The complete guide to moving to Auckland

Updated: May 31, 2018

Auckland is a place surrounded by natural harbours and natural beauty, so it’s no surprise that it’s regularly voted as one of the best places in the world to live.

Over 1.3 million people (almost a third of New Zealand’s population) live in Auckland, making it New Zealand’s most populous city, and as the country’s largest city it is home to a significant number of the Māori population—New Zealand’s indigenous peoples. This cultural mix creates a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere that distinguishes the city of Auckland from other cities in New Zealand, such as Christchurch or Wellington, and makes it such a desirable place for people to live. Auckland has always been particularly attractive to immigration, and in 2005 it was recorded that over 20% of New Zealand’s inhabitants were born overseas. Outside of the beautiful landscapes and golden beaches, New Zealand offers low unemployment levels—ranking the 14th lowest amongst developed nations for unemployment, and due to its simplistic visa process for Australians, offers an attractive relocation destination.

Setting up home

When it comes to choosing a home, location and budget are the two things which should be considered first and foremost. After all, the type of lifestyle you want to lead will determine which areas are most suitable for you. For example, if you like being a regular part of the social scene, then living somewhere with a lengthy commute wouldn’t be in your best interests. Similarly if you’re looking to start or raise a family in Auckland, moving further away from the Central Business District would be a better option as, depending on the area, you get more property and land for your money.

To rent or buy

Choosing whether to rent or buy is a hugely personal option, and one which can only be made by yourself, but it’s worth remembering that New Zealand has been going through a housing crisis of late with news tabloids labelling it as a “chronic shortage of homes.” This means that purchasing a property can be incredibly tricky. Due to the shortage, it was proposed that foreigners would not be able to purchase property, however, the details of these proposed changes are still being worked out so it’s worth keeping an eye on property news at the time of your relocation. Regardless of whether you’re looking to purchase a property or rent, it’s worth getting to know the various areas of Auckland, so that you can make an informed choice on location. For example; you may find the perfect property only to discover that the commute is unbearable once you factor in traffic.

Traffic is one of those elements which is so often forgotten about when considering relocation options. In Auckland, the traffic can have a huge impact on your lifestyle as it typically revolves around peak hours. If you’re looking to avoid traffic as much as humanly possible, it’s best to focus your attention on Auckland’s inner city suburbs; Remuera, Ponsonby, Newmarket, Parnell, Mount Eden, Grey Lynn, Three Kings and Grafton. If you’re new to Auckland and you’re not sure how to categorise areas based on traffic, one of the best ways it’s been described to us by an Auckland resident is to imagine SKYCITY, the Sky Tower in the Central Business District, as though it were the middle of a compass, and then draw a circle with a 5-10km radius around it. This will help you to identify which areas are the best to aim for in terms of congestion.

Tips: Each part of Auckland has its own characteristics, which can make it tricky when trying to choose a place to live. Regardless of where you choose, you’ll only ever be a stone’s throw from something beautiful, but the easiest way to help you narrow down your location options is to refer to the following:

Family friendly: The Eastern suburbs of Howick, Pakuranga and Panmure.

Trendy: Ponsonby.

Upmarket: Remuera.

Up and Coming: Epsom and Mount Eden - two suburbs which are already established but often overlooked.

Once you have narrowed down the area in which you want to live, you can begin to look at properties for purchase or rent. If you’re looking for property specific information is a useful resource for identifying prices of properties, and what options are available with rental properties.

Renting in Auckland is typically priced on a per week basis rather than per month and you’ll often be asked to pay two weeks rent up front. In New Zealand, deposits are referred to as bonds which are required on most properties and it isn’t uncommon for letting agents or private landlords to ask for a bond of up to four weeks when you have agreed upon the rental - so it’s important to factor in the upfront cost of renting, into your relocation. Accommodation costs tend to be higher in Auckland compared with other places in New Zealand due to its relatively low population and buying power. As a result, you can expect to pay rental costs of around NZ$1,100-$1,500 for a one-bedroom flat and between NZ$2,000-$2,600 for a three-bedroom flat, dependant on the area in which you choose.

Tips: Remember that the majority of rental properties in New Zealand come unfurnished and if you’re looking to purchase a property you’ll need to look thoroughly and act fast as properties fly off the market quicker than hot pastries.

If you’ve found a property you’d like to buy, the process is very similar to the one you would go through when purchasing a property in Australia however, you should factor around 6% interest on your loan repayments, into your budget, if you require a mortgage. Websites where you can search for properties to purchase include: and


Regardless of which area you choose to settle down in, in Auckland, you’ll require water and electricity. If you’re renting, water may be charged to a water meter which is payable by you. However, in some instances, it is covered in your council rates, in which case your landlord will pay your bill. If you have purchased a property, however, you will be in charge of ensuring that this is paid. The water in New Zealand has been treated, so it’s perfectly safe for consumption and you can drink it straight from the tap.

New Zealand has been giving a noticeable push towards eco-friendly energy and both hydroelectric and wind-generated sources are on the rise. The most commonly used energy for the home, however, is still gas, which is used for everything from the property’s hot water system, to cooking. It’s always best to do a price comparison on utility services to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your location and energy usage, and websites such as enable you to do this.

Getting around

Getting around Auckland varies in degrees of ease, and the levels of difficulty which you will face, depend on whereabouts you are based in Auckland. For example; getting around in the outer suburbs usually requires a car and can take around an hour to get into the city.

New Zealand’s climates mean that walking and cycling are typically quite pleasant to enjoy but Auckland Transport has an online journey planner for those who wish to use other modes of transport, or who are unfamiliar with the area, but Auckland’s public transport network is pretty easy to navigate and can be a great way to get around the city.


The trains in Auckland are a quick way to transport yourself between Auckland Central’s Britomart and the southern and western suburbs of Auckland. There are four lines which run: the Onehunga Line, the Western Line, the Southern Line and the Eastern Line and each can get you to a different part of Auckland however, there are some suburbs where the train doesn’t run so be cautious of this before setting off on your journey!


As far as public transport is concerned, the bus network is Auckland’s most extensive means of transport. There are a variety of different buses based upon the route you want to take, for example; Innerlink, Outerlink, Metrolink and Niterider, but you must always remember to signal the driver if you are situated at one of the quieter stops because otherwise, he may not stop.


One of the perks of being surrounded by harbours is that you get an additional mode of transport to navigate the city. In this case, that’s a ferry. The ferry service operates across the harbour and to the Hauraki Gulf Islands and is located on the waterfront in the large orange building at the end of Queen Street.

Getting a driving licence

If you’re planning to drive a vehicle whilst in Auckland, you can do so if you have a valid driving licence. This can be a driving licence issued in your home country or an International Driving Permit and is valid for the first 12 months whilst you’re in New Zealand. After this, you’ll need to convert to a New Zealand licence, and if you’re relocating to New Zealand from Australia then it gets a whole lot less stressful as you won't need to take another theory or practical test to do so.

Registering your car

Sometimes you own a car and you just fall in love. The way the clutch shifts, the seats feel or the way it smells. Sometimes these things just make it too hard to say goodbye. Which is fine, because you can absolutely take your beloved car with you, you’ll just need to ensure that it’s registered once it gets there.

Australia and New Zealand have very similar motor vehicle standards and so most vehicles can be imported without requiring modifications, but there are some rules to abide by when doing so. You can read our dedicated post on exporting your vehicle here which covers all of the intricacies and important information you must abide by, but first and foremost you must have the right paperwork (registration and manufacturer safety documents) and you must be in the country when your vehicle arrives.

We recommend that you read this article to ensure that the relocation of your transport is compliant with New Zealand rules and regulations.

School Options

In New Zealand children typically start school at around aged 5 however, it is between the ages of 6 and 16 years old that students must legally attend school. Between the ages of 6 and 12 years, children in New Zealand attend primary school, before transitioning into high school. Education in New Zealand isn’t strictly academically focussed and instead caters to vocational routes for education also. But regardless of the educational approach, the standard of education in New Zealand is exceptionally high and there is a great sense of pride in the education system, of which there are three main strands:

  • State Schools
    These are similar to ‘State Schools’ however the main difference is that they follow a faith or Montessori style approach.

  • State Integrated Schools
    These are similar to ‘State Schools’ however the main difference is that they follow a faith or Montessori style approach.

  • Private School
    These are rarer in New Zealand however, can be found in Auckland. Prices vary per pupil, per school but if you’re looking to pursue a private education for your child this is typically in the region of $12,000 to $30,000 per year.

There are over 500 schools in the Auckland region and each student is guaranteed a place within their zoned state school. After this comes higher education and all eight of New Zealand’s Universities appeared in the top 500 QS World University Rankings in 2018, showing you just how well-placed their pride is.


The legal system in Auckland isn’t that different from the one in Australia. Healthcare is highly-rated and is free or low cost, and the main laws are the same: be a good person and do no harm. There are small differences, however, such as in the tax year.

To be liable for tax in New Zealand you must be considered a resident and spend more than 183 days per year in the country. However, there are some instances where you may be considered a transitional tax resident which you can read more about here. The tax year in New Zealand runs from the 1st of April to the 31st of March and there is no such thing as a tax-free income allowance. Instead, everybody is taxed on all of their earnings, which starts at 10.5%.

Everyday Life

Everyday life in New Zealand is pretty chill. There are more deaths in New Zealand each year from people playing lawn bowls than there is scuba diving and Auckland offers plenty of opportunities for those with cosmopolitan tastes.

Recreational activities

There’s no place in New Zealand you can go where you are more than 128 km from water or natural beauty. But if getting out and exploring the beautiful coastlines aren’t your thing, then Auckland offers plenty when it comes to recreational activities.

Dining, dancing, entertainment and fitness are all key players in this city, and thanks to the broad cultural mix of its residents, Auckland offers some incredibly diverse dining options which are perfect when washed down with a glass or three of the famous local wine...


As mentioned previously, employment levels in Auckland have been relatively low for the past few years. Whilst the cost of living is higher in Auckland, so are most salaries and booming industries include; manufacturing, construction and IT. For those who are seeking new employment opportunities, the two biggest job websites we recommend you keep an eye on, are: and