comparison of cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia

Australia vs New Zealand: Which Is The Better Place To Live?

Choosing between living in New Zealand vs Australia? Uncover the key differences in living costs, job markets, lifestyle qualities, and beyond in our thorough analysis. We strip down the essential information, providing you with clarity on where each country stands to assist you in your decision without overwhelming you with complexities.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of living is generally higher in Australia, especially when it comes to rent in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but salaries are also higher in Australia compared to New Zealand.
  • New Zealand offers a more affordable lifestyle with lower costs for groceries, utilities, and healthcare, and is considered to have a slower pace of life that prioritizes leisure and community.
  • Both Australia and New Zealand provide quality healthcare and education, along with a varied visa process for different immigration purposes, but Australia’s economy is more diverse with higher earning potential.

Evaluating the Cost of Living: New Zealand vs Australia

While both Australia and New Zealand offer a high standard of living, their cost of living varies significantly. For instance, New Zealand’s average prices for consumer goods and services, rent, and groceries are lower than in Australia. However, New Zealand’s purchasing power is 17.49% lower than Australia’s, meaning that the overall cost of living is slightly higher in Australia.

In addition, the average rent price in Australia is particularly high, especially in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. This makes it challenging for many people to afford housing in these areas. But when you exclude these major centres, the cost of renting or buying a home is generally