Where to find a SIM card at Queenstown airport, and which one to get
For anyone who’s touched down at Queenstown Airport, after passing those gorgeous mountains, I put together this guide to help find where to buy a prepaid SIM card.
There are 2 shops at Queenstown Airport that sell prepaid SIM cards:
|Shop||Location||SIM Cards Available|
At Queenstown Airport, there are 2 options for prepaid SIM cards available:
- Skinny, starting at $4 NZD (credit to be added for calls/data), purchased from the Paper Plus store
- Vodafone, starting at $19 NZD (for local SIM, if available) or $29 NZD (for tourist SIM), purchased from the Vodafone store.
Shops at Queenstown airport open roughly 6:30am until 9pm. This changes with the flight schedule where shops open in time to meet the first departure of the day and close after the last arrival of the day.
If you’re arriving in Queenstown by transiting in Auckland, a greater variety of SIM cards is available in Auckland Airport. Check out my guide to prepaid SIM cards in Auckland here: Where to buy a SIM card in Auckland Airport.
Leaving the airport and heading to Queenstown or Frankton offers a few more options for SIM cards. I usually prefer to sacrifice a few dollars for convenience and buy a SIM card at the airport.
Which SIM cards are available at Queenstown Airport?
The two providers available at Queenstown Airport have similar packages on offer, except for international calls, which are only included with Vodafone.
For good value on international calls, the Vodafone NZ Travel SIM from $29 NZD includes 200 mins of calls to popular countries (e.g. Malaysia, Singapore, China, US, UK). Extra calls can be added for $10 NZD for 100 minutes.
For lots of data, the Skinny SIM card can be topped up with 12GB of data for $46 NZD. This data lasts 28 days.
For coverage, both Skinny and Vodafone networks offer great coverage in Queenstown and around Lake Wakatipu. Coverage can be limited on the mountains.
Is it better to buy a SIM card in Queenstown airport or in town?
I prefer to buy a SIM card at Queenstown airport. The benefit of leaving the airport is really only for the 2Degrees large data SIM. This benefit 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 a public bus or shuttle bus into town, stores selling SIM cards can be found in the central part of the town. In town, Spark is available on Camp street, near the corner of Ballarat street (inside the shops), it’s open 10am to 6pm ever day.
If driving, there is a 2Degrees shop in Frankton, near Queenstown airport. It’s generally open 9am to 6pm.
For accommodation outside the busy part of town, it can be hard to find a store selling SIM cards.
For more details about all the SIM cards available for people arriving in New Zealand, check out my guide here: https://landinglastminute.com/new-zealand-sim-card-guide
Is Wi-Fi available at Airport?
Yes, Wi-Fi is available at Queenstown Airport. Connect to
Queenstown Airport Free WiFi, click get online when you’re directed to the connect page. There is a limit of 2GB per 24 hours.
Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Queenstown Airport?
Identification is not required to buy a SIM card at Queenstown airport or anywhere in New Zealand.
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.
How to get from the airport to the city, while connected
Queenstown airport is located close enough to the city that it’s not a long ride from the airport. No transport from Queenstown airport offers Wi-Fi. This is a good opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
Uber and ride-share, using the airport Wi-Fi to book
Uber is not currently permitted at Queenstown Airport. Uber recommends drop off and collection at a nearby address. This can be a long walk from the arrivals area and Wi-Fi will not be available.
There are no other ride-share apps available in Queenstown.
Taxis in Queenstown do not have free Wi-Fi. The taxi service is a bit pricier than a shuttle bus, shuttle buses can offer good value if there’s a few people travelling.
While the shuttle buses do not have Wi-Fi either, they can offer a better value alternative for getting quickly to your accommodation. There are options available for large groups, or small groups looking to share a bus with others (the operator can arrange this). Details are on the airport’s website.
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.
Queenstown has direct flights to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Auckland’s network of international connections is also available for people transiting there.
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.