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Packing list for a day hike in New Zealand

You're off on a day hike, up Ben Lomond in Queenstown.

Image of Hiking to the summit of Ben Lomond, Queenstown

Things to consider – And I've answered each for this example!

  • How long does this hike take on average? 5-7 hours
  • Is there any altitude gain? Yes: 4,686ft or 1428m
  • What is the weather forecast? Well, it’s spring, so the conditions are changeable. Forecast is for high cloud and a light breeze with a temperature of 60F or 16C down in Queenstown. We can safely say it will be colder up top as the wind will be stronger!
  • Will there be running drinking water at hand? No
  • Are you going by yourself? Yes
  • Would you classify it as remote (is there likely to be other hikers, or mobile reception?) Yes, probably to both.

So what to pack? And bear in mind, on that sliding scale I’d classify myself as a fairly organized packer!

Day Pack: Probably the most essential piece of equipment – you’re not exactly going to carry everything in a green supermarket bag. Unless of course you’re a full-on minimalist!

What comes next, in terms of importance is debatable. My Dad, ever the wise one, would say a rain jacket. I’d be more inclined to say a water bottle or even a charged mobile phone (different generation!)

Water bottle: There isn’t much I can say about this, except, that if you care about the environment, don’t buy a pump bottle, but get something you can reuse for the rest of your life. If it has a loop in it that will help too, for securing on the outside of your pack, if you like things dangling off.

Charged Mobile Phone: Some would scoff at this. But for most day trips, you’ll likely be within mobile reception. You will appreciate this advice if you happen to end up in strife. For those that are into gadgets, you could take it one step further and get a personal locator beacon. These are quickly gaining popularity as they become affordable to the masses. I would probably be more inclined to purchase one of these for a long, remote hiking trip. They come in many shapes and sizes and operate using GPS. Definitely something to keep in mind.

Rain Jacket: No matter what the weather looks like out of your kitchen window, as you’re cooking a hearty meal of bacon and eggs to get you up that mountain, PACK A RAIN JACKET! This cannot be stressed enough. 9 times out of 10, it will stay squashed at the bottom of your pack. It’s not like you’re being asked to pack a brick though. For the purposes of this day trip, I won’t go into specifications – just get one that keeps you dry.

And now in no particular order…

Personal First Aid Kit: I'm guilty of not packing one of these nearly every time. But I don’t want to be responsible to your spouse, parent or sibling when they complain that you ripped your new shirt for a sling. In this I would include any personal medication, sun block and insect repellent, if necessary.

Packed lunch: High-energy and nutritious are the key words. The supermarkets and health stores and even outdoors shops are packed with this stuff now. Don’t be afraid to be traditional with a banana, chocolate and muesli bars. I know I would.

Camera: So that you don’t have to climb that damn mountain again. Or maybe so you can impress your friends and family. Or even, in the unlikely event that you just want to put some nice photos on your fridge. Make sure it’s charged. I once used a camera to take a photo of a cave far below in the valley knowing that it would be dark by the time we reached the general area. We then used the LCD screen to find our bivouac sack (also known as a bivy, bivvy, or bivi) for the night. Again, if you want to get techy, you could also bring a video camera – like a GoPro…

Bearing in mind you only have a day pack, that’s probably the extent of it. You may also want to consider a beanie and/or cap, gloves and sunglasses.

On your body, you’ll have some decent hiking boots or hiking shoes, potentially some gaiters, shorts or zip-off pants and at least a couple of top layers. I also sometimes use hiking poles, although not normally for a day hike.


Trip Reviews

  •   4.69 out of 5 (from 248 reviews)

    New Zealand and Kiwis are the Best!

    It would be difficult to overstate how impressed I was with our Active Adventure tour. Mel and Claire were absolutely incredible!! Steve was great too, but he was only with us for the hike up and back from the Aspiring Hut. Plus, he was weighed down by a rock he so generously carried up the hill for Mel.
    Anyway, Mel and Claire made Active Adventures (and New Zealand) look so good! They were EVERYTHING I could hope for: friendly, funny, knowledgeable, professional, hard-working, kind, easy-going, energetic, .... Thank you for one of the best 2-week periods of my entire life!
    Mike Schimpf Review Image
    – California, United States
    Kea, January 2017
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 920 reviews)

    Wonderful Manuka Trip With Active Adventures, New Zealand

    Hi, I'm back home in the USA after my Manuka adventure with Active Adventures, New Zealand. I would like to compliment everyone in your company that I came in contact with....from my initial contact with Fiona to my pre-trip emails with Lynette everything was handled with complete professionalism. This was my first adventure with your company but I'm pretty sure that it will not be my last.
    Everything during the trip went forward in a very efficient manner. I was amazed at the energy level and efficiency of our guides Amanda and Holly. The amount of work that they were able to accomplish during the course of a day, their energy levels and very positive attitudes made the trip enjoyable for all of us clients. Also, their knowledge of their country and their willingness to share made the trip even more enjoyable for me.
    Again, thank you to all and especially to Amanda and Holly....I really enjoyed my first visit to New Zealand.
    Jerry Jobski Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Manuka, April 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1903 reviews)


    We had a truly great time. Our guides, Koru and Liana were the best. They made the trip so much fun, especially in the light of the unpredictable New Zealand weather! And Lynette was always right there to help us along every step of the way. I brought home memories of a lifetime, and discovered that Kiwis are absolutely the friendliest people on earth. The Tui Trip was a great introductory tour, but now I want to come back again and spend more time hiking and exploring the South Island.

    Many thanks to the whole Active Adventures team. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    - Mick
    Mick Owens Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Tui, December 2016
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1903 reviews)

    Bonzer trip to the South Island

    Thanks to Greg and Mel for a memorable exploration of New Zealand's South Island. Need to come back to enjoy the wonders of this place.
    Ted Jackson Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Tui, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 5005 reviews)

    What an adventure!

    Great adventure with wonderful guides Alex and Tia!
    Stephanie Eskuri Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, January 2017



Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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