What is the cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia?

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cost of living in new zealand vs australia

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.)


RentNew ZealandAustralia 
1-bedroom apartment in the city centre1,597.951,755.46 (A$1,642.29)


1-bedroom apartment outside the city centre1,238.19 1,354.51 (A$1,267.19)


3-bedroom apartment in the city centre2,584.59 2,968.94 (A$2,777.54)


3-bedroom apartment outside the city centre2,110.242,057.27 (A$1,924.64)


Eating out

Eating OutNew ZealandAustralia 
Meal, inexpensive restaurant19.20 21.38 (A$20.00)


3-course meal for two people, mid-range restaurant100.0096.20 (A$90.00)


McMeal at McDonalds12.0012.83 (A$12.00)


Domestic beer, 500ml9.008.55 (A$8.00)


Imported beer, 300ml 9.009.62 (A$9.00)


Cappuccino 4.764.80 (A$4.49)


Coke, 300ml3.363.55 (A$3.32)


Water, 300ml bottle2.87 3.03 (A$2.83)



GroceriesNew ZealandAustralia 
Milk, 1L 2.63 1.75 (A$1.64)


Loaf of fresh white bread2.512.99 (A$2.7)


White rice, 1kg2.972.90 (A$2.71)


Eggs, 125.405.06 (A$4.74)


Local cheese, 1kg10.6711.57 (A$10.82)


Chicken fillets, 1kg12.9611.59 (A$10.84)


Beef round, 1kg 19.8419.45 (A$18.20)


Apples, 1kg3.764.89 (A$4.58)


Bananas, 1kg2.993.61 (A$3.38)


Oranges, 1kg3.913.98 (A$3.73)


Tomato, 1kg3.515.33 (A$4.98)


Potato, 1kg2.943.47 (A$3.24)


Onion, 1kg2.502.80 (A$2.62)


Lettuce 2.872.90 (A$2.7)


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 categoryNew Zealand (Annual)Australia (Annual)
Architect66,36561,556 (A$67,252)
Actuary149,451138,621 (A$101,206)
Audiologist81,93876,000 (A$74,003)
Carpenter58,569 54,325 (A$61,848)
Chemical Engineer65,66760,908 (A$72,558)
Diesel Mechanic*72,41467,167 (A$72,909)
Early Childhood Educator*72,41467,167 (A$50,742)
Electrician68,22163,277 (A$71,399)
General Practitioner*147,277136,605 (A$141,844)
Industrial Engineer 76,59871,047 (A$71,399)
Locksmith62,40057,878 (A$57,168)
Maintenance Planner*80,31174,491 (A$93,551)
Mechanical Engineer* 66,186 61,390 (A$72,764)
Optometrist82,62976,641 (A$86,548)
Psychiatrist*175,062162,376 (A$125,762)
Quantity Surveyor71,61166,422 (A$73,534)
Registered Nurse*60,78056,376 (A$64,782)
Social Worker53,92850,020 (A$67,548)
Software Engineer*71,29166,125 (A$78,577)
Speech Therapist68,82463,837 (A$64,760)
Veterinarian78,84173,128 (A$67,291)
Welder 50,03646,410 (A$58,312)


*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.

In closing

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.

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