The Ultimate Guide to Wet Weather Gear in NZ – finding the right waterproofs for work and leisure
Discover the best wet weather gear for commercial, sport and leisure fishing in NZ, from oilskins to lightweight fishing jackets. The sheer abundance of volcanic lakes, icy rivers and pristine shoreline make it almost impossible to have a bad day fishing in New Zealand.
Want great gear at a lower cost? Check out our trade and wholesale offers.
^^ If you’re looking for gear that covers all bases, go for lightweight wet weather gear. New Zealand can be rainy in all seasons, but you don’t want to be struggling under the weight of a heavy duty oilskins.
PVC wet weather gear
We tend to favour PVC for our gear due to its strength and flexibility – not to mention its waterproofing qualities. But instead of telling you how strong and durable PVC is, here’s a video we made.
The weight of your gear plays a huge part in your comfort, but also your ability to get about. Go for something too light and you’ll be feeling that biting NZ winter. Go for something too heavy and you’ll be carrying unnecessary weight around and feeling too hot. Here’s a rundown of optimum weights for your wet weather gear while you’re in NZ.
Heavy Weight Wet Weather Gear
For abrasive, dangerous and harshly cold environments like big game fishing during winter, go for heavy weight wet weather gear.
Consider how many layers you want to place underneath your gear. Anything less than 500gsm weight PVC is unlikely to hold up in the long run, but if you’re heading out to NZ for a trip, you should be fine.
We use 630gsm PVC in our gear, such as the Crew 654 Foul Weather Heavy Duty Bib & Brace Pants. High quality wet weather gear should fit to, and move with, your body. The weight should be distributed across your shoulders, never feeling like it’s dragging you down, even when wet.
Medium Weight Wet Weather Gear
If you need durable wet weather gear, but don’t want to wear two layers of PVC. Our medium weight wet weather range is typically 400 to 500 gsm PVC.
The heavier the gear, the more material required to produce it. This is reflected in the price. So medium weight wet weather gear is often a very cost effective option, such as our Stormtex 669 bib and brace.
Light Weight Wet Weather Gear
Lightweight weather gear is ideal if you know the weather is on your side. A spot of summer angling down on the River Rai would be spoiled if you’re wearing a heavy PVC number, but a lightweight, easy-to-wear waterproof jacket is ideal for keeping your dry and cool.
Good quality lightweight gear often has some polyurethane to give it a supple and comfortable feel. For example, Stormline has designed two types of waterproof bib and brace sets; the high back 652 and the low back 664.
Light weight wet weather gear is also ideal for tramping. It gives you good protection against the elements without the burden of weight to carry around all day.
Farmers in NZ also favour lighter weights due to the need for mobility and coolness. Hopping on and off quads, crossing fences, working in barns and dairy sheds. In fact, a large proportion of Stormline’s lightweight weather gear wearers in NZ are farmers. We’re proud to be their supplier of choice.
In terms of fit, comfort and mobility are the key considerations. But the climate you’ll be working in will also be an influence.
If you anticipate needing to layer up under your wet weather gear, for example if you’re going sea fishing off the NZ coast in the months of June, July and August, you’ll want the option to add a warm layer under your gear, so choose a size that is generous.
Layering aside, good quality wet weather gear should be effortless to wear, regardless of weight. Like all good quality gear, ours is designed to distribute its own weight. We achieve this with a carefully engineered build that means the garment moves in concert with your body. This is hugely important if you’re working. Even heavier gear shouldn’t weigh you down. It should feel substantive and offer protection, but never bulky or heavy.
If you try on a piece of wet weather gear that feels oppressive, return it. Try and achieve a range of movement while wearing the gear. If it’s for a leisure fishing trip, recreate the movement of casting a line. Do whatever it takes to give you a sense of how this piece of gear will function and move in ‘the wild’, don’t rely on how it feels as you’re wearing it in front of the mirror.
You should be looking for a garment that is reassuringly robust, without giving the feeling that it’ll start to become heavy.
If you can’t do this in your gear, you’ve got problems.
Details and comfort
The details are often what make wet weather gear long-lasting and useful. Imagine you want to take photographs of the seals basking off Milford Sound. You may need to get down on your knees for that perfect angle. In which case, knee pads will be extremely useful. Without them, you’ll have sore knees after a few snaps.
