Banner graphic for SafeWise's Australian health insurance comparison

The best SIM cards and phone plans for travelling to New Zealand

Stay connected when you're away from home with these SIM plans with roaming in New Zealand.

Fergus Halliday
Sep 21, 2023
Icon Time To Read7 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.

Travel SIMs for roaming in New Zealand

Even though it feels so close and like a second home for many Aussies, New Zealand isn't a place where you'll get coverage from any of Australia's big three mobile networks.

But if you're planning to visit Aotearoa anytime soon, you'll need on-the-go connectivity in one form or another. How else are you going to post those snaps to Instagram? Here's a quick rundown on the best international roaming options for Aussies looking to visit New Zealand plus the top alternatives.

Optus plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Optus?

If you're an Optus postpaid customer signed up to the likes of the Optus $49 Choice Plus Plan, you've got two options when it comes to roaming in New Zealand.

The first is effortless but expensive. If you hop off a plane in Auckland airport and immediately try to use your Optus SIM, you'll incur charges based on how the amount of calls, texts and data you use. These standard roaming rates for New Zealand are as follows

  • Make and receive calls: $1.50/min
  • Sending an SMS: $0.50
  • Receiving an MMS $1/MB
  • Sending an MMS (to Australian number): $1/MB + standard cost
  • Sending an MMS (to international): $1/MB + standard cost
  • Data: $1/MB

If you are looking to hop over the Tasman Sea any time soon, the smarter option here is to make use of Optus' new $5 per day roaming. 

This gets you 5GB of data with a 24-hour expiry. Alternatively, you can pay $35 upfront and get 35GB. Either of these offers can be activated through the My Optus app and are available on any of the Optus plans below.

 

Optus also offers international roaming in New Zealand on its prepaid mobile plans. Like its postpaid ones, this add-on costs extra.

You're either looking at $5 for 1GB of data, 100 messages and 100 minutes of calls with 1-day expiry, $10 for that amount of calls, texts and data with 14 days expiry, a $20 data-only roaming add-on that gives you 10GB but no calls and texts with 14 days expiry and a $35 add-on that gives you 7GB of data, 700 messages and 100 minutes of calls.

If any of that is of interest to you, be sure to check out the shortlist of eligible Optus prepaid plans below.

Vodafone plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Vodafone?

Vodafone postpaid plans offer international roaming when you travel overseas, and that includes New Zealand. The cost here works out to be $5 per day but that sum gives you access to every gigabyte you're already paying for with your current plan.

Calls and texts are also covered. However, you won't have access to any "endless" data should you go beyond your mobile plan's monthly allowance. Instead, you'll be charged an extra $5 per gigabyte by Vodafone.

The only other caveat here is that you can only use Vodafone's $5 roaming for a maximum of 90 days in a given year. That'll be fine for short stays, but it is something that frequent flyers might want to keep in mind.

The list of eligible Vodafone plans can be seen in the widget below.

Vodafone prepaid customers also have access to a set of roaming add-ons, starting at $5 for 200MB with a one-day expiry and going all the way up to $35 for 2GB with a seven-day expiry.

Even if they will give you coverage in New Zealand, these are not especially great value compared to the roaming offers available from Optus and Telstra. Honestly, you're probably better off going with another one of Australia's other big three or a New Zealand carrier if you want better bang for your buck.

In any case, the Vodafone prepaid phone plans that support roaming can be found in the widget below.

If you don't take advantage of Vodafone's $5 roaming in New Zealand, you'll be subject to the following rates on a pay-as-you-go basis.

  • Make and receive calls: $1/min
  • Sending an SMS: $0.75 per standard text message sent, per recipient.
  • Receiving an SMS: Free
  • Sending an MMS: $0.75
  • Receiving an MMS: Free
  • Data: $1/MB

Telstra plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Telstra?

New Zealand is actually the cheapest country for Telstra roaming. Every other destination comes in at $10 per day, but this one will only cost you $5 if you're signed up for a Telstra postpaid mobile or upfront plan.

As with Optus, that $5 gets you 1GB of data per day plus unlimited standard calls and texts to local and international numbers. However, this add-on expires at midnight Australian time and you'll get charged an extra $10 for 1GB if you go over that limit. This top-up isn't cheap, but it won't expire for another 30 days after you're charged for it.

If you're still thinking of going with the Big T when it comes to roaming in New Zealand, check out the widget below for a round-up of your options.

Telstra's prepaid roaming options aren't much better than those of the other big telcos, but they are there if you need them. There are three add-ons to choose from.

  • $10 with a three-day expiry: 400MB, 15 messages, 15 minutes of calls
  • $15 with a seven-day expiry: 2GB, 25 messages, 25 minutes of calls
  • $25 with a 14-day expiry: 4GB, 50 messages, 50 minutes of calls 

Check out the widget below for a shortlist of popular Telstra prepaid plans.

If you aren't set up with any of the add-ons above but still want to roam in New Zealand, it'll cost you $1 per MB.

Telstra doesn't disclose its roaming rates for any specific destinations, New Zealand included, on its website. However, the provider does say that it will send customers an SMS with those rates when it detects them landing at a given destination.

Felix plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Felix?

Felix Mobile isn't just one of the few MVNO providers that offer international roaming. It's also one of the best.

