It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in New Zealand

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Internet Internet access is expensive and metered because of the single cable connection to the rest of the world. It’s available in cyber cafes and there are many of these in the major cities but avoid cyber cafes without using a trusted and reliable Anti-virus application. Hourly rates are usually in the range of $4-8, with cheaper rates of around $2-4 at cyber cafes within the main city centres. Many public libraries have public Internet access. There may be a charge – although that is changing.

cyber cafe photo

Photo by blmurch

The Auckland City Public Library allows two 15 min sessions a day at no charge. Some providers, such as the Christchurch City Library network, offer free access only to some sites such as Google, the BBC and Al Jazeera and those in the “.nz” top level domain. Nelson Library has unlimited free Wi-Fi and 23 free terminals. The Aotearoa People’s Network (APN) has been working to bring Internet access (both wired and Wi-Fi) to all libraries and these connected libraries are good places to check your e-mail and do some research. Vouchers for Wi-Fi access can be bought from many Starbucks cafes, and many McDonalds have free Wifi for paying customers.

It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels using vouchers, but it is seldom free as part of your room rate. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available. Both the airport and CBD in Wellington have free Wi-Fi but the airports at Christchurch and Auckland both charge a fee for wireless service in their terminals.

Telephone New Zealand has a well developed and ubiquitous telephone system. The country’s main phone company, Telecom, claims (as of 2009) to have about 4000 payphones in NZ which can be easily identified by their yellow and blue colours. All of them accept major cr cards and a variety of phonecards available from retailers. You may have to look hard for a payphone that accepts coins. Free Wi-Fi also. The country code is 64. New Zealand telephone numbers can be looked up online.

The emergency telephone number from all telephones is 111 (you may need to use a prefix, usually 1, to get an outside line from business systems). An emergency services call is normally answered with a voice request to choose Police, Fire or Ambulance; respond as appropriate and you will then be switched to the requested service. (Other common international emergency numbers like 112, 911 and 999 may also work, but don’t rely on it.) Mobile phones Mobile telephone coverage is effectively only national near urban areas. The mountainous terrain means that, outside these urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage has huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain – especially in the South Island. Mobile telephone users can call *555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police.

Other tips on staying connected while in New Zealand? Please add your comments and tips.