Cost of Living in New Zealand

Cost of Living in New Zealand

With its broad range of world-renowned institutions and even wider spectrum of rigorous and well-respected programs, New Zealand is a premier destination for students interested in taking their studies to an international destination. The country has witnessed a surge of students applying and traveling to study in its esteemed institutions, with some estimations suggesting that over 130,000 international students were in the country last year.

While the country offers a relatively low cost of study [link to Cost of Study in New Zealand article] to its local and international students, New Zealand is known to be one of the more expensive countries in the world. In fact, it falls just short of the top ten, ranking 11th overall in terms of cost of living index. Four of its cities fall well within the top 100 most expensive cities in the world, as well: Auckland is number 36, Hamilton is 41, Christchurch is 67, and Wellington is 82.

However, students should not necessarily be discouraged from seeking out study opportunities in the country, even if they are on a budget. New Zealand is not the most cost-effective place to live, but while you might not venture there to stretch your dollar, you should keep in mind that strategic planning and preparation can make the country more affordable and even allow you to take part in many of the activities it has to offer. Additionally, the cost of study [link to Cost of Study in NZ article] in the country serves as a rather generous counterbalance, lowering a student’s overall expenses through its provision of world-class education at a fraction of the price students might pay in other destinations.

So, what exactly should students in the country expect to spend? On average, here is what you should plan for:

One Year of Studying in New Zealand

Depending on a student’s chosen field of study, the degree they are pursuing, and their awarded scholarship, the cost of study for a year in New Zealand can range drastically. However, by most measurements, the highest a student would pay on average is approximately 24,500 NZD, or about 17,000 USD. On the lower end of that range, students can pay as little as 10,000 NZD, which is 7,000 USD. These are incredibly affordable annual tuition fees, especially considering the higher costs associated with countries like the US, Australia, and even Ireland. New Zealand’s universities, including Whitireia University[link to Findcourse Whitireia page] and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology [Link to Findcourse NMIT page], are among the most cost effective ifor their value. For more affordable universities, see our article, Most Affordable Universities in NZ [link to Most Affordable article]

Overall Cost of Living in New Zealand

Much like cost of study, the cost of living in New Zealand will vary based upon a variety of factors, most of which are within a student’s control. Location within the country, type of housing, and other personal decisions made by each respective student will all directly affect his or her cost of living on a day-to-day basis. Living on-campus or with a group of people, choosing to live and study in smaller towns rather than larger metropolitan cities, and even limiting habits such as smoking (the cost of cigarettes in New Zealand is notoriously high) can all help students save money.

The currency in New Zealand is another factor that affects the cost of living, although this is out of students’ control. 1 New Zealand Dollar is equivalent to just shy of 0.7 US Dollars, which means that, in many cases, it will stretch further than other currencies.

For a quick list of what to expect when living New Zealand, see the chart below:


Monthly rent in normal area for two people (85m^2)

NZ$ 2295

Monthly Utilities

NZ$ 329

Internet (8Mbps)

NZ$ 72


Monthly Metro Ticket

NZ$ 181

Average Taxi Fare (8km)

NZ$ 31


Basic Lunchtime Menu

NZ$ 19

Fast Food Combo Meal

NZ$ 11

Cinema Tickets

NZ$ 17

Cappuccino in the City

NZ$ 5

Beer in Neighborhood Pub

NZ$ 9