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March 26, 2011

Internet access in New Zealand

Just a small note about our difficulties of Internet access in New Zealand.
Everywhere we have travelled so far, hostels usually offer free Wi-Fi/Internet access as part of the package. Free Wi-Fi in New Zealand however does not exist. In fact there are a number of companies that provide access point setup to all of the hostels and campsites, and you have to be a subscriber of this company in order to access the Net. Now the problem starts when you buy a 3-hours access of company A at campsite A, then you don’t use all of your quota and move to another campsite B, to find out that their system has a contract with internet provider B, etc. In the first few days we managed to be a customer of 4 different Internet providers, being trapped by the pattern above. Amazingly enough there was even a Hungarian company billing our Internet access in New Zealand!

The access was usually time-restricted, thus we started to make good use of offline Gmail: we wrote our emails offline, then connected only to send them. At some providers the access was traffic restricted. Switching off images on websites was the trick in this case, as with pure text we could browse for extended times.

Since then we have learnt that the situation is not much different in Australia. The hunt for free Wi-Fi in McDonald’s restaurants was fun though:)

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