How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

If you’re a UK expat living in New Zealand, craving the massive library of free content on BBC iPlayer, or you’re like me and are looking to expand the library of content available here, you’ll be frustrated to find that BBC iPlayer doesn’t “officially” work here in New Zealand.

When you go to BBC iPlayer, you’ll run into an error saying, “BBC iPlayer isn’t available outside the UK: Sorry, it’s due to right issues.”

This is annoying, but there’s a way to get around this error. All you need to do is make BBC iPlayer think you’re accessing it from within the UK instead of New Zealand. And we know the easiest way to do that.

In this article, we’ll explain how to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ so you can access all of its content from the comfort of your home. It’s easy!

How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ: Guide

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account withΒ ExpressVPN or NordVPN

    How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. If you want the very best, these VPNs have been setting the standard in the industry for years. They’re the best VPNs on the market for reliably streaming content.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are renowned for their reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of an ExpressVPN subscription for freeΒ here. And similarly, you can get 3 months of a NordVPN subscription for freeΒ here.

    If you don’t like the looks of ExpressVPN or NordVPN, don’t panic, just follow these same steps as the process will be the same no matter what VPN you use.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    Once you’ve signed up for a VPN you can install it on nearly any device.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your VPN and connect to a UK server

    How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    When you open the app, you’ll need to log in with the credentials you created. Once logged in, select a server located in the UK. This step is crucial as BBC iPlayer checks your IP address to determine your location. And to watch BBC iPlayer in New Zealand, you need to have an IP address from a country where the streaming service is available.

  4. Connect to BBC iPlayer/or create an account if you don’t have one

    How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    Navigate to the BBC iPlayer website or app. If you already have an account, log in with your credentials.

    If not, you’ll need to sign up for a new account. You can find our video guide on how to do that here.

  5. Watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ

    Once you’re connected to a UK server on your VPN and logged into BBC iPlayer, you will have access to all its content.

How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ: Video Guide

Why can’t I watch BBC iPlayer in NZ?

BBC iPlayer is a UK streaming service that offers a wide range of content, including TV shows, films, and live events, exclusively for viewers within the United Kingdom. If you’re in New Zealand and unable to access BBC iPlayer, it’s due to geographical restrictions, commonly known as geo-blocking. These restrictions are in place for several reasons:

Licensing and Rights Agreements: Content on BBC iPlayer is governed by licensing agreements that restrict viewership to the UK. These agreements specify that BBC can only broadcast or stream content within the United Kingdom. This means that programmes available on BBC iPlayer are only licensed for distribution and viewing within the UK.

Content Regulation: Different countries have various regulations governing broadcasting and streaming services. The BBC must comply with UK laws and regulations, which might not align with those in other countries, including New Zealand.

Commercial Reasons: The BBC is funded by the UK television licence fee, paid by UK residents. This model supports the production and acquisition of content specifically for a UK audience. Allowing access from outside the UK would not align with the service’s funding model and could potentially affect negotiations with rights holders.

To enforce these restrictions, BBC iPlayer uses technology to detect and block access requests from IP addresses outside the UK. When you try to access the service from New Zealand, the platform identifies your non-UK IP address and automatically blocks access.

How does a VPN allow me to access BBC iPlayer in NZ?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps you access BBC iPlayer from New Zealand by tricking the service into thinking you’re in the UK. Here’s how it works in simpler terms: When you connect to the internet through a VPN, the VPN lets you choose a server in another country, like the UK. Your internet connection is then rerouted through this server. So, if you’re in New Zealand but connect to a UK server, BBC iPlayer sees your connection as coming from the UK. This is because the VPN gives you a UK IP address, hiding your real location in New Zealand.

This method works because BBC iPlayer checks where users are located by looking at their IP address. If the IP address is from the UK, it lets you access its shows and live TV. The VPN also keeps your online activities private by encrypting your internet traffic, making it hard for anyone to see what you’re doing online or where you really are.

However, BBC iPlayer tries hard to stop people from outside the UK from using VPNs to access its content. It looks for signs that someone is using a VPN and can block them. This means not all VPNs can get around these blocks, and finding one that works might take some effort.

Will any VPN work with BBC iPlayer in NZ?

