If you’re an adventurous person considering life abroad, living in New Zealand is one of the best places to plan an escapade. From snow-capped mountains to glistening beaches, this island country has the most beautiful and diverse geographical features. Nicknamed the “Adventure Capital of the World,” New Zealand attracts travelers and students from all over the world. Do you want to embark on an exciting journey every day in a multicultural country? Be sure to add New Zealand to your bucket list!

We understand that moving across the world is not an easy decision, nor is planning for it! Fortunately, GrowPro helps students plan and travel to countries all over the world. We’ve sent dozens of students to New Zealand over the past few years who can agree it’s an incredible opportunity you don’t want to miss.<

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about living in New Zealand, as well as provide tips and hacks to ensure you have an incredible experience.

Reasons to Live in New Zealand

people hiking Roys Peak mountain in New Zealand

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, an aspiring traveler, or simply love the idea of studying abroad, New Zealand is a country that caters to multiple lifestyles. Below are some of the best reasons to live in New Zealand:

  1. Outdoor Life: New Zealand has the perfect landscape for various activities. You can go snowboarding, zip-lining, sailing, stargazing, and so much more! There’s always something to do!
  2. Hospitality: New Zealanders are known for being friendly and down-to-earth. As a multicultural society, locals welcome everyone and make you feel right at home. Best of all, you’ll encounter many international restaurants and cafes throughout the country.
  3. Safety: As of 2020, New Zealand ranks #6 on the list of the top 10 safest countries in the world.
  4. Stunning Views: It’s impossible not to fall in love with nature and scenery on the island. New Zealand has a wide variety of geography, including glaciers, beaches, and volcanoes.
  5. Relaxed Lifestyle: Caring for the land is a principle of the indigenous Maori culture. Many cities in New Zealand embrace the idea of having a calm, relaxing environment as opposed to the busy urban life.
  6. Learning English: New Zealand has a reputable education system, with several of its universities ranking in the QS list of Top Universities in the World. Since English is the country’s official language, this can be a great opportunity to study and improve your English proficiency.

Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand dollar and coin

As enticing as living in New Zealand sounds, it’s very important to asset the cost of living beforehand. Before arriving, you should account for initial expenses such as your visa, plane ticket, health insurance, food, transportation, and course fees if you decide to study in New Zealand. After prioritizing these costs, here are additional factors to consider:

Location

The price of rentals depends on the city where you choose to live. Large, metropolitan cities such as Auckland are generally more expensive than other cities in New Zealand. For example, a two-bedroom apartment there may cost NZ$400 per week, while only NZ$200 per week in a smaller town.

Time of Year

Keep in mind that certain costs, such as plane tickets and apartment rentals, fluctuate at different times of the year. In New Zealand, the peak season of tourism is during the summer.

Leisure

New Zealand has a high quality of life, meaning it is more expensive to live in comparison to other countries. Therefore, your lifestyle and how you spend your pastime greatly influence how you spend your money. Are you a frequent traveler? Consider carpooling with friends or classmates to cut costs on gas. If you prefer spending time outdoors, you can partake in free activities, such as surfing and hiking.

Salary

New Zealand may have a higher cost of living, but so are the salaries. As of 2020, its minimum wage is NZ$18.90 per hour. Working a part-time job in New Zealand can greatly help cover paying for necessities as well as leisure.

New Zealand Culture

Rotorua museum in New Zealand

Rotorua Museum of Art, Culture, & Heritage – New Zealand

When arriving in New Zealand, you’ll immediately discover its diversity and multiculturalism. The country’s first inhabitants were those of the indigenous Maori tribes, many of which are still prominent today.

Following the Maori were British, Scottish, and Irish settlers who later made New Zealand their home. Finally, immigrants from other countries also settled in the country, making New Zealand the unique mix of culture you see today.

Life as a New Zealander

As a general rule, New Zealanders embrace a relaxed lifestyle, remembering the importance of rest and a healthy work/life balance. Locals also take pride in the great outdoors, especially the beaches. Since New Zealand has so much coastline, it’s said that nearly 15% of families in New Zealand own a boat!

New Zealand Celebrations

New Zealand celebrates many common holidays, such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. It also has holidays exclusive to its country:

  • Waitangi Day (February 6): Commemoration of the Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement between the British and Maori chiefs. This treaty made New Zealand a country and British colony.
  • Boxing Day (December 26): A holiday that occurs the day after Christmas each year in which, traditionally, people give or donate boxes of food as gifts.

Accommodation in New Zealand

residential neighbhorhood in Wellington, NZ

As a popular travel destination, there are many different accommodation options available in New Zealand. Nevertheless, we recommend that you first stay a few days in temporary housing, such as a hostel or Airbnb. This way, you’ll have more time to learn the area while searching for long term accommodation.

Hostels

Hostels are a cheaper, more convenient option for short stays in New Zealand. They cater to international travelers by providing private or shared bedrooms and common areas to rest, cook, and meet other lodgers.  

Cost

New Zealand hostels can cost approximately $10 per day for shared rooms (dorms) and $35 per day for private rooms.

Advantages

  • Flexibility. You can usually book a day before your stay (unless it’s peak season).
  • It’s a great way to meet new people and network with other travelers.
  • They generally have partnerships with excursion and tourism companies in the area.
  • Hostels are very affordable.

Disadvantages

  • Lack of privacy if staying in a shared room.
  • Not ideal for long term stay.
  • Can be difficult to book during peak seasons.

Shared Accommodation | Flat sharing or Home sharing

Sharing an apartment, or a “flat,” in New Zealand can be the best rental options for international students and travelers staying an extended time. Flats allow you to enjoy living in New Zealand as a local while splitting the costs with a roommate. 

