New Zealand is regularly voted as one of the best countries to live in, for individuals and families alike.
Parents choose New Zealand because of the high quality of education and the lifestyle the country offers their family. Not to mention the fact that New Zealand is one of the world’s safest and most peaceful countries.
When one then has to consider the best places in New Zealand to raise a family, it’s almost impossible to single out specific cities or towns! It really comes down to what your family is looking for.
Big city lights
New Zealand’s three largest cities also happens to be three of the most popular cities with migrant families settling in the country.
Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, is in the North Island. It’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city, and Auckland is also New Zealand’s leading economic hub.
When it comes to things to do and see, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Auckland is home to many museums and historic sites, and regularly hosts festivals and sporting events. Auckland is also within travelling distance of magnificent natural attractions such as Rotorua Island, Muriwai beach, and Waitakere Rages Regional Park.
Auckland isn’t short on exceptional schools either. Of New Zealand’s eight best schools, six are located in Auckland! These schools are a mix of girls’, boys’ and co-ed schools:
- St Cuthbert’s College: A private day and boarding schools for girls.
- Macleans College: Co-education state secondary school.
- ACG Parnell College: Independent co-educational school.
- Auckland International College: Independent co-educational secondary school.
- Auckland Grammar School: State secondary school for boys.
- Diocesan School for Girls: Private girls’ school.
When exploring Wellington, you can visit several of New Zealand’s largest and oldest cultural institutions, quench your thirst at one of its many bars, cafes and restaurants, and indulge in the arts and cultural events.
With six of New Zealand’s eight best schools in Auckland, there are only two spots left – and both schools are in Wellington:
- Scots College: Independent Presbyterian boys’ school. The school is however changing over to co-education for years 11 – 13 in 2020.
- Queen Margaret College: Independent girls’ school.
Just like Auckland, Wellington can also boast one of the best universities in New Zealand. The Victoria University of Wellington also continuously performs well in world university rankings.
There is much to see and do in New Zealand’s oldest city. You can admire street art, marvel at state-of-the-art architecture, dine at world-class restaurants, and take in the creative scene.
Some of the highlights of Christchurch are:
- The Avon River that flows through the city.
- The Botanic Gardens.
- Dinner at The Terrace, a Christchurch hotspot.
When it comes to education, Christchurch is home to two of New Zealand’s top universities. The first one is the University of Canterbury, which is one of New Zealand’s oldest universities. The second institution is Lincoln University. This University prides itself on giving students ‘personalised attention’, which is made possible by keeping classes small.
Living at a slower pace
Life in big cities aren’t for everyone. Some of us prefer smaller cities and cities with a more relaxed pace of life.
Known as the ‘adventure capital of New Zealand’, Queenstown sits on the edges of Lake Wakatipu on South Island. Its lakeside location offers residents the chance to indulge in numerous activities ranging from jet boating to fly fishing and everything in-between! The surrounding mountains are perfect for walkers and hikers as well as photographers eager to capture the area’s beautiful landscapes
Despite all of the adventure activities on offer, Queenstown is described as quaint and relaxed. The city also hosts many cultural events throughout the year and has numerous fine-dining restaurants and cafes.
New Zealand’s 14-most-populous city offers plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. You can explore the Whanganiu River that runs through the city, visit history museums and art galleries, or take a leisurely walk in one of the area’s natural parks and reserves.
Living in Whanganui also means you’re only an hour’s flight from Auckland. It’ll be easy for family and friends to visit!
Here’s something you may not know – Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun. Rise with the sun to make the most of the city’s beautiful coastline, forested mountain parks, and surfing and fishing opportunities with the kids. Many people do! It’s common to see Gisborne local surf or cycle before work.
You may also want to indulge in the magnificent food and wine the city has to offer. Gisborne is especially known for its chardonnay.
Need more reasons to consider Gisborne? According to the city’s official website, Gisborne ranks ‘high in happiness surveys’. The sunny climate, open skies and welcoming community most likely have a lot to do with this!
You want to be close to all of the best sights and sounds New Zealand has to offer
If you want to experience as much of New Zealand as possible, Hamilton and Rotorua should be at the top of your list.
Hamilton is set on the banks of the Waikato River and only 90 minutes from Auckland. However, the cost of living in Hamilton is much more affordable than in Auckland.
Living in Hamilton which means you’re never too far from somewhere to go or something to see. You’ll find Raglan, New Zealand’s surfing capital, the Hobbiton movie set, and the world-famous Waitomo Caves within driving distance of Hamilton.
Rotorua is a tourist hotspot and an all-year-round destination thanks to its mild climate. It’s never too hold or too cold. Another reason for Rotorua’s popularity is its central location on the North Island. You’ll get to Auckland, Napier, the Coromandel Peninsula, Mt Maunganui, and Mt Ruapehu in just under three hours.
The icing on the cake? The fact that Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most affordable cities to live in.
Want to find out if you and your family are eligible to live in New Zealand?
Finding out if you can call New Zealand ‘home’ is as easy as booking a free initial assessment with us. This assessment is non obligatory and will show any migration pathways open to you and your family.
The New Zealand government has announced a new tourist entry approval process known as the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
Effective from 1 October 2019, most travelers will need to hold an ETA before entering New Zealand.
Who will have to hold a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority?
All visitors – whether they’re coming for a holiday, to visit friends and relations, or to study for a short time – who are eligible to travel to New Zealand without a visa will need to hold an NZeTA before they board their flight or cruise from 1 October 2019.
While Australian citizens will be exempt, Australian permanent residents will need to hold a NZeTA. New Zealand citizens and holders of valid New Zealand visas, both resident and temporary visas, will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without a NZeTA.
How will I apply for a NZeTA?
Travellers will be able to quickly and easily apply for their NZeTA either online or through Immigration New Zealand’s free app. The cost for online applications will be NZ$12, while applying through the app will only cost NZ$9.
Some travellers will also have to pay the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy at the same time as applying for their ETA. You can read more about this levy here.
How long will it take to process my NZeTA?
Immigration New Zealand has noted that you should allow up to 72 hours for your NZeTA to be processed, although it could take as little as 10 minutes.
Would I have to apply for an NZeTA each time I travel?
No, you won’t. The NZeTA will be valid for up two years and multiple visits, while the NZeTA for crew members will be valid for five years.
When do applications open?
Applications already opened on the 1st of July 2019.
Go to Immigration New Zealand for more
This information is a summary of all the most important points to know. Also visit Immigration New Zealand’s website for a detailed look at all the requirements.