Not every VPN will work with BBC iPlayer in New Zealand. BBC iPlayer has sophisticated technology to detect and block VPNs to uphold its licensing agreements and geographical restrictions. This means the service is continually identifying and blocking IP addresses that it suspects come from VPNs.

A VPN that works with BBC iPlayer must be able to:

  • Provide IP addresses that aren’t recognised or blacklisted by BBC iPlayer’s detection systems.
  • Rotate or refresh its IP addresses regularly to avoid detection.
  • Offer fast and reliable connections to stream high-quality video content without buffering.

Many free or less reputable VPN services may not invest in the infrastructure or technology needed to bypass BBC iPlayer’s restrictions effectively. They might have a limited number of servers or IP addresses, which can be quickly identified and blocked by BBC iPlayer. Additionally, free VPNs often have bandwidth limitations, slower speeds, and data caps, which can negatively affect streaming quality.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer with a free VPN?

Watching BBC iPlayer with a free VPN is theoretically possible, but it’s generally challenging and not recommended for several reasons. Free VPNs often have limitations and issues that can hinder your ability to stream content on platforms like BBC iPlayer effectively:

Limited Server Options: Free VPNs typically have fewer servers than paid services. This means there are more users sharing the same IP addresses, making it easier for BBC iPlayer to identify and block these IPs due to suspicious activity.

Bandwidth Restrictions: Many free VPNs impose bandwidth limits. Streaming TV shows and movies, especially in high definition, requires a lot of data. With a free VPN, you might quickly exceed these limits, leading to interrupted service or the inability to watch content at all.

Lower Speeds: Free VPNs are known for having slower speeds due to server overload and bandwidth limitations. This can result in buffering, lag, and a poor viewing experience.

Privacy Concerns: Operating VPN servers costs money. Some free VPN providers have been known to monetise their service by logging and selling user data, displaying ads, or using other means that could compromise your privacy and security.

Detection and Blocking by BBC iPlayer: BBC iPlayer actively detects and blocks IP addresses associated with VPN services, and free VPNs are often the first to be blocked. They typically don’t have the resources to regularly update their IP addresses or implement technologies to avoid detection.

While it’s not impossible to find a free VPN that might work temporarily with BBC iPlayer, the experience is likely to be frustrating and inconsistent. For a more reliable and enjoyable viewing experience, investing in a reputable paid VPN service that actively works to maintain access to BBC iPlayer and respects user privacy is often a better choice.

The VPN services we recommend for BBC iPlayer in NZ

1. ExpressVPN πŸ₯‡

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • βœ”160 servers in 94 countries
  • βœ”24/7 Live Chat
  • βœ”8 simultaneous connections
  • βœ”New Apple TV app
  • βœ”30-day money-back guarantee
  • ❌Expensive
  • ❌No Password Manager
  • ❌No Meshnet
  • ❌No Dedicated IP
ExpressVPN review

Streaming: ExpressVPN has been the best VPN for several years. What makes it better than the competition is its reliability with streaming services.

Servers: ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs in this regard, with servers based in 94 countries around the world. This is well above the 71-country average and is second only to HMA’s massive 218 supported countries.

Privacy: For privacy-conscious users, ExpressVPN also opens itself up to regular, and rigorous, third-party zero-log audits to prove its claims. You can find out a detailed list, and the results, of its Security Audits here.

Price: ExpressVPN has three payment options, a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 6-month option costing $9.99/month or a 12-month option costing $6.67/month. It accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and a variety of other payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the percentage drop-off you can expect when using ExpressVPN. From our tests, we got a 12-15% drop – which is very good from our test location (New Zealand).

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • βœ”Fast connection speeds
  • βœ”5,500+ servers in 59 countries
  • βœ”6 simultaneous connections
  • βœ”Free Meshnet + Password Manager
  • ❌No free version
  • ❌Complex interface for beginners
NordVPN Best VPN image

Streaming: NordVPN is great for accessing streaming services, with top-notch security, fast connections, and easy access to geo-blocked shows and movies.

Servers: NordVPN has servers in 60 countries. While this is low compared to the 71 country average, the servers it has are very fast and reliable.

