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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

#27230 18-Oct-2008 23:13
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Hi - We're travelling to NZ from Aus in 13 sleeps time (just a little excited cause it's my first OS trip ever) & I'm a computer nerd, no very little.

We've purchased a wireless Toshiba laptop mainly to put our photos in order at the end of each day so we don't forget what we've done, but I'd also like to check my emails & send an email home every 2-3 days.

We can check our emails off a website & can send emails either from this website or a yahoo website but I am very unsure re a couple of things:

1. I believe if we go to a coffee shop or a caravan park that has wireless access & purchase a product, some places will allow us free access or charge per hour of usage - but how do I know I'm going to be able to access an internet site using my laptop?
2. Someone told me that I'll have to buy some prepaid package for a month when we get to the international airport - do I need to do this & what does it do?

Sorry I am very vague when it comes to computers so you'll need to spell it out exactly what I'll have to do to get onto an internet site to check our emails, etc.

I'm really hoping it's as easy as going to a coffee shop, purchasing a cuppa & cake (well a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do), plugging my laptop into their socket & typing in a website address - will I be that lucky???

I'm hoping someone out there can explain this easily to me.

Thanks in advance.

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #172024 18-Oct-2008 23:31
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You won't be able to use to check emails because that is the site for T-Mobile. You will have to use your provider's webmail, or if you are using a third party (Windows Live, Yahoo!, Google Mail) then use their site for that.

Not many places in New Zealand offer free wi-fi - if any. Some offer wireless access yes, but most are paid services. In most you can just pay as you go. For example if they offer CafeNet (Wellington, Auckland, Napier) you can buy daily passes or pay for usage - you will pay with your credit card when you first connect. Other places will have Tomizone or Zenbu, which will work the same way - you buy the access on the spot, when you connect and try browsing to a site for the first time - at this moment you will be offered a chance to create an account and pay with a credit card.

The "prepaid" package at the airport sounds like a mobile plan. Mobile data *is* expensive in New Zealand. If you do have a mobile data capable handset and are able to use it as a mobile modem you will be looking at $1/day for up to 10MB and after the first 10MB it will cost you $1 per extra MB. This resets every day, so you will see this getting expensive really fast if you are downloading more than a few emails. This is a plan for mobile browsing on your phone, not for laptop use - and only on Vodafone. Telecom does not offer a "plan" on prepaid.

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  #172034 19-Oct-2008 09:11
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Yeah, what he said but maybe a bit simpler . . .

Some cafes, hotels, caravan parks, etc have wireless internet available, but like Freitasm said you will be very lucky if you find one that is free. At these places, buy a voucher which will have a serial number on it. This will allow you a certain number of minutes or more often megabytes (amount of stuff you can download/upload) depending on how much you pay.

Check the switches on the sides and front of your laptop to make sure that if there is a wireless one that it is turned on, check your laptops instruction manual if you aren't sure about this bit. This is vital, but if you use your laptop on the plane coming over, make sure this switch is off!

Down by the clock, in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, there should be a picture of 2 computers with a red cross beside them, or something similar. Click that icon and it should give you the option to connect to or at least detect wireless networks. When you are in the cafe or wherever you buy the voucher, do this and connect to whichever network you brought the voucher for (quite often there will be more than one wireless network available). Once it is connected (it should just do it by itself, takes a few seconds) open Internet Explorer or whatever you use for internet and it will ask you for the serial number that is on the voucher.

This is how it works in most place, there are variations, but hopefully someone in the place you buy the voucher can help you with any major issues. Otherwise, look around for someone else that has a laptop out and ask them!

Don't bother buying anything that's available at the airport or that requires a cellphone type plan, they are too expensive and confusing.

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#172035 19-Oct-2008 09:31
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For wifi access up and down the country, although at $10/hour I don't think it's the best value. It is national - you don't where you are flying into - and being from a telco, it's pretty reliable. Buy your prepaid card, turn on your wifi and you're away. Most starbucks have a powerpoint nearby, but they aren't dedicated internet cafes.

It looks like the website is a webmail variant, so it should work ok - if you have been using it from oz then it's publicly available.

Enjoy your trip to NZ...





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Wannabe Geek

#172042 19-Oct-2008 10:30
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Thank you, thank you, thank you - I was starting to stress how this was all going to work & let our family know that we were still alive & having a great time.

Appreciate all of your advice & helpful hints (scottjpalmer - ta for explaining to a bimbo in really easy to understand language), I should be able to survive now & as you said I can always ask someone else for advice in the cafe too.

Only 12 sleeps to go until my fee touch soil at Christchurch airport - can't wait.

Thanks again.


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  #172319 20-Oct-2008 17:25
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Hi Katie. Wi-Fi in NZ will cost you from very little, or even free, to extorquerationate prices such as $10 an hour which is too expensive for regular humans to check emails regularly. Some places will give free access if you are staying there, or buying their services.

If you are just wanting to use email, and would like to enjoy a low cost service with NO time limits, paying for only the amount of data you send or receive, Zenbu is the place to start. You can also find places, points of interest, businesses and all sorts using which is a directory, search and mapping free service. You can try it out from Oz to see how it works.

If you buy credit on-line with Zenbu Wi-Fi, you can use that credit at any Zenbu site and there is no time limit or limit to how many times you can log in. A $5 credit might be all you need for your whole trip if you are just checking email, sending text etc. Downloading video/images and music gobbles your credit. You might like to turn off auto-downloads and auto-updates which can run on your computer in the background and use your data before you know it. Some people get a nasty surprise when their computer uses data without them knowing it is doing so.

Have a look at the many accommodation providers of Zenbu here: As you can see, there are lots of them. Many of them will give you a certain amount of free Wi-Fi access, but you'd need to check with them individually as they each run their own Zenbu zones. If you aren't using much data, you'll find Zenbu so cheap that it probably won't be worth messing around trying to find places offering free Wi-Fi. You can stop outside places offering Zenbu and use the service as the signal in most instances spills out into public areas. Cafes and others have public areas and would like you to go in and buy other services such as coffee and a naughty cake.

We've purchased a wireless Toshiba laptop mainly to put our photos in order at the end of each day so we don't forget what we've done, but I'd also like to check my emails & send an email home every 2-3 days.

... 2. Someone told me that I'll have to buy some prepaid package for a month when we get to the international airport - do I need to do this & what does it do?

You don't need to prepay for service before or on arrival in NZ, but if you want to, you can buy some credit now at, print a pdf file [a list] of the Zenbu zones in areas you will visit and carry that with you so you'll know where you can find Wi-Fi when you are roaming around the South Island jungles. Just show up and start using the low cost service. You don't need to ask for vouchers or otherwise trouble the places offering the service.

There are many BBH backpacker accommodation providers who have Zenbu so you can enjoy painless internet at their premises. You search for them like this; Or use the list by town here: Put the name of the town/city in the box at the top and it'll show you the Zenbu zones in the area.

Not having to hurry to finish an email before your time runs out is very nice and the main benefit of Zenbu. Time limits are a curse. Being cheap is also very nice.

Happy travels!

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