Moving to New Zealand or doing a working holiday?
You’re probably going to want to find somewhere affordable to live and work during your time
in New Zealand. With that in mind, we’ve classed 10 of New Zealand’s largest cities
by cost of living so you know what you are in for!
Hi guys, we’re Robin and Laura, the team behind BackpackerGuide.NZ, helping you
plan an epic trip in New Zealand! In today’s video, we’re going to go through
the top 10 cheapest cities in New Zealand to live in as well as the most expensive that
you need to be aware of. New Zealand has 15 official cities, which are, in order of population:
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier and Hastings, Dunedin, Palmerston
North, Nelson, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Whangarei, Invercargill, Wanganui and Gisborne.
The rest of the dots on your map are towns, townships, settlements, villages… or whatever
you want to call them. Because many of you on a working holiday in New Zealand decide
to settle in a city during your gap year and there’s a lot of you even looking to move
to New Zealand, we thought it would be a good idea to class the 10 biggest cities of New
Zealand by cost of living so you know what you are in for when budgeting for that awesome
road trip. We have also added Queenstown and Auckland to this list, which are not cheap
cities, but we know most of you have them on your travel itinerary.
But before we get this list underway, just a heads up that we publish videos about New
Zealand every single day so if you have any interest in heading to New Zealand you need
to hit the subscribe button below! And give us a cheeky like while you’re at it.
And with that, let’s get on with this list of cheapest cities in New Zealand!
Number 1. Rotorua! With cheap rent, entertainment and food, Rotorua
easily tops this list. Roto-Vegas, as it is known by locals, provides endless opportunities
for adrenaline junkies and nature-lovers alike without the price tags of the big cities.
Most famously, Rotorua, which is on the North Island, is known for its Maori tourism and
geothermal parks. There are also heaps of job opportunities
in the greater Rotorua area, encompassing hospitality, tourism, agriculture and more,
making it the top choice for a lengthier stop for savvy working holidaymakers.
You can easily find rooms to rent for around NZ$135 per week. And by the way, for more
living costs to expect in New Zealand, check out our video on How Expensive is New Zealand.
Number 2. Napier and Hastings. Ok, so that’s two cities but as they are
only 20-minutes drive apart, Napier and Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island
are often coupled together.>Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s high-end
wine country, but it is surprisingly cheap to live in. All cost of life indicators are
pointing down, making Napier and Hastings a serious contender for a cheap lifestyle.
You can find rent for around NZ$140 in a house share. Plus, there are many backpacker hostels
offering long-term accommodation due to the huge amount of seasonal work in fruit orchards
and vineyards in the area. Number 3. Whangarei.
Located 2 hours drive north of Auckland, Whangarei is the perfect spot to settle in for anyone
with a car. It is the gateway to the stunning Bay of Islands and offers the proximity to
Auckland without the cost of its expensive lifestyle. Although the amount of rooms to
rent is pretty low in comparison to other cities on this list, the prices of the ones
available are around NZ$150 per week. Food and produce are on the cheap as well thanks
to the regular surplus from the greater Auckland discounters.
For more information on getting a car, see our Ultimate Guide to Travelling by Car in
New Zealand video! Number 4. Palmerston North.
Palmerston North in Manawatu is probably the most underrated region on New Zealand’s
North Island. The region has a lot to offer with mountains and rivers to explore. Just
take a look at some of the hikes, horse trekking and kite landboarding we’ve done while in
Palmerston North as part of our New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year web series where we’re
tackling 365 activities in 365 days! We’ll link up to all the relevant playlists to all
the cities mentioned in this list in the description below!
Palmerston North has cheap accommodation from hostels to flats and everything in between.
The activities in the area are also decently priced, far from those expensive activities
you’re likely to find in Queenstown. Number 5. Hamilton.
Hamilton is located only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from bustling Auckland, yet it benefits
from a cost of life almost 40% lower than Auckland City. In the city, there are plenty
of retail jobs and farming jobs in the dairy industry. Hamilton is also a fantastic hub
for trips to Raglan, the surf mecca of New Zealand, Hobbiton in Matamata, the Waitomo
Caves, and countless others! Number 6. Tauranga.
