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The Best Places To Live For Students in New Zealand

One of the greatest places in the world to study abroad is New Zealand. As simple as that.

It has a stunning landscape that includes golden beaches, lush woods, and mountain ranges in addition to hip, sophisticated cities. It's safe, the people are nice, and there are many affordable, top-tier universities nearby.

Why is New Zealand a Popular Destination for International Students?

One of the best places in the world to study abroad is New Zealand. That is all there is to it. Its captivating scenery, which combines chic, intellectual towns with verdant forests, golden beaches, and mountain ranges, is breathtakingly stunning. There are multiple top-notch universities in the area with reasonably priced tuition, the people are incredibly kind, and the environment is safe. International students are well-regarded for their high-quality education and enjoyable lifestyle whilst studying in New Zealand. Currently, up to 90,000 international students study in New Zealand annually. With a top-notch educational system, New Zealand is a great place for overseas students.

All of New Zealand's institutions, regardless of where you study, adhere to international standards and are regularly evaluated and inspected by the government to ensure a consistently high caliber of instruction.  Check out the top areas for international students to live in New Zealand.

Why Study in New Zealand

High living standards and top-notch universities are available in New Zealand. New Zealand's cities offer an intellectual pathway for postsecondary education. These cities are home to several famous universities.

The following are strong arguments for overseas students to pursue their studies in New Zealand cities.

  • There is a strong support network for international students, and a hospitable and friendly society awaits them.
  • The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) makes ensuring that educational establishments meet the requirements for qualifications and are registered to accept students from outside.
  • Universities in New Zealand offer a highly visible learning environment that is free of nuclear power and features green, spacious, and cheerful outdoor spaces.
  • The process gets more wholesome overall with pleasant summers and chilly winters, as well as sports and hobbies.
  • International students enrolling in select post-secondary programs may be eligible for a few-year post-study work visa.
  • For a reasonable fee, international students with a globally recognized degree can have the best of both worlds.
  • Research-based instruction is the main focus in New Zealand, where students learn how to handle circumstances in an orderly and methodical way.
  • New Zealand's universities and colleges have highly qualified instructors, state-of-the-art labs, and access to the newest tools, resources, and technology.

Living in New Zealand offers students the opportunity to develop simultaneously with its natural beauty and unique culture.

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The Importance of Choosing the Right Place to Live for Students

Choosing the right place to live as a student in New Zealand is crucial for several reasons, impacting academic success, personal well-being, and overall satisfaction with the study abroad experience. Here's why selecting the ideal location matters:

Academic Opportunities:

Different cities in New Zealand offer diverse academic programs and research opportunities. For instance, the capital city, Wellington, is home to renowned institutions like the Victoria University of Wellington, known for its strong social sciences and humanities programs. In contrast, larger cities such as Auckland provide a broader range of academic disciplines and research facilities.

Cost of Living

The cost of living varies significantly between cities in New Zealand. While the capital cities like Wellington and Auckland may offer more job opportunities, they often come with higher living expenses, including housing and transportation. On the other hand, smaller towns like Hamilton or Dunedin typically offer more affordable housing options, making them attractive choices for budget-conscious students.

Quality of Life

Consider the lifestyle and amenities available in different locations. Wellington, for example, offers a vibrant cultural scene with museums, theatres, and the iconic Wellington waterfront. Meanwhile, smaller towns like Dunedin boast unique attractions, such as the historic Otago University campus and the tranquil Hamilton Gardens.

Climate Preferences

New Zealand's diverse geography results in varying climates across the country. Students may prefer the temperate climate of cities like Wellington and Auckland, where winters are mild and summers are warm. Alternatively, those seeking warmer temperatures may opt for cities in the northern regions of the North Island, while students drawn to outdoor activities may favour the South Island's rugged landscapes.

Career Opportunities

Consider the availability of part-time work or internship opportunities in different locations. While larger cities like Auckland offer a broader range of job opportunities, smaller towns may have fewer options, particularly in specialized industries. However, smaller towns often provide a more relaxed pace of life, which can be beneficial for focusing on studies without the distractions of a busy city.

Community and Support

Living in a supportive and inclusive community can greatly enhance the student experience. Smaller towns often foster a strong sense of community, with opportunities for meaningful connections and support networks, while larger cities may offer a more diverse and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

In essence, choosing the right place to live as a student in New Zealand involves considering factors such as academic opportunities, cost of living, lifestyle preferences, climate, career prospects, and community support. By carefully evaluating these aspects, students can ensure they select a location that aligns with their academic and personal goals, ultimately enhancing their overall university experience.

