No matter how great it is to unplug on vacation, when you’re in New Zealand, you’ll still want to connect with home, use your favourite apps, and share all those gobsmacking photos you’ve taken with your phone (trust us, start making room now).

 

Following are some tips to make connection easy.

 


 

MOBILE NETWORKS

 

If you want to stay connected on the go, we recommend purchasing a New Zealand SIM card on arrival. This allows you to call, text, and browse the internet without paying expensive global roaming charges. (Check with your phone company before leaving home about international mobile roaming facilities in New Zealand.)

 

Our three main service providers—Vodafone, Spark, and 2degrees—have retail stores throughout New Zealand, including branches at our International Airports. If you miss that opportunity, visit their websites once you’ve settled in to find a convenient branch near you.

 

Note, mobile coverage is not available in many remote areas in New Zealand. Your provider can advise you on no-coverage zones.

Travel Tip: turn off mobile roaming in wilderness areas to save battery life. © Graeme Murray
Travel Tip: turn off mobile roaming in wilderness areas to save battery life. © Graeme Murray

 

MOBILE & DATA PLANS

 

Data and mobile rates and packages are constantly changing and price depends on how much data you require. To help you compare with your mobile provider at home, good travel plans that allow a combination of data, local and international calling minutes, and texts are around $29/month at the time of this article. A prepay plan which charges per minute, per text and per Mb of data can be a cost-effective option for a secondary/travel companion’s phone if used for calls within New Zealand.

 

As a helpful guide, the average traveller uses about 1.5Gb of data per month, but your needs will depend on your own habits. The network provider you choose will advise you on what mobile plan will best suit you.

It's hard to resist sharing New Zealand's scenery. © Graeme Murray
It's hard to resist sharing New Zealand's scenery. © Graeme Murray

 

MULTIPLE DEVICES

 

If you’re like us at packing time, you may well end up bringing a combination of phone, tablet and/or laptop. When you can’t hook into free Wi-Fi, the most cost-effective way to connect your other devices to the internet is to set up your phone as a wireless hotspot that your other devices can tether to. This is a standard tool on most smartphones and is done in the Settings area of your phone.

Tether other devices to your phone's network in the Settings area of your smartphone. © Apple
Tether other devices to your phone's network in the Settings area of your smartphone. © Apple

 

FREE WI-FI

 

Alas, New Zealand is a bit behind other modern countries in its availability of free Wi-Fi, but it is improving. There are places throughout the country where you can check emails, catch up on social media, and do internet browsing for free while on the road:

 

• Airports

• Some City Centres

• i-SITES

• Public Libraries

• Cafes & Restaurants

• Spark Hotspots

• Accommodations

 

For more details and helpful links, see our blog: 7 Places to Find Free Wi-Fi in New Zealand.

Spark's free-WiFi zones are available throughout the country for its customers. © Black Sheep Touring Co.
Spark's free-WiFi zones are available throughout the country for its customers. © Black Sheep Touring Co.

 

CALLING CARDS & PUBLIC PHONES

 

If you would like to call overseas via traditional phone call, prepaid calling cards can be purchased before arrival or from bookstores, newsagents or supermarkets when you’re here. All public phones take calling cards. Some public phones also accept credit cards, but very few accept coins.


 

Now that we’ve loaded you with advice, we’ll leave you with a friendly reminder that sometimes the best connections are made where there’s no Wi-Fi at all. 😉