Find out how it is to live in New Zealand. From the cost of living to how New Zealand compares with other countries around the world.
InterNations has released the results of their annual Expat Insider survey – and New Zealand did well!
The survey quizzed expats on topics ranging from their financial situation to career prospects, and expats in New Zealand rated the country highly in most categories.
Overall, New Zealand ranked in the top 10.
What expats think of New Zealand
When it comes to life in New Zealand, expats are most impressed with the excellent work-life balance the country offers. A whopping 83% of respondents were generally satisfied compared to 66% globally, and 39% of expats were completely satisfied with their work-life balance.
Expats in New Zealand also feel their jobs are quite secure, with 81% of respondents rating their job security favourably. This is 20% higher than the global average.
Prospects are also good for those looking for a change, with 64% of expat rating the local career opportunities positively. The global average was only 45%!
In terms of remote work, only 62% of respondents said they are able to work from home. For nearly half of these expats the reason is the nature of their work. That is most likely at least partly due to the fact that 26% of the respondents work in the healthcare field.
Keep in mind also that New Zealand managed to rapidly contain the COVID-19 pandemic, so being able to work from home is not such a priority as elsewhere in the world at the moment.
How does the Expat Insider survey work?
For the 2021 Expat Insider survey, 12,240 respondents representing 174 different nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories worldwide were asked to evaluate life abroad.
What factors into the ranking?
The overall ranking of each country was determined by the answers of respondents to questions across four categories:
- Quality of Life – Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, Travel and Transportation, Health and Well-being, Safety and Security, Digital Life, Quality of the Environment
- Ease of Settling – Feeling at Home, Friendliness, Finding Friends, Language
- Personal Finance
- Working Abroad – Career Prospects and Satisfaction, Work and Leisure, Economy and Job Security
Expats also had to answer the question “How satisfied are you with life abroad in general?”
Who responded to the survey?
The Expat Insider survey breaks down the statistics of respondents as follows:
- Gender: 48% female, 52% male
- Relationship status: 63% in a relationship, 37% single
- Family status: 80% without dependent children abroad, 20% with dependent children abroad
- Age: 46.1 years on average
- Level of education: 83% with university degree (2% with no degree, 7% high school graduate, 8% commercial/technical/vocational training)
What countries were in the top 10?
The top 10 countries overall were:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
Top findings from the top three countries
Taiwan has always scored highly for both the affordability the quality of local healthcare, among other factors. In 2021, an astounding 96% of respondents in Taiwan rated the quality of medical care positively, and nearly 66% couldn’t be any happier.
Mexico is known for offering expats a hospitable, welcoming and affordable environment. Not only has it landed in the top 5 of each ranking since 2014, but it also lead in the 2021 Ease of Settling Index.
Costa Rica ranked second out of 65 countries in 2017 and then dropped all the way to the 21st position by 2019. Now, it has managed to climb back up again. Similar to Mexico, Cost Rica does particularly well with regard to personal finance and the ease of settling in. The country also impresses expats with its natural environment and great work-life balance.
Want to read the complete Expat Insider survey?
If you want to know more about New Zealand’s performance on the 2021 survey, click here to download it from InterNation’s website.
When comparing the cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia, New Zealand is the more affordable country to live in.
On average, consumer prices in New Zealand are 5.40% lower than in Australia. Groceries and restaurant meals cost 8.28% and 2.73% less respectively. Your rent will also be less in New Zealand.
Percentages means little though. Let’s look at actual numbers instead.
The cost of everyday goods and services in New Zealand compared to Australia
This is how much rent, eating out and groceries cost in both New Zealand and Australia according to Numbeo (June 2021):
(Please note: These costs are correct as at June 2021. All costs are in New Zealand dollar for a side-by-side comparison but we’ve also added the Australian costs in brackets.)
|1-bedroom apartment in the city centre||1,597.95||1,755.46 (A$1,642.29)||
|1-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||1,238.19||1,354.51 (A$1,267.19)||
|3-bedroom apartment in the city centre||2,584.59||2,968.94 (A$2,777.54)||
|3-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||2,110.24||2,057.27 (A$1,924.64)||
|Eating Out||New Zealand||Australia|
|Meal, inexpensive restaurant||19.20||21.38 (A$20.00)||
|3-course meal for two people, mid-range restaurant||100.00||96.20 (A$90.00)||
|McMeal at McDonalds||12.00||12.83 (A$12.00)||
|Domestic beer, 500ml||9.00||8.55 (A$8.00)||
|Imported beer, 300ml||9.00||9.62 (A$9.00)||
|Coke, 300ml||3.36||3.55 (A$3.32)||
|Water, 300ml bottle||2.87||3.03 (A$2.83)||
|Milk, 1L||2.63||1.75 (A$1.64)||
|Loaf of fresh white bread||2.51||2.99 (A$2.7)||
|White rice, 1kg||2.97||2.90 (A$2.71)||
|Eggs, 12||5.40||5.06 (A$4.74)||
|Local cheese, 1kg||10.67||11.57 (A$10.82)||
|Chicken fillets, 1kg||12.96||11.59 (A$10.84)||
|Beef round, 1kg||19.84||19.45 (A$18.20)||
|Apples, 1kg||3.76||4.89 (A$4.58)||
|Bananas, 1kg||2.99||3.61 (A$3.38)||
|Oranges, 1kg||3.91||3.98 (A$3.73)||
|Tomato, 1kg||3.51||5.33 (A$4.98)||
|Potato, 1kg||2.94||3.47 (A$3.24)||
|Onion, 1kg||2.50||2.80 (A$2.62)||
Let’s also look at salaries to get the full picture
It’s not enough to only consider everyday costs when investigating the cost of living in a country.
You must also know how much you’re likely to earn to get the full picture. A basket of groceries totaling $100 won’t affect someone earning $10,000 a month the same as someone earning $5,000.
As most of our clients immigrate to New Zealand and Australia as skilled migrants, we chose the 22 industries you see below. The salaries are listed in each country’s currency but we’ve also listed the New Zealand salary in brackets for Australia for a side-by-side comparison.
You can search for your own occupation on Payscale if you don’t see it on our list.
Please note: These are annual salaries. All salaries are in New Zealand dollar for a side-by-side comparison but we’ve also added the Australian salaries in brackets.
|Job category||New Zealand (Annual)||Australia (Annual)|
|Chemical Engineer||65,667||60,908 (A$72,558)|
|Diesel Mechanic*||72,414||67,167 (A$72,909)|
|Early Childhood Educator*||72,414||67,167 (A$50,742)|
|General Practitioner*||147,277||136,605 (A$141,844)|
|Industrial Engineer||76,598||71,047 (A$71,399)|
|Maintenance Planner*||80,311||74,491 (A$93,551)|
|Mechanical Engineer*||66,186||61,390 (A$72,764)|
|Quantity Surveyor||71,611||66,422 (A$73,534)|
|Registered Nurse*||60,780||56,376 (A$64,782)|
|Social Worker||53,928||50,020 (A$67,548)|
|Software Engineer*||71,291||66,125 (A$78,577)|
|Speech Therapist||68,824||63,837 (A$64,760)|
*These occupations are on Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List which was established in 2020 to address the skills needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cost of living in New Zealand is lower than in Australia. You’ll spend less at the tills when doing your monthly grocery shopping, and you’ll also spend less at restaurants and when paying your rent.
When considering these costs, it’s also important to factor in how much you’ll earn to get a realistic idea of how much buying power your salary gives you.
New Zealand is regularly voted as one of the best countries to live 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.
But how do you choose where in New Zealand to settle your family? It’s almost impossible to single out a specific place! 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, on the North Island, is New Zealand’s most populous city. Auckland is also New Zealand’s economic hub, and it’s known as a diverse and cosmopolitan city.
When it comes to things to see and do, 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. Six of the eight top schools in the latest Crimson-QS New Zealand school rankings are 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 day and boarding school for boys and girls.
- 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 continuously performs well in world university rankings as well.
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:
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
Living in big cities isn’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 the South Island.
Queenstown’s lakeside location offers residents the chance to indulge in numerous activities ranging from jet boating to fly fishing. 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 it has numerous fine-dining restaurants and cafes.
Whanganui is home to approximately 43,000 people, and sits at the mouth of the at the mouth of the Whanganui River.
The city offers plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. You can visit history museums and art galleries, treat your kids to a day at Kōwhai Park, or take a leisurely cycle or walk in one of the area’s nature 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 place in the world to see the sunrise each day.
Rise with the sun and you’ll get to make the most of the city’s beautiful coastline, forested mountain parks, and surfing and fishing opportunities. Many people do! It’s common to see Gisborne locals 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.
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 means you’re never too far from somewhere to go or something to see. You’ll find New Zealand’s surfing capital Raglan, the Hobbiton movie set, and the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm 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? 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 consultation call with us. Our licensed immigration agent will assess your eligibility and discuss your visa options with you.
