How to Buy a SIM Card at Christchurch Airport (CHC) 2024: Best Plans + Updated Price

For tourists landing at Christchurch Airport (CHC) from another country, one of the first things to do is get a prepaid SIM card with reliable cellular data. This will help you stay connected with your loved ones back home, use Google Maps and transport apps, etc. while exploring all the stunning destinations in New Zealand. In this blog, we will go over where and how to buy SIM card at Christchurch Airport (CHC), the most affordable packages, and the best alternative to get Internet during your trip.

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Christchurch Airport (CHC)?

Yes, of course. Buying a prepaid SIM card at Christchurch Airport (CHC) is one of the most convenient solutions to get online while traveling in New Zealand.

Buy SIM card at Christchurch Airport (CHC)

There are still other methods to get a New Zealand tourist SIM card, including ordering online before your flight and purchasing it once in Christchurch center.

Purchase at Christchurch Airport:

  • Pros: Convenient, instant Internet access when you land at CHC
  • Cons: Limited plan option, more costly than buying online or in the city center

Purchase online before departure:

  • Pros: Wider selection, awesome deals, instant activation (for eSIM)
  • Cons: Delivery delays may occur, wait for delivery, additional delivery fees (for physical SIM card)

Purchase in Christchurch center:

  • Pros: Broadest options available, various data packages, cheap rates
  • Cons: extra travel to the Christchurch center

▶ Our recommendation:

  • If you prioritize instant Internet connection upon arrival, you may buy a prepaid SIM card at Christchurch airport
  • If you want the greatest deals, get your New Zealand SIM in the Christchurch center or online before flight.

II. Where to Get a SIM Card at Christchurch Airport?

There are two options to get a prepaid SIM card at Christchurch Airport: buy it online before your flight and then collecting at the airport, or purchasing it when you reach Christchurch Airport.

Christchurch Airport International Terminal Map
Christchurch Airport International Terminal Map

1. Online before your New Zealand trip and pick up at Christchurch Airport

You may order your New Zealand SIM from one of the main carriers before departure. You NZ SIM will be waiting for you at Christchurch airport. This will help save time and you will have a SIM card with reliable data as soon as you land at the airport.

You need to check if your mobile operator provides this pick-up service. The pick-up points is frequently situated in the arrivals hall after getting the luggage.

What to prepare: payment information for online order, your passport for ID proof, order confirmation for collecting

Cost: Affordable, plans usually start at NZD $20-30

Pros: No shopping after flight, diverse packages, no queueing

Cons: Need to order ahead of your flight

2. At Christchurch airport upon arrival

Christchurch International Airport is the second largest airport of New Zealand and it has a single terminal that serves both domestic and international flights. You may find some stores that sell prepaid SIM cards for tourists to New Zealand in the Arrivals Hall at this airport.

What to prepare: Unlocked phone, cash/ credit card, passport

Cost: More costly than buying online or in Christchurch center

Pros: Staff support, immediate Internet connection when reaching New Zealand

Cons: Shops are not always open late. If you arrive late at night, some stores closed and you cannot buy a UK SIM card.

2.1. One NZ shop

Location: Arrivals Hall, to the left as you get out from the arrivals door

Opening hours: 8:00-18:00 & 22:00-02:00

Plans: One NZ Travel SIM from NZD 29

2.2. Spark Shop

Location: Arrivals Hall, to the left as you get out from the arrivals door

Opening hours: 8:00-18:00 & 22:00-02:00

Plans: Spark Travel SIM from NZD 29; Spark prepaid value pack from NZD 19

Important Note: Vodafone rebranded to One NZ as of 2023.

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Christchurch Airport – Registration Process

Here are the key things that you need to prepare to buy a SIM card at Christchurch airport:

  • Have your passport ready for ID verification at the stores. They need to check some of your personal details.
  • Consider how much data, texts and calls you will need based on your itinerary. Plans start at around $20-30 usually. 
  • Know which payment options the airport shops accept – usually cash, cards, etc. Have your method of payment handy.
  • Allow plenty of time after clearing customs to find a store before collecting your luggage. They may be a short walk from arrivals.
  • Your cell phone must be unlocked so it may accept a New Zealand SIM from any carrier.

