Here are the 15 best apps for living in New Zealand. Some of the apps are only available through the New Zealand App Store. You need a debit or credit card issued in the country of the app store that you want to use. You can switch back and forth between your home country’s app store and New Zealand’s, but you have to input your billing information each time. Each time that you change your app store, it does cancel the next renewal of your current subscriptions. I recommend moving any subscriptions like Spotify or Netflix payments directly through the service, not through the app store.
MetService– The MetService is New Zealand’s state-owned meteorological service. They are the most reliable weather forecasting organization in New Zealand. They have apps available for iOS and Android available. The apps are sleek and function well. This is my favorite weather app that is in New Zealand. It is available in multiple countries app stores.
Air New Zealand– Like most major airlines, Air New Zealand has its own iOS and Android apps. The app allows you to check in for your flights and most importantly, get mobile boarding passes. Since there is no security for many domestic flights in New Zealand it further decreases how early you need to get to the airport before your flight. The app also allows you to track your Airpoints balance. It is available in multiple countries app stores.
Topography Map App– There are multiple topo map apps available for New Zealand. I have found several of them to be low cost or free and provide linked top maps that can be downloaded and used offline. Some of the apps also include trails and huts. Most of the major trails in New Zealand are extremely well marked. If you plan to go off trail or travel over snow, I recommend having a topo app. iOS apps include Topo GPS, MapToaster Topo, and iHikeGPS NZ. Android apps include New Zealand Topo Maps, NZ Topo 50, and Topo GPS.
TradeMe– TradeMe is New Zealand’s version of eBay and Craigslist combined. It is the most popular site that people sell used goods, list jobs, and list properties for sale or rent. The app is available for iOS and Android, but it only available on New Zealand’s app store.
Wish– Wish is a market place for cheap Chinese goods. It has a simple to use interface that sells everything from clothing to gadgets. It may not sounds like an app worth downloading loading, but the prices on small goods are significantly cheaper than buying many of them in New Zealand. One downside is the shipping time, which usually ranges from 2-5 weeks.
Aki– Aki is a Maori learning app. It also has a dictionary. It is free and made by the University of Otago. Even if you do not plan on learning Maori, this app can help you pronounce common Maori words and places correctly.
BookMe– BookMe is my favorite New Zealand discount site/app. BookMe focuses on dining and activities, not goods. It is different than most other discount sites since the price and discount is determined by the time you want to dine or do the activity. This allows for greater savings if you go at a less popular time. Our guide on discounts in New Zealand covers many available discount sites. GrabOne, Treatme, and Groupon are also available as apps.
CamperMate– The most common use that I have for CamperMate is to find a public bathroom. New Zealand does not require businesses that sell food to have bathrooms onsite. It is not uncommon to be looking for a public restroom. That is not what the app was designed for, but a side benefit. The app does a very good listing almost all of the designated campsites in New Zealand. It has user reviews which are very helpful while when looking for a campsite. Another app, like CamperMate is Rankers. Rankers includes camping information, but it also includes activities and sites.
NZ Tides– I did not have to deal with tides back in the states, but it is not uncommon to want to know the tide levels in New Zealand. There are a multitude of hikes that are only accessible at low tides. Most of the tide apps are only available in the New Zealand app store (iOS and Android).
Lime– Lime is the largest electric scooter rental company in New Zealand. You pay a flat rate to start the ride and then a per minute rate. When you end your trip you do not need to put them in a special corral. You leave them at your destination. They are fun to use but also have resulted in many ACC claims. They currently are available in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Google Hangouts– This is my preferred app for calling overseas with my New Zealand phone number. You add money to your account, the lowest increment is $10, and can call back home. Most phone calls are a couple of cents per minute, but some Pacific Islands like the Cook Islands are more expensive (iOS and Android). Skype is also a good option
PayMyPark and AT Park– AT Park (iOS, Android) is Auckland Transport’s cashless parking app. PayMyPark is used by six other cities for cashless parking. You can either upload a set amount of money to the app or pay as you go. The apps are really nice because you pay for the exact amount of time that you use. PayMyPark does have an administration fee, but even with the fee I find it is cheaper since you only pay for the time you use
XE Currency– XE Currency is a simple app that tells you the current exchange rate.
New Zealand Bank App– All the major New Zealand banks have well-designed apps. Some of the apps support mobile payments. Many times it is cheaper to purchase large items by bank transfer, and the apps make it easier to accomplish this
VPN– VPNs make it appear like your internet signal is coming from another place. This is helpful to get the google search results you are used to and to access geo-blocked content. Our guide to VPNs covers several VPNs that we have tested from New Zealand
It annoys me when app lists have very common apps on their lists. The following 5 apps most people already have on their phones. I am including a little New Zealand specific information about them.
Uber– Uber is not available in all areas of New Zealand. There are requirements for drivers including holding a Transportation Service License. Uber operates in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Queenstown, Wellington, and Tauranga. Other ride apps include Zoomy (Auckland and Wellington) and Ola (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch).
Google Maps– Google maps is the best map app for New Zealand. A good portion of the country is available in street view. The drive times are pretty accurate. If you are in a campervan, or a slower vehicle than you normally drive, I have found that the app will underestimates your time. Make sure that you download New Zealand offline so you can still get directions even without cell coverage.
WhatsApp– This is my preferred way to communicate with people back home and friends/family that are traveling in New Zealand and do not have a New Zealand phone number. Both parties need to have WhatsApp on their phone for it to work.
Spotify– Cell phone coverage in New Zealand is not very good once you leave towns and trying to get music in your car can be difficult. It is not uncommon to have to change radio stations ever 15-30 minutes on a road trip. I recommend downloading some Spotify playlists for times when you don’t have cell coverage. Spotify is a subscription-based service.
Apple Pay/Samsung Pay– These are not apps, but the majority of credit card terminals in New Zealand take mobile payments. New Zealand uses true chip and pin technology. If you do not have a true chip and pin overseas credit card, life most US issued cards, a signature is required. This is a pain. If you use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay for transactions less than $80 no signature is required. I get 2%+ return on my US credit cards which is greater than the cost of transferring money back to a US bank to pay the bill.