Top places to live


Auckland is often the first choice for migrants moving to New Zealand. It is a cosmopolitan and multicultural city that was voted 3rd globally in the 2019 Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest urban area and has everything you need for city living with world class restaurants, galleries, museums, excellent shopping, beaches and parks. It is also easy to escape into the beautiful scenery that surrounds the city. Summers are warm and sunny averaging 20°C, with winter temperatures generally staying above 11°C, although it can be rainy.

There are excellent job opportunities, particularly within construction, healthcare, tech and IT, and the highest salaries in New Zealand.

The city is very family friendly with great schools, New Zealand’s top university, good healthcare and an abundance of activities. However, the cost of living and house prices are higher than other areas of New Zealand.

Each suburb has a different feel to it, so you are sure to be able to find an area that feels like home.

Waiheke island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is situated across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland, just a 35 minute commute by ferry to Auckland’s centre. The island is 20km in length with rolling hills, vineyards, beaches and amazing views, perfect for hiking and relaxing.

The island has an artistic and bohemian feel, with many art galleries and craft boutiques, alongside cafes and restaurants. Summers are hot and dry with daily temperatures averaging 29°C and winters staying mild at around 19°C in the day.

Although there are not many employment opportunities on the island, the short and relaxing commute by ferry to Auckland make it an appealing place to live, for those moving to New Zealand in search of a chilled pace of life. With 35 ferry crossings daily, all the amenities of the city are within easy reach. Waiheke has two schools and a great sense of community.

The Coromandel

The edge of the Coromandel Peninsula is a 90 minute drive from Auckland, and its accessibility, along with its beautiful white sandy beaches, stunning scenery, hiking trails and natural hot pools, make it a popular spot for holidaymakers.

It would suit those who are moving to New Zealand for a quiet and relaxed lifestyle, particularly families, retirees and beach-lovers, or those who are able to work remotely. If you are looking for a few more facilities, the arty town of Thames is the main shopping location in the Coromandel Peninsula, and has both boutiques and a modern shopping mall.

Tauranga and Mount Maunganui

Located in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, on the east coast of the North Island, Mount Maunganui is connected to Tauranga’s central business district by the Tauranga Harbour Bridge. Mount Maunganui has been voted New Zealand’s best beach in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards for the 6th year running. The white sandy beach and 2260 hours of sunshine per year make Mount Maunganui very popular with holidaymakers. Mount Maunganui has a population of around 20,000 who enjoy the boutique shops, numerous restaurants, hot pools and out-door beach-side living.

Tauraunga is larger and its population of 110,00 is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing. The Strand Waterfront is always buzzing with its restaurants, cafes and bars, and numerous water-based activities including fishing, sailing, diving and dolphin tours.

As a result of the beach and harbourside locations of Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, many of the job opportunities lie in the tourist and service industries, along with shipping, agricultural and horticultural jobs, engineering, construction, energy, freight logistics and ICT. The area is great for families with affordable homes, numerous schools and a university.


Located in the Hawkes Bay region on the East Coast, the seaport city of Napier benefits from a dry, temperate climate with warm summers averaging around 24°C and winters that are mild and windy. Great for people who appreciate good food and drink, as Napier is renowned for its wines and fresh produce, restaurants and farmers markets.

Employment opportunities are plentiful and include tourism and hospitality, forestry, manufacturing and health and community services. The strong economy coupled with affordable property and living costs, make Napier an attractive place for migrants to settle when moving to New Zealand.


Wellington is a relaxed and compact capital city. It was voted 15th globally in the 2019 Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Wellington has an abundance of cultural activities with museums, galleries and theatres and is considered to be the film capital of New Zealand, nicknamed “Wellywood”. You are also spoilt for choice with the nightlife, as Wellington has numerous bars, restaurants, nightclubs and is the centre for New Zealand’s craft beer scene. There are apparently more bars and restaurants per capita in Wellington than there are in New York City.

