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Best Places to Live in New Zealand

17 Jul 2019

Best Places to Live in New Zealand

Both parts of New Zealand (also known as Aotearoa in Maori, translated to the land of the long white cloud) are stunning and full of amazing places to live, exciting career opportunities, high-quality education and countless things to do. It’s no wonder that British expats have flocked there in their thousands. 

If you’re currently thinking about moving to New Zealand, you might be wondering where best to set up a home. Discover the best places to live and find out exactly what makes them so appealing before you make your decision. Let’s take a look at:

  • Auckland - City of Sails
  • Wellington - Capital City
  • Christchurch - Heart of the South Island
  • Queenstown - Home of Adventure
  • Napier - Art Deco Capital
  • Dunedin - Wildlife Capital
  • Tauranga - Largest City in the Bay of Plenty


1. Auckland – The City of Sails

Auckland is the largest and most populated city in New Zealand, and probably where you will first land when you arrive here. It’s an amazing city with activities ranging from kayaking, navigating a volcano or running along black sand beaches, to a strong foodie atmosphere and fun nightlife. There are also some amazing exhibits at the Auckland Museum and the Auckland Art Gallery. Because the city straddles the thin point of the North Island it’s also one of the few places you can walk across an entire country in an afternoon.

Well known for its access to job opportunities and temperate climate, Auckland is a popular choice for expats seeking a city life. There is however a higher cost of living to consider, particularly if you want to live in the city centre, but with such good public transport on offer, you can easily get around from the suburbs. 

If you are relocating a family, or are hoping to have children in the future, you’ll be pleased to know that Auckland boasts one of the best education systems in the world and is home to the prestigious University of Auckland.


Auckland skyline on a clear, bright day

2. Wellington - The Capital City

The other major city on the North Island is Wellington, home to a massive art scene, creative spirit and a booming tech sector. The capital city is small and friendly, with a huge sense of community pride. The people here love the outdoors and sports, and they place great value on local produce and nature. 

The city itself is split into various neighbourhoods, all offering something different for those looking to live there. Families looking for a quiet and safe area often opt for Mount Cook or Brooklyn, whereas young professionals typically favour the vibrant Te Aro. 

For those living in the city, there is plenty to keep you busy such as the national museum - the Te Papa Tongarewa, the Botanic Garden and the Zealandia Reserve. If you have a love for food and eating out then the amount of food and drink establishments in the capital will be music to your ears.


Aerial view of Wellington, New Zealand


3. Christchurch – The Heart of the South Island

Hit by four large earthquakes from September 2010 and December 2011, Christchurch is a mix of old and new, situated on the north of the South Island. The ongoing redevelopment in the city means there is a huge demand for those working in the construction sector. 

There are many safe suburbs scattered amongst the Canterbury plans and into the Port Hills that are popular with those looking for a quiet, slower pace of life. Housing in the inner suburbs is expensive, but popular for those with an established career. With oceans and mountains at its doorstep, Christchurch is a very visually appealing place to live.


Christchurch Botanic Gardens in New Zealand


4. Queenstown – The Home of Adventure

Known as the adventure capital, there are plenty of adrenaline-raising activities year-round in this South Island city, resulting in an economy that is dominated by tourism and hospitality. The thrills on offer range from skiing, bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating, river rafting, the world’s highest cliff jump, and more. For those who like a bit more of a sedate pace, Lake Wakatipu is beautiful to cycle around.

The cost of living in Queenstown is high, with a shortage of housing that results in rapidly increasing prices. However, if you have the finances available to support yourself here and are searching for a destination where people truly follow the ethos of ‘work to live’ and not ‘live to work’, then Queensland could be the ideal place for you. 


Housing set in the hills of Queenstown in New Zealand

5. Napier - The Art Deco Capital of the World

Situated in the wonderful Hawke’s Bay, Napier offers city living for a lower cost than many of its larger counterparts.  Employment opportunities vary, with the Napier Port being one of the biggest employers in the area. 

Following a catastrophic earthquake in 1930, huge efforts to rebuild the city began immediately, which resulted in a large spread of gorgeous art deco architecture filled with Maori artistic touches. The city is also home to large and tasty vineyards, along with the National Aquarium which is world-class.


Aerial view of homes and the coastline of Napier Town


6. Dunedin – The Wildlife Capital of New Zealand

Founded by Scottish immigrants, Dunedin is mainly a university town. It has gorgeous Edwardian and Victorian architecture and has plenty of food, art, nightlife and nearby beaches with plenty of wildlife. It’s a shining hidden jewel for expats looking to relocate.

This charming city rests on the laurels of a welcoming community and friendly locals that are eager to help expats settle quickly. Properties in the area vary in style from large wooden villas to homes with a modern and edgy design, many of which are considered affordable when compared to other destinations in the country. 

When it comes to both employment and education opportunities, Dunedin is often considered one of the best places to live in New Zealand.


Coastal scenery in Dunedin New Zealand


7. Tauranga – The Largest City in the Bay of Plenty

Not well-known outside of New Zealand, this city is situated in the heart of the Bay of Plenty and has become increasingly popular amongst expats. 

The city is culturally and historically rich, with unmatched beauty and offering a great quality of life. Unemployment rates are low and temperatures tend to sit between 7 degrees Celsius and 24 degrees Celsius year-round. 

There are many water adventures to be had in Tauranga, whether fishing, sailing, scuba-diving and more. If you get on a boat, there’s a strong possibility of catching sight of schools of dolphins or whales.


View of Pilot Bay, Tauranga


These are just some of the major cities that you could explore whilst planning your new life in New Zealand. And with so many factors to consider, making a final decision takes thorough research and time. If you are ready for your relocation, get in touch to find out about our bespoke international removals service.