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What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

I heard about the WiFi issues in NZ before I came here, so it's the first country where I actually had to buy a sim card to make sure I had access to important info if I needed it.

For most of my South island trip, it wasn't too hard to find a place with WiFi (thanks to using WiFi to first Google places with WiFi!) It wasn't the best, but it wasn't horrid. It sucked having to pay for it in most accommodations, but at least I was prepared.

But now I'm in Wellington and holy hell it just took me 3 hours to find a place with WiFi, that also worked. My accommodation sells it for $10nzd a day! This is the capital of NZ, for chrissakes. And this was using Google to first pinpoint places likely to have it!

Now that I've finally been able to update family that I'm safe, get some essential trip planning done, and shoot a birthday message to a relative, I'm almost able to go explore the city I'm in. Which is good since there's only five hours of daylight left! I was initialy hoping to have a cup of coffee and spend an hour getting some work done now that I'm "in the city." Ha!

<End rant> I'm a little over caffeinated from buying multiple cups of Joe at places that supposedly had it.

Fellow travelers, best be prepared for this forced "quaint" experience. Invest in some serious data! And if you are a digital nomad, best have plan b through z. And don't buy the coffee until you check and double check that connection!

28 replies to this topic
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
41,148 posts
454 reviews
1. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

Interesting, where else did you have this problem?

I haven't seen a cafe, public library or shopping mall that doesn't have free wifi since I was in Queensland Australia recently where technology hasn't yet reached! Even in little villages like Akaroa, every cafe has it and if you are too cheap to buy a coffee, you can hunker down outside the public library & access theirs! Plus there are all the Spark "hot spots". You do seem to have had a bad time.

It does amaze me how sub $50 hostels & AirbNbs provide it free and yet the more expensive the hotel the more you are expected to pay for it!!

Edited: 02 October 2018, 14:35
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

Well here in Wellington, as I described, it really was a quest. I went to four different places before the fifth had it. Two places said they normally have it, but don't right now? Lol. This was surprising to me as it's a city, and it's the capital.

South island I had better luck. While many places didn't have it, the places that did according to Google, really did have it. So I didn't waste time going to places in vain.

Also if anyone has a usual spot in Wellington that they know of with WiFi, I'd love the tips. Not too keen to posting up with my laptop in a supermarket. I prefer to have coffee and treats while I work.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
116 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

Go to a super market, or find a spark telephone booth seems so uncivilized. It's better than nothing though, isn't it! The WiFi sitch is a step above Cuba.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
99,125 posts
17 reviews
4. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

It seems a strange complaint to me. Last Nov-Dec, we spent 4 weeks in NZ staying in 13 different places from Kerikeri to Akaroa. All our accommodation provided free wifi. so we had no problem keeping in touch.

Level Contributor
11,751 posts
72 reviews
5. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

It's a category on the Campermate app - never let us down: https://www.campermate.co.nz/map/index My goodness, when I zoom in to Wellington, I must see 40-50 places with free wifi.

Level Contributor
9,573 posts
486 reviews
6. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

Are you trolling? I travel all around nz and find free wifi everywhere. i think all public libraries have free wifi, not to mention cafes, information centres, restaurants. even some towns have free wifi, airports have free wifi.

However, it is not uncommon to pay for wifi at accommodation places.

seriously, our parks are free, scenery is free, beaches are free. Ive been to many countries where i have to pay to visit a beach, pay to visit national park, pay to see a waterfall, mountain, lake or climb a mountain. Not so in NZ.

If Free Wifi is your main concern then stick to big cities wheres its free. Someplaces in nz you cant even get mobile phone service so be warned.

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin
Level Contributor
1,981 posts
25 reviews
7. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

When I choose accommodation, free wifi is first, ensuite 2nd. I have no trouble but do think the more expensive hotels are the problem. I have had more trouble in Australia than NZ. Visit Dunedin, there is free wifi in the main street and Octagon (Square) as well as all the malls and now on the city buses.

However I have given up on trying to buy a decent cup of coffee in the USA.

Tauranga, New...
Level Contributor
1,865 posts
128 reviews
8. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

I stayed in a budget hotel in Wellngton last week and had no problem with the wifi.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
7,127 posts
389 reviews
9. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

I have no idea where you are staying in Wellington, but if you are in the central city, cbdfree covers the main shopping area and the waterfront from the stadium through to Te Papa.

Te Papa itself has free wifi, and Trademe provides free wifi in the area around Frank Kitts Park and Te Papa. The city library, city art gallery, and national library all have free wifi.

New World supermarkets and the David Jones department store have free wifi. A number of smaller shops and cafes also have free wifi.

I agree having to pay $10 a day at your accommodation is too much. I simply wouldn't stay at such a place.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
30,684 posts
93 reviews
10. Re: What is up with the lack of WiFi in NZ?

I have stayed in Wellington accommodation - never a problem with free wifi.

The week-long trip we have just done here in the South Island I didn't even think to ask about wifi when booking accommodation as it is so prevalent. Only one place offered wifi so slow it was useless so I used my own travel modem.

MSDL you are either extremely unfortunate or totally inept, lol

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