The Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand Cost of Living

New Zealand is an island country with one of the most impressive creations of nature, with stunning scenery and exotic wildlife. However, the cost of living is quite high compared to the rest of the world. Actually, compared to the US, which has a cost of living index of 71.92, New Zealand stands at 79.14.


New Zealand is an island, which means it relies mostly on imported goods, where the import taxes will have to be included in the selling price. When it comes to renting or buying a home, the high price takes into account the fact that homes are sparse and the land is pricey as well. 

New Zealand Houses Above

The most expensive cities to live in are Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch, where the rent is around $1,382.47 for a one-bedroom apartment. These are also the most popular cities to live and work in, because there are many good paying jobs.

Hamilton and Tauranga are the most affordable cities to live in, and they have plenty of jobs available. The rent here goes for about $982.90. If you think about buying a home, expect to pay between $982.90 and $2,494.71/sq ft.

The cost of utilities in both cities are close to each other, around $210 for basic utilities and internet.

Food & Transportation

Tourism is one of the main contributing factors to the New Zealand’s economy. The prices for dining out, groceries, and necessities are influenced by how much tourists are wiling to pay for them, so they tend to stay pretty high up there. A meal for one person can go from $13 at an inexpensive restaurant to $50/person at a mid-range restaurant. Groceries and household items that include all the necessities cost around $470/month.

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New Zealand Aukland Transport

Expect to pay around $100 for gas or other forms of transportation. A one way ticket for public transportation costs $2.83 in Auckland and $1.74 in Hamilton, quite a significant difference. Monthly bus passes are $166 in Auckland and $76 in Hamilton. If you prefer a cab, taxis require around $3/mile. 


One great thing that New Zealand offers is universal healthcare and free public schools. The healthcare system covers a wide array of medical services except dental, but private clinics are not part of it. Private schools can cost up to $12.000/ year, but public schools are free except uniforms, books, and meals. 

Fitness lovers will have to take $50/month out of their pockets for a gym pass. 

Overall, the minimum wage in New Zealand is $20/hour, with an average of $25/hour. From the total monthly income, about half of it will go towards rent or mortgage and groceries with the rest being distributed as it follows:

  • Groceries: 32%
  • Housing: 28.8%
  • Dining out: 14.3%
  • Transportation: 11.9%
  • Utilities: 6%
  • Sports & Leisure: 4.5%
  • Clothing: 2.6%

The total cost for one person is between $1,800 to $2,400 depending on the city.

New Zealand is a wonderful country to live in. If you’re thinking about moving, it’s best to do an in depth comparison between it and your current country of residence. 

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