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clothing for March?

Atyrau, Kazakhstan
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207 posts
51 reviews
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clothing for March?

We will spend 2 wks traveling around the South Island (Blenheim, Hokitika, Franz Joseph, Wanaka, Te Anau, Queenstown, Aoraki, Akaroa) the first half of March. We will do a combination of short hikes and outdoor activities, wine tasting, rafting, day cruise as well as a lot of windshield time driving between all. I understand we need to be prepared for rain and insects as well as sun and warm days. We have waterproof walking shoes, nylon hiking pants, long underwear, rain parka, sun wear.

How likely are we to get a freak snow storm or cold snap that early in the season? I have read oft-repeated advice to layer up but don't really understand what that really means. What specific suggestions can you offer for clothing that will be light weight, not bulky and be multi-use, both on this trip as well as others in the future?

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,297 posts
74 reviews
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1. Re: clothing for March?

Yep, layers :)

So in March you get up out of bed and it is quite chilly in Wanaka so you put on some shorts and a spaghetti strap merino wool top as a camisole then you pull on a cotton top with 3/4 sleeves (or whatever) and as it is early morning and the sun isn't up properly yet, you pull on a light fleece and possbly some socks to keep your toes warm before pulling on your sneakers.

by lunch time the fleece and socks are off and you are wearing sandals.

By 3 to 4pm, the hottest time of the day, you have stripped again and you are in the spaghetti top and wondering about having a swim in the lake.

by 6pm the cotton top is back on. Going out to dinner you have changed into a long sleeved Merino top - you can get very stylish ones - over top of the camisole merino layer.

So that is what layers means - instead of putting on one thick top in the morning you put on 2 or 3 light-weight layers then adjust through the day as needed.

NZ merino is soft and cosy like cashmere except not as expensive and it is far more rugged. The best brand is Icebreaker. It is machine washable (front loader washing machines), it repels odor, it breathes, it can be worn up the mountains, in the boardroom or out to fine dining.

Hope this helps :)

Atyrau, Kazakhstan
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207 posts
51 reviews
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2. Re: clothing for March?

Is absolutely does help--thanks! Are you saying that I don't need a warm parka for the freak snowstorm in Mount Cook (or wherever it is most likely to happen)?

Where will be the best places to buy these merino wool clothing pieces? In the US they are difficult to find and quite expensive. I will need them before Wanaka.

Auckland, New...
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180 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: clothing for March?

There is an Icebreaker factory shop just around the corner from Auckland Airport. Otherwise you can try Kathmandu, Bivouwac, MacPac, Mountain Designs shops (all have shops in Central Auckland - not sure on last one as I haven't been there in a while). If you're flying into another city, just google those names and it will tell you where their stores are.

I take 3-4 light merino t-shirts, a long sleeved merino top, a middle weight merino jacket and a Goretex parka. I also have a lovely alpaca scarf that doubles as a cardigan, a blanket, a pillow, a shawl, a very unsexy hat....

For the bottom, I have a pair of merino long johns, a light weight pair of trousers (zip offs if you can find a decent pair), and a travel skirt. A sarong doubles as a sun dress, table cloth, sheet, pillow case cover etc as needed.

That does me for three seasons and much of winter as well.

4. Re: clothing for March?

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