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Cell phone usage and roaming

This article is aimed at our customers who are based outside of New Zealand & Australia. We answer some of the questions we tend to get asked on a regular basis. We are often asked if cell phones, smart phones or mobile phones brought from home can be used in New Zealand & Australia. In short, more than likely you will be able to use them. Most cell phone networks now operate world wide, some better than others. Before you leave for your destination it’s a good idea to check with your provider what their terms and charges are for overseas roaming. 

Cell phone rental

One way to avoid the unnecessary charges for incoming calls etc. is to rent a local cell phone. In both Australia and New Zealand there are operators located in the international airports offering this service. We can also arrange for your cell phone to be available for pickup from your first accommodation or hotel stop. This makes cell phone rental a hassle free option, just ask us for further details. If you would like to rent a cell phone you can from Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown international airports. In Australia you can rent smartphones and sim cards from Cellular Abroad. For charging you’ll also need to remember your travel power adapter. Just remember New Zealand and Australia use a Type I power plug so you’ll likely need a power adapter.

SIM card rental

Once you’ve arrived in either New Zealand or Australia another option is purchasing a local sim card for your current cell phone. This will allow you to use your cell phone like you’re used to. You’ll only be charged local rates for calling, text messaging, data and so on. There are stores and locations all over where you can purchase “credit” for your cell phone or a sim card. The three main telco providers in NZ are Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees. If you go with Sparks prepaid options you’ll also receive a daily allowance of free WiFi at all of their WiFi locations/Phone booths. In Australia the three big providers are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. If you don’t wish to use your own SIM card, you can arrange to purchase one when you arrive from one of these providers.

Cell Phone Coverage and WiFi

New Zealand & Australia generally have fast Internet connections/WiFi particularly in major cities and at most accommodation providers. On occasion you may find accommodations that have poor or no Internet, however this is becoming increasingly rare. There are numerous WiFi locations to tap into such as iSite in NZ who offer free WiFi throughout the country. Local councils are also getting on board. For example Queenstown now offers free Wifi in selected locations, just look for the ‘Queenstown free‘ network on your device. Cell phone coverage in New Zealand & Australia is generally strong in the main centres with limited to no coverage in backcountry areas. For further information and detailed coverage maps for both countries we suggest you refer to Open Signal.

Portable or mobile WiFi

Essentially its a portable Wifi router that works off cell phone signals. The portable Wifi device enables you to hotspot in with your Wifi enabled devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. There are several providers in both New Zealand & Australia and we recommend you thoroughly investigate the data charges before signing up. Most of the Telcos in NZ and Aus offer devices. However some you have to purchase outright.

Luxury Adventures – Tailoring luxury travel in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999.

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