Moving to New Zealand from Australia

So you’re making the great Antipodean shift, traversing the Trans-Tasman crossing, trading Wallabies for All Blacks. Well done!

Knowingly or not, you’re following this Māori proverb: “Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei” (seek the treasure you value most dearly – if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain).

Whether you’re moving to New Zealand alone, or moving to New Zealand with your family, we’ve got you covered right through from healthcare to where you should live.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in the form above, you can see how much moving your life to New Zealand would cost.

a view of Mount cook from the Hooker Valley, New Zealand

New Zealand is filled with stunning landscapes like this one

infographic about new zealand

Cost of shipping to New Zealand from Australia 

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major Australian cities to popular destinations in New Zealand.

The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance).

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in June 2020.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to New Zealand will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
Sydney to Auckland

468 ()

4.25 days
Melbourne to Christchurch

459 ()

4.5 days
Fremantle to Wellington

514 ()

9.8 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to New Zealand from Australia

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth £40,000 from Australia to Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington in New Zealand.

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

While air freight is undoubtedly quicker than other methods, it’s also 12-16 times more expensive than shipping your possessions, according to The World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you AUD$3,000.

RouteCostDuration
Sydney to Auckland

3,523 ()

3 hours
Melbourne to Christchurch

3,523 ()

1.2 days
Perth to Wellington

3,523 ()

5.2 days
sunset on Wharariki beach, as a woman rides a horse

How is this gorgeous place real? We don’t know either

Healthcare in New Zealand

As an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you’re entitled to various healthcare services in New Zealand.

If you can show you intend to stay in the country for at least two years, you’ll be given access to New Zealand’s public health system.

This will provide you with most of the services you’ll need, either for free or for a heavily subsidised rate. Just make sure to sign up with a primary health organisation (PHO) when you arrive.

If you’re staying for less than two years, you’ll be allowed to access the following subsidised services:

  • Immediate, necessary hospital treatment
  • Maternity services
  • Pharmaceuticals

Everything else, including visits with your primary physician, will cost you the full amount.

For more information, visit our comprehensive article on New Zealand’s healthcare system.

And before your big move, it’s wise to consider whether you’ll need medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in New Zealand. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for greater flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in New Zealand

MetricNew ZealandUK
Milk, bread, rice, eggs and cheese for a week£11.14£10.08
Inexpensive restaurant meal£8.97£12
Bottle of beer£2.25£1.63
Cinema ticket
£7.97£10
Monthly gym membership£28.11£28.99

(Data sourced from Numbeo)

Transferring money to New Zealand from Australia

Speaking of living costs, if you’re thinking of moving to New Zealand, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into New Zealand dollars.

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate. 

That’s why we’ve teamed up with TransferWise, an online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees. How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks. 

Join more than 7 million people and start using TransferWise today.

Working in New Zealand

Anyone moving to New Zealand for work should be stoked. This is the second-best country in the world for work-life balance, according to HSBC’s 2019 Expat Explorer Survey – three places above Australia.

The nation also boasts impressive levels of economic stability, coming third in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, and has an extremely low unemployment rate of 4.2%, as of March 2020 – despite the global pandemic.

In contrast, Australia’s unemployment rate was 7.1% in May 2020.

Getting a work visa for New Zealand

Are you an Australian citizen or permanent resident? You don’t need to apply for a visa to live and work in New Zealand – just apply for a visa when you arrive.

Staying in Australia on a temporary visa? If you’ve been offered a role performing a skilled job in New Zealand, your new employer should be able to sponsor your temporary work visa application.

And if you intend to make New Zealand your permanent home – and you’re under 55 years old, with a spare $635 (AUD$595) – consider applying for the Work to Residence Visa.

For more in-depth information, read our page about living and working in New Zealand as an Australian.

Average salary in New Zealand

The average annual New Zealand salary is $52,832 (AUD$49,475), according to the government.

And according to the same New Zealand government department, the average annual household income is $102,613 (AUD$96,093).

Income tax in New Zealand

New Zealand has a progressive income tax rate, just like Australia.

You don’t have to worry about paying income tax yourself, as your employer will deduct it from your wages before they pay you, and send it to the Inland Revenue for you.

