Using my iphone in NZ

I want to be able to use my iphone while I’m there but I’m not sure if I need to buy a sim card to use or not.  A friend suggested just using free wi fi when I can.

Does anyone know what sort of coverage there will be?  I imagine it might be limited because of the mountainous terrain on the South Island.  I’m sure there might be some free wi fi in the hotels.  They seem to offer free wi fi in the public areas but make you pay if you want it in your room.  That’s ok with me. I’ve managed before just using it in public areas.

Looking forward to hearing feedback from anyone.

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15 Responses to Using my iphone in NZ

  1. Rachel SS says:

    Leanne, do you have Global Roaming with your current SIM? Check with your provider in regards to this, it shouldn’t cost to put it onto roam but once you are in NZ, it will cost a pretty penny to use (international rates, even though you are in NZ, and call a NZ local number, the call goes back to Aus, then bounce back to NZ, if that makes any sense), so check the international rates for your provider. Another option is to buy a pre-paid sim in NZ (not sure, but I think you can buy these at the airport) and use that, I’m guessing these would be similar to our pre-paids here (you know the ones that you find at servos and Coles / Woolies). Good luck.

    Rachel SS

  2. Yeah, you’ll need global roaming. Be careful using data too – will cost you a bomb. I didn’t have my iPhone when I went last year but I did have a mobile phone with me and got pretty good coverage everywhere on the North island.

  3. Oh and in my experience, free wifi wasn’t all that prevalent in NZ – may have changed but that was just what I noticed.

  4. hmmm thanks for your help Rach and V. I don’t want to use roaming because I want to be able to use the internet and I know the costs assocated with data usage. I’m just not sure if you can buy prepaid for iphones. If it is possible it will also cost a fortune because prepaid is always a lot more expensive. I’ll have to ask Liz what she knows about it.

    • Leanne, I’ll have a look at work tomorrow as we’ve got a product called TravelSim that works worldwide with supposedly great rates. I know I’m going to use it when we head over to OZ at Xmas cause I got stung badly last year with my Global Roaming but I’m not sure how it works in reverse. I’ll find out and let you know what it’s like as opposed to just getting a prepaid SIM here

  5. Rachel SS says:

    I have an Amaysim, a prepaid sim which can also fit into an iPhone which also has a data plan. (15 cents a min, 12 cent text, here’s the website: It is a good idea to check with Liz, they may have something similar.

    Also, the hotel that we stayed in Methven (sp?), which is about an hour out of Christchurch had internet machines in the public area, and for memory it was about a dollar or two for about half an hour. Enough time to update the blog and check emails. Maybe you could do a little research and find internet cafes or local libraries. Or ask the hotels that you are staying at if they have computers that you can use.

  6. Sue-Ellen says:

    Hi Leanne,
    Geat blog! Paige bought the Travel sim that Liz is talking about. She is using it whilst she is in the USA. So far she has used $25 credit and I topped her up again the other day. She uses facebook on it, has called home about 6 times and sms x 3 daily. She left on the 21st Sept and will be home on the 10th. Her phone is a Nokia C something and she just swapped the sim over

  7. Michelle K says:

    One thing – make sure you turn off data roaming on your iPhone (under Settings then General then Network). Because your phone constantly downloads for all sorts of things – picture messages someone sends you, GPS coordinates for the Maps, details for the Weather, emails. And for some things it downloads automatically, and downloads history, and you can blow a fortune in literally 3 minutes. We kept this off the whole time we were in the US, and just used the WiFi in free areas. (OK, and paid for it occasionally too…)

    I think NZ is more like Aus when it comes to free WiFi – pretty limited. Maccas is offering free WiFi at some restaurants…see here:

  8. Leanne, I just had a quick look and one of the best options might be to pick up a Prepaid SIM card here when you arrive. One of the cheapest companies is 2Degrees and they also have what looks to be a very good rate on purchasing Data Blocks . Here’s their website to have a look at They are giving the big boys a real run for their money and have one of the best price structures in NZ at the moment all around.

  9. Thanks ladies. I’ll check out the websites you have all mentioned. It’s one of the few things that’s stressing me out because I’m addicted to my iphone. I just assumed there was plenty of free wifi lol. Because half of my holiday is a guided tour I won’t have much (or any) access to McDonalds and I don’t eat there anyway so don’t really want to go there (unless its for a toilet visit haha).

  10. Rachel SS says:

    What? You can’t take your phone on a loo break at Maccas?

  11. LOL I would but Maccas frown upon you going in there for a toilet break without buying something.

  12. Rachel SS says:

    I didn’t think that they would notice if one or two people went in without buying. I could understand a whole bus load, but a couple of people. Nuh.

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