Privacy: NordVPN emphasises its commitment to user privacy by consistently undergoing independent audits to validate its no-logs policy. Detailed reports and findings from these security audits are readily accessible for users seeking transparency and assurance.

Price: NordVPN provides several payment options for its standard package: a monthly plan at $12.99, a yearly plan at $4.99/month per month, and a two-year plan at $3.19/month. You can also opt for other packages that come with added features like Malware Protection, AdBlocker, a Cross-Platform Password Manager, a Data Breach Scanner, 1TB of Cloud Storage and file encryption software.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speeds you can expect when using NordVPN:

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70

Read our full NordVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • βœ”Robust AES-256 encryption
  • βœ”Over 35,000 servers globally
  • βœ”Built-in ad and malware blocking
  • βœ”10 simultaneous connections
  • ❌Can have slower speeds
  • ❌Basic app interface
Best VPN list - PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access (PIA) is effective for streaming, with its large server network ensuring smooth playback and minimal buffering. It works well with many popular streaming services, offering users reliable access to a wide range of content while maintaining strong privacy and security.

Servers: PIA boasts 35,000 servers in 84 countries around the world.

Privacy: PIA’s app is an open-source code, which means it’s open to third-party scrutiny and verification. The VPN has repeatedly affirmed that it abides by a no-log policy in which no data or information transmitted through the PIA network is collected or β€œlogged.” To test this, PIA underwent an independent audit to review the policy.

Price: PIA has three subscription options: a 1-month option costing $11.95/month, a 1-year option costing $3.33/month and a 3-year option costing $2.03/month

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speeds you can expect when using Private Internet Access. This VPN uses multiple protocols, we tested both the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. These tests were conducted in New Zealand:

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • βœ”Cost-effective pricing
  • βœ”Intuitive app design
  • βœ”Strict no browsing logs policy
  • βœ”Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • ❌Smaller server network compared to others
  • ❌Lacks some advanced settings
  • ❌Basic live chat support
Ivacy Best VPN image

Streaming: Ivacy excels in unblocking a variety of streaming platforms globally, offering users access to content with uninterrupted viewing.

Servers: Ivacy boasts over 5700 servers in over 100 locations.

Privacy: Ivacy offers strong encryption to protect your online activities and follows a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your browsing data and history are not recorded or stored.

Price: Ivacy has three subscription options: a 1-month option costing $9.95/month, a 1-year option costing $3.99/month and a 5-year option costing $1.00/month

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the internet speeds you can expect when using Ivacy:

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)
Ivacy US server241.866.36315.787.57
Ivacy UK server236.845.42348.366.89

Read our full Ivacy review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • βœ”Supports 7 devices simultaneously
  • βœ”Strong encryption standards
  • βœ”Large selection of servers
  • βœ”Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • ❌Variable connection speeds
  • ❌Pricier than some rivals
CyberGhost Best VPN image

Streaming: CyberGhost excels in unblocking streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu with its vast, optimised server network. It offers strong encryption and stable, fast connections for a seamless streaming experience.

Servers: CyberGhost has servers in 91 countries around the world which is very good, considering the average is 71 countries.

Privacy: To verify its commitment to privacy, CyberGhost was independently audited by Deloitte to determine that it’s no-logs policy is true. This means that the VPN doesn’t keep records of your online activity while using the VPN.

Price: Ivacy has three subscription options: a 1-month option costing $12.99/month, a 6-month option costing $6.99/month and a 2-year option costing $2.19/month

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the internet speeds you can expect when using CyberGhost:

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)
CyberGhost US server192.292.63182.443.65
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90277.141.91

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

Is watching BBC iPlayer in NZ with a VPN legal?


The legality of using a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer from New Zealand, or any location outside the UK, falls into a grey area. While using a VPN in itself is not illegal in New Zealand or the UK, and is a common tool for enhancing online privacy and security, the situation changes when it’s used to circumvent geographical restrictions for accessing services like BBC iPlayer.

BBC iPlayer’s terms of service require users to be in the UK to access its content, and viewers are supposed to have a valid UK TV licence. Using a VPN to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK breaches these terms. While this doesn’t necessarily make it illegal, it is against the service’s usage policies. The BBC has been known to take measures to block VPNs and prevent access from outside the UK, rather than pursuing legal action against individual users.