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August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

Adelaide, Australia
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58 posts
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August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

We are travelling to Christchurch in a bit over a week now, we will be driving over to the coast to see the glaciers and then making our way down to Queenstown. We will be there for about 11 days.

Just wondering if our Australian winter clothes will be sufficient for August weather? Or will we need to go and buy warmer clothing? I have never been to the snow before so I am a little unsure of what to expect and how cold it will actually be!

Also - does anyone know if it is cheaper to buy in Christchurch or here in Australia by any chance?

Ballarat, Australia
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1. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

NZ doesn't get really cold compared to eg North America, but because it's often damp and windy when it's cold the risk of hypothermia is very high relative to the temperature. If your idea of "winter clothing" is what I see many Aussies wearing around chilly Ballarat in winter, then no it's not enough. :)

The best clothing is layers of fleece and merino with a waterproof outer layer. How much you need depends on what sort of weather you plan to go out in. If the weather is really bad do you plan to go out regardless or hunker down by the fire?

I would recommend the following: synthetic thermal long underwear (tops and leggings, and I'd recommend the more modern fabrics rather than polypropylene which tends to be scratchy and get smelly), fleece pants, lightweight waterproof overtrousers, thick synthetic hiking socks, merino midlayer tops, thick fleece jacket, good-quality raincoat (with hood, preferably in a "technical" fabric like Goretex), fleece hat, neck-warmer and gloves. If you plan to trudge around in snow, snow boots will be useful, otherwise two pairs of sneakers/hiking shoes so if one pair gets drenched you have another pair to wear while they dry.

If you plan to do any walks you'll want a day pack to put your gear in - even if it's fine when you set out it can turn dangerously cold in a flash in the mountains, so you should always carry protective clothing with you.

You are unlikely to save money by waiting till NZ to buy stuff. I would recommend seeing which of your local outdoor retailers have sales going - I just managed to stock up on outdoor winter clothing at Ray's Outdoor sale. (Not sure if they also operate in SA?) Good-quality outdoor clothing is expensive so it's best to try to find it on sale - many items are half-price or less when marked down.

Oz
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2. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

Hi,

Excellent advice from Jean W.

I find these two sites are excellent. Surf Mountain for technical clothing and bivouac for Icebreaker merino thermals and mids.

Here in OZ the specials at places like Anaconda and Kathmandu are worth checking out too.

www.surfmountain.com/…

http://www.bivouac.co.nz/

Cheers,

Adelaide, Australia
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3. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

Thanks for the excellent tips. Jean - due to our limited time anyway we would most likely still be going out in bad weather if we can handle it. We aren't really ones to sit by a fire all day! And we do have Rays Outdoor in SA so I will have a look into what they've got there along with the others Ozrcflyer mentioned.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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4. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

I wouldn't take as much as Jean suggests, it is the South Island, not Antarctica.

At the moment I wear jeans, a light fleece and a mid-range fleece when going outside. if going on snow I would wear merino thermals and woollen or lined waterproof pants on the lower body, a merino top with light fleece and light jacket up top, have a hat and gloves just in case. You will get sunburnt, even on cloudy days, so sunblock and good wrap-around sunglasses are essential.

Happy travels :)

Auckland, New...
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5. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

We were in the sth island in summer and had both hot hot weather and freezing cold. I think prepare for cold. There are outdoor shops in the sth island that sell snow clothing. We bought fleeces and jackets by Macpac with high wind chill prevention. Really, the last thing you want is to be freezing cold in the snow or mountains particularly if you come from a warm country. We wore sneakers on a glacier, but also take beanies/hats. You lose a lot of warmth via the head.

Have a great holiday.

Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

Well as someone who has lived in Dunedin or Christchurch all my life I own one set of thermals. They are several years old and have been warn half a dozen times. For winter camping! Something that I do one or two days a winter on 4x4 club trips.

If you hypothermia is only a risk if skiing. Bush walking etc. It is unheard off for more sedate outdoor adventures. I do recommend a light but waterproof jacket and a couple of layers of thin merino tops etc. Waterproof shoes are also recommend.

There is always a chance of a weather bomb but sustained sub zero temperatures are unlikely.

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

If you are doing active outdoors stuff (eg hiking/tramping) you will get surprisingly hot even in wet cold windy conditions. You will also get cold very quickly as soon as you stop walking. Layering clothing is good for this reason.

When tramping in bad weather I wear polypro leggings, shorts, (yes my legs get wet but it is usually fine), a polypro top or light jersey (eg polartec 100 type weight or lighter), and then a waterproof goretex type jacket. But stopping even for a 10 minute snack break means having to add a thick polarfleece or down jacket layer. I would also take waterproof trousers "just in case", but so far have rarely used them.

8. Re: August clothing - are Aust winter clothing sufficient?

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