Cost of Living in New Zealand

April 23 , 2021 by: Amanda Goh

New Zealand has been ranked one of the best countries to live in consistently for years. This country is known for its beauty and the infamous filming destination for Lord of the Rings.

However, the cost of living in New Zealand is ranked high. On average, a family of 4 can spend up to 8,000 NZD ($4,800 USD) a month here. One of the reasons as to why New Zealand has such a high cost of living is due to them being a remote island country. This means that most goods in New Zealand are imported, resulting in their high prices.

The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Some current exchange rates are:

Some of the biggest cities in New Zealand such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are popular expat destinations. At the same time, they are also some of the most expensive cities in the country. If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand on a budget, you can choose to reside in cheaper parts of the country such as Dunedin and Hamilton, if possible.

If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand, you should consider some of the costs that you will need to fork out each month. Read on to find out more about the cost of living in New Zealand.

Depending on where you will reside in New Zealand, some cities may be harder to live on a budget than others. As Auckland is New Zealand’s most expensive city, it may be hard to save money when staying here. This is as food, housing and utilities can add up.

If you want to live on a budget in New Zealand, you can consider residing in Hamilton. A couple hours away from Auckland, Hamilton has more affordable prices and is not as populated.

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Rent costs depend on where in New Zealand you decide to reside in. on average, the minimum rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre can be 850 NZD a month. On average, you can expect to pay around 1,500 NZD for a one-bedroom apartment near the city centre.

Depending on where you live, utility prices will vary. On average, you can expect to pay around 150 NZD on utilities a month.


New Zealand does not have an extensive transport system, and prices vary depending on which region you reside in. While trains can connect cities together, it is not an extensive or well-functioning system. A train ticket between cities can cost around 160 NZD. Of course, this depends on where you are travelling to.

Fortunately, buses in New Zealand are more reliable, however still as pricey. A bus fare in New Zealand starts at 10 NZD, differing on location and distance.

Bigger cities such as Auckland and Queenstown have public transportation systems that are more updated that other cities.

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As mentioned, New Zealand imports most of their goods and product. Thus, groceries are relatively high as compared to other countries. Here are some average grocery prices in New Zealand:

If you are not one to cook, eating out can be affordable, depending on which restaurants you dine in. For an average restaurant, you can expect to pay around 60 NZD for two people.

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In New Zealand, healthcare is state-subsidized. Each resident, whether you are local or an expat, is entitled to public healthcare. This healthcare subsidisation covers everything, except dental care.

You are still encouraged to purchase private health insurance in case of any emergency. This is as healthcare costs, while subsidised, can still add up — especially if you opt for private healthcare.


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