New Zealand tips

Later this month I will be travelling to New Zealand for work, and depending on how things go, I’m hoping I will get the chance to activate a summit or two whilst there.

Plans are not completely set in stone for this trip, so at the moment I’m just trying to build up a picture of a few potential targets, “just in case”!

I will definitely be staying in Auckland for some of the trip, and it looks as though Mount Eden, ZL1/AK-023 would be a pretty straightforward one to try.

I will hopefully get the opportunity to explore some other parts of the North Island, and will probably have access to a hire car for some of my time in NZ. At the time of writing I’m not sure which other parts of the Island I will be visiting, but I wonder if anyone has any recommendations for summits that would be worth a try, should I find myself in the appropriate area? I would probably be looking for summits at the easier end of the scale, but they wouldn’t have to be drive-ons!

I realise that I’m asking about a large geographical area, but any suggestions for me to file away and call upon should I find myself in the right area would be welcome.

Indeed, any general recommendations for places to visit, whether near a summit or not would also be welcome.

On top of that, any useful tips for visiting amateur radio ops would also be helpful. My current plan is to bring along a 2&70 handheld and my little SW-3B for 40/30/20 cw.

73, Matthew M0JSB


Hi Matthew,

You can look forward to a range of good advice, so for my two cents.

Put up Alerts early and when Spotting, give chasers a chance to catch you, so don’t change bands too quickly, I like to give each band a minimum of 10 minutes after posting a spot before qsy’ing. There is not the number of CW chasers here as in Europe, but you will have no trouble qualifying just give us a chance to find you : )

Safe travels,

Warren vk3byd


Get here quick before we run out of summits!

I’m close to Mt Eden so always happy to pop up and help you activate it, or loan you gear (e.g. lithium battery)
Alert and spot early. During the weekdays, both the hams in NZ like to have a nap in the afternoons, so I have found morning to be better. VK is 3 hours behind us, so they start to shake off their hangovers about 11am NZ time.

Rangitoto Island AK016 is a ferry trip from downtown and day walk if you like that sort of thing.
Waiheke has AK-020, but you are a bit late. If you had been here a couple of weeks ago, Anne (the proprietress at Mauganui) had a good sized anvil you could borrow, so you wouldn’t have to bring your own in the overhead lockers.

Plenty to choose from from drive ups to climbing within a few hours of Auckland.

AK027,011, WK153, WK098(?) are driveups.
There are plenty that are an easy walk from the main highway / places you might visit
e.g. WK158. Rotorua has WK062, Tauranga BL237,


Eastern VK that’s, VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4 are 2 hours behind ZL
The VK5’s are 2.5 Hours, and our friends in VK6 are 3 hours behind ZL.
So, based on what ZL1THH said, later in the ZL morning should help you chaser numbers on HF CW.
As for VHF, if its anything like VK, it best to arrange your chasers in advance or risk getting no takers.

73, Warren


VHF is very challenging here in ZL3(/ZL4) except where you have LOS into Christchurch where there is a good community of (VHF) SOTA chasers. Auckland may be similarly VHF-friendly - hopefully a ZL1 comes back with info. Otherwise I’d be relying on 40m for intra-ZL and 20m(+) for VK. There’s been good greyline to EU lately on 40m and 20m, if anyone is listening: 9-10am and 4-5:30PM in ZL3/4, localtime.

If you are planning on visiting the mainland, then let us know. I can recommend some suitable ZL3 summits in the Queenstown area specifically, and there are plenty near Christchurch. Personally, I can’t offer much advice on ZL1 - hopefully some north-islanders will reply.

The mainland is the South Island, by the way!

Matt - ZL4NVW


I bid 4 hours for the time difference between ZL and VK6 except in summer time when ZL has daylight saving.

Your HT needs 146.5 for common simplex usage. An EU plan rig is restricted to 144-146, right?

Good luck in your activations in ZL, Mathew. As others have said, early alerts, preferably the previous day are recommended.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA


Good luck in NZ Matthew ,was good to get you in the log on your visit to Northern Ireland ,unfortunately i wont be able to work you in NZ ,Have fun 73


As Matt said, 40m round NZ, 20m+ to VK, and since you are doing CW you probably have a good chance of grey line back to the motherland. Mt Eden is easy to pop up at dusk, and we have arranged for dawn to be at 7 during your visit so you won’t have to get up too early.
All repeaters require >146
Even in Auckland I’d struggle to get 4 people on VHF after spotting.


Many thanks for all of the helpful advice, which is much appreciated.

Got it!

Good to know!

I suspected as much!

Thanks for clarifying! :grinning: I will most likely be sticking to the North Island on this trip. I’ll have to come for back for a repeat visit another time!

Yes, good point!


Very considerate! :grin:


Thanks for your good wishes, William, and many thanks for all of the contacts during my recent stay in NI. Was great to work you multiple times!


My simple suggestion… meet up with a local operator.

I did just that on visits to Australia and NZ. Picking up 4 summits and 4 associations. I didn’t carry a radio as I was also entering other countries that might have taken exception to me importing radio gear. I was also on a holiday that wasn’t SOTA focused, so carrying radio gear would have used up space and weight allowances.

I asked here on the Reflector if anyone would like to meet up and let me operate on their kit. Plenty of very kind offers and it was great fun to meet overseas operators and discuss the similarities and differences from operating in the UK and Europe. EDIT: This approach also meant I had access to “local knowledge”, which meant I didn’t waste any time on bands that might not work for me.

It goes without saying that I’d love to pass on the favour to anyone visiting GW/NW.



We had a great time there in 2017 - did a mix of summits the length of North Island, had planned one on an island but couldn’t get it fitted in with the wedding and visiting family and only had one refusal by an owner.
Be very careful if you take walking boots - just have them absolutely spotless with no mud whatsoever!


Good point. We forget that our biosecurity rules in ZL / VK are much stricter than travelling between European / NA countries.

You’ll be asked to declare if you have items that have been used for hiking or on a farm. They need to be free of mud and seeds. They’re fairly used to cleaning people’s boots for them at biosecurity/customs, but will be much more upset if they have to pick the grass-seeds out of your daypack webbing!

You’ll also have to go through that process again if you visit offshore reserves / islands whilst here. Just be glad you’re not taking a crew of 8 with day- and overnight-packs, tents, chainsaws, chaps and scrub-bars with you! Biosecurity prep for that is a full-day job!



Thanks for flagging this up. I’ll have to remember to check that the last traces of your lovely country have been removed before leaving!

On a related note, I wonder whether questions are likely to be asked about bringing in radio gear? I notice that there is a section on radio transmitters in the prohibited and restricted items section of the NZ Customs Service. Must remember to read that throughly before leaving!


We had no questions asked at all in relation to the radios. The mast, antennas were in main luggage, radio and batteries in hand luggage, with printed info about the batteries and a copy of your licence.