Should I move to New Zealand or Australia?

/ / Family Immigration, New Zealand Immigration Advice

should i move to new zealand or australiaShould I move to New Zealand or Australia? We bet that’s a question you’ve asked yourself at least once before.

Here’s our tip to help you choose – let the reason for your emigration guide you.

For instance, do you want to grow your career, or is it so that your family can live in safer country? Australia offers more job opportunities but New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world.

Do you see how the motivation for your move could help you decide where to go?

Let’s work through a couple of pull factors together to help you decide between New Zealand and Australia.

(You can also skip to the end of the article where you’ll find a handy recap of all the information.)

Is an affordable cost of living important?

Salary Explorer lists the average annual salary for New Zealand as NZD97,300, while the average yearly income for Australia is AUD90,800.

When drilling deeper into these averages, the highest and lowest annual salaries for New Zealand are listed as NZD434,000 and NZD24,600 respectively. Australia’s highest and lowest annual income come in at AUD405,000 and AUD23,000.

However, looking at salaries alone doesn’t give us the complete picture. One also has to consider the cost of living. It’s the only way to determine how much life you can squeeze out of your salary.

Numbeo tells us that the average prices of consumer goods and services, rent, and groceries are lower in New Zealand than in Australia. However, New Zealand’s purchasing power is 17.49% lower than Australia’s.

Averages can be extremely abstract, though. Let’s instead look at actual prices for everyday items, as shared on Numbeo. To compare apples with apples, we’re going to show all prices in New Zealand dollars.

Please note: At the time of writing, the exchange rate was 0.92(NZ) to 1(Aus).


On average, rent in New Zealand is 7.58% lower than in Australia. You can expect to pay $2,640.79 for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre in New Zealand, while the same apartment in Australia will cost you $3,012.19. Choose to live outside of the city centre and your rent for the same size apartment will decrease to $2,131.72 and $2,082.47 respectively.


To keep the lights on and the water running, you’ll have to fork out $184.35 a month in New Zealand, while it will cost you $238.99 in Australia. This is for an apartment of 85sqm and the cost also includes other basic utilities such as refuse.

Another utility we all surely consider as basic these days is the internet. The price for uncapped data over ADSL or a cable at 60mbps or more, will cost just about the same in both countries.

Staying connected costs $81.78 a month in New Zealand and $81.97 a month in Australia.


On average, you’ll spend 6.29% less on your groceries in New Zealand than in Australia. With that being said, it’s not all groceries that are cheaper in New Zealand.

Let’s take a closer look at grocery prices, shall we? We’re going to break it down in four categories:

1. Staples

New Zealand Australia
1L of Milk
White bread$2.53$3.07
12 Eggs$5.46$5.13
1kg Rice$2.97 $2.96

2. Meat and diary

New ZealandAustralia
1kg Chicken fillets$13.07$11.85
1kg Beef round$19.73$19.44
1kg Local cheese$10.74$11.68

3. Vegetables

New ZealandAustralia
1kg Potatoes$2.98$3.53
1kg Tomatoes$3.38$5.49

4. Fruit

New ZealandAustralia
1kg Apples
1kg Oranges$3.90 $4.10
1kg Bananas$3.03$3.65

Do you live for work or work to live?

In other words, which one do you value more – your career or your free time?

If it’s the former, Australia is a good first choice. Australia will offer you more opportunities, both in the number of jobs available and in chances to progress your career. That’s simply because Australia has a many big cities with booming industries. New Zealand’s big corporations are concentrated mostly in and around Auckland.

However, if work is more of a means to an end, you’ll find settling in New Zealand will suit you well.

New Zealanders are known for their ‘life is for living’ ethos. They believe a good day’s work should be balanced with time for family and friends as well as the many leisure opportunities presented by the great outdoors. In fact, when it came to work-life balance, New Zealand ranked first in the world in the 2020 Expat Explorer Survey.

Do you prefer life fast or slowed down?

Life in New Zealand moves at a more relaxed pace than in Australia. This can be attributed to New Zealanders’ love for downtime, as mentioned above, and also to the fact that New Zealand’s cities and towns are smaller than those of Australia. As we all know, fewer people equals less frenzy, less traffic, and less crowded spaces.