>Cost

The average cost of a flat in New Zealand can range from NZ$100 to NZ$170 per week. Keep in mind certain factors that affect rental costs, such as amenities, number of roommates, and the city in which you live.

Advantages

  • Save money by sharing living expenses.
  • Can improve your English by living with English-speaking roommates
  • Many rentals are available fully furnished.

Disadvantage

  • Upkeep responsibility as a tenant. 
  • They generally require an upfront deposit for the owner to cover property damage.
  • The average minimum stay is typically four weeks.

Student Housing

Student housing, or residency, is an accommodation that universities provide their students. These apartment-style options are usually on or within the proximity of campus and consist of a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and furnished bedroom. 

Cost

A student residence in New Zealand is approximately NZ$200 to NZ$500 per week, depending on the school. 

Advantages

  • Location: the residence is near or on the school campus.
  • Convenience: furnished rooms, generally utilities included, and access to school facilities. 

Disadvantages

  • Costs: full room and board services, including meal plans, can be expensive.
  • Restrictions: Most schools have codes and regulations the students must abide by while staying in school-supported accommodation.

Homestay

If you want to live with a local New Zealand family to experience the lifestyle and culture first-hand, homestay is a great accommodation option. With a homestay, a family hosts you in their home, where you have a bedroom and share common areas of the home with them. Some families may provide you cooked meals, which can help you save on groceries and meal plans with your school. 

Cost

The average cost of accommodation with a New Zealand family is about NZ$250 per week.

Advantages

  • You’ll have the convenience of a home with support from a family (meals, transportation, information).
  • You can improve your English by living with an English-speaking host family. 

Disadvantages

  • The family may have strict household rules. 
  • Home stays can be further away from the school campus. 

Things to Do in New Zealand

person paragliding through Queenstown, NZ

Travelers refer to New Zealand as the “Adventure Capital of the World” for a reason. There is so much to do and explore in this country. From extreme sports to remarkable landmarks, there’s no room for boredom in New Zealand.

Sports and Activities

If you love adventure and sports, look no further! New Zealand has the best landscapes for almost every type of activity you can imagine:

Water Activities

Since New Zealand is an island country, the majority of its cities are seaside. You can enjoy surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, rafting, jet boating, and more!

Land Activities

Excursions are the best way to explore the landscape and encounter unique wildlife throughout New Zealand. Many travelers and locals partake in mountain biking and cycling tours, hiking, camping, and even cave exploration! New Zealand has some of the most remarkable caving systems in the world, with Waitomo Caves of the North Island as its most popular attraction.

Air Activities

How about seeing all of New Zealand from a bird’s eye view? With high cliffs and wide landscapes, many operators around the country provide bungy jumping, paragliding, skydiving, and zip-lining services.

Popular Destinations

Are you a fan of The Lord of the Rings movies? You’ll be happy to know that New Zealand’s impressive mountains and valleys served as the settings for the film! Today, there are dozens of filming locations throughout the country that offer tours of the movie sets. The fun doesn’t stop there. During your excursion, you’ll also discover several of New Zealand’s other hidden gems:

>National Parks & Observatories

Thirteen national parks in New Zealand preserve wildlife, forests, and other natural scenery. Many of these locations have amazing celestial views, making stargazing another popular activity here. Several observatories in New Zealand offer stargazing packages. You may even be able to see the Aurora Australis, or “southern lights,” that appear during clear, winter nights.

Gardens

You can visit New Zealand’s infamous botanic gardens in dozens of cities throughout the island. Many towns and local gardeners host garden tours and international flower shows.

Lakes

There are dozens of lakes in New Zealand, many of which are the result of volcanic eruptions. The tranquil scenery and breathtaking views are the reason why New Zealand’s lakes are the perfect places to fish and relax.

Main Cities

Last but not least, you can’t explore New Zealand without passing through major cities such as Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington, and Christchurch. If you’re considering living in New Zealand long term, check out our article to learn more about the most popular cities in New Zealand.

New Zealand Food

food in a New Zealand restaurant

The Grange restaurant in Auckland, NZ

If you take pleasure in food and trying new dishes, New Zealand has great cuisine options. One of New Zealand’s popular dishes is the Hogget Roast, or oven-roasted sheep meat. This dish comes with a side of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, peas, and mint sauce.

Also, since the country is made up of two islands, New Zealand has access to fresh seafood. Due to its British influence, Fish and Chips is another popular dish in New Zealand.

Last, for the wine-lovers, New Zealand has a reputable wine industry. The country is home to dozens of high-quality wineries and vineyards. The Marlborough Food and Wine Festival is one of New Zealand’s most successful wine events.

To discover more wine and cuisine options to enjoy, visit our article on typical food in New Zealand.

Weather in New Zealand

coastal view of Tauranga, New Zealand

New Zealand’s climate varies greatly, so the weather can be quite unpredictable at times. While the North Island has a subtropical climate, it’s much colder as you travel south, where the South Island can get as low as -10℃ during the winter. Overall, New Zealand has mild temperatures year-round.

Seasons are opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer in New Zealand is from December to February, and winter is from June to August. Averages temperatures during the summer are 20-25℃ (68-77℉) and are 12-16℃ (53-61℉) during the winter.

How GrowPro Experience Can Help You

man sitting in an airport

Now that you’re well-informed about living in New Zealand, it’s time to plan your trip! Our GrowPro Experience team specializes in planning and preparing individuals for life abroad. Whether for a temporary or extended stay, we have dozens of resources to help you get started.

Take advantage of our Complete Guide to Studying, Working, and Living in New Zealand, as well as our list of unforgettable experiences to do during your time there.