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The Best Places to Live in New Zealand for Students

Auckland (North Island)

Overview of Auckland as a Major City:

  • Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and a bustling economic hub. It offers a vibrant urban lifestyle amidst stunning natural surroundings.
  • Known as the "City of Sails," Auckland boasts a diverse population, rich cultural heritage, and a thriving arts and music scene.

Proximity to Universities and Educational Institutions:

  • Auckland is home to several prestigious universities and educational institutions, including the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
  • Students benefit from easy access to academic resources, research facilities, and internship opportunities within the city.

Cost of Living and Accommodation Options:

  • While Auckland's status as a major city brings with it higher living costs compared to smaller towns, students can find a range of accommodation options to suit their budgets.
  • From university-managed halls of residence to shared apartments and homestays, there are choices available for students seeking affordable living arrangements.

Student-Friendly Amenities and Attractions:

  • Auckland offers an array of student-friendly amenities, including cafes, restaurants, parks, and recreational facilities.
  • Students can explore iconic landmarks such as the Sky Tower, Auckland Domain, and Auckland Harbour Bridge, as well as enjoy the city's beautiful beaches and outdoor activities.

Auckland on the North Island stands out as an excellent choice for students seeking a vibrant city lifestyle coupled with proximity to top universities, diverse accommodation options, and an abundance of amenities and attractions to enrich their university experience.

Wellington – New Zealand's Culinary Capital

Introduction to Wellington as the Capital City:

  • Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, stands out as one of the coolest capital cities globally, renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, stunning waterfront, and thriving culinary landscape.
  • Nestled between the North and South Islands, Wellington offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty.

Educational Opportunities and Institutions:

  • Wellington boasts world-class educational institutions, including Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University, offering a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities.
  • Students benefit from Wellington's central location and access to diverse cultural experiences that enrich their university experience.

Unique Cultural Experiences and Lifestyle:

  • Wellington's relaxed lifestyle and diverse cultural events make it a popular destination for young adults and students. The city hosts numerous festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions throughout the year.
  • With its pretty central location, Wellington serves as a gateway to outdoor activities, including hiking trails, beaches, and water sports.

Housing Options and Affordability:

  • While Wellington is a bustling metropolis, it offers a range of housing options to suit students' budgets, from apartments in the city centre to shared accommodation in suburban areas.
  • While house prices have risen in recent years, Wellington remains one of the more affordable cities in New Zealand, particularly compared to larger cities like Auckland.

Wellington's status as New Zealand's capital city, combined with its culinary delights, cultural vibrancy, and affordability, makes it an attractive choice for students seeking a dynamic and enriching university experience on the North Island.

Hamilton (New Zealand's North Island)

Overview of Hamilton as an Educational Hub:

  • Hamilton, located in the heart of New Zealand's North Island, is renowned for its vibrant educational environment, making it a popular destination for students.
  • Home to the University of Waikato and Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology), Hamilton offers a diverse range of academic programs and research opportunities.

University and Research Opportunities:

  • Students in Hamilton benefit from world-class university facilities and research centres, fostering innovation and academic excellence.
  • The city's close-knit academic community provides ample opportunities for collaboration and networking with industry professionals.

Living Expenses and Budgeting Tips:

  • Hamilton offers relatively affordable living expenses whilst house prices remain reasonable compared to larger cities like Auckland or Wellington, making it one of New Zealand's most affordable cities.
  • Budgeting tips include exploring shared accommodation options, utilizing public transportation, and taking advantage of student discounts offered by local businesses.

Cultural and Recreational Aspects for Students:

  • Despite being a smaller city, Hamilton boasts a vibrant cultural scene with art galleries, theatres, and music venues catering to diverse tastes.
  • Students can also enjoy the city's lush green spaces, including the Hamilton Gardens and nearby natural attractions like the Waitomo Caves, offering opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

Hamilton's reputation as an educational hub, coupled with its affordability and rich cultural offerings, makes it a fantastic city and an ideal choice for students seeking a dynamic and enriching experience on New Zealand's North Island.

Christchurch – The City of Exploration

Overview of Christchurch as a Student-Friendly City:

  • Christchurch, nestled in New Zealand's South, presents a captivating blend of history, innovation, and natural beauty, making it an enticing destination for students.
  • Known for its resilient spirit following the earthquakes of the past few years, Christchurch has emerged as a vibrant and dynamic city, offering a welcoming environment for students.

Educational Facilities and Programs Available:

  • Christchurch boasts top-tier educational institutions such as the University of Canterbury and Ara Institute of Canterbury, providing a wide array of academic programs and research opportunities.
  • Students benefit from access to cutting-edge facilities, experienced faculty, and a supportive learning environment.

Quality of Life and Recreational Activities:-

  • With its mild climate year-round, Christchurch offers abundant recreational activities for students to enjoy. From exploring the stunning coastline to hiking in the nearby Southern Alps, there's something for everyone.
  • The city's well-connected bus network makes it easy for students to navigate and explore all that Christchurch and its surroundings have to offer.

Accommodation Choices for Students:-

  • Christchurch provides various accommodation options for students, ranging from university-managed halls of residence to private rentals and homestays.
  • While the city has seen a rise in housing costs in recent years, it remains more affordable compared to bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington, making it an attractive choice for students.

Christchurch's reputation as a tourist hotspot and its affordability, combined with its quality educational institutions and a plethora of recreational activities, make it an ideal city for students seeking exploration and academic growth in South Island's biggest city.

New Zealand's North Island Vs. South Island


North Island

South Island


The North Island features diverse landscapes, including stunning beaches along the east coast, lush native forests, geothermal areas like Rotorua, and volcanic peaks such as Mount Taranaki.

The South Island is renowned for its dramatic alpine scenery, majestic fjords like Milford Sound, and vast glaciers. It also offers rugged coastlines, rolling farmland, and pristine lakes.


The North Island generally experiences a mild climate, with warm summers and relatively mild winters. It benefits from a warmer, more temperate climate compared to the South Island.

The South Island tends to have cooler temperatures, with colder winters and warmer summers in some regions. Some areas experience heavy rainfall, particularly on the west coast, while the east coast enjoys more sunshine.


The North Island is more populous, with larger cities like Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, and Wellington, the capital. It has a diverse urban culture with bustling city life and multicultural communities.

The South Island has a smaller population and fewer large cities, with Christchurch being the largest. It offers a quieter pace of life, with smaller towns and communities focused on outdoor activities and close-knit communities.

Tourist Attractions

The North Island boasts popular tourist destinations such as the Waitomo Caves, the Bay of Islands, Tongariro National Park (home to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing), and Hobbiton Movie Set. It also offers vibrant urban attractions in cities like Auckland and Wellington.

The South Island is a world-renowned tourist destination, with attractions including world-class skiing and snowboarding in Queenstown, the stunning Milford Sound, Abel Tasman National Park, and the scenic TranzAlpine train journey. It offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor adventures and exploration.

City Life

City life in the North Island is vibrant and diverse, with cultural events, nightlife, and a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. Cities like Auckland and Wellington offer bustling city centers, diverse dining options, and vibrant arts and cultural scenes.

The South Island offers a quieter pace of life, with smaller towns and cities like Christchurch and Dunedin providing a more relaxed lifestyle. While city amenities may be fewer, there is a strong emphasis on outdoor activities, community events, and enjoying the region's natural beauty.

Job Opportunities

The North Island offers more big city jobs and a wider variety of industries, with major economic hubs like Auckland and Wellington driving employment opportunities in sectors such as finance, technology, tourism, and healthcare.

Job opportunities on the South Island may be more limited and concentrated in specific sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. However, there are opportunities for entrepreneurship and niche industries, particularly in areas like Queenstown and Canterbury.

Cost of Living

The cost of living on the North Island is generally higher, especially in larger cities like Auckland and Wellington, where housing prices can be relatively expensive. However, smaller towns and rural areas offer more affordable options.

The cost of living on the South Island is generally lower, with more affordable housing options available in cities like Christchurch and Dunedin. However, housing prices have been rising in popular tourist areas such as Queenstown and Wanaka.


The North Island's scenery is characterized by its beautiful beaches, native forests, rolling hills, and volcanic landscapes. Highlights include the stunning Coromandel Peninsula, the picturesque Bay of Plenty, and the breathtaking scenery of the central North Island.

The South Island's scenery is renowned for its dramatic landscapes, including towering mountains, pristine lakes, and rugged coastlines. Highlights include the Southern Alps, Fiordland National Park, and the stunning Marlborough Sounds.


The North Island enjoys generally warmer and sunnier weather year-round, with milder winters and fewer extremes in temperature. However, it can experience occasional rainfall and humidity, particularly in coastal areas.

The South Island experiences more variable weather conditions, with colder winters and occasional snowfall in alpine regions. Summers tend to be warmer and sunnier, particularly in the central and eastern parts of the island. However, weather patterns can change quickly, and rainfall is common, especially on the west coast.


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The Top 10 Major Cities for Expats in New Zealand

Here are the top 10 big cities for ex-pats in New Zealand:

  1. Auckland: New Zealand's largest city, bustling with diverse cultures and job opportunities. It offers stunning waterfront views, a busy port city, and easy access to some of New Zealand's favourite beaches.
  2. Wellington: The capital and wonderful city known for its lively arts scene, rich cultural heritage, and bustling tourism sector. Wellington is a compact city surrounded by incredible scenery and offers a vibrant urban lifestyle.
  3. Christchurch: Despite recent challenges, Christchurch remains a popular tourist destination and a major city on New Zealand's South Island. It boasts a blend of modern amenities, a resilient community spirit, and access to stunning natural landscapes.
  4. Hamilton: A thriving city in the North Island, Hamilton is known for its affordability, family-friendly lifestyle, and proximity to popular tourist destinations like Hobbiton. It offers a balanced mix of urban conveniences and natural beauty.
  5. Tauranga: Located in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is renowned for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and outdoor recreational activities. It is a stunning waterfront city. It's a popular destination for expats seeking a relaxed coastal lifestyle.
  6. Dunedin: Situated in the south of the South Island, Dunedin is famous for its Scottish heritage, historic architecture, and access to outdoor adventures. It offers a unique blend of big-city amenities and small-town charm.
  7. Nelson: Known for its arts and culture scene, Nelson is nestled amidst stunning natural landscapes, including golden beaches and national parks. It's a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a laid-back lifestyle.
  8. New Plymouth: Lonely Planet voted Taranaki as one of the world's top regions, and New Plymouth, its main city, boasts a vibrant arts scene, beautiful parks, and access to surf beaches and hot springs.
  9. Rotorua: Famous for its geothermal wonders, Rotorua offers a unique cultural experience and access to natural hot springs. It's a hub for adventure activities and offers a rich Maori cultural heritage.
  10. Queenstown: Often regarded as the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown attracts expats with its world-class skiing, adrenaline-pumping activities, and stunning scenery. It's a bustling tourist hotspot year-round.

These major cities offer a mix of urban amenities, natural beauty, job opportunities, and cultural experiences, making them attractive destinations for expats looking to live in New Zealand.

What is the Best Place to Live in New Zealand for Students & Working Professionals?

Choosing the best place to live in New Zealand for a student or working professional depends on various factors, including job facilities, affordability, lifestyle preferences, and access to amenities. Here's a look at some top contenders:


Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, offers a plethora of job opportunities, particularly in industries like finance, technology, and tourism. It provides access to big-city jobs and a bustling urban lifestyle.

Situated in the North, Auckland boasts some of New Zealand's favourite beaches, such as Piha and Takapuna, along with stunning waterfront areas like the Viaduct Harbour.

While Auckland offers a vibrant life and numerous amenities, it comes with a higher cost of living compared to other cities in New Zealand.


Wellington, the capital, is another excellent option for students and working professionals. It offers a blend of big city jobs and a thriving arts and culture scene, with opportunities in sectors like government, technology, and creative industries.

Wellington's waterfront area, including Oriental Beach, regularly tops lists of New Zealand's best waterfront cities, providing scenic views and recreational opportunities.

The city experiences milder winters and enjoys a pleasant climate in the summer months, making it an attractive choice for those who prefer a more moderate climate.


Christchurch, located on the Island of South, is known for its resilience following the earthquakes and offers jobs in sectors like construction, hospitality, and education.

While not as large as Auckland or Wellington, Christchurch provides a more affordable cost of living, making it an attractive option for students and working professionals.

The city's southwest corner offers access to beautiful beaches and outdoor recreational activities, providing a balanced lifestyle for residents.

Overall, each city in New Zealand offers its unique advantages for students and working professionals. Auckland provides a bustling urban environment and abundant jobs. Wellington offers a vibrant cultural scene and waterfront lifestyle, while Christchurch boasts resilience, affordability, and access to natural beauty. Ultimately, the best place to live depends on individual preferences and priorities. To know more about the cities of New Zealand connect with us and we will provide you the best possible information.

  • Shabnam
  • March 22,2024
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