Using Mobile Phones on holidays in New Zealand

Before you leave home think about how you are going to make phonecalls when you are in New Zealand. A little time spent considering your options may save you a small fortune in mobile phone bills.

The two most frequent types of phonecall you are likely to make in New Zealand are:

1. Making reservations for accomodation, activities and trips

2. Calling family and friends (who live either in New Zealand or back home)

Alot of people take and use their own mobile phone and return home to an unexpectedly large bill at the end of their holiday.

Before you travel

Check your existing tarif to find out how much it will cost you to make and receive calls in New Zealand. Charges of NZ$2-4 per minute are not unusual. Ask your network operator or visit their web site.


  • Use your own mobile phone and pay expensive international roaming charges for all calls made and received.
  • Take your own mobile phone but insert a local New Zealand SIM card to reduce call costs . Buy SIM card either at home or in New Zealand.
  • Rent a phone in New Zealand with a local number.
  • Don't use your own phone but rely on using telephones in your accomodation and tourist information centres to make reservations.


Many activity and event companies advertise Freephone numbers for use when making bookings and reservations. These numbers cannot be dialled from non-New Zealand mobile phones.

On arrival in Auckland and Christchurch visit a mobile phone shop and ask them to tell you about the best offers they can give you. Sometimes they have shops at the airports.

BEWARE - before you leave home check that your mobile phone is "UNLOCKED".

Many campervan companies now hire out mobile phones, why not ask yours.

Finding out how much money you can save

  1. Estimate how often you might use a phone and for what purpose e.g. 5 minutes a day for making bookings.
  2. Now calculate how much that will cost you on your existing mobile phone tarif if you were to use your own phone in New Zealand. That tells you the likely bill you will get when you return home if you do nothing.
  3. Next, work out how much a local SIM card may cost taking into account the cost of the SIM card, delivery charges, how much initial credit you get, cost of calls including call setup charges.
  4. Compare the two and pick the right option for you.