Off to New Zealand? Lucky ewe. Awful pun aside, if you're heading over to the land of sheep, Sauv Blanc, and Sauron, there's a couple of things you should know about taking your phone.
The most important one is that it's actually not as expensive as roaming in other countries, so you might not even have to pick up a local SIM. And if you're with Vodafone, you can actually roam in New Zealand for free.
If you're a Vodafone postpaid customer, you're almost certainly eligible for free roaming in New Zealand: you can talk, text, and surf away using your Australian inclusions for no extra cost. This would normally cost $5 per day. You are however only able to make use of Vodafone's roaming for 90 days per calendar year, after which you're billed at pay-as-you-go rates.
The free roaming promo runs until January 31, 2018, but there's a good chance that Vodafone will extend it again.
Customers on Optus’ high-end $130 and $160 postpaid plans respectively receive 1GB and 1.5GB of roaming data to use each month in all "Zone 1" countries. Conveniently, New Zealand is one of these.
If you're on a different Optus postpaid plan, you can purchase a Travel Pack. $10 will get you a day of unlimited talk and text, and 100MB of data. Essentially, you're looking at $10 per day you're overseas.
You're also able to stack data by purchasing multiple packs at once, so if you buy seven passes for $70, you’ll get seven days of unlimited talk and text, plus 700MB to use over a week of roaming.
And if you're paying-as-you-go on a prepaid plan, you're looking at $1.50 per minute to make and receive calls, 50 cents per text, and $1.00 per megabyte of data.
If you're a Virgin Mobile postpaid customer, New Zealand is one of the countries where you can buy a "Data Pack". These are your options:
- $25 for 300MB
- $30 for 500MB
- $55 for 1GB
- $100 for 2GB
All of Virgin's Data Packs have a 30 day expiration.
If you want talk and text on Virgin, you'll need to pay pay-as-you-go rates: you're looking 50 cents per minute of talk, and 50 cents per text.
If you burn up your Data Pack, you'll be billed 20 cents per megabyte of data at pay-as-you-go-rates.
If you happen to be on Telstra's $195 Premium Plus plan, you're able to roam in New Zealand at no extra cost. You'll get 1.5GB of data per month, and unlimited talk and text.
If you're on any other Telstra postpaid plan, you'll want a Travel Pass. Luckily, New Zealand is Telstra's cheapest destination in terms of its Travel Pass system: you'll pay $5 per day for unlimited talk and text, and 75MB of data. There is one slight catch: you have to buy these in 3, 7, 14, or 30 day bundles. These are you options:
- $15 for 3 days of unlimited talk and text, and 225MB of data
- $35 for 7 days of unlimited talk and text, and 525MB of data
- $70 for 14 days of unlimited talk and text, and 1.03GB of data
- $150 for 30 days of unlimited talk and text, and 2.20GB of data
If you'd prefer to pay-as-you-go for some reason, you'll be billed $1.50 per minute of talk, 75 cents per text, and $3.00 per megabyte of data.
Pay-As-You-Go & Prepaid
Pay-as-you-go roaming is a little cheaper in New Zealand than in other countries, but it can still get expensive fast. Virgin is the cheapest option on postpaid: it's 50 cents per minute of talk, 50 cents per text, and 20 cents per megabyte of data. That works out to be $20 for every 100MB.
On prepaid, Optus, Amaysim, Aldi, Coles Mobile, OVO, and TPG all offer identical PAYG roaming rates. $1 per minute of talk, 50 cents a text, and 50 cents per megabyte of data. That's $50 for every 100MB of data you use while overseas.
Telcos in New Zealand
The three main telcos in New Zealand are Vodafone, Spark, and 2degrees. In terms of coverage, Vodafone and Spark are your best options, with Spark having a slightly bigger footprint than Vodafone, especially in more remote areas.
Vodafone New Zealand has a couple of SIM options specifically designed for visitors. Notably, the call and text inclusions can be used both for local numbers in New Zealand and for international calls back to Australia. Your options are as follows:
- NZD$29: 1GB of data, 200 minutes of talk, 200 text messages
- NZD$49: 3GB of data, 200 minutes of talk, 200 text messages,
- NZD$99: 8GB of data, unlimited talk and text to standard New Zealand numbers, 200 minutes of talk to Australia, 200 text messages to Australia
All three plans last 60 days from activation.
Spark has similar plans:
- NZD$29: 500MB of data, 200 minutes of talk in New Zealand, 200 texts in New Zealand, 100 minutes of talk back to Australia, and 50 text messages back to Australia
- NZD$49: 3GB of data, 200 minutes of talk in New Zealand, 200 texts in New Zealand, 200 minutes of talk back to Australia, and 100 text messages back to Australia
The NZD$29 option will last for a month, while the NZD$49 option has a two month expiry. Both plans also include 1GB of data through Spark's public Wi-Fi network per day.
Girl taking photo in Auckland image from ShutterStock.