Off to a day festival in New Zealand this year?
Here are my must-have items!

Knowing what to take to a day festival in New Zealand is vital for a fun, comfortable & worry-free festival! Packing for a weekend-long festival with camping or a day festival in London is one thing, but knowing what to take to a day festival in New Zealand is totally different! The weather is usually more predictable, the rules vary from festival to festival, and the general vibe and festival style is very different from UK Festivals. Follow my tips below and of course, always check each festival’s FAQ page for their specific rules for what you can and can’t bring with you. Here are my must-have items I ALWAYS take with me to a day festival in New Zealand.

What Should You Bring?

#1 – ID

Seems a logical and normal thing to take with you to any festival, however in New Zealand, they will ONLY accept a passport or a New Zealand Driver’s License. I would usually always just use a driving license (UK License) as a form of ID, however, all across New Zealand, they insist on showing a valid, in-date passport or current NZ license. 

#2 – Cash & Card

It’s always a good idea to have both cash and card at a festival. The major difference between New Zealand and UK festivals when it comes to Cash and Card payments is what they are called! In New Zealand card is called ‘EFTPOS’ and contactless payments are called ‘Pay Wave’. If someone asks whether you want to pay with EFTPOS or Pay Wave, what they mean is ‘do you want to pay with card or contactless?’

Most bars and food vendors will accept card & contactless payments, especially since the global COVID Pandemic, many more vendors are widely accepting debit cards. Be warned though, not all places accept credit cards, and if they do, most will incur a fee (around 2%) to use it. In saying that, some smaller vendors selling vintage clothes or festival bric-a-brac still prefer/only accept cash. Plus, if card machines were to stop working, or your card got lost/damaged, or you’re taking a taxi home, it’s always a good idea to have some cash handy just in case.

#3 – Sun Cream

Sun cream is important at any festival, but do not underestimate the power of the NZ sun! Even if it’s a slightly cooler day, or clouds cover the sky, the sun in NZ is WAY stronger than the sun anywhere else I have ever been! I always pack a small bottle of sun cream in my bag for any festival. For NZL I make sure it’s 30 SPF or higher!

#4 – Your Festival Ticket/Wristband or Email Confirmation

Make sure that you take whatever documentation or ticket you need to get in. Most day festivals will not give you a wristband, they will simply scan a ticket and in you go. The ones that do, Hidden Valley for example did give wristbands, they will tend to exchange your ticket for a wristband at the entrance. Now that New Zealand has introduced COVID passports, make sure you have your vaccine certificate to hand as well as any other festival ticket confirmations. I also always like to print out my tickets and documents as well as have them on my phone, just in case they are unable to scan my phone or my phone battery dies!

#5 – Hand Sanitiser

Something that is even more popular, and a festival staple, is hand sanitiser. Regardless of COVID, I always take a little bottle of hand san in my bag.

#6 – Tissues

Tissues are always handy to have in your bag at a festival. When the toilets have run out of toilet roll, you spill a drink, or simply need to blow the festival dust out of your nose, tissues are always a good idea!

#7 – Phone + Portable Battery Pack

Taking your phone is obvious and most people would forget their underwear before they forget their phone! But, I WILL ALWAYS take a small portable battery pack as well as my phone to a festival! This way I can charge my phone if I need to throughout the day. Being without a phone at a festival, or your battery dying at the festival is the most annoying thing. Losing your friends and not being able to find them again, being unable to contact a taxi at the end of a night, or not having access to your torch to use in the festival toilets can all be avoided by having a portable phone charger handy!

TOP TIP: Just remember to pre-charge the power bank and your phone charger cable as well as the battery pack!

#8 – Medication & Plasters

I always take a few paracetamol, plasters and any prescription medication with me to a day festival in New Zealand. Hot, dry weather combined with dancing and walking for hours will always involve a blister or two, and they can really ruin your day! Not only that, a lot of festivals in NZL are in the middle of nowhere and so access to medicine and supplies are a little trickier than the UK festivals I have been to.

One important tip – If you are taking any medication with you, make sure that it’s professionally sealed and packaged correctly so that security do not confiscate it mistaking it for something else!

#9 – Jacket / Jumper

Every time I have been to a festival in New Zealand, it’s been gloriously hot during the day but as soon as the sun goes down, the temperature drops dramatically. This was certainly the case with Wilderness Festival and other UK festivals I’ve been to! Be sure you take a jacket or jumper for the end of the night when you are waiting for your taxi/bus as I guarantee you, once your beer jacket has worn off you will feel the cold.

#10 – Hair Tie

Long hair in the New Zealand sun, combined with lots of dancing and general festival filth means I will always have a hair tie or two around my wrist or in my bag in case I want one.

#11 – Reusable Water Bottle

Most festivals will allow you to take in a reusable water bottle and have water points throughout the festival site. However, check each festival’s FAQ and regulations as I have come across them not allowing bottles with lids into the festival.

Many festivals will open water bottles and drinks for you at the bar – This happened at The Other Side Festival, and I was told it was to ensure that people didn’t buy drinks at the bar and take them back to their tent for the next day! (As alcohol in the campsites is NOT PERMITTED at NZL Festivals!)

TOP TIP: If you do have to take an open bottle (i.e. without a lid) then I suggest you hide the lid in a pocket of your bag or stuff it in your bra/boxers for once you’re inside!

New Zealand festivals can get VERY hot and dry and no one wants a mouth like a sandy flip-flop at 2am. If you can take a water bottle, take one!

#12 – Sunglasses

Sounds a bit of a given, but I ALWAYS take sunglasses (and their case) to a festival. I recommend you take a decent pair with you. I know it’s tempting to take a cheap pair of sunnies that you don’t mind about getting broken and/or lost, however, the sun in NZL is so bloody strong that you HAVE to properly protect your eyes. I always take a proper pair of sunnies – not a pair from Primark or KMart that look lovely but have 0 UV protection.

Happy Festivalling
Sophie – TFB

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