Similarly, if you’re going to be out at sea for a long stretch, hopefully you’ll be pulling something heavy aboard your boat. So a padded front with a comfortable back will serve you best.
Before making any purchasing decisions, consider the function of the gear.
Where to fish in NZ?
You’re spoiled for choice, so we’ve picked some of our absolute favourites, aiming for an equal geographical spread.
Nelson, South Island
One of the sunniest spots for fishing in NZ is Nelson, on the South Island. The river Rai and Motueka are particularly good for trout. The water’s pure (‘gin clear’ if you talk like the locals) and it’s rich in minerals. It’s a beautiful spot.
Also on the South Island is the Ahuriri River. A beautiful landscape awaits, as does some great angling. Much of the Ahuriri River is in a conservation zone, where you’ll find excellent fishing for both brown and rainbow trout.
Bay of Islands
If you’re looking to catch some of your own NZ seafood or want to do some big game fishing, the Bay of Islands – a sub-tropical micro-region rich in Maori culture is a must, especially if you love crayfish. These beautiful islands are located just off of the north east coast of the North Island and have some of the best crayfish fishing in the world.
Another island well worth checking out are the Chatham Islands, located 400 miles east of mainland New Zealand, but great once you get there. It’s one of the most isolated spots in the region and is utterly fantastic for anyone interest in botany or nature in general. Another interesting thing about Chatham Island is ‘Chatham Time’. The place is 45 minutes ahead of mainland NZ and is one of the first places to celebrate New Year, due to its far-easterly location. It’s right next to the dateline.
The young chap above is Gabriel Gregory-Hunt, on Chatham Island with one heck of a crayfish.
What else should I do while I’m in NZ?
We probably don’t need to sell the idea of fishing in NZ to you, especially if you already live there. But what about other outdoor pursuits in the area? Take your pick. If you like outdoorsy stuff, you’re in for a treat.
Great Barrier Island
You’ve heard of the Great Barrier Reef but you may not have heard of the Great Barrier Island.
Did you know that NZ is actually more than just two islands? Known locally as just ‘the barrier’, this is the fourth largest of them. It’s located approximately 90 km south of Auckland and is home to some of the world’s most stunning – and isolated – beaches. In fact, this place is so isolated that it’s not connected to New Zealand’s national electricity grid.
As well as chilling out on the beach, you can surf, hike or explore the lagoons. Just make sure you’ve packed the right gear for the season.
Getting there is relatively simple, even given its remote nature. You can hop on a two-hour ferry trip from or make the 30 minute flight. The nearest major airport is Auckland and you can get a ferry from a range of spots along the eastern coast of NZ’s North Island.
This guy’s taking his bike by ferry to the Great Barrier Island. Be like this guy – © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, via Wikimedia Commons
© Maros M r a z (Maros) (Own work, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
The word ‘stunning’ is grossly overused, which is a shame as it robs us of an ample adjective to describe Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling called it the “eighth wonder of the world” and he was probably correct. Not much matches Milford Sound for arresting beauty.
It’s located within the Fiordland National Park, on the south west side coast of the South Island. Milford sound is actually not too far from Invercargill, home of Stormline wet weather gear.
There’s plenty to get up to at Milford Sound, from watching whales, seals, puffins and other marine life to walking among the incredible waterfalls. There’s even a rainforest, sheer rock faces more than a kilometre tall and an underwater observatory.
Winter visitors are advised that it can get rainy down here, so take some decent gear with you or hire it locally. A lightweight waterproof jacket and pants should do the job. And don’t forget to get some decent walking boots too.
Getting there by car can take a while as the approaching roads get very windy. Your best bet is to hop on a plane (or treat yourself to a helicopter trip).
Rotorua geothermal zone
© Matthew Hunt, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattphotos/2280382074
Within easy striking distance of Auckland, Rotorua is a mere 3-hour drive. It’s NZ’s most visited geothermal area, offering hot springs, mud baths, geysers and a host of Maori cultural attractions. Three hours’ drive from Auckland, Rotorua is the country’s primary geothermal area, boasting a wide variety of hot springs, geysers and Maori cultural attractions.
For NZ $43, you can get into one of the world’s best-rated spas too.
Franz Josef Glacier
This is one of the fastest growing glaciers in the world. It’s currently 12 km long and getting longer every year. Depending on how you measure it – annual growth vs daily growth – this bad boy can achieve 70 cm growth in a day!
The glacier is also notable and unique due to its context. It runs from the Southern Alps to a rain forest. No other glacier on earth can give you that range of ecological variety.
But again, as with Milford Sound, remember to take some decent wet weather gear. It can get rainy, hot, windy and cool all in a single afternoon.
Here’s Stormline’s very own Regan McMilland in a robust set of Stormline walking gear.
Wet Weather Gear NZ
Now onto the important stuff, your gear. Whether you’re fishing for leisure or do it for a living, your wet weather gear is the most important tool. It can be the difference between a miserable day at sea enduring uncomfortable temperatures and being weighed down by inefficient materials or a productive, comfortable day focusing on the task at hand.
The right wet weather gear for you is determined by a number of factors. Let’s tackle them one at a time:
Before European settlers arrived, the native Maori people named NZ ‘the land of the long white cloud’, which gives some indication of the kind of climate you can expect. The climate is generally mild, characterised by moderately high rainfall and decent perennial levels of sunshine throughout the country. The two most important influencers on the climate are the sea and the mountains, both capable of driving weather conditions.
The climate is generally temperate, meaning you’ll probably be able to get outside most days of the year, provided you dress for the weather. Up north, you can expect subtropical weather during summer but in the inland and mountainous areas of the South Island, temperatures can be as low -10 C in winter.
Most of the population lives near near the coast, so they experience milder temperatures, moderate rain and relatively abundant sunshine. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that NZ’s climate is like that of its nearest neighbour Australia. New Zealand is far, far milder.
If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, you need to invert your expectations of seasons. New Zealand has distinct seasons, but the hottest months are from December through to February, where temperatures generally lie between 20-30ºC. Summer nights can get mild, so even in its peak, you may want a lightweight jacket for the evenings. Winter comes between June and August, where temperatures sit between 10-15ºC. Winter can be chilly and rainy, so waterproof layers will come in very handy indeed.
Whatever your motivation for heading over to New Zealand, you’ll need to prepare to get the most out of your trip. So we’ve put together a comprehensive collection of tips and advice to help.
Getting to NZ for a Fishing Trip
Unless you’re already there, in which case you can skip right to the bottom of this article to discover the best wet weather gear for NZ fishing, New Zealand is quite remote.
In fact, New Zealand holds the unusual distinction of having the largest distance between its own capital and the next nearest capital city, Canberra in Australia. It’s 1,448 miles (2,330 km) from Wellington to Canberra.
There’s not much we can do about New Zealand’s remoteness, but we can certainly help you find the best way to get here. Air travel is the only practical option. You *could* sail there from Australia, but that’ll take weeks rather than days. Melbourne to Auckland can be as many as 14 days sailing, depending on route and weather and even further if you’re setting sail from Sydney. The fastest ever voyage by sea from Sydney to Auckland took just under 3 days. Do it by air.
Cost of flying to New Zealand for a fishing trip
The cost of getting to NZ depends on your point of origin. Obviously it’s more likely to be cheaper if you’re already nearer, but here’s a price guide. Please note, prices change and the total cost of your trip will depend on the amount of passengers, your luggage and a range of other factors. These prices are based on one person flying economy. Prices are approximate, as of May 2017.
Flying from Canada with Air Canada:
- CA $1935 (from Toronto)
- CA $2257 (from Calgary)
Flying from America with Delta Airlines:
- US $2035 (from New York JFK)
- US $1800 (from Los Angeles LAX)
Flying from Europe with KLM: (connecting flights to Amsterdam not included, but are generally between £100 and £500, depending on point of origin)
- € 1540 (from Amsterdam via Shanghai) – NZ $2479
Flying from the UK with Emirates
- £ 1020 (from London Heathrow via Dubai)
What about getting my fishing gear to NZ?
Naturally you’ll want to take your fishing gear out, unless you’re happy to hire it. In our experience, people like to use the gear they’re used to, so let’s assume you want to take your own.
In most cases, this will add at least a few hundred pounds onto the cost of your trip in baggage costs. In some cases, you may be able to make a decent saving by shipping your fishing gear out so it’s there when you get there.
London removals and shipping firm Kiwi Movers specialise in moving stuff from Europe to New Zealand , but they ship things from around the world.
According to their online international shipping calculator, it’ll cost around £200 to send your fishing gear over to New Zealand.