Invest in a local SIM card
International roaming with your home provider will not be cheap. It never is when you go abroad. So it’s best to purchase a local SIM card from one of New Zealand’s four main providers; Spark, Vodafone, Skinny and 2 Degrees. They have all sorts of plans with varying combos of data, calling minutes and text - all designed specifically for tourists. So purchase a mobile pack to suits your needs for the duration of you New Zealand holiday.
Mobile packs can be purchased at international airports or from stores across New Zealand’s cities and most reasonably sized towns. Remember to take your mobile device(s) into the retail store when purchasing.
One of the beauties of New Zealand is the outdoors, but coverage is not always available in some of the remote parts of country, so if you are exploring the wilderness, tell friends and family when you will be out of coverage.
To give you an indication of the packages and their cost here are three travel packages designed for tourists, current as of December 2017.
Vodafone Travel SIM
$29 gets you:
1GB of data
200 minutes to use in New Zealand or to call back home
200 text messages to use in New Zealand or to send back home
Note: some country restrictions apply for international calls and texts
Skinny Holiday SIM
$26 gets you a 14-day travel package including:
1.5GB of data
100 minutes for calls to New Zealand or Australia
200 text to New Zealand and Australia
100 international calling minutes
Spark Travel Pack
$29 gives you the following with a 1 month expiry:
1GB of data
200 New Zealand minutes
100 international minutes
200 New Zealand texts
50 international texts
1GB free WiFi per day at Spark hotspots across New Zealand
Are you are looking to use more than one device?
If you are looking to use a combination of devices to connect to the internet, it is most cost effective to set up your phone as a wireless hotspot.
WiFi is available in most hotels, cafes, restaurants and a number of local authorities including all of New Zealand’s public libraries and i-SITE Visitors Information Centres. If you are not sure ask, as it is not always advertised.
The speed of the WiFi is also variable ranging from good, particularly in the cities where there is fibre, to less reliable and slower in some of the more remote or rural areas of the country where the technology is older.
So if you are looking for flexibility and speed the cellular data networks provide a better, faster service, so you can stay connected and get all those great photos home to your loved ones.
Consider a calling card
If your mobile phone is locked to a network back home or you don't wish to purchase a local SIM card, you can get a calling card for use within New Zealand's public phone network. Calling cards can be used to ring international countries for a specified amount of time and are generally very cost effective.
Note: Most public phones in New Zealand don’t take cash. A credit card or calling card is generally necessary if you are wanting to make a call from a public phone.
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