New Zealand isn’t one of the cheapest countries to live in, but it is still a popular choice with families in search of a better life.
You owe it to yourself, though, to see if you can afford to live in New Zealand before uprooting your family. It’s stressful enough to move countries. You don’t also want to add financial stress into the mix.
That’s why we’re going to look at the cost of living in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital, and Auckland is the country’s largest city. Christchurch has been New Zealand’s construction hub for at least a decade due to the area having to rebuild after 2011’s devastating earthquake.
What are we comparing?
Our starting point is looking at the average annual salaries of each city. You can’t fully assess your living costs if you don’t know how much you’re likely to earn.
The costs we’re comparing are for everyday expenses such as rent, utilities, and groceries. We’re also going to look at the cost of transport, buying a car and putting your children through school. To round things off, we’ll look at what it’s going to cost you to unwind over the weekend.
Please note: All costs are in New Zealand dollars.
There isn’t a massive difference between the average salaries earned in Wellington and Auckland. It’s only NZD1,000. Christchurch offers the lowest average annual salary at NZD64,000, which is NZD4,000 less than in Wellington.
|Average Annual Salary||68,000||67,000||64,000|
It’s not surprising that living in the suburbs is cheaper. The most affordable accommodation is in Christchurch, where a 1-bedroom apartment in the suburbs is NZD1,143.75 a month.
If you’re a family of up to four, you’re also looking at Christchurch if you don’t want expensive accommodation. The monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the suburbs is NZD1,977.78, which is NZD740 cheaper than in Auckland and NZD590 less than in Wellington.
|1-bedroom apartment in the city||2,009.52||1,902.79||1,465.00|
|1-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre||1,550.00||1,681.67||1,143.75|
|3-bedroom apartment in the city||3,315.38||3,374.35||2,662.50|
|3-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre||2,571.43||2,718.38||1,977.78|
Household utilities are most affordable in Wellington, but an internet connection is the cheapest in Auckland. When adding utilities and the internet, Wellington comes out tops for affordability. Christchurch takes second place, and Auckland is the most expensive.
|Basic utilities for a 85m2 Apartment (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)||169.64||181.91||170.61|
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||83.52||84.27||83.53|
When comparing a basket of nine everyday items, you’ll spend NZD54,43 in Auckland, NZD50,60 in Christchurch, and NZD49,57 in Wellington.
|Loaf of bread (white)||2.78||3.18||2.37|
|1kg Local cheese||11.62||11.69||10.66|
|1kg Chicken fillets||13.04||14.87||13.15|
6. Sending your child to school
While state schools are free, private schooling is not. Preparing your child for school is going to cost between NZD1,000 and NZD1,270 a month. For primary school, you’ll have to budget for between NZD11,600 and NZD20,375 a year on average.
|Private preschool (or kindergarten) - Monthly for 1 child (full day)||1,039.00||1,267.12||1,126.00|
|International primary school - Yearly for 1 child||15,500.00||20,375.00||11,600.00|
4. Getting around
New Zealand has a public transport system but many people still choose to buy a car to get around.
You’ll see new cars cost more or less the same in all three cities, as does filling up.
Costs do vary quite a bit when taking the bus or train. There is an NZD1.60 difference between the cheapest and most expensive one-way tickets. This difference is even more for monthly passes. There is nearly an NZD100 difference between monthly passes in Auckland and Wellington!
|Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or equivalent new car)||35,000.00||36,245.00||39,750.00|
|Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (or equivalent new car)||31,073.7||31,496.67||31,310.00|
|1-way Ticket (local transport)||5.00||3.60||3.40|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||150.00||215.00||111.96|
|1L of Petrol||2.18||2.11||2.11|
5. Eating out
No-one only works to pays the bills. We also like to unwind. Many of us do that by enjoying a meal in a restaurant.
Going for a quick lunch with colleagues will set you back NZD20 in Wellington and Christchurch. Date nights are going to be the most affordable in Wellington, where a three-course meal is NZD90. The same meal is going to cost NZD120 in Auckland and NZD105 in Christchurch.
|3-course Dinner for two people||90.00||120.00||105.00|
|330ml Imported Beer||10.00||10.00||10.00|
One of the main research point for our clients is the cost of living in New Zealand. Time and again clients tell us they want to know that they’ll be able to live comfortably.
This has lead us to put together the ultimate guide to the cost of living in New Zealand – and today we’re sharing it with you.