This is not to say that you won’t be able to enjoy a more relaxed life in Australia. It just means that you might have to skip the cities when choosing where to settle Down Under.

Do you have children?

You can rest assured that whatever your choice, New Zealand or Australia, your children will enjoy a world-class education.

New Zealand

The New Zealand education system puts the student at the center of everything it does, while keeping an open mind about learning and teaching techniques. The mission is to teach children to:

  • Problem solve
  • Process information
  • Work with others
  • Create and innovate

You’ll find New Zealand’s best schools in Wellington and Auckland. These schools are a mix of private and public schools, and offer both co-ed and single gender schooling options.


Over in Australia, the world-renowned Qualification Framework guarantees that schools as well as tertiary education institutions are government authorised and accredited.

Further to this, Australian schools have:

  • small classes,
  • university-trained and qualified teachers,
  • specialist teachers in subject areas, and
  • additional learning support for children who need it.

To send your children to the best schools in Australia, your main considerations would have to be Melbourne and Sydney. These cities are home to Australia’s five top primary schools as well as the five high schools. The schools are a mix of co-education and single gender facilities.

To have a look at the best schools in each state or territory, click here for primary schools and here for high schools.

Is good, affordable healthcare high on your priority list?

Again, both New Zealand and Australia are good choices. Both countries have public and private healthcare systems, and the healthcare you’ll receive is world-class.

In New Zealand, eligible residents get free or subsidised health and disability services under the public healthcare system. These services include:

  • Primary healthcare visits such as doctor’s visits
  • Prescribed medicines
  • Public hospital services
  • Support services if you have disabilities

Your children will qualify for a range of free healthcare services, all of which are related to their age.

For instance, children up to the age of 5 qualifies for Well Child/Tamariki Ora. This service gives children access to a range of health checks and provides support and advice to new parents.

Australia’s public healthcare system is called Medicare. Just like in New Zealand, public healthcare offers access to free or subsidised medical services and care. Australian citizens, permanent residents, and some temporary residents qualify for Medicare.

If you do qualify for Medicare, Medicare will cover part or all of the following health services when you need it:

  • Seeing a GP or specialist
  • Tests and scans, like x-rays
  • Most surgery and procedures performed by doctors
  • Eye tests by optometrists

Medicare also assist with the cost of medicine, mental health care, and screens, tests and scans.
If you do not qualify for Medicare, you’ll have to ensure that you have private medical aid for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Is your family’s safety your main concern?

Perhaps you’re emigrating because your home country is not the safest place. In that case, there is only one choice – New Zealand. In 2020, New Zealand was – yet again – the second safest country in the world, as per the Global Peace Index.

For the index, the state of peace in countries are measured using three domains:

  • The level of societal safety and security.
  • The extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict.
  • The degree of militarization.

A number of indicators are captured within each of these domains, including violent crime, violent demonstrations, the homicide rate, and political instability.

The only country that did better than New Zealand was Iceland. Considering that Iceland is an island nation with a population of only 364 134, we reckon New Zealand might as well have been at number 1.

Australia reclaimed its number 13 spot on the Index in 2020. This puts Australia above countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.

To recap the answer to the question “Should I move to New Zealand Australia?”

There really isn’t a standard answer to the question of whether you should move to New Zealand or Australia. As you can see now, it depends on what you want for yourself or your family.

  • Is an affordable cost of living important? You’ll spend less in New Zealand on average on everyday goods and services, but your purchasing is 17.49% lower than in Australia.
  • Is it grow your career? Then Australia with it’s many big cities and career opportunities should be your first choice.
  • Do you want a better work-life balance? Choose New Zealand, where the motto is “life is for living”.
  • Is it so that your children can have a good education? They’ll get that no matter which country you move to.
  • Do you value good, affordable healthcare? Again, either country is a great choice.
  • Do you want to move to a safe country? New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world!

Chances are, the reason for your emigration is a mix of one of more of these factors. In this case, our suggestion is to draw up a pro and con list to help you decide.

Let us not forget however…

Whether you go to New Zealand or Australia is also dependent on your family’s eligibility to emigrate to either country. That’s why it’s important to consider your reason for moving but to also do an immigration assessment so that you can ensure that you are making an informed decision.

If you qualify for both countries, as some people do, lucky you! Then you’ll be able to pick and choose the country that’s the best fit for your family.

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