The rates below mean someone with the average annual salary of $52,832 would have to hand over $8,869.13 in income tax payments – or 16.8% of their earnings.

This is because the first NZ$14,000 that employees receive is taxed at 10.5%, the next NZ$33,999 is taxed at 17.5%, and the remaining NZ$4,831 is taxed at 30%.

Annual salary (NZ$)Income tax rate
Up to 14,00010.5%
14,001 – 48,00017.5%
48,001 – 70,00030%
70,001+33%

Job-hunting in New Zealand

Check out Seek and Trade Me’s jobs section first, as they’re the most prominent job sites – unless you’re classified as a skilled worker, in which case you should go straight to New Kiwis.

This government-funded service helps to match expats like you with employers who want to hire New Zealand’s new talent.

The government has also set out a list of helpful suggestions for where to look for jobs after you arrive.

Climate in New Zealand

The climate varies wildly across New Zealand, from subtropical areas in the north to the South Island’s freezing, snow-covered mountains, and semi-arid Central Otago.

Expect more sudden weather changes than you’re used to, but generally, most regions enjoy cool summers and relatively cool winters. 

That means you’ll finally be free of Australia’s sweltering summers.

The average temperature in New Zealand for January 2020 was 17.2°C, according to the NIWA research institute – compare that to Australia, where the thermometer will often soar past 30°C.

Does it snow in New Zealand?

It sure does. We wouldn’t want to insert ourselves into the ongoing argument over which country has the best snow, but it’s definitely available in both nations.

Some mountains in New Zealand are snowy all year round, but the best time to enjoy some fluffy, frozen flakes is (of course) during winter, from June to August.

You can experience snowfall regularly during this period, as long as you’re on the South Island, and especially if you’re staying near the Southern Alps.

The best places to live in New Zealand

New Zealand may only be 3.5% the size of Australia, but there are still more than enough stunning, fascinating places to call home.

Let’s dive into the specifics, so you can make the best choice for you.

Auckland: best for families

Six of New Zealand’s top eight schools are in Auckland, along with the University of Auckland, which was ranked the country’s best by The Times’ World University Rankings 2019.

Don’t worry, though New Zealand’s most populated city will also nourish your family’s appetite for adventure. 

Take your kids to a beautiful beach, go see more than 1,500 sea creatures at Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, or spend the day at Auckland Domain (Pukekawa), the city’s oldest park.

The gorgeous 185-acre area was formed 140,000 years ago, when the now-extinct volcano at its centre exploded. The crater now hosts events like Carols in the Park.

Wellington: best for singles

Wellington came second in the 2019 Deutsche Bank Liveability Survey, which measured quality of life in cities across the world – and no wonder.

There’s no better place in the country to explore by yourself or with a date.

Visit historic boutique cinemas, see a match or concert at the Cake Tin waterfront stadium, and absorb 560 acres of stunning, rare wildlife at the Zealandia ecosanctuary.

Just watch out for the wind, the winters, and the way everyone knows each other.

Blenheim: best for retirees

And finally, a long-overdue shout-out for the South Island.

Relax into Blenheim, the charming centre of Marlborough’s wine country, and one of the best places in the world to retire. The two facts may be connected.

As well as its passion for viticulture, Blenheim can also boast the highly-rated Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, the historic Marlborough Farmers market, and a well-earned reputation for good weather.

The area is surrounded by mountains to keep all of that lovely summer heat in – which pairs well with Blenheim’s 2,438 hours of sunshine per year.

7 Quick Facts about New Zealand 

  • Kiwis have a habit of giving cooking names to their natural wonders. Consider, for example, Pancake Rocks, Champagne Pool, and Frying Pan Lake
  • New Zealand has had as many female leaders (three) as Australia, the UK, and the US combined
  • The longest place name in the world is a hill on the North Island of New Zealand, called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
  • New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote, in 1893
  • Schools and universities may possess “one pound each of uranium and of thorium” – but if they create a nuclear explosion, they can be fined $1,000,000
  • Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the world’s steepest residential street, at 35 degrees
  • In 1990, Prime Minister Mike Moore appointed Ian Brackenbury Channell the first official Wizard of New Zealand

Next steps

You’re now ready to swap one island paradise for another, and start a new chapter of your life in beautiful New Zealand.

You can take this next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted experts who can move your belongings to your new home.