You’ll get a better understanding of how much money you could expect to earn and what your average living costs would be:
We’ll even tell you where to go do a realistic cost-of-living calculation. But first let’s look at how much you could expect to earn…
You can choose to rent or buy a home in New Zealand. You might have to rent a home when you first arrive so let’s start there:
In 2019, the average cost of rent increased just about everywhere in New Zealand:
|City||Avg Weekly Rent at end of 2019||Year-on-Year Increase|
Experts are not expecting rental prices to come down in 2020. In fact, the average Wellington rental property is on track to hit an all-time high of NZ$640 per week in February.
In a recent article on Newshub it was explained that the increase in rental prices mostly comes down to supply – high house prices mean people stay in rentals longer to save deposits, putting pressure on the market. In turn, rent prices are going through the roof. “Essentially, we need more houses,” explained infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen.
These are the rental costs to expect:
Your initial costs when renting a home will include a portion of the rent in advance and a letting fee if you use an agent and a bond.
A landlord can ask for a maximum of two weeks rent in advance while you can expect that the bond (or deposit) will be equal to four weeks’ rent. This means you’ll have to pay up up to six weeks of rent upfront.
You’ll get the bond back at the end of the leasing term, provided you leave the place in a good condition.
To do a search for rental prices in the area you plan on staying, go to TenancyServices, a website hosted by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Just like the cost of rent, New Zealand house prices also increased in 2019. At the end of December, the average house prices in 16 of New Zealand largest cities were as follows:
|Average Value||3 Month Change|
Experts did expect this tide to turn in 2020, and for house prices to fall, but the resurgence in Auckland specifically now have economists predicting that house prices will continue to rise. Most economists agree on an increase of at least 5%.
To get an accurate view of how much you’re likely to spend on a home this year, you can check the median values of homes in any region, city or even street on QV.co.nz.
Keep this in mind: Property ads in New Zealand usually show either an RV (Rateable Value), GV (Government Valuation) or CV (Council Valuation) figure. These figures refer to the valuation used by the local council to calculate rates for the property. These aren’t registered valuations and often don’t reflect the property’s true market value.
The main utilities for any home would be water and electricity. Of course an internet connection is also considered essential in this day and age.
Most regional councils charge for the water they supply and the rates vary from region to region. If you own your home, the cost is added to your rates as water rates.
When it comes to electricity, you’ll find that there are a number of electricity and gas retailers in New Zealand. You can search for the best deal on the PowerSwitch website run by ConsumerNZ and MBIE Consumer Affairs.
There are a range of internet service providers to choose from in New Zealand. Glimp lets you compare providers by price, speed, data and plan specifics. You can also use Broadband Compare for service provider comparisons.
While public transport is available in New Zealand, most New Zealanders choose to own a car and drive to where they need to be.
Choosing to also go this route might mean that you’ll have to buy a car once you arrive in New Zealand. You can use New Zealand’s AA website to see how much your favourite car will cost you new, but here are a couple of prices to start with:
What about insurance and petrol?
Insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand but third party insurance will insure you against having to personally pay the cost of damage to someone else’s vehicle. Petrol prices are on the AA’s site where regularly updates are published.
The general rule is that local produce will be cheaper than imported items.
Keep in mind that imported items travel far due to New Zealand’s ‘end of the earth’ location. This means you might pay considerably more for certain items than you’re used to.
Numbeo is a great site if you’d like to check average grocery prices in New Zealand. You can also look at specific cities or compare the prices between cities.
Let’s take a look at the prices of a couple of basic groceries:
|Fresh white bread||NZ$2.31|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||NZ$12.45|
How does New Zealand’s cost of living compare to that of other countries?
Numbeo’s 2020 Cost of Living Index compares the cost of living of 440 cities around the world. Auckland is New Zealand’s most expensive city. At number 53 on the list, Auckland is cheaper than Sydney in Australia but more expensive than Brighton in the UK.
The only other New Zealand’s cities that ranked on the Index are Christchurch and Wellington at numbers 79 and 113 on the list.
The most expensive city in the world, in case you wanted to know, is Zurich.
And, as promised – how to do a realistic cost-of-living calculation
We said we’ll tell you where to go for a realistic calculation of your cost of living and here it is:
You can use New Zealand Now’s cost calculator. You can tailor your income and expenses (be sure to click on the + signs on the expenses!) and adjust to a monthly or weekly outlook.
