July 26 2018 – Tabitha Yeasley
New Zealand is a country that rewards a slow travel style. Prepare to be guided by whim, discovery, and the recommendations of strangers. Read on for our favorite websites and apps, and then use your phone to spontaneously navigate around New Zealand.
Before you go, check out these buses and purchase a package.
- The Kiwi Experience (a.k.a. The Green F*** Bus) is not recommended if you are older than 27 or trying to preserve your liver. If you are looking for a rolling party, this is the backpacker bus for you.
- Compared to The Kiwi Experience, Stray Travel is similarly friendly and flexible, but you are considerably less likely to have someone throw up on your backpack. Manage your travel from your phone with Stray Mate.
- The Naked Bus is a transportation service rather than a tour company, so it’s much cheaper than The Kiwi Experience or Stray. As a bonus, The Naked Bus has free Wi-Fi (something of a rare commodity in New Zealand). Manage your Naked Bus travel from your phone using the Passport Citizen portal.
Download these apps to plan on the fly and make the most of your time in New Zealand.
- Breadcrumbs: now that you’re here, what do you do? Find local favorites and get recommendations customized to your tastes.
- CamperMate: locate everything you need with this wildly popular app, including campsites, free Wi-Fi, supermarkets, public restrooms, and gas stations.
- NEW ZEALAND DOC Campsite Finder: find the closest Department of Conservation
- MetService: because New Zealand can hit you with four seasons in one day, make sure you have an accurate weather app.
- Great Rides App: do you mountain bike or enjoy road bike touring? Download this app now and start dreaming.
Cell Phone Basics
A little pre-planning now guarantees your phone works when you arrive in New Zealand.
- First, make sure your phone is compatible with New Zealand’s networks by using this handy compatibility checker. While you’re at it, contact your current service provider to make sure your phone is unlocked.
- There are four major Kiwi cell phone networks: 2Degrees, Vodafone, Spark and Skinny. If you want your phone to function the moment you step off the plane, order a 2Degrees SIM card from dataGO and have it delivered to your home address.
- If you’re not too fussed about having your phone work immediately, SIM cards are widely available once you arrive in New Zealand. For example, Skinny cards are sold in gas stations and supermarkets.
- Some of the apps you use to communicate with the folks back home will work fine in New Zealand, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But -- if you need Outlook, Google and Apple to work in New Zealand, update your security settings so that you don’t get locked out. Set up security questions to verify your account rather than a cell phone number.
New Zealand packing list
When visiting New Zealand, be ready to jump into any outdoor activity, and prepared to encounter four seasons in one day. Consider traveling with a large daypack (We like the Matador Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack) and leave your serious camping/backpacking gear at home. You can easily rent camping gear for less than the fee for a checked bag. Additional gear recommendations below:
- The SCOTTeVEST Pack-It Jacket is waterproof and stowable. As a bonus, the SCOTTeVEST 8-pocket system means you can save on luggage overweight fees by stashing gear in your jacket before your flight.
- For picnics and sandy beaches, pack the Matador Pocket Blanket.
- Charge that phone with a LEWIS N. CLARK adapter plug.
- And keep it safe in a light weight, inexpensive waterproof pouch that’s photo, video, and touchscreen usable.
For this post Matador is indebted to the experience of documentary filmmaker and intrepid traveler Amy Yap Day. Amy’s professional portfolio can be found on ezidays.com.