, long sleeve midlayer and down jacket outer. If planning a summer journey, pack some breathable tees plus a lightweight midlayer.
You’ll need rainwear at any time of year. Lightweight (waterproof or water-resistant) pants and jacket are ideal. A couple of footwear options to cater for beachside park ups and sightseeing hikes will go a long way.
A daypack for on-the-go items
Consider keeping a small daypack handy inside your motorhome — to grab for short bush walks or beach time. You could fill it with:
- A water bottle
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Your swimwear and a towel
- A light rain jacket.
Ideally, pack the majority of your belongings in a soft bag as this will be easier to store within your motorhome.
Swim throughout the year
The warmer months make lake, river and sea swimming more pleasant. Thermal pools and natural hot springs offer opportunities for bathing in New Zealand’s cooler periods.
Kiwi Clothing Lingo
New Zealanders enjoy using their own colloquial terms for certain items of clothing so it pays to learn a few local words like:
If you’re planning to dine out while on your motorhome trip, most restaurants are generally informal and will accept smart or casual dress.
Your motorhome will come stocked with a first aid kit so any minor scrapes, cuts and bruises will be easy to address. Just remember to bring any personal medication with you.
Protecting yourself from the sun
New Zealand has less ozone to block UV rays so you can get sunburnt faster here — particularly from September to April when sunshine hours are longer. Invest in a reputable sunscreen brand with an SPF level of 50+ and cover up with a hat during the hottest parts of the day.
Preventing and treating bites
Repelling insects can be a challenge. Sandflies and mosquitoes love a feed around sunrise and sunset so those are key times of the day to fully cover and prevent getting bitten. Insect repellent may also help.
Wasps can be prevalent in places throughout summer so take precautions to avoid disturbing them.
Packing the bathroom necessities
It can be easy to arrive at your destination and realise the toothpaste didn’t come along for the ride. Or to sit down in the evening to read your favourite book with your glasses in their case back home.
Be sure to download our packing checklist to ensure you remember all those important bathroom essentials.
Making your motorhome travel easier
A campervan or motorhome bathroom is a relatively small space, so consider bringing along useful items like a hanging toilet bag, or a shampoo bar (instead of a larger bottle).
You should be set up for cooking with gas hobs and an oven in your motorhome. Fridge and freezer compartments will allow you to store your travel menu’s ingredients. And the kitchen will be stocked with everything you need to cook and eat your meals, such as:
- Cutlery and crockery
- Pots and pans
- Bowls and plates
- Cups and glasses
- Cooking utensils.
A few items we’d suggest you grab on your first supermarket shop include standard condiments like salt, pepper and cooking oil. And sugar, milk, tea and coffee will keep you going.
For cleaning up, be sure to buy some paper towels, rubbish bags, dishwashing liquid and a kitchen cleaner. Slider storage bags can also be useful for any leftover food.
As for the food you intend to cook, that’s up to you — download our 23 best recipes for the road for some ideas.
Also take a look at this guide to cooking in a motorhome kitchen.
Arriving from overseas?
Be sure to declare any food you have to customs. New Zealand has strict penalties for bringing undeclared food and other prohibited items into the country.
Outdoor equipment like hiking boots need to be clean before you pack them. You’ll likely have to declare these items, and any cleaning required could delay your airport transit.
Electronic gadgets have their place in the world of travel — and getting around by motorhome or campervan is no different.
You’ll have a few necessary devices like your mobile and SLR camera that always come with you on your adventures. But remember to prepare the additional items that come with them, such as USB cables, battery chargers and even a universal travel adapter.
Whether you’re travelling with kids or simply need options to make the most of your downtime should rain set in, pack a few lightweight games, books and toys.
When comparing motorhomes take note of the entertainment options available, such as:
- Onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology
- Access to streaming platforms like Disney+
- The ability to connect to gaming consoles.
Prepare your ideal music playlists for the road prior to picking up your campervan or motorhome. Being able to stream tunes through motorhome speakers is commonplace.
Tips for packing like a Kiwi
New Zealanders tend to pack items that will help make their travels easier and more fun. For instance, taking a small chilly bin to fill with ice and refreshments right next to the barbecue saves walking to the fridge.
Packing cells are popular as they compress space and clearly divide types of clothing — making your life simpler when looking for an item. Be prepared for campgrounds that have coin-operated showers and laundry facilities by stocking up on $2 coins.
Kiwis love to play card and dice games over a drink and a chat. A couple of classic ones are 500 and Yahtzee respectively.
If you’re visiting the country from overseas, think about adding a few of these novel items to your pack — they’ll help you connect with some of the locals.
Also check out our tips for planning your first campervan trip.
Download our FREE printable campervan packing checklist so you don’t forget anything on your next exciting road trip.