Fruit picking, fishing, factory work, retail… there are working holiday jobs available all
year round in Tauranga. Plus, the small suburb of Mt Maunganui is a tourist hotspot where
plenty of hospitality and retail jobs makes Tauranga a Backpacker-favourite to settle
in for a little while. While the cost of life is creeping up a little
bit on this list, for instance, a room to rent would be around NZ$150-$160 per week,
there are plenty of working hostels providing a cheaper living alternative while doing temporary
work to save up for the next leg of your trip. By the way, you can get more information about
planning a working holiday in New Zealand in our video linked up in the description
below. Number 7. Christchurch
It’s our first South Island city on our list but that’s mainly because there are
less cities on the South Island. Christchurch is the South Island’s biggest city. So if
you need your big city lifestyle at a cheaper price, Christchurch is for you with its lower
rent and overall cost of life compared to Wellington and Auckland.
The city has plenty of jobs to offer from construction jobs to retail to hospitality.
For nature-lovers with a car, the Banks Peninsula and Arthurs Pass are only a short drive away
and never fail to impress. For an even lower cost of life, consider living in Christchurch’s
outer suburbs. Number 8. New Plymouth.
New Zealand’s hipster city comes at hipster prices, because yes, we are coming to the
slightly more expensive cities on our list. However, while New Plymouth is the fourth
most expensive city to live in in New Zealand, it is still much cheaper than life in most
European and North American Nevertheless, the art scene, surf waves and
proximity to the majestic Mt Taranaki more than makes up for it. It is common to find
people staying there much longer than they planned to, whether it’s for the nightlife,
the surf, the vibe or simply because it is far off the main tourist highways.
Number 9. Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city is unsurprisingly
one of the most expensive cities in the country. It is a popular administration and retail
job hub for temps and seasonal workers. Coming ninth on this list due to its high rent and
overall cost of life, we highly recommend you to look into outer suburbs if settling
in Wellington. The train and bus network is great and affordable, offering proximity to
even the furthest suburbs. Number 10. Queenstown
Although it is not a city, Queenstown is on most working holidaymakers’ minds when it
comes to places to work in, so that’s why we thought we’d give it a mention. If settling
in the town for a few months, you will want to consider its outer suburbs, as the commute
is worth saving hundreds on rent. Just to give you an idea, the average weekly rent
in Queenstown central is between NZ$200-$300, while outer suburbs are around NZ$170 per
week. Cheaper rent does exist if you’re willing
to get creative. I.e. live in a garage in a house share with 17 other people, like Laura
did. True story. Food prices have also soared in the last few
years reflecting the popularity of the town. But oh well, the magnificent Lake Wakatipu,
incredible snow resorts, and nightlife scene are worth the extra dollars for the gap year
of a lifetime in the Adventure Capital of the World, right?!
And Bonus Number 11. Auckland. We could not finish our list without mentioning
New Zealand’s biggest city which is also New Zealand’s most expensive city. Topping
the list of the most expensive city in the country with sky-high prices and overall cost
of life, Auckland is by far the least likely place to save money. Jobs are plentiful but
so are keen workers. As a result, the competition is pretty fierce when trying to find a job
in Auckland. Wages are also slightly lower due to the uneven
ratio of workers versus jobs. Plus, with high rent, high food prices, and high entertainment
prices, your savings will melt like ice-cream on a hot day. On the other hand, there is
always something happening in Auckland and the city is often at the top of any of the
“most livable cities in the world” lists. So that’s it for our list of cheapest cities
in New Zealand to live in and a few expensive ones that’s good to know about. We hope
it’s given you a better idea of where to settle while saving up for more awesome travel
adventures around New Zealand. But if you have any questions, stick them in the comments
and we’ll be sure to answer them for you! Speaking of awesome travel adventures, if
you want more inspiration and practical advice to make the most of your travels in New Zealand,
then hit the subscribe button below! Until next time, travel awesome!