IV. Best Tourist Christchurch Airport SIM Card Options and Price

At Christchurch International Airport, stores sell New Zealand SIM cards from major operators such as Spark and One NZ.

Good to know: NZD 1 = USD 0.62; USD 1 = NZD 1.62 (in February, 2024)

OperatorData/ Calls/ TextsValidityCost
Spark5GB data; 200 minutes of international calls; several local calls2 monthsNZD $49
Spark5GB data; 200 minutes of international calls; unlimited local calls2 monthsNZD $59
Spark1.25GB data; 100 minutes of international calls; several local calls28 daysNZD $19
One1.25GB data; 200 calling minutes (locally/ to Australia)28 daysNZD $19
One1.5GB data; 200 calling minutes (locally, to Australia, and selected countries)30 daysNZD $29

Note: The details above are just for reference purposes and are subject to change. Confirm with your carrier for the most up-to-date plan information.

V. New Zealand eSIM for Christchurch – An Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Christchurch Airport

eSIM for Christchurch is the best alternative to a prepaid SIM card at Christchurch Airport thanks to its outstanding perks as follows:

  • eSIM packages can be purchased and activated online anywhere, any time before your flight to New Zealand
  • eSIM will be activated instantly upon purchase. You will have mobile data, calling, and texting services when you arrive at Christchurch airport.
  • It is simple to switch eSIM plans when traveling to other countries.
  • A wide selection of eSIM plans are provided at affordable rates.

GIGAGO is a trusted worldwide eSIM provider that delivers cost-effective eSIM services to more than 200 countries and territories in the world. Gigago offers a diverse range of eSIM Plans for New Zealand, starting at 1GB of data per day, valid for 05 days at just $10.50 , much cheaper than international roaming. What is incredible about Gigago eSIM for New Zealand is that the prices range from $10.50$141.50 . Thus, Gigago always offers the best plan for you, regardless of how long your trip is and how much data you consume.

VI. Where to Buy a SIM Card Outside Christchurch Airport?

If you want to buy a SIM card with the cheapest rate, you should commute to the Christchurch center to get to major carrier stores, supermarkets, or convenience stores. A wide range of SIM card plans for New Zealand await you to select.

Where to buy: Retail stores of Spark, 2degrees, and One in the central business district area of Christchurch, Unichem and Countdown supermarket chains, Warehouse convenience stores, 7-Eleven, Caltex, etc.

What to prepare: passport, cash/ credit cardsCost: Plans at retail shops are affordable and much cheaper than at the Christchurch Airport.

Pro Tip:

  • If you want budget-friendly SIM card plans, travel to the Christchurch center to get a SIM card.
  • If your mobile device is compatible with eSIM technology, consider buying an eSIM plan for flexibility and reliable mobile data.

VII. FAQs about SIM Card at Christchurch Airport

How much do SIM cards typically cost at Christchurch Airport?

Plan prices usually start at around $20-30NZD. They include some data and texts/calls to use.

What payment methods can I use to buy a SIM card at Christchurch Airport?

The airport stores accept cash, credit cards, and contactless payments like Apple Pay/ Google Pay. It is advised to have NZD cash ready.

Can I get a SIM delivered to my Christchurch accommodation?

Yes, some providers offer home or accommodation delivery for a small fee if you purchase online before arrival.

VIII. Conclusion

Purchasing a SIM card at Christchurch Airport is a breeze thanks to the convenient airport stores offering a selection of plans from the major providers like Spark and One NZ. A prepaid SIM card with reliable data allows instant connectivity so you can lookup transport, contact accommodation, and get your trip off to a smooth start. You may consider an eSIM plan to enjoy the flexibility and great value if your smartphone is compatible with eSIM technology.