Moving to New Zealand

Whakatau! You’re giving serious consideration to choosing New Zealand as your next home – a life-changing move which will catapult you 11,000 miles across the globe into the Antipodean adventure of a lifetime.

Whether you’re moving to New Zealand alone or moving to New Zealand with a family, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know, from the best schools and neighbourhoods to what you can expect from house prices and the climate.

Friendly folk, beautiful beaches, and amazing animals await you in this island paradise – and what’s more, we can offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. Fill in this form, and see how much moving to New Zealand would cost.

a photo of new zealand

This kind of natural wonder is what you can expect in New Zealand

Cost of shipping to New Zealand

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates and durations for some of our most popular journeys from the UK to 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.) These prices were last updated in December 2019.

The durations are sourced from SeaRates.com, and were also last updated in December 2019.

RouteCostDuration
London to Auckland

1,100 ()

36.3 days
London to Christchurch

1,122 ()

36.9 days
London to Wellington

1,122 ()

36.5 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.

Cost of flying from the UK to New Zealand

If you want to move your precious possessions by air instead, you should know that air freight can be 12-16 times more expensive than sea freight, according to the World Bank.

Sometimes, though, speed is more important than expense. If you’re in one of those situations, here are the costs of moving your belongings to New Zealand by air freight.

The prices below are based on the transportation of household goods worth £40,000, weighing 250kg, and measuring 110cm x 110cm x 123cm. Your costs may vary.

RouteCostDuration
London to Auckland

1,918 ()

1 day
London to Christchurch

1,918 ()

1 day
London to Wellington

1,918 ()

1 day

Cost of living

Once you’ve decided how best to move your favourite belongings to your new home, you’ll want to know how much daily life will set you back in Aotearoa (“Land of the Long White Cloud”). After all, there’s no point in working a high-paying job if there’s no money left to have fun.

The good news is that while New Zealand isn’t the cut-price utopia of your dreams, it’s generally a little cheaper than the UK.

While the UK has five cities in the top 160 of Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, New Zealand only has two: Auckland and Wellington.

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 comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of December 2019.)

VAT

VAT (value-added tax) stands at 20% in the UK – so if you enjoy paying lower rates, you’ll be happy to hear that New Zealand’s Goods and Services Tax has stood at 15% since 2010.

This is significantly lower than the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 19.3%.

Public transport

There’s no two ways about it: in order to travel around New Zealand, you’ll need a car. Even New Zealand’s government website admits: “You will almost certainly need a vehicle here – probably sooner rather than later.”

The government says it’s “impractical to provide the extensive public transport systems you find in more built-up and crowded cities.”

But if you ask Kiwis, as The Guardian did in November 2019, they’ll tell you that public transport is one of the main problems facing the country. 

Rural communities feel underserved, and there’s no underground rail system – though a $4.4 billion (£2.2 billion) network is due to open in Auckland by 2024.

If you do choose to drive, at least you’ll feel at home – New Zealanders drive on the left, too.

MetricNew ZealandUK
Cost★★★★★½
Availability★★★★★★
Quality★★½★★★★
Speed★★★★★★★

Driving in New Zealand: how does it compare?

MetricNew ZealandUK
Cost of a new Toyota Corolla

15,010 ()

19,052 ()

Cost of a litre of petrol

1.09 ()

1.27 ()

Cost of bills in New Zealand

Bill (monthly)New ZealandUK
Gas and electricity

92.22 ()

89.65 ()

Water

52.74 ()

30.39 ()

Internet

41.69 ()

15.95 ()

Income tax for average wage (including federal taxes)16.57%20%

Climate

Does it snow in New Zealand?

It absolutely does. Some mountains in New Zealand are snowy all year round, but the best time to enjoy some fluffy flakes is 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.

Average temperature per month in New Zealand (2018)

MonthTemperature (°C)
January
20
February20
March19
April17
May14
June12
July11
August12
September13
October15
November16
December18

Average rainfall per month in New Zealand (2018)

MonthRainfall (mm)
January30
February30
March40
April40
May50
June50
July60
August50
September40
October40
November40
December30

Housing costs in New Zealand

The average cost of buying a home in the real-life version of Middle Earth is £274,000 – but this figure rises to £429,000 if you want to live in a big city.

If you can’t wait to join stars like Lorde, Taika Waititi, and Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless in living in New Zealand, complete this form to receive free shipping quotes.

Cost

AucklandChristchurchWellington
Renting 1 bedroom (per month)

860 ()

657 ()

813 ()

Renting 3 bedrooms
(per month)

1,522 ()

989 ()

1,383 ()

Buying (per square foot)

4,706 ()

2,152 ()

2,690 ()

(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of December 2019.)

Average house price in New Zealand: £274,000

Average apartment price in New Zealand: £171,820

Cheapest place to buy a house in New Zealand: West Coast, South Island (average price: £109,000)

The best neighbourhoods in New Zealand

New Zealand is comprised of around 600 islands, which leaves you with an incredible amount of choice over where to live.

You’ll also have plenty of space. Indeed, the Oceanic country is 26,000km² bigger than the UK, with just 4.8 million people – the equivalent of 7% of the UK’s population.

So let’s take a look at the best and brightest destinations to put down roots when you’re living in New Zealand.

Best for families: Takapuna, Auckland

Look, everywhere in New Zealand looks and feels like a blissful idyll. Throw a stone, and you’ll hit a nirvana of nature and nice people (so please don’t).

Despite this ubiquitous loveliness, Takapuna stands out. The Auckland suburb of a few thousand people is blessed with white-sand beaches, a £500,000 playground, and proximity to most of the top schools in the country.

You can find six of New Zealand’s eight best schools within a half-hour drive, and most are a mere 15 minutes away – proving that despite its tranquil nature, Takapuna is not in the wops (middle of nowhere).

Best for students: Hamilton, Waikato

This North Island hotspot is perfect for students who want to enjoy some world class New Zealand nightlife, appreciate nature, and study in a nurturing environment.

The University of Waikato is ranked 266th in the world – which places it in the top 1% of all universities – and its motto, “For the people”, sums up its accepting ethos.

The city is also home to a wide array of mouth-watering bars and restaurants, the Soundscape street party, and sports from professional rugby to international cricket.

Make sure to also check out the Hamilton Gardens, a 540,000m² park next to Waikato River. It used to be the city’s waste disposal site; now it attracts a million visitors every year.

Best for singles: Dunedin, Otago

Finally, a long-overdue shout-out for the South Island. Dunedin is home to the University of Otago, countless hiking and cycling routes, and more albatross, sea lions, and adorable penguins than you can cuddle.

These are great ideas for all the dates you should be able to get, as Dunedin has the highest proportion of single people in New Zealand, according to Stuff.

More than 82% of the people who live in the area around the university and North Dunedin are single, giving you every chance of finding your soulmate.

Best for hipsters: Ponsonby, Auckland

In Ponsonby, you can find some of the country’s best cafes, art galleries, independent bookshops, craft breweries, chic boutiques, and nightclubs.

Just take a walk down Ponsonby Road, and you’ll see what we mean. The flair spills out from every pore of this small city.

Choose from the fancy taco trucks which line the street, grab a chilli and ginger mojito at Mekong Baby, and tuck into a deep-fried fish wrap at Saan or award-winning pizza at Dante’s. Yum.

Working in New Zealand

If you’re moving to New Zealand for work, you’re making a bloody good choice. This is the second-best country in the world for work-life balance, according to HSBC’s 2019 Expat Explorer Survey – 23 places ahead of the UK.

The nation also boasts impressive levels of economic stability, plus an extremely low 4.2% unemployment rate, and came third in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom.

CityAverage annual salary
Auckland£32,400
Christchurch£30,900
Hamilton£30,400
Wellington£29,700

(All information comes from PayScale.com, and is correct as of December 2019.)

Work visas

Of course, before you put your nose to the grindstone in your new role, you’ll need to get a New Zealand visa.

Consider getting a Work to Residence visa, which allows you to apply for a resident visa once you’ve stayed in your New Zealand-based job for 24 months. There are two types.

You can apply for an Accredited Employer visa if you’ve been offered a long-term or permanent job by one of the 1,400 approved employers.

To qualify, you must earn at least $79,560 (£39,500) per year, before tax, and be 55 or younger. It enables you to stay for 30 months – plus your family can apply for visas.

A Long Term Skill Shortage visa applies to anyone who’s been hired to work in a position which is severely understaffed in New Zealand. Check the Long Term Skill Shortage List to see if you qualify.

If you do, the requirements and process is much the same as the Accredited Employer visa, right down to the $635 application cost.

But if permanent residence isn’t for you, you can stay in New Zealand for 12-23 months with a United Kingdom Working Holiday Visa.

You need to be 18-30 years old, prove you have $350 (£174) per month, and have enough to pay for a ticket out of the country.

You don’t need a job offer to apply – but you can’t work anywhere for more than 12 months, can’t accept a permanent job, and can’t bring any family with you.

Jobs in New Zealand for students

If you’re moving to New Zealand for university and you want to make some cash on the side – you can!

Studying for an undergraduate degree? You can work part-time for 20 hours per week during term time, and full-time during your holidays.

Masters or PhD student? If you have any free time, you can get a job. There are no restrictions on your hours.

Expat healthcare

You can access New Zealand’s free or heavily subsidised universal healthcare if you’re a resident, or if you have a visa allowing you to work in the country for two years.

Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for your medical care – unless you’re in an accident, which is covered by the government.

UK citizens are also able to get treatment for an acute condition, and you can also visit a GP – but you’ll have to pay.

Do you need private insurance?

If you’re not covered by a two-year work visa after moving to New Zealand, you should take out health insurance.

You’ll be covered for many eventualities, but both Britain and New Zealand’s governments recommend people still buy a policy.

Can you use the state healthcare services?

You can – but if you don’t have a permanent or two-year work visa, you may have to pay for it, depending on the treatment.

If it’s an emergency, you’ll be covered. Otherwise, you’ll need health insurance.

Schools in New Zealand

If you’re sending your kids to school in New Zealand, you can rest easy. Students in the country scored higher than the OECD average in all areas in the latest results, released in 2019.

Your children shouldn’t feel out of place – not only is English the main language, but England is the second most-common birthplace.

Speaking of the UK, students in New Zealand perform better at science and reading than their British counterparts.

Best public school: Macleans College

This co-ed school in Auckland is the best of the best – and it’s perfect for the child of an expat who’s moving to New Zealand.

Macleans has 300 international students from 20 different countries, and emphasises the importance of working “in an international environment.”

The institution, which opened in 1980 and teaches 2,500 students, also backs onto Macleans Park – a stunning 360,000m² of greenery and sea views – as well as the beach.

Best private school: St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland

This girls’ school has 1,300 students, and is the best in the country for getting kids into top-ranked universities, according to a survey from Crimson Education and QS World University Rankings.

It’s also won Metro Magazine’s Highest-Ranked Auckland Secondary School for Academic Achievement every year from 2013 to 2018.

The school’s official motto is “By Love, Serve”, but in recent years the saying “Making Girls Amazing” has been embraced more tightly.

Current principal Justine Mahon explains that this phrase “reflects the education we offer at St Cuthbert’s, and is our commitment to each girl – and to her parents.”

Conclusion

Moving to New Zealand opens up countless exciting possibilities. This gorgeous, English-speaking country is the perfect place to work, study, and go on adventures.

It’s also a wonderful place for kids. Imagine raising your children in a land with economic stability, where beaches and parks are always close by, and which is the second-most peaceful nation on Earth, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index.

So rattle ya dags (hurry up) and kick-start your life in this glorious nation by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists.