New Zealand Working Holiday (Part 1) : i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, AT HOP Card, Spark & Vodafone Stores at Auckland Airport

It has been my dream (and everyone’s dream too!) to backpack to New Zealand, also known fondly as Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and what better way to do so than with a legitimate Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand. 🙂 Read my blog post about my online application experience for the Malaysia Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand here.

After spending years saving enough money and failed twice to get a place among the 1150 lucky applicants each year, I was finally successful this time – third time’s the charm they say! With my Working Holiday Visa application approved, flight ticket in hand and sufficient funds, I set out on a once-in-a-lifetime journey filled with adventures and new experiences to New Zealand.


A Turbulent Flight to Auckland, New Zealand

The flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Auckland, New Zealand with a transit in Gold Coast, Australia took about 11 hours and 30 minutes. It was a turbulent flight especially when we were flying over the Tasman Sea from Gold Coast to Auckland. The airplane shook violently as it passed through the clouds, but everything was in order.

As it was a red-eye flight, I spent most of my time sleeping throughout the journey. I pre-booked two inflight meals which were Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak (my favourite) and Chicken Satay that comes with a complimentary 350ml bottle of natural mineral water. I was given a choice to enjoy both meals at the same time or save a meal for later.

At the end of it, our airplane touched down safely at Auckland Airport, New Zealand where a friendly Immigration officer checked my travel documents, welcomed me to the country and wished me a nice stay. 😀


A magnificent view of Gold Coast, Australia from the airplane’s window seat
From Kuala Lumpur to Auckland Airport, New Zealand via AirAsia X


i-SITE Visitor Information Centre – Of AT HOP Card & Public Transportation Info

The first thing I did was to visit the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at Auckland Airport. For your info, i-SITE is New Zealand’s official visitor information network with over 80 i-SITEs nationwide.

There, I gathered valuable information on the city’s public transportation and purchased my AT HOP card – a reusable prepay smart card for travel on trains, ferries and buses around Auckland. Holders of AT HOP card get to save money on fares – at least 20% discount off single trip cash fares (excludes NiteRider and SkyBus bus services and Waiheke ferry services).

The card itself is priced at $10 and the minimum amount you can top up is $5. Besides the airport, we can also purchase an AT HOP card at selected PAK’nSAVE, New World, and Four Square stores across Auckland. 🙂


An impressive Maori architecture welcomes visitors to Auckland Airport, New Zealand
The i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at Auckland Airport
My AT HOP card for travelling via public transport in Auckland, New Zealand


Spark & Vodafone Stores at Auckland Airport

Next, I needed a Kiwi a.k.a New Zealand mobile number, so I made my way to the nearest telecommunication stores at the airport. It was a tough choice between Spark or Vodafone, with both offering competitive prices and packages from as low as $19 a month.

In the end, I chose to sign up with Vodafone’s TravelNZ SIM that offers 3GB Data + 200 Texts + 200 Minutes to New Zealand and selected countries (plan valid for 60 days) at $49 simply because I had a favourable past experience with Vodafone during my stay in Melbourne and Ayers Rock, Australia. 🙂

Once I had my AT HOP card and Kiwi mobile number in hand, it was time for me to travel from the airport to Auckland Central Business District (CBD). I booked my accommodation prior to my arrival in Auckland, New Zealand and the hostel is located within walking distance of Britomart Transport Centre. To get there, I can travel either by taxi, shuttle or bus.


Spark & Vodafone stores at Auckland Airport
One of the dwarven statues on display at Auckland International Airport


Up next: Taking the 380 Airporter from Auckland Airport to Britomart Transport Centre via Papatoetoe Train Station

2 Comment

  1. Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Yes, I really enjoyed my working holiday in New Zealand and I’m sure you can too.

    Every year, 1150 places are available for Malaysians aged between 18-30 years old to go to NZ for a 6 months working holiday. You can find more info about it on Immigration NZ’s official website here:

    For your info, this year’s quota has been filled. You can try your luck and apply next year. Make sure you have at least NZ $2,250 to live on during your stay in NZ.

    I’ll blog and share tips on how to successfully apply for the working holiday visa to New Zealand in the near future, so bookmark my website and/or follow my Facebook page @ErikaEvaTohTravels for the update.

    My NZ photos were taken using a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (most of the photos) and GoPro HERO4.

    Hope that helps. Good luck and all the best to you! 🙂

  2. Kelly says: Reply

    Hi, Erika! Glad to see that you enjoyed exploring New Zealand. Hopefully one day I can be like you. Therefore I need some good tips. I couldn’t find the link for online application experience for Malaysia Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand. Mind to share again?

    May I what camera are you using? The photos are very beautiful!


Leave a Reply