Auckland airport arrivals map, sketched by me

Where to find a SIM card at Auckland airport, and which one to get

Updated by Chris. Chris loves visiting New Zealand for the open space, clean air, and Kiwi charm.

For anyone arriving at Auckland Airport from another country, I put together this guide to help find where to buy a prepaid SIM card. I often find it confusing when landing in a new city to figure out which SIM card to buy, and where to buy it. Particularly as I put little effort into planning before I arrive. This guide is intended to help anyone in this situation figure out where to buy a SIM card at Auckland Airport, and which SIM card to buy.

There are three shops at Auckland Airport that sell prepaid SIM cards:

Shop Location SIM Cards Available

Available 24 hours
  • Duty free area before customs.
  • Arrivals Area. To the left, slightly, as you come out from the arrivals door. See map above.
  • Vodafone NZ Travel SIM, from $29 NZD (duty free price is lower)
  • Vodafone Prepay, from $19 NZD

Available 24 hours
  • To the left, slightly, as you come out from the arrivals door. See map above.
  • Spark NZ Travel SIM, from $29 NZD (duty free price is lower)
  • Spark prepaid value pack, from $19 NZD

Open 4:30am until Midnight
  • To the right as you come out from the arrivals door. See map above.
  • Skinny NZ Travel SIM, from $28 NZD
  • Vodafone Prepay, from $19 NZD
Summary of Prepaid SIM Card Locations at Auckland Airport

At Auckland Airport international terminal, prepaid SIM cards from Spark or Vodafone can be bought duty free before customs, or regularly after customs. Skinny prepay NZ Travel SIM is also available after customs.

Of the SIM cards available at the airport, I find Vodafone to offer the overall best deal with a tourist SIM card starting from $29 NZD1.

Local SIM cards offer better value than the NZ Travel SIM cards, though local cards may not be available at the airport. For Spark, Skinny, and Vodafone, their local prepay SIM cards include more data or are cheaper. Local cards are missing international calls however.

Vodafone and Spark are located ahead and slightly to the left after customs (if not buying duty free), and Skinny is sold in the Relay store ahead and to the right after customs.

For people transiting via Auckland to another New Zealand city, a SIM card can be purchased in the shop before exiting customs, or any of the other shops mentioned in this article (Spark, Vodafone, or the Relay shop). Spark and Vodafone (selling SIM cards starting from $29 NZD) is located on the other side of McDonald’s after exiting customs and Relay is located in the domestic terminal.

If you have the time to buy a SIM card in Auckland, I recommend it. Auckland airport has a greater variety of SIM cards than the other airports in New Zealand.

At Auckland Airport domestic terminal, the Relay store appears to sell SIM cards. When transiting to a domestic flight, I find it safer to purchase the SIM card in the international arrivals area.

Last time I visited New Zealand, I used 2Degrees. While I couldn’t find any 2Degrees SIM cards at Auckland airport, Vodafone and Spark offer similar deals these days.

Which SIM cards are available at Auckland Airport?

I compared each of the SIM cards available at Auckland Airport based on their:

  • Data (Spark offers better value here), and
  • Coverage (Vodafone seems to offer more reliable coverage)

Vodafone appeals to me the most if limited to the options available at the airport, even though Spark offers more data. Vodafone’s Tourist SIM includes 1.5GB of data for $29 NZD; Spark requires $49 to get the better value data.

For more data: Spark, from $49 NZD

Spark has the best gigabytes per dollar I’ve found out of the SIM cards options available at Auckland Airport.

For $49 NZD for the first 2 months2, Spark prepaid SIM card includes:

  • 5GB of data
  • 200 mins international calls, and some local calls

For $59 NZD for the first 2 months, Spark have a prepaid sim that includes:

  • 10GB of data
  • 200 mins of international calls, and unlimited local calls

I find the best value here for staying up to 2 months in New Zealand, or for heavy data users.

Spark also has a local prepaid SIM card that’s $19 NZD suitable for shorter trips that includes:

  • 1.25GB of data
  • 100 mins of international calls, some local calls
  • 4 week validity only

Spark offers free Wi-Fi with prepaid SIM cards, up to a fixed limit per day. I’ve never found this useful.

All prepaid SIM cards in New Zealand can be topped up and extended at local rates.

For coverage: Vodafone, starting from $19 NZD

Coverage is not a problem in towns across New Zealand. Outside of towns coverage is very unreliable, even at popular tourist areas.

  • Waiheke Island - all major providers have coverage of the township areas (Oneroa and Onetangi Bay), but coverage is hard to find in the hilly/mountainous areas.
  • Rangitoto and Motutapu islands - there is hardly any coverage here, enjoy the scenery instead.
  • Waitakere Ranges - very little coverage. Again, enjoy the scenery.

Vodafone is my preferred SIM card to buy out of the options available at Auckland airport. It offers slightly better coverage than the other providers, though that really depends on the area.

For $19 NZD per 28-days3, the local prepaid SIM card includes:

  • 1.25GB of data
  • 200 mins of calls (locally or to Australia)

For $29 NZD per 30-days (a duty-free discount may be available), the Vodafone NZ Travel includes:

  • 1.5GB of data
  • 200 mins of calls locally, to Australia, and to select other countries (Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, UK, States and a few others)

I usually use data to make phone calls via Skype, so I prefer the cheaper local option. This may only be available after duty free however.

All prepaid SIM cards in New Zealand can be topped up and extended at local rates.

Is it better to buy a SIM card in Auckland city or at the airport?

The benefit of leaving the airport to buy a prepaid SIM card isn’t worth the trouble for most people.

People that will benefit from buying a SIM card are:

  • More data, 2Degrees offers 25GB data for $70 NZD per month
  • Tight budget, a cheaper Skinny SIM card may be available after leaving the airport, but in reality this is a saving of $2 NZD.

If taking the SkyBus to the city, convenience stores selling SIM cards can be found nearby the city centre stop.

If driving, I’m told it’s possible to buy a SIM card from 2Degrees or the cheaper Skinny card at The Warehouse (shopping mall nearby), however I’ve never found it myself.

How to get from the airport to the city, while connected

SkyBus is the typical way to travel from the airport to Auckland City Centre. While it advertises Wi-Fi, I’ve heard it’s unreliable. SIM cards are available from shops nearby the City Centre stop.

Public buses also run from the airport to different parts of Auckland; these do not have Wi-Fi.

Uber and ride-share, using the airport Wi-Fi to book

It is possible to book an Uber using the Auckland Airport free Wi-Fi. If you’re limited to the Airport Wi-Fi coverage, be careful as it might not stretch to the Uber pick up area. It used to be difficult to find the Uber pick up area, but clear signs have now been installed.

Other ride-share providers at Auckland airport include:

  • Zoomy
  • Green Cabs (why use the app when they’re easily available at the taxi rank)
  • iHail (same deal, use a taxi rank).


Taxis in Auckland do not have free Wi-Fi. The taxi service is expensive, but I find it the most convenient and hassle-free way of getting to Auckland city.

Is Wi-Fi available at Airport?

Yes, Wi-FI is available at Auckland Airport. Select the Auckland Airport network and enter some details to get online. By default, access is limited for 2 hours; an extra hour is given for joining the airport rewards programme.

The SkyBus to Auckland City Centre advertises Wi-Fi, but I’ve never seen it working well.

Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Auckland Airport?

Identification is not required to buy a SIM card at Auckland airport. This was the case when I last travelled there, and I’m told ID is still not required today.

Prepaid SIM cards need to be activated by dialing a certain number (each carrier is different). Instructions are included or people at the shop are generally friendly and helpful.

Can I roam with my New Zealand SIM card to another country

Roaming with a New Zealand prepaid SIM card is possible, and requires a roaming pack top-up.

I found Vodafone to offer the best option for prepay roaming.

Vodafone is $5 NZD per day, or $19 NZD per week and covers over a dozen countries including Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the States, and Canada. Notably, the UK is not on this list.

Spark offers a little better roaming coverage (it includes England) but is slightly more expensive. Prepaid roaming with Spark starts at $15 NZD per week, or $20 NZD to include calls.

Auckland is a well connected airport and has direct flights to Australia, Asia, South America, the States, and Canada. There is even a flight to London, though it stops in Los Angeles along the way.

For these destinations, I usually recommend to buy a SIM card on arrival. New Zealand SIM cards aren’t great for roaming. Check out my related guides for buying a SIM card on arrival here:



Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.