Cost of living in New Zealand

Living in New Zealand provides a distinctive experience marked by a well-balanced lifestyle, breathtaking natural sceneries, and excellent quality of life. Despite a significant increase in the cost of living in New Zealand over the past few years, it is still comparatively more affordable than many other English-speaking nations.

According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey, which factors in accommodation expenses, Auckland ranks lower than several other major cities worldwide. Furthermore, living costs in cities outside of Auckland are even cheaper.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2023:

City Rank (higher means more expensive)
New York 6
Shanghai 12
London 17
Dublin 51
Sydney 56
Melbourne 71
Toronto 90
Adelaide 106
Auckland 111
Wellington 139
Mumbai 147

This guide provides insights into the cost of living in various New Zealand cities, focusing on Auckland and also shedding light on other cities.


Accommodation is one of the major expenses in Auckland. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is around NZ$2,133.97 per month, while outside the city centre, it’s approximately NZ$1,944.87. For a larger apartment with three bedrooms, you can expect to pay around NZ$3,954.88 in the city centre and NZ$3,144.70 outside of the centre.

While these prices may seem high, there are ways to manage these costs. Consider living in suburbs that are a bit further from the city centre, or sharing an apartment with roommates.

Homestay is an excellent option for international students and new migrants as it includes accommodation, utilities, and meals, all for a cost of approximately NZ$350 per week.

In contrast, in cities like Christchurch, accommodation expenses are typically lower, with the average rent for a similar apartment being more affordable, reflecting the city’s overall lower cost of living.

Food and Groceries

Grocery prices in New Zealand are generally the same throughout the country, but they can be higher compared to other countries. However, you can reduce your expenses by purchasing in-season produce or visiting local markets. Prices for common items are relatively consistent, but the cost of dining out and specialty foods may vary slightly depending on the city. Here’s a list of average prices for some common items:

tem Price (NZD)
Milk (1 litre) $3.28
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) $1.70
Rice (white), (1kg) $3.48
Eggs (regular) (12) $10.08
Chicken Fillets (1kg) $16.59
Apples (1kg) $4.73

Dining Out

Eating out in Auckland can range from inexpensive to high-end dining. To save money, consider eating out less frequently and preparing meals at home. Here are some average costs:

tem Price (NZD)
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) $15.00
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant $25.00
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course $120.00


Public transport systems are available across major cities, offering a cost-effective alternative to owning a car. The cost and availability of public transport can vary, with Auckland having a more extensive network compared to other cities. Here are some average costs:

tem Price (NZD)
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) $4.00
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) $215.00
Gasoline (1 litre) $2.80


The average monthly cost for basic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for an apartment (85m2) is around NZ$239.20.

Internet (300/100 Mbps, Fibre, Unlimited Data) costs around NZ$50 per month.

Leisure Activities

Leisure activities can also add to the cost of living. However, New Zealand offers many free or low-cost recreational activities, such as hiking, beach visits, and exploring local parks.

Activity/Utility Price Range (NZD)
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $38.76 – $68.00
Tennis Court Rent, 1 Hour on Weekend $10.49
Cinema Ticket, 1 Seat $11.32 – $22.00

These prices provide an overview of various leisure activities and utilities, offering a glimpse into the cost of living and entertainment in New Zealand. Keep in mind that prices may vary based on specific locations and the level of service or amenities provided.

Living in New Zealand can be expensive for many, but with careful planning and budgeting, it’s possible to manage these costs and enjoy the many benefits this beautiful country has to offer. Please note that these are average prices and actual costs may vary. It’s also important to remember that living costs can be influenced by lifestyle choices and personal spending habits.

Living Costs for International Students

If you’re an international student planning to study in New Zealand, you must show proof of financial support. For tertiary, English language or non-compulsory school study, you need to have NZ$20,000 per year or NZ$1,667 per month if your course is less than a year. However, for compulsory education (years 1-13), you need NZ$17,000 per year or NZ$1,417 per month. This roughly translates to NZ$326 – 384 per week, which serves as a helpful reference for the actual cost of living.

Earning an Income for International Students

As a student, you may be eligible to work while you study. During study periods, you can generally work up to 20 hours per week, and you can work full-time during vacations. If you’re studying for a research Master’s or PhD, you’re allowed to work full-time while you study.

The minimum wage in New Zealand is NZ$22.7 per hour as of July 2023, but this is for unskilled work. Some students are able to earn more than this. Keep in mind that your earnings will be subject to taxation, although the rate is relatively low (initially 10.5%). Your employer will deduct this tax from your paycheck using the Pay As You Earn system. To give you an idea, if you work 20 hours a week, you can expect to earn a minimum of NZ$393 net during study periods.

The data used to update the cost of living information was sourced from Numbeo. You can also check out Expatistan for more information.

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