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Cost of studying and living in New Zealand

With its endless mountains, limestone caves and alpine lakes, New Zealand is one of the world's most gorgeous places. It comes with no surprise that the country is a dream destination for both students and working professionals.

While you may be excited to embark on your own ‘Middle-earth' quest, you might want to find out roughly how much your daily expenses are. This way, you can fully maximize your time studying and living in New Zealand!

Essentially, you’d need to prepare for these four core areas:

1. Accommodation

2. Transport

3. Food

4. Health & Fitness

Do note that the cost of living varies in different parts of the country so you might need to adjust your budget according to the region you stay in.

If you are planning to work in New Zealand, you'll want to stay in major cities such as Wellington and Auckland as they are flourishing tech hubs.

However, the cost of living in these areas are higher. Auckland is the most expensive city in New Zealand and 15% more expensive than in other regions.

#1 Accommodation

The cost of buying and renting a home in New Zealand varies across regions. In general, you will be able to rent a two-bedroom apartment for around NZ$425 a week.

However, if you plan on moving to the Land of Kiwis for good, you should consider buying a house. In Wellington, a house would cost $480 000. On the other hand, the median price of homes in Auckland is $825,000, which is nearly thrice of those in Otago!

#2 Transportation

Traveling in cities by public transport is possible. By train, bus, or ferry, you can access the inner city and outer regions. Whether you plan on canyoning in Piha or enjoying the city life in Auckland's bustling entertainment districts, travelling by public transport is easy.

In Auckland, a HOP monthly pass gives you unlimited train and bus rides for around NZ$215.

On the other hand, if you plan to move around the countryside or to other cities, getting a car will be more convenient. For the budget-conscious, a used Japanese car will set you back by about $3000.

If you fancy the idea, it might be prudent to check out the car’s history here to ensure that there are no defects!

#3 Food

Don’t let the naysayers convince you that New Zealand food is boring! From Hokey Pokey (caramelised honeycomb) Ice Cream to Whitebait Fritters, there’s definitely a local delicacy that you will enjoy.

When it comes to eating out, there are a variety of options you can choose from. For NZ$10, you can get fast food and other affordable choices such as Fish & Chips and sandwiches. Meanwhile, lunch at the business district would set you back around NZ$20.

If cooking is more up your alley, a week of groceries will cost around NZ$50. With grocery shopping websites such as Countdown and food delivery services such as Uber Eats, food is readily accessible even if you are always on the go.

#4 Fitness & Health

If getting fit was one of those New Year's resolutions you never got to, moving to New Zealand is a great time to start! With memberships starting at $13 a week and an array of community exercise studios available, keeping fit can be an affordable lifestyle

More of an outdoor person or prefer something off the beaten path? Taking a hike through New Zealand’s breathtaking nature is completely free.

Two of the best hiking trails, Wattle Bay Loop and Wenderholm Regional Park, are just an hour away from Auckland!

Healthcare is heavily discounted for citizens, PRs, and many work visa holders. However, you will not be entitled to these benefits if you stay for less than two years. In that case, a consultation at the doctor costs around NZ$50 and NZ$5 for a prescription at the pharmacy.

Costs Overview*:

Meal in the CBD: NZ$18 

Combo meal at a fast food restaurant: NZ$12

Litre of milk: NZ$2.20

500g of boneless chicken breast: NZ$8

12 large eggs: NZ$7

Public transport (monthly ticket): NZ$198

A pair of jeans (Levis or similar): NZ$111

Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area: NZ$2,789

Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area: NZ$2,344

Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area: NZ$2,094

Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in NORMAL area: NZ$1,528

4 rolls of toilet paper: NZ$2.80

Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz): NZ$8

*Taken from Expatistan for costs in Auckland, New Zealand

Knowing the cost of living is vital when preparing to study abroad. Use our cost of living calculator to estimate how much you will need to cover all your expenses as an international student. Go to IDP's Cost of Living Calculator.

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Working while studying in New Zealand

You can study and work in New Zealand as most students enrolled in a course of 12 months' duration or longer can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during semester and during holiday periods.


There are eight public universities in New Zealand. Five of these New Zealand schools were listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

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