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Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

San Jose, California
posts: 18
reviews: 2
Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Uh oh ... I just saw a couple postings about sand flys but I don't know what they are so will read up on them. My big concern is are they like mosquitos and are drawn to only certain people? Is it the worst in Fiordland? I'm worried for my husband since he can attract mosquitoes miles away & this could be a deal-breaker for him.

I am blessed that bugs have no interest in me. My husband on the other hand gets attacked by anything. We have had arguments that I said "there's no mosquitos here! Geeesh!" only to be shown bites on his legs - whooops! So you get the picture, he's extremely miserable and I have no clue bugs even exist. Once we went hiking in our area and flies were just buzzing around his face that I couldn't stand it. We could not get rid of them until we ran to the car and left.... not good!

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Surrey England
posts: 2,069
reviews: 61
1. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Sandflies are nasty little biting beasties which are to be found in certain areas of NZ.I haven't yet been to Fiordland but I know they are a real nuisance at Milford Sound (not on the water though ).

I have been caught out twice now by these horrid little things.I should have learnt my lesson after the first time but you think you are safe and then they catch you out!

They go for me much more than my husband though.Mostly they seem to like my feet and lower legs so it's socks and long pants for me next time in NZ in regions where I am likely to encounter them.I was bitten by them on the west coast and in the Lewis Pass area.

All you can do really is to apply a good repellent and then cover up so little flesh is exposed.Someone people say that taking vitamin B for several weeks before travel also helps.Also,it's good to keep moving as they can't fly fast.

And for goodness sake,don't let any of them get into the car as I did!

However,there are many lovely scenic areas of the country where there should be no problem at all.Don't let them put you off coming.I keep returning.

Just make sure your husband takes the necessary precautions.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Macau
posts: 20,697
reviews: 204
2. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Mummy gaot - Milford Sound IS Fiordland (although it is called a "Sound" - it is really a Fiord LOL). Yes that is sandfly central.

When I worked in MS thirty odd years ago, the bus drivers used to tell unsuspecting tourists that the proof that the Ancient Greeks visited Fiordland is the legend of Pegasus (the flying horse) - inference being that the sandflies are as big as horses .....

Birmingham, United...
posts: 1,090
reviews: 80
3. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

I didn't get collared by sandflies when on the west coast but did get bombarded with mossies in Wanaka, Repellant is the way to go.

Surrey England
posts: 2,069
reviews: 61
4. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Zhuhai---- I know Milford Sound is in Fiordland but thought sandflies were only really a big problem there and not in other parts like Te Anau.

posts: 327
reviews: 52
5. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Are the sandflies a problem year round, or only in the summer? We'll be there in early June, should I still pack repellant? How about on NI, especially Northland?

posts: 2,912
reviews: 63
6. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

They are seldom a problem in North Island, but I believe they are a curse year round. Here's a map:


They are only slightly smaller than a mosquito and travel in swarms, much like gnats. They make no buzzing sound and you don't feel them when they land on you. I took a vitamin B complex daily for a month prior to our SI New Zealand trip and got about 5 bites on my feet (I think they were inside our campervan and I thought I was "safe"). My husband didn't take vitamin B and he got a few dozen bites. Maybe he just smells sweeter naturally, or maybe it was the vitamin B.

They don't like bright sun, they don't like rain, they don't like wind, they don't like nighttime, they don't like cities, they don't like trying to keep up with you when you walk. Give them a calm, slightly overcast day near the bush (woods) and they come out like crazy.

San Jose, California
posts: 18
reviews: 2
7. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Hi all,

Thanks this is helpful. I do hope we can manage it because if my husband is miserable = I'm miserable! I saw people posting about vitamin B but not sure how well that works. Do people wear those goofy hats w/nets on them when they get on Milford Sound?

I also didn't realize that they would be up in Wanuka since I was thinking of changing 3 nights in Te Anau to 2N and 1N in Wanuka to avoid bugs. The hotel I picked is Lakefront Lodge so I'm wondering if we should reconsider picking something further away from the water?

Thanks again!


new zealand
posts: 3,181
reviews: 310
8. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Been to Milford and doubtful sound a few times now and never had a problem. But then, just use some good insect repellant.

posts: 2,912
reviews: 63
9. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

I don't think the stays in towns, like Wanaka or Te Anau, are going to be a problem. They like lush rain forests and streams. And once on a boat, they don't follow you when at Milford.

That map in the link is very general. We didn't see any when at Able Tasman or at Havelock/Linkwater. Our worst encounter was at Buller Gorge near Murchison. We were tired of driving and overnighted at Owen River. At dusk, it was like being held hostage in the campervan. There were hundreds, if not thousands of them! We didn't see any when we hiked Charming Creek, or visited Pancake Rocks, nor any at Fox Glacier or Lake Matheson.

Haast and Milford are notorious for them. Wear long pants and repellant, and keep moving when out of the car and until you are on the boat. You should be fine.

Nelson, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
posts: 21,802
reviews: 48
10. Re: Mosquitos? Sandflys? Bugs?

Wanaka doesn't have sandflies - it is far too hot and dry.

Nardine was attacked by mozzies in Wanaka - I lived there a number of years and never experienced one bite. Perhaps her accommodation had a stagnant pond nearby.

I really wouldn't change your travel plans for a few buzzing insects - the problem isn't that big. Buy some repellent once you are here - sadflies seem attracted to foreign repellent !