While most smaller providers offer poor value packs, expensive pay-as-you-go rates or simply don't offer roaming, Felix Mobile's one and only roaming add-on costs just $20 and includes 4GB of international data, 100 texts, and 100 minutes of talk. Best of all, that roaming data comes with a 365-day expiry. If you use that data up, you just pay another $20 and you're good to go.

The only drawback here is that Felix Mobile's roaming offer doesn't cover as many countries as what you get on Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. You're only looking at around forty international destinations, though most of the major ones are covered.

Felix is powered by the Vodafone network and is unique in that it offers a mobile plan with unlimited data. Priced at $40 per month, your data is capped to speeds of 20Mbps - both domestically and overseas. You can find learn more via the widget below.

Boost Mobile plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Boost Mobile?

Felix isn't the only game in town when it comes MVNOs that offer roaming in New Zealand.

Boost Mobile has three different add-on packs for frequent flyers that start at $20. As you'd expect, the more you pay the more you get and the more time you have to use. Here's the short version.

  • $20 with a three-day expiry: 1GB, 15 messages, 15 minutes of calls
  • $30 with a seven-day expiry: 3GB, 30 messages, 30 minutes of calls
  • $40 with 14-day expiry: 5GB, 60 messages, 60 minutes of calls

If that sounds good, be sure to check out the widget below for a snapshot of eligible Boost Mobile prepaid plans.

Tangerine plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Tangerine?

As of this year, Tangerine now offers two travel packs that include roaming coverage for New Zealand. These are as follows:

  • $25 for 1GB of data, 60 calls, 60 SMSs and 5-day expiry
  • $50 for 2GB of data, 150 calls, 150 texts and 10-day expiry

These add-ons can be paired with any of the Tangerine plans below.

Amaysim plans with New Zealand roaming

How much will it cost to roam in New Zealand with Amaysim?

Amaysim has twice as many travel packs that include roaming coverage for New Zealand as Tangerine does, including one that just includes calls and text. These are as follows:

  • $20 for 100 mins of calls and 100 SMSs with 365-day expiry
  • $25 for 1GB of data, 50 mins of calls and 50 SMSs with 365-day expiry
  • $50 for 5GB of data with 365-day expiry
  • $70 for 5GB of data, 100 calls, 100 texts and 365-day expiry

While it's always nice to have more options to choose from, the bigger selling point here is that every single travel pack available through Amaysim comes with 365-day expiry.

These add-ons can be paired with any of the Amaysim plans below.

Best New Zealand SIM cards for travellers

If you're going away on a holiday and don't care about having access to your local number, a local SIM can often be the better choice. It's a little bit more trouble, but it's also usually a lot cheaper than what you'd spend on either travel packs or roaming fees.

Check out the deal strip below for a shortlist of travel sims for New Zealand.

Looking to set yourself up with a prepaid SIM on short notice?
These are the best sellers on Amazon

*Pricing and deals only accurate as of last page update. 

What is the best phone plan to use in New Zealand?

If you've just landed in New Zealand and are on the hunt for a local mobile carrier to hook you up to the country's mobile networks, your two big and obvious options are One NZ and Spark. Prepaid SIM-only phone plans from both of these providers can be found at most major New Zealand airports.

For shorter stays, One NZ (formerly known as Vodafone New Zealand) is the better bet. This provider has a number of SIM-only plans that are explicitly aimed at the needs of short-term visitors. For instance, the call and text inclusions with these mobile plans can be used for both local New Zealand numbers and international calls to Australia.

On the other hand, Spark's travel plans are ideal for longer stays. If you're an Australian visiting New Zealand for more than a month, it might be worth taking a closer look at what this provider has to offer. There's even a plan with unlimited data and three-month expiry for those who are happy to pay for peace of mind.

Buying a New Zealand eSIM

If you've got an eSIM-enabled smartphone, there might be an even cheaper alternative available for New Zealand roaming coverage in the form of eSIM providers like Airalo.

These providers allow you to sign up and connect as soon as you land at the airport, using nothing more than a QR code and a credit card. What's more, they can often be cheaper than both local counterparts and Australian mobile providers when it comes to the cost involved.

Other roaming options

Free public Wi-Fi

If you're looking to breeze around New Zealand on a budget but stay connected when you need it, then bouncing between free public WiFi networks might be your best bet.

As with Australia, you should be able to find a fair few free WiFi networks throughout New Zealand's libraries, hotels, cafes, attractions and city centres.

Staying connected this way isn't just cheap, it's entirely workable if you're in the right place and don't mind relying on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Vibr rather than traditional calls and texts.

Best SIM cards for New Zealand FAQs

Yes. Websites like SIMCorner and SIMsDirect will sell you a New Zealand SIM while you're in Australia. This can be a great option if you have the time to get a SIM shipped to your Australian address ahead of time rather than scramble to find one once you land in New Zealand.

While you can't get a SIM card with truly unlimited data in New Zealand, providers like Spark do offer travel SIMs with a similar sort of endless (also known as excess-charge-free) data to that found with most Vodafone plans. If you get through all your gigabytes, you'll stay connected but capped at speeds of 1.2Mbps.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

Related Articles

Dyson CleanTrace Visualisation
Dyson’s CleanTrace will gamify vacuuming
Just have to clear this level once a week for the rest of your life