Are you planning your trip to New Zealand, flying to Auckland and looking for the best way to stay connected? In this guide you can read everything about buying a sim card for New Zealand at Auckland International Airport. Where to buy a prepaid sim card, up to date prices as per March 2023, my recommendation, a vlog about my arrival and even information about international and e-sim cards for New Zealand.
Wherever I travel the first thing I do is buying a prepaid sim card to get connected. It is the cheapest way to get a lot of data on your phone. It avoids high roaming costs and you don’t need to struggle with slow overseas data roaming plans. E-sim cards are also an option, but more about that later.
As I am also on a mission to travel to every country in the world you can find already more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Asia, Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Bangkok, Europe, London, Paris, USA, New York, Canada and many more.
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Spark sim card at Auckland Airport just before immigration in the duty free area. It is the cheapest place to buy your sim card for New Zealand because it is tax-free.
However, if you miss that opportunity it does not matter anymore which New Zealand sim card you buy because Vodafone and Spark are pretty much the same.
If you are traveling to multiple countries then you might want to check into an international sim card for traveling. Click on the link to see my comparison of the best travel sim cards in 2023.
However, the easiest way to stay connected these days is an e-sim card.
E-sim cards for New Zealand
No more swapping physical sim cards or visiting a phone shop. Get your e-sim card directly online in just a couple steps. Check out the following e-sim card deals for New Zealand:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $31.5 USD
Click here to directly order a New Zealand e-sim card online or find more info in the link.
On another website I found international e-sim cards that are valid in more than 70 countries, including New Zealand:
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
Click here to order one of these international e-sim cards for New Zealand.
For more info about e-sim cards for New Zealand check out my article about the 10 best e-sim cards for New Zealand in 2023.
Arrival at Auckland International Airport
Arrivals in New Zealand at Auckland International Airport are pretty smooth. Once you leave the plane you will be directed through the duty free area. Right at the end of the duty free there is a sim card store, more about it later.
Passport control goes pretty fast, definitely if your passport allows you to go through one of the electronic gates. Then you take the escalator down into the baggage claim hall. Here you can find a money exchange and an atm.
The only pain could be the customs baggage check, which sometimes can take a while, especially if you have something to declare. After you pass through this check you walk into a small and fairly busy arrival hall. On your right hand side you see all car rental companies and on your left hand side you see a Mc Donalds.
Auckland Airport is pretty small and the Arrivals and Departures are next to each other in the same building and on the same floor. It is very easy to navigate Auckland International Airport.
Where to buy a sim card at Auckland Airport
There are 4 places to buy a prepaid sim card for New Zealand when landing at Auckland Airport. As I mentioned briefly the first opportunity is the Spark store in the duty free area, even before you get your passport stamped.
You have to act immediately because once you go through immigration, you can’t return to the duty free area.
Once you walk into the arrival hall there are 3 stores for buying a sim card. On your left hand side opposite the Mc Donalds you will see an official retail store of Spark and Vodafone. It is impossible to miss the stores.
Then there is also a Relay bookstore which is right in front of you when walking into the arrival hall.
Prices New Zealand prepaid sim cards at Auckland Airport
Prepaid sim card prices and packages constantly change. Traveltomtom does everything in its power to keep information as up to date as possible. Your help is very much appreciated. Please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram and lets help fellow travelers visiting New Zealand.
As of March 2023: $1 NZD = $0.63 USD and $1 NZD = $1.60 USD
Tax Free store Spark
As mentioned before you can get your prepaid sim card for New Zealand straight after arrival even before you get stamped into New Zealand and that even tax free.
- 2 GB data + 200 minutes + 200 sms = $25 NZD
- 10 GB data + 200 minutes + 200 sms = $42 NZD
- 50 GB data + unlimited minutes & sms = $68 NZD
- Unlimited data* + unlimited minutes & sms = $112 NZD
*Data speed reduced after 100 GB
All plans are valid for 3 months and come with international minutes to some destinations.
Spark Arrival Hall
The Spark store in the arrival hall offers the exact same packages, but they are a couple dollars more expensive as it is including VAT. Also these plans come with international minutes and are valid for 3 months.
- 2 GB data + 200 minutes + 200 sms = $29 NZD
- 10 GB data + 200 minutes + 200 sms = $49 NZD
- 50 GB data + unlimited minutes & sms = $79 NZD
- Unlimited data* + unlimited minutes & sms = $129 NZD
*Data speed reduced after 100 GB.
Vodafone Arrival Hall
‘Coincidentally’ Vodafone prepaid sim cards cost almost the exact same! Here are the available data packages:
- 2 GB data + 200 minutes + 200 sms - valid for 30 days = $29 NZD
- 10 GB data + unlimited minutes & sms - valid for 60 days = $49 NZD
- 40 GB data + unlimited minutes & sms - valid for 60 days = $69 NZD
Also Vodafone New Zealand offers international minutes to selected destinations, see the photo above.
The Relay bookstore only offers Vodafone prepaid sim cards for tourists. Personally, there is no reason to buy your Vodafone prepaid sim card here when you can buy it from the official store just 30 meters on your left hand side.
The Vodafone sim card deals at the Relay store are the exact same as in the official retail store. The only thing I could think of is if you arrive very early or very late and the Vodafone and Spark stores are closed. Then Relay is your only option to buy a sim card for New Zealand on arrival at Auckland Airport.
Best sim card at Auckland Airport
As you can see from the above comparison between the Vodafone and the Spark prepaid sim card deals for New Zealand there is not much difference. Prices are basically the same.
To find the best prepaid sim card for New Zealand I also compared the 4G/5G network coverage of Vodafone and Spark and came to the conclusion that even the network coverage is more or less the same for both providers.
The only difference is that Spark offers data plans for 3 months and the Vodafone prepaid sim card plans are valid for 1 or 2 months. I am sure most tourists stay less than a month in New Zealand anyway, but yeah that is the main difference between a Vodafone and a Spark sim card.
However, if you are looking for the cheapest prepaid sim card at Auckland International Airport then you have to buy your prepaid sim card from the Spark store just before immigration. Here you get the same prepaid sim card deals for New Zealand but then tax free! That way you save a couple bucks on getting connected in New Zealand.
To make it all easy for you here is what it looked like when I arrived in New Zealand, watch my vlog about buying a sim card for New Zealand at Auckland Airport below.
Order an international sim card for New Zealand online
Do you want to arrive in New Zealand prepared or the above simply sounds like too much hassle then you can always choose to order a prepaid sim card for New Zealand online. These international sim cards are perfect for traveling in New Zealand.
The sim cards are pre-activated and will be shipped to your home address and automatically activate from its first use. So it is plug and play when you land in New Zealand. See the following deals:
- 8 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 12 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
- 24 GB data for 2 years = $79.90 USD
Click here to order one of the above international sim cards for New Zealand online or find more info in the link.
Also a last reminder that you can arrange everything online within just a couple clicks by ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand.
I hope all the above information for buying a prepaid sim card for New Zealand at Auckland International Airport was helpful for your upcoming trip. May you have any more questions, remarks or recommendations then please leave me a comment below to help a fellow traveler out.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of March 2023 I have visited more than 150 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to New Zealand!