Wellington attracts those who embrace an outdoors lifestyle, with 363 km of mountain biking and hiking tracks on its doorstep. The harbour, beaches and coastline are stunning. The summer sees temperatures of around 21°C with plenty of sunshine. However, it can be very windy, due to Wellington’s location on the south west corner of the North Island. Winters are short but can feel chilly with temperatures dropping to 4°C.

Wellington is very popular with migrants and offers high salaries, with a lower cost of living than Auckland. There are job opportunities in property and business services, digital technology, and government administration in particular. Wellington is also known for its good education, with two top universities in Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington. Wellington offers all the amenities you would want from a city when moving to New Zealand, with the warm feel of a village.


Nelson is known for its sunny climate and has the most sunshine hours in New Zealand. The climate is perfect for growing local produce and the Marlborough region produces more than half of New Zealand’s wine. It is particularly known for its Sauvignon Blanc. Nelson is also known as a top foodie destination, taking a pride in serving fresh food and excellent seafood and for its coffee scene. Many cafes roast their own blends of coffee.

The area has three National Parks, plentiful flora and fauna, golden beaches and warm water. The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand’s nine great walks. The sea and lakes are perfect for swimming, kayaking, fishing and sailing.

Nelson is a creative city, with over 350 resident artists and many classes and tours available to help you integrate yourself into the community. The city centre is buzzing on a Saturday with the market, shopping, sporting events and cafes, but is typically much quieter on a Sunday, which tends to be considered a family day. The community spirt of Nelson makes it great for families. The schools are great and since not all of them are zoned, you are able to choose which school suits your child best.

Christchurch Port Hills


Christchurch is located on the east coast of the South Island and whilst influenced by Maori culture, it also has an English feel to the city. The climate is temperate and dry but has four distinct seasons, with summer temperatures averaging 22.5°C and winter temperatures dropping to O°C at night with frost and sometimes snow.

In Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, you can enjoy all the benefits of city living, whilst having the great outdoors on your doorstep. You could be on the ski slopes of Mount Hutt within a 90 minute drive, or spend your weekends cycling, sailing, hiking or whale watching. As a student city, the atmosphere is young and lively. There are lots of things to do and see, from festivals, markets and museums to relaxing parks and gardens.

Employment opportunities are good, particularly within construction, engineering, healthcare, property, tourism, IT and communications. House prices reflect the city location but are around 20% cheaper than Auckland. The great range of activities on offer, together with excellent schools and universities and colleges, make it a great place for families to settle when moving to New Zealand.


Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital and is the base to experience all kinds of extreme sports, from bungee jumping, to jet boating, skiing, canyoning, ziplining and many more, attracting those under 35 in particular. The scenery is stunning and the city is set against an impressive mountain range and the beautiful Lake Wakatipu and has a lively bar and restaurant scene. Summers are long and hot, reaching temperatures of up to 30°C, whereas winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures going down to -2°C.

Jobs are plentiful within the tourism industry, however, salaries tend to be low and the cost of living can make it an expensive place to move to in New Zealand. Certain foods can be costly depending on the season.


Dunedin has a strong Scottish heritage which can be seen in the architecture and shops selling tartan. It is also apparent in its name, with Dunedin being the Gaelic name for Edinburgh. Set on the central-eastern coast of Otago, on the shores of Otago Harbour, the compact and hilly city is surrounded by stunning scenery, empty beaches and wildlife that includes penguins, seals and albatross. It is not the warmest city in New Zealand, with summer temperatures only reaching an average of 19°C and winter lows averaging 4°C, and is prone to drizzle.

Dunedin embraces a relaxed, outdoors lifestyle, offering lots of opportunities for biking, climbing, hiking and water sports. It is perfect for families moving to New Zealand, with its great standard of education, including New Zealand’s oldest university. Dunedin also has good employment opportunities, including property services, education, business services, health services, manufacturing. communication, general trades, engineering and tourism.

The city is buzzing in university term time, and live music is often played in the bars and pubs. Wherever you choose to live in Dunedin, you’ll never be more than 20 minutes away from the ocean and hills.

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