Auckland vs Christchurch vs Wellington: Let’s compare the living costs

/ / Family Immigration, Life in New Zealand

new zealand cost of living comparison citiesAuckland, Christchurch and Wellington are the New Zealand cities most popular with migrants. That’s why we wanted to compare the costs of basic expenses between these cities.

Our aim?

To give you the information you need to make an informed decision about where you want to live.

Our comparison covers the costs of:

  • Rent;
  • Utilities;
  • Groceries;
  • Getting around;
  • Entertainment; and
  • Childcare.

Of course it is important to also look at average salaries, so that you can see how your expenses are likely to relate to your income. This is why we start by sharing the average annual salary of each city.

Please note: All costs are quoted in New Zealand dollars.


Average Annual Salary65,00063,00067,000

Monthly expenses

Your monthly expenses will include costs such as rent, groceries, and entertainment. Your rent will be the first expense to take care of each month, so let’s start there.

1. Rent

We look at 1-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments both in and outside the city centre:

 Auckland ChristchurchWellington
1-bedroom apartment in the city1,931.381,465.451,815.68
1-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre1,616.671,185.83 1,415.19
3-bedroom apartment in the city3,443.582,231.673,252.38
3-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre2,769.481,866.672,457.20

2. Utilities

This is how much utilities could set you back each month:

Basic utilities for a 85m2 Apartment (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)169.64181.91170.61
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)83.5284.27 83.53

Now let’s look at some of the other monthly costs you’ll have to budget for…

3. Groceries

Groceries will demand a large chunk of your income each month. This is how much basic groceries could set you back:

1L Milk2.58 2.782.99
Loaf of bread (white)2.402.862.51
12 Eggs5.154.685.99
1kg Local cheese9.859.6110.39
1kg Chicken fillets13.2512.2313.22
1kg Apples3.795.043.62
1kg Bananas2.923.172.84
1kg Tomatoes4.875.974.54
Lettuce2.91 2.482.48
1.5L Water2.221.60 2.18

4. Getting around

If you don’t import your car, you’ll have to buy a new one or make use of public transport. This is how much both these options could cost you:

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or equivalent new car)35,000.0036,990.0034,990.0
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (or equivalent new car)29,794.0629,443.3330,465.00
1-way Ticket (local transport)3.75 3.505.00
Monthly pass (regular price)215.00110.87150.00
1L of Petrol2.242.212.23

5. Entertainment

No-one only works to pays the bills. We also also spend time with friends and loved ones! Here’s how much you could spend on entertainment:

Restaurant meal20.0020.0017.50
3-course Dinner for 290.00100.0090.00
330ml Imported Beer9.0010.009.00
Coke/Pepsi3.39 3.013.20
Movie ticket18.0016.0016.00

6. Childcare

If you’re a family moving over to New Zealand, you’ll have to enroll your children of school-going age into a school:

Private preschool (or kindergarten) - Monthly for 1 child (full day)1,220.041,112.50 1,108.08
International primary school - Yearly for 1 child20,846.15 14,750.0015,500.00

If there are any other costs you’re curious about, such as clothing, head on over to Numbeo. All of the costs above were taken from Numbeo and valid as at Feb 2020. Salaries were taken from Payscale.

Get your FREE initial assessment here

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

You'll get immigration advice and be the first to know about visa changes

Return to our blog