How to…Get internet in New Zealand

Ah, internet. The quest that never ends.

Here’s the deal with internet in New Zealand: it’s there, it’s fast enough, and it’s expensive. Or: you don’t have it.

There are three companies that compete with each other here. 2Degrees, Telecom, and Vodafone. They all offer internet sticks.

You buy a SIM card on a plan, and then insert the USB stick into your computer. The program is called “Connect Me.” You can’t use a 2Degrees SIM with a Telecom stick so choose carefully which plan you want. Also, be sure to save any and all SIM cards bought—they can be refilled if you run out.

2Degrees is the cheapest but has the worst coverage. You can get a stick of 12 GB for $99 NZD.

Telecom has the best coverage and therefore the more expensive rates. You get 2GB for $50 NZD.

A makeshift work desk in Kaiteriteri:

DSC00148These internet sticks are necessary for the campervaning lifestyle, because in New Zealand most places don’t offer unlimited free wifi. You can only use 100 megabytes, even at McDonalds, or the public library. Once in a rare while a coffee shop or campervan park might offer unlimited wifi. Some CBD’s (central business districts) in NZ offer free wifi, but the connection often isn’t very good.

If you want internet on your cell phone, you’ll need to buy a package. If you don’t, you can eat $20 NZD up in a day by making only 3 phone calls.

Paying per download instead of time spent means that we try to avoid Skype or watching/downloading movies. This makes New Zealand a surprisingly unfriendly digital nomad’s destination for such a developed country. However, at least the internet sticks are an option, and not a bad one for being able to go even to more remote destinations and still have internet.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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