What to bring on your winter road trip holiday to New Zealand


New Zealand is a winter wonderland. Whether you’re exploring the winding mountain roads of the South Island or the great, undulating hills of the north, you’ll see craggy peaks lit up with brilliant hues of white. Unless you visit north of Auckland, where it’s a subtropical climate, the chances you are going to see Kiwi country with a plentiful dollop of snow.

If you are renting a car and going on a NZ winter road trip, ensure that you have these items packed and ready.

The must-haves

For snow and ice

In the South Island especially, there’s a chance you will encounter snow and ice on your trip. Consider your road trip plan: Is it going to take you to higher altitudes? It would be wise, and in many cases absolutely essential, to carry snow chains and know how to fit them. Also, an ice scraper will help you get moving quicker after parking overnight or in snowfall.

Talk to the team at Ace Rental Cars to learn more about getting these items for your vehicle.

For navigation

A GPS device will be incredibly handy for getting around our many roads, especially if you intend to travel to a destination a little off the beaten path. Thankfully, here at Ace we can hire you these gadgets, so be sure to grab one for that extra peace of mind.

Also, keep an eye on the internet for news of road closures or detours. Some roads, such as the Milford Road, Lindis Pass or Desert Road can be closed temporarily in times of heavy snow. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) or Automobile Association (AA) will have this information on their respective websites.

For emergencies

Though you’re unlikely to encounter an emergency situation, it never hurts to be prepared. Make sure all of your mobile devices are fully charged before heading out (or use an in-car charger to ensure maximum battery), and keep a flashlight handy for locating things at night.

Additional comforts

You’ll find the following useful on any type of winter adventure holiday in NZ:

  • Blankets and pillows: To help tired passengers rest, warm and snug
  • Good walking shoes: Some of NZ’s unique gems require a bit of a walk (even if it’s a short one), such as the West Coast’s Blue Pools. Good walking shoes will keep you comfortable, as well as battle the snow.
  • Winter-friendly gadgets: Our two top winter gadgets have to be heated insoles and touch screen gloves. The former will keep your shoes and feet wonderfully warm, while the latter will protect your fingers without hampering your ability to use a smartphone or GPS device.