Should I buy my outdoor gear in Australia or New Zealand?
November 24, 2011 5:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm heading from Brisbane, Australia to Queenstown, NZ for 6 weeks of hiking over Christmas. Am I better off buying my outdoor gear in Aus or NZ?

Specifically looking at merino base layers, tent and sleeping bag and mat. I have good boots and pack, some outer wear and cooking gear.
posted by dantodd to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd be inclined to get it over there, if only so that I know the airline won't lose it. It also means if its colder/wetter/whatever than you thought, you can tailor it to what you need. I imagine the advice you get from Kiwis regarding what gear will suit will be better than that you're going to get from a Queenslander (we suck at judging temperature, after all).
posted by Jilder at 12:12 PM on November 24, 2011

Very jealous that you have 6 weeks! We could only fit in Routeburn and Milford tracks in our time available. We'll be coming from Sydney.

We've bought all our stuff (except food) because we didn't want to be rushing around when we got there (sounds like you might have more time), and I wanted to practice using it at least once or twice.

It does seem like there are quite a few equipment places in Queenstown and Te Anau though.
posted by trialex at 12:49 PM on November 24, 2011

Either or. There's a lot of camping and hiking stores in brisbane and you'll pay a bit less than if you're in the tourist areas of NZ, but our airlines can be a bit retentive about excess baggage charges (Qantas) so depending on how much you buy it might even out.

Probably worth internetting it and sussing out the prices between NZ and Bris ahead of time and haggling a bit.

Second Jilder though, the kiwi's will know better what you want for the areas.
posted by nozendo at 1:37 PM on November 24, 2011

Equipment prices in NZ are high and the most towns on the South Island are too small to support good equipment stores. I was there four years ago, and outside Queenstown most equipment shops did had a limited selection, and there was only one shop per town. Te Anua only had two equipment shops, and one of them was a storage shed in someone's yard. According to Google, the Te Anua situation did not change. Queenstown is bigger and has an awesome selection of equipment shops.

If you have specific equipment in mind, you should get it in Brisbane. You can get a lot of the less specialized stuff in Australia, and your dime will go further than in New Zealand. Stuff like stove, pots, sleeping pad etc. You will also want to break in your shoes in advance.

However, there are a few things you might want to keep in minds - if you're planning a lot of hiking in Fiordland, the local custom is to wear shorts and a mid-thigh length Gore tex parka. Lower legs are left either bare, or in thermals. Do they sell such parkas in Australia? Also, you can find Icebreakers on sale, if you like their sweaters.

I got my thermals and stuff in the Kathmandu chain, you should check out where the prices are lower - Oz or NZ.

Personally, I would get the none-weather dependent stuff in Australia, and buy wet weather gear and a tent in NZ after talking to the locals.

Have fun, hiking in NZ kicks ass!
posted by ye#ara at 2:21 PM on November 24, 2011

NZ is cheaper than Aus for camping gear if you are in a major city, but very expensive in e.g. Queenstown. If you are flying through Auckland or Christchurch and have time to go shopping, that would be a good place to buy.

(NZer who now lives in Australia and waits to buy climbing equipment and snow gear when back home in NZ).
posted by lollusc at 4:35 PM on November 24, 2011

(And by "time to go shopping", I mean in the city, NOT at the airport!)
posted by lollusc at 4:36 PM on November 24, 2011

Wherever you buy, be wary of supposed xmas discounts from big chains, especially Kathmandu. They tend to slap a lot of 33% or 50% off stickers on heaps of merchandise over xmas, hoping that people will make quick purchases for their holidays or for gifts.

Problem is, I'd swear (although I haven't yet objectively confirmed) that the "marked down" price is in fact the same, or almost the same, as the regular prices year round at other stores. Maybe they mark them up 100% the day before or something, but whatever is going on is decidedly iffy to me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:54 PM on November 24, 2011

Haven't booked tickets yet. Any recommendations for an outfitter in Christchurch?
posted by dantodd at 6:59 PM on November 24, 2011

Sadly the one I have shopped at most is in the red zone, so probably doesn't exist anymore. In fact, a lot of them probably are... Sorry.
posted by lollusc at 1:48 AM on November 25, 2011

What will you do if you get over there and they don't have your size? I would buy the gubbins here and then take time to wear it all in before the walks.
posted by Sutekh at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2011

Sutekh, that was my main concern. Fortunately, my favourite gear store is having a Birthday sale this week so I'll stock up with them. It might cost a little more, but the piece of mind will be worth it.
posted by dantodd at 5:22 PM on November 28, 2011

Thanks to everyone. I ended up getting most of my gear here but grabbed a few things over there. Queenstown is ridiculously expensive. Te Anau was much better priced. I also visited Dunedin, and numerous outlets had good prices.

The clincher in the end was that Australia has a Traveller Refund Scheme for GST refunds whereas NZ does not. That's 10% back when you fly out. Of course, I forgot my receipt for my claim at the airport, but the intention was there!
posted by dantodd at 5:23 PM on December 26, 2011

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