Stray Travel Blog

New Zealand phone plans, data and internet: Everything you need to know!

Most backpackers coming to New Zealand won’t want to rely on finding free wifi to stay connected. While free wifi exists (see the list at the bottom of this article), if you’re heading off the beaten track it’s much harder to find, and that’s where all the Instagram worthy photos come from! Check out our guide to getting connected in NZ…

Before you arrive

Before you depart on your adventure, you should check that your phone is unlocked, and will actually work in New Zealand. If you’re not sure, get in touch with your cell provider, they can let you know.

Prepay vs Pay Monthly

First things first, you need to decide what kind of plan suits your needs best.

Prepay is fast and easy to set up, you can even do it at the airport when you arrive. Prepay plans usually include a combination of data, calls and texts. Most companies have monthly options, but some offer prepay weekly, so if you’re on a shorter trip you can only pay for what you need.

Pay Monthly is a little more work to get set up – you need a New Zealand address and you may have a minimum commitment (which means termination fees). If you’re planning to live or work in New Zealand, this could be an option worth looking into.

There’s no wifi in the forest…

Choose your provider

There are a few phone companies to choose from, and it’s worth browsing their websites to find a plan that fits you perfectly. They all offer similar prices, but each has different advantages. Here’s what you can get for $30 from the major companies.

2 Degrees




How to get connected

  1. It’s really easy to get started with a prepay plan. First you need to get a NZ SIM card and you’re in luck, you can pick up a free 2 Degrees SIM from our Stray Shop in Auckland!
  2. If you choose a different provider, you can grab one from the provider (at the airport or in a shopping mall), or from the supermarket or a dairy (convenience store). SIM cards normally cost between $2 and $5, but some carriers provide them free with your first top up.
  3. Follow the instructions to activate your SIM card.
  4. Top up and choose a plan – the easiest and fastest way to do this is by downloading the provider’s app (all free) and using your credit or debit card. You can also do this the old school way, in the same place you picked up your SIM. Just let them know the dollar amount you’d like and they’ll print you a voucher with instructions.
Grab an ice cream and a SIM card from the local dairy

What about wifi?

Here’s our list of all the places we can think of to get (mostly) free wifi:

Wellington’s Te Papa Museum

Hot tips:

Updated 14 September 2018


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