Of course here at Intergate we like to go the extra mile, so here is a bonus tip to end off our guide to the cost of living in New Zealand – use PriceMe to compare the prices of computers, appliances, phones, furniture, savings accounts and much more.
What’s the best way to find what it’s like to live in a country? By searching for answers online? This approach could give you some answers, we agree. Would it perhaps be a better idea to visit for a holiday? You’ll definitely get a feel for the country, but holidaying in a country or city is often vastly different from living there permanently.
The best thing to do (in our opinion)? Speak to people who already live there. That’s exactly what the Expat Explorer Survey does and it’s how we’re going to compare life in New Zealand to Australia today.
The reason for the comparison is not only because we offer immigration services for both countries. It’s also because many people interested in living in New Zealand also consider Australia when setting out on their emigration journey.
What is the Expat Explorer Survey?
The Expat Explorer Survey happens annually. It is a global survey and in 2019 the survey was completed by 18,059 expats in the world. Respondents answer a set of 27 questions and their answers are used to calculate a league table. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents is required for a country to be included. In 2019, 33 countries from around the world made the cut.. These 33 countries included New Zealand and Australia.
The survey has three categories – Living, Aspiring, and Little Expats
The Expat Explorer Survey’s 27 questions are spread across three categories:
- Little Expats
While ‘Living’ covers a multitude of aspects around your well-being, ‘Aspiring’ covers income and career. ‘Little Expats’, as the name suggests, addresses issues that affect children.
Here’s how New Zealand and Australia did in each category:
Between New Zealand and Australia, New Zealand came out tops for fulfillment, political stability, ease of settling in, and having welcoming communities. These last two are surely linked! New Zealanders are known as friendly people who go out of their way to help others. Many new expats of stories of how a New Zealander helped them out in the first few months in the country.
Australia, on the other hand, beat New Zealand when it came to qualify of life as well as physical and mental well-being. The beautiful weather gets the credit for making expats feel physically healthier than in their home countries.
Position out of 33 countries in the Survey: New Zealand – 3rd | Australia – 4th
While New Zealand were scored higher by expats for income, Australia scored more for disposable income. So it seems that although expats in New Zealand earn more, expats in Australia has more of their salary to spend after deductions.
Australia also beat New Zealand when it came to career progression. The Expat Explorer Survey found that while expats don’t initially opt for Australia to help progress their careers, this is one of the reasons expats often end up staying long term.
New Zealand came out tops again, however, in reaching one’s potential and work-life balance. This is to be expected as New Zealand is known as a country that values work-life balance. In fact, this is often one of the main reasons expats choose to go to New Zealand.
Position out of 33 countries in the Survey: New Zealand – 8th |Australia – 12th
3. Little Expats
Expat parents in New Zealand rated the country highly for their children’s ability to make friends. New Zealand came in two spots above Australia, in fact. However, Australia beat New Zealand in learning and schooling. The difference again was only two spots, so your children are going to have a great childhood in either country.
Position out of 33 countries in the Survey: New Zealand – 9th | Australia – 8th
Where do New Zealand and Australia sit on the Expat Explorer Survey league table?
New Zealand came in at 5th place overall while Australia took 6th place. Switzerland, Singapore, Canada and Spain claimed the top four spots. Turkey, Germany, the UAE and Vietnam made up the rest of the top 10.
There are many ways to compare the quality of life between two or more countries.
The OECD, an international organisation that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world, chose to look at factors that directly impact people’s lives on a daily basis. Factors such as healthcare, schooling, and work-life balance.
The results are captured in the OECD’s Better Life Index – and New Zealand did well!
New Zealand is among the top countries in the Index
The Better Life Index compares the 35 member countries of the OECD plus key partners such as Brazil, Russia and South Africa. The quality of life is measured against 11 topics, each with up to four indicators, and New Zealand is a top performer in most areas.
New Zealand’s average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD33,604, which is lower than the OECD average of USD25,074.
This means that, on average, New Zealanders have less money to spend on goods and services after taxes and transfers than countries like Canada, Germany and the UK.
However, New Zealanders have more disposable income than people from Spain, Portugal and South Africa.
In fact, out of the 40 countries on the OECD Index, New Zealand is right in the middle at number 20 when it comes to disposable income.
In New Zealand, 77% of people between the ages of 15 and 64 have a paid job. This is 9% higher than the OECD average of 68%.
Schooling is important to New Zealanders – 79% of adults aged 25 to 64% have completed upper secondary education. This is slightly above the OECD average of 78%.
When looking at New Zealand’s education system, the average student scored 506 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 486.
Someone born in New Zealand enjoys a life expectancy of 82 years, which is higher than the OECD average of 80 years. When comparing genders, women’s life expectancy is 83 years compared to 80 years for men.
While New Zealand is known for great work-life balance, 15% of employees work long hours, which is more than the OECD average of 11%.
New Zealand’s level of tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs is 4.9 micrograms per cubic meter. This is much lower than the OECD average of 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter.
It’s not only New Zealand’s air quality that’s great. The water quality in New Zealand is also exceptional! No less than 89% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of water in the country. This is 8% higher than the OECD average of 81%.
When asked if they believe they know someone to rely on in time of need, 96% of New Zealanders said they do. This is 13% higher than the OECD average!
New Zealanders are happy people! When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, New Zealanders responded with a 7.3 grade on average, which is higher than the OECD average of 6.5.
With such a great quality of life it’s no surprise that New Zealand is a top choice for migrants from across the world! Get in touch if you’d like also like to make New Zealand your home.
New Zealand is a country of extraordinary beauty! From the country’s mountains and rivers, to its forests and beaches. You could never see it all in one go (but you should try at least once in your lifetime).
We could write about New Zealand’s sights and sounds all day but only photos would do them justice. Here is New Zealand in all its glory:
The Mars-like Putanqirua Pinnacles
The lone tree of Lake Wanaka
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This is a fall flashback to earlier in the year in New Zealand. Not sure why I haven’t posted this one yet, but now is better than never I guess. Probably one of the most photographed trees in the world, but for good reason… especially in fall/autumn when the leaves change to this magical golden hue.
Sunset over Tunnel Beach
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There's nothing quite like standing at the edge of something wild. The untameable force of wind and sea, water carving rock, embracing and releasing the earth in violent repetition. It can seem so constant, yet at the same time it's force is continually shaping the landscape. Crafting bays and canyons, turning stone to sand. Never underestimate the power of consistency. I'm the kind of person who runs from monotony, constantly thirsting for new adventures. It's easy for me to feel stuck in one place, however what we need to recognize is that even in repetition incredible change can happen. This tunnel wasn't formed in a day. If you're in a place today where you feel that you are stuck in a cycle, just doing the same old things, perhaps the change you need lays only in your perspective. Celebrate the progress that your consistency creates. You ARE shaping the world around you.
Lupine season in full bloom
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Taking in some snowy winter mountains with a side of spring flowers 💐 a sign of the times with the ever changing (and often extreme) weather patterns Mother Nature is producing! Thankfully kept warm with @eddiebauer #liveyouradventure #ebcontributor – – #newzealandvacations #newzealandguide #splendid_earth #eclectic_shotz #mountaingirls #reflectiongram #globeshotz #moodygrams #allbeauty_addiction #nzmustdo #newzealand #destinationnz #yourshotphotographer #amazing_longexpo #nzimagery #longexposure_shots #mthrworld #depthsofearth #beyondthelands_ #special_shots #sunset_vision #bestnatureshot #igworld_global #wildernesstones #earthoutdoors #earth_shotz #uniladadventure
The Land of the Long White Cloud
The Southern Lights
Paddling along the Waikato River
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Travelling the Waikato (meaning ‘flowing water’) by river float, scenic boat cruise or jet boat is one of the best ways to witness its power and beauty. Experience the mighty Waikato River, link in bio. 📸: @teamrnz 📍: Waikato River #lovetaupo #purenewzealand #mightywaikato #waikatoriver #nzmustdo
Bright autumn colours
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GOLDEN ARCHES…. but not McDonalds. No Maccas in Wanaka! 👍 A colourful bike ride along the Clutha River. #autumnleaves #autumn #autumnal #autumn🍁 #autumncolors #autumncolours #mtb #mtblife #biking #mountainbike #mountainbiking #wymtm #lovewanaka #wanaka #landscape #seasons #nature #nzmustdo #purenewzealand #newzealand #travel #nofilter #goldenleaves #goldenarches
The mighty Mt. Cook
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Amazing Mt. Cook Road 🙌🏻 . . . . . #nzmustdo #kiwipics #purenewzealand #purenz #travelnz #visitnewzealand #realmiddleearth #explorenz #visitnewzealand #kiwi_photos #newzealandtrip #newzealandfinds #uniladadventure #ourdailyplanet #starttheadventure #adventuregram #explorenewzealand #discovernewzealand #kiwiexperience #wowplanet #wonderfulglobe #earthofficial #nztravel #discovernz #weroamnewzealand #southislandnz #mtcook #mountcook #southisland #aoraki
New Zealand is one of the world’s ultimate destinations. That’s because few countries can beat New Zealand when it comes to breathtaking scenery and things to do.
But how do you choose what to see and do first? We admit, it’s not an easy choice to make. However, everyone agrees that the adventures below are bucket-list worthy!
1. See the Southern Lights
While seeing the Northern Lights in person is a bucket list item for many travellers, the Southern Hemisphere’s Southern Lights is no less spectacular. This night-time light show in nearly all the colours of the rainbow is best appreciated against New Zealand’s clear dark skies. The best places to see the Lights are in the Otago region, just outside of Dunedin, as well as the night skies above Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook.
2. Cruise, raft and go spelunking in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves
New Zealand’s Glowworm Caves are unlike anything else you’ve ever seen! Here the pitch black caves are lit up by thousands of glowworms that have made these limestone caves their home.
To explore the caves, you can opt for a gentle boat cruise or choose to raft the caves on rubber tubes. You’ll also get the chance to jump into cascading waterfalls and climb through the caves. You can add abseiling to the experience to make it even more of an adventure!
3. Get up close to the Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular sights. To experience it, you’ll have to book a helicopter ride as it’s the only way to reach the glacier. You can either go straight to the top of Franz Josef or challenge yourself with up to four hours of guided ice-climbing.
However you explore the glacier, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and get to warm yourself in the glacier hot pools. Not that you’ll be as cold you imagine perhaps. The Glacier’s day time temperatures only dip to between 5C and 15C.
4. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s most famous day hike. The 19.4km route takes about nine hours to complete and reveal incredible scenery along the way. You’ll encounter steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation and colourful crater lakes, all with breathtaking views.
This hike is not necessarily for everyone though. You should have a good level of fitness and ideally have hiking experience. The hike can become treacherous during winter when there is snow and ice on the ground.
5. Visit Milford Sound
This list would not have been complete without adding Milford Sound. Milford Sound is in Fiordland National Park and one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Here majestic peaks tower over crystal-clear lakes. You can explore the area by hiking through the forested landscapes or cruising along the water to see the hundreds of cascading waterfalls up close.
Unless you’ve been to a country, it’s hard to tell where you’d like to live. That’s why we list the best places to live in New Zealand below.
You’ll find 10 cities on our list, but these are in no particular order. To help you narrow it down, we share:
- The size of each city – because some of us prefer smaller cities over bigger ones.
- The climate – to know what to expect from the weather.
- What or who the city is perfect for – so you can see if it’ll be the right fit for you.
Let’s dive straight into the list.
- South Island
- Population: ±15,800 (June 2018)
- Climate: Long, warm days in summer with cold winters and frequent snowfall.
- Perfect for: Thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Queenstown is known as New Zealand’s adventure capital. You can go hiking or biking in the summer and hit the slopes for snowboarding or skiing in the winter. The city and surrounds also offer opportunities for skydiving, jet boating, white-water rafting, canyon swinging, zip lining, paragliding, and bungee jumping.
Queenstown keeps it balanced though with world-class restaurants, a cosmopolitan art scene, and exceptional vineyards. You’ll always find something to do!
- North Island
- Population: ±418,000 (June 2018)
- Climate: Generally moderate temperatures, but windy all year round with high rainfall.
- Perfect for: City dwellers who still prefer a slower lifestyle.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital and one of the country’s most popular places to live. It offers a high quality of life, it’s easy to get around thanks to a great public transport system, and there is more than enough to do. Wellington boasts some of the best cafes, bars, and restaurants New Zealand has to offer as well as a buzzing nightlife and a lively music scene. Those who love the outdoors can head to the botanic gardens or one of the beaches and bays for walks and water sports.
It’s interesting to note that Wellington is not New Zealand’s most populated city, despite being the capital. In fact, it’s one of the smaller capital cities in the world, meaning it offers a much more relaxed lifestyle than most cities.
- North Island
- Population: ±1,628,900 (June 2018)
- Climate: Subtropical with warm humid summers and mild damp winters. Sunniest of New Zealand’s main centers and warmest.
- Perfect for: Professionals keen to advance their career.
Auckland is the number one choice for most immigrants, seeing as it’s widely considered to be New Zealand’s economic capital. The city offers plenty of job opportunities, career progression can happen quickly, and salaries are some of the highest in New Zealand. Of course this means the cost of living is slightly higher than in other parts of the country, but Auckland is still a great place to live.
There is also plenty to do in Auckland! The city has galleries and museums, top-class restaurants, parks and harbours, beaches and parks, and an extensive calendar of cultural events throughout the year.
You can really make the most of your evenings and weekends.
- North Island
- Population: ±63,900 (June 2018)
- Climate: Generally dry, warm climate.
- Perfect for: Wine and design connoisseurs.
Napier is a coastal town on New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay region, an area that’s renowned for producing excellent wines. The city itself is especially known for its art deco landmarks, but it’s also famed for its beautiful coastline, fabulous bars and restaurants, and the tree-lined waterfront promenade.
The cost of living in Napier is much lower than in New Zealand’s bigger cities, making it an attractive option for immigrants. The city also has the added advantage of enjoying plenty of sunshine all year round, which makes for both pleasant summers and winters.
- South Island
- Population: ±404,500 (June 2018)
- Climate: Mild summers and cool winters. Regular moderate rainfalls. Common for temperatures to drop below freezing point. Snowfalls occur on average three times per year.
- Perfect for: Living life in a green city.
Christchurch is known as the Garden City due to its abundance of beautiful parks and pretty gardens. Of course Christchurch is also known for the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and the massive rebuilding initiatives since. It’s the latter which is said to have created the incredible sense of community you’ll find in Christchurch.
Christchurch is heavily influenced by Maori culture and has a massive English community. It is also a city with plenty to see and do, from markets and festivals to restaurants and cafes. While Christchurch is not on the coast, some of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches are within driving distance.
- North Island
- Population: ±59,500 (June 2018)
- Climate: Mild temperate climate. Less wind than in many other places in New Zealand. Temperatures can drop below freezing point in winter.
- Perfect for: Being close to all the best parts of New Zealand.
Rotorua is a tourist hot-spot 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 from Napier.
The icing on the cake? The fact that Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most affordable cities to live in.
- North Island
- Population: ±141,600 (June 2018)
- Climate: Subtropical climate with high humidity.
- Perfect for: Enjoying that holiday feeling all year round.
Tauranga is a stunning waterfront city and one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations. The city has stunning beaches, a vibrant nightlife, and it’s within driving distance of places such as Taupo, Rotorua, and the Coromandel Peninsula.
Tauranga is also a busy port city, creating plenty of job opportunities. Despite the thriving economy, Tauranga is still reasonably affordable to live in.
8. New Plymouth
- North Island
- Population: ±58,300 (June 2018)
- Climate: Moist, temperate climate; Mild winters.
- Perfect for: Art and culture lovers.
New Plymouth, in the Taranaki region, has one of New Zealand’s best art scenes. There are lots of magnificent galleries and the city has a bohemian feel to it.
Many residents choose to walk or cycle to work, as commutes tend to be short. As a happy consequence you’re unlikely to encounter the dread of being stuck in traffic in New Plymouth. This alone is enough to convince some to make their home here!
It should also be mentioned that Lonely Planet voted Mount Taranaki as one of their ‘Must Visit’ destinations of 2017. The region has breathtaking views, world-class surfing conditions, black sand beaches, and – of course – the majestic Mount Taranaki.
- South Island
- Population: ±122,000 (June 2018)
- Climate: Temperate climate with mild summers and cool winters, although snowfall is common. Relatively low rainfall in comparison to many of New Zealand’s other cities.
- Perfect for: Music lovers and creatives.
Dunedin has Scottish heritage and Scottish influences are easily spotted in the city’s architecture. It’s fitting that Dunedin is home New Zealand’s only castle. Look up at the misty hills and you might even think you are in Scotland.
Dunedin is also distinctly New Zealand though with a vibrant music scene and a creative vibe. Venture a bit further out to the peninsula and you’ll find rare and unique wildlife.
Here’s something you might know about Dunedin – the city is extremely hilly, so much so that you’ll find the second steepest street in the world in Dunedin (pictured above)!
- North Island
- Population: ±203,100 (June 2018)
- Weather: Highly moderate temperatures, but with high humidity. Warm summers and cool and wet winters.
- Perfect for: Being close to all the best parts of New Zealand.
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. Just like Rotorua, Hamilton is centrally located, which means you’re never too far from somewhere to go or something to see. In fact, the two cities are close to each other. Also within driving distance of Hamilton are Raglan, New Zealand’s surfing capital, Taupo, and the world-famous Waitomo Caves.