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Costs of Living in New Zealand

The New Zealand cost of living is relatively low, in comparison to other countries around the world. In general, living in New Zealand is cheaper compared to other countries such as Great Britain or France, although here too there are very strong regional differences.

At the end of the day, the essential question is whether you can finance  your study abroad and life in New Zealand. The cost of living, such as rent, food, etc., differ from country to country. In addition to all the bureaucracy (for example the via application) that has to be done, it is also advisable to make a rough calculation of how much money you have on average per month and, above all, how much of it you need! Ultimately, your own standard of living, which you are used to, and thus also your personal consumer behavior, play an important role in the amount of your own living costs.

While there is no way to determine exactly how much you will need to live in New Zealand, the following provides a rough guide. Unless otherwise stated, all currency is in New Zealand dollars.

Cost of Living in New Zealand


Sometimes you are looking for the things that you are used to at home, but cannot be found in every shop around the corner. Whole grain bread is definitely one of them! Otherwise you can find everything you need in everyday life - from matches to cat food, you can find everything in a supermarket. Unless you're looking for a strong liquor, you have to go to a liquor store.

Here an indication of the costs of basic groceries in New Zealand according to Numbeo

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) 2.65 NZ$
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 2.46 NZ$
  • Rice (white), (1kg) 2.96 NZ$
  • Eggs (regular) (12) 5.29 NZ$
  • Local Cheese (1kg) 10.42 NZ$
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) 13.01 NZ$
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 19.01 NZ$
  • Apples (1kg) 3.73 NZ$
  • Banana (1kg) 3.03 NZ$
  • Oranges (1kg) 3.82 NZ$
  • Tomato (1kg) 5.24 NZ$
  • Potato (1kg) 3.09 NZ$
  • Onion (1kg) 2.60 NZ$
  • Lettuce (1 head) 2.81 NZ$
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1.81 NZ$
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 15.00 NZ$
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 4.59 NZ$
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 5.13 NZ$
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)



New Zealand Cost of Living

Accommodation expenses can differ dramatically, depending on the type of accommodation you have chosen. While different universities and halls of residence charge different amounts, on campus accommodation is typically between $8000 and $10 000 for the academic year. Rent can also differ dependent on the area. The average rent for an unfurnished, three bedroom home is lowest in Invercargill, at $225 per week, while Auckland Central is the most expensive, at $600 per week.

Auckland, New Zealand's largest city with 1.2 million inhabitants, is without question the city with the highest rental costs in the country. Living here is almost as expensive as in the major European cities. The prices vary, of course, depending on the size of the apartment, residential area, equipment and whether a car park is available. You have to note that it is relatively easy to get unfurnished apartments, even in the city center, if you are willing to pay the higher price. Furnished apartments are relatively rare and the price is correspondingly higher - around a third. The reason is probably to be found in the fact that furniture is very expensive almost everywhere in New Zealand.

A 3-4 room apartment (unfurnished) in Auckland costs around 525 NZ $ per week, if it is not in a central location. You can split the costs well if you come together in shared apartments. In Wellington in the south of the North Island, the rental costs are around 20% lower than in Auckland, in Christchurch around 30-40% less. In the country or in small towns, you can do even less, but this is usually not relevant for students.

However, you can only start looking for an apartment when you are already in New Zealand, so that you can first take advantage of the so-called Temporary Accommodation Option of the respective university until you have found your own apartment. Brokers, the accommodation service of the university, notices on the bulletin board of universities or even internet cafés can help. So at the beginning you may still have the opportunity to get to know other students and maybe find each other on site in shared apartments.


Here, too, it is like in Europe when you are looking for the right clothing. There is a similar system of sales and often offers like “3 pieces for 30 dollars”. On the whole, however, the prices can be compared with those in Europe. Logically, you have more choices in the big city than in the country.

Here an indication of the costs of clothing and shoes in New Zealand according to Numbeo

  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 110.33 NZ$
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 56.27 NZ$
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) 144.78 NZ$
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 172.12 NZ$



You don't wish for it, but everyone can get sick at some point. A doctor visit fee of approximately $ 50 (may vary by specialty) must be paid before a diagnosis is made. With a foreign health insurance, which every international student or tourist should take out beforehand, you get the cost of the treatment back minus the deductible, which you can find out from your health insurance company. First, however, you have to pay in advance and submit all receipts later. So keep everything safe!


New Zealand Cost of Living

Public Transport

Public transport in New Zealand is inexpensive and easy to use. A train, bus or ferry ticket is usually around $2 for a student. Car ownership is much more expensive and not generally recommended, as New Zealand’s small size makes navigation via public transport fairly easy.

Getting a car

As everywhere in the world, the vehicle prices in New Zealand are based on the condition of the car, age, vehicle type or previous mileage. In summer, the demand for cars increases, which certainly has to do with the increasing number of tourists in the country, whereas vehicle prices fall again in winter. If you want to take advantage of this, the best thing to do is to buy the car in winter and then sell it on in summer. Most often, one comes across Japanese car brands. As everywhere, prices are negotiable and a look at trade. It can be worthwhile if you are looking for a cheap used car. In addition, there are regular vehicle markets in Auckland, for example, where you can look around and, if necessary, negotiate.

If you have a car, you don't necessarily have to take out insurance. There is no obligation to do this in New Zealand! At least the so-called third party insurance is recommended, which is comparable to the liability insurance in European countries. The amount depends, for example, on the age of the driver, the value of the vehicle or the accident-free years of the driver and, of course, where you take out the insurance. For example, if you are traveling as a student or backpacker at short notice, you can get a cheaper offer on the BBH website. The amount of the sum insured depends to a large extent on the age of the youngest driver (age groups: 18-21; 22-24; 25+). This should be taken into account, for example, if you share a car with several people. Theft and fire insurance, the insurance against theft and fire, can be taken out in addition to the third party insurance. In this case, only damage to the vehicle is covered, but not stolen or burned valuables!

Personal injuries are already covered in the registry, but you can also continue to insure yourself, which then corresponds to partially or even fully comprehensive insurance.

Use TransferWise to move your money

Whether you want to transfer money to New Zealand or back home from New Zealand - be careful not to be overcharged for a transfer.

Banks charge up to 5% and hide their fees in bad exchange rates. TransferWise always offers the mid-market rate, so they are up to 8x cheaper.

For more information about the cost of living in New Zealand have a look at: