Who doesn’t love free Wi-Fi? Many of us have come to expect it when travelling the modern world, but we confess, New Zealand remains a bit behind on this front (and a few other fronts–but that’s part of our charm, right?). It is catching up, and we’ve made a handy list of decent, free Wi-Fi locations to help you stay connected whilst touring the country.

 


 

1 | AIRPORTS

 

Air New Zealand, bless their inflight socks, now have free Wi-Fi on many of their long-haul flights (here’s where to check). If you’re not lucky enough to have that service, you’ll be eager to see what you’ve missed whilst sipping wine and snoozing at 35,000 feet.

 

Good news! New Zealand airports have some of the best free Wi-Fi around. Auckland Airport, the most common entry point, offers 2 hours of free Wi-Fi, Christchurch Airport generously offers free, unlimited Wi-Fi, and Queenstown provides 2GB free per day—handy for passing the time in transit or uploading your phoneful of photos before your flight home.

The scenic approach to Queenstown Airport © Black Sheep Touring Co.
The scenic approach to Queenstown Airport © Black Sheep Touring Co.

 

2 | CITY CENTRES

 

Auckland’s CBD and waterfront provide 30 min of free Wi-Fi per day. Wander over to the Britomart shopping and dining district and you can access 1GB free through their log-on.

 

Wellington’s ‘cbdfree’ public network which covers the waterfront and retail districts allows 30 min of free Wi-Fi at a time, but you can reconnect again straight away to continue browsing. Search for ‘cbdfree’ or visit their site.

 

Dunedin offers free Wi-Fi in the Octagon, a social gathering place ringed with great cafes and restaurants that’s a favourite hangout for students and visitors.

Te Papa Museum is a must-visit in Wellington, so their fast, free Wi-Fi is a bonus. © Te Papa
Te Papa Museum is a must-visit in Wellington, so their fast, free Wi-Fi is a bonus. © Te Papa

 

3 | CAFES

 

While McDonald’s and Starbucks are notorious free-Wi-Fi oases for travellers, more and more New Zealand cafes and restaurants are offering up their Wi-Fi passwords with purchase. This is good news on two fronts—McDonald’s and Starbucks aren’t as prolific here as other parts of the world, and Kiwi cafes make excellent coffee to enjoy while you browse.

Ask about free Wi-Fi when ordering. © Camilla Rutherford
Ask about free Wi-Fi when ordering. © Camilla Rutherford

 

4 | I-SITES

 

New Zealand’s biggest information centre network has info centres, or i-SITEs, all over the country and many offer free Wi-Fi (see their map). A bonus is that the staff there can help assist with any bookings or questions that come up in your browsing.

The charming i-SITE at Matamata, home of Hobbiton © Matt Crawford
The charming i-SITE at Matamata, home of Hobbiton © Matt Crawford

 

5 | LIBRARIES

 

This is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Most public libraries in New Zealand offer free Wi-Fi. The quality of connection can vary, but those in the city centres like Auckland, Chritchurch and Dunedin are quite good. With quiet places to sit and books as a backdrop, this is one of our favourite places to connect whilst on the road.

Public libraries provide a quiet place to browse the internet, as well as books. © Black Sheep Touring Co.
Public libraries provide a quiet place to browse the internet, as well as books. © Black Sheep Touring Co.

 

6 | SPARK WI-FI HOTSPOTS

 

If you buy a Spark SIM card and mobile package while you’re here (see our article ‘Staying Connected in New Zealand’), you’ll have access to over 1,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country, even in smaller towns, which will allow you 1GB free per day. Just provide your Spark account details on their website to get your passcode.

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.

 

7 | ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Accommodation providers see the value (and the lure) in offering free Wi-Fi as a service to guests. Many now offer limited time and/or data for free, with more available at a charge. Though unlimited free Wi-Fi is not yet the standard, this is changing and tends to be more the case in higher-end accommodations (see our tours for indicative properties).

But don't forget to look up from your device now and again. © Fiordland Lodge
But don't forget to look up from your device now and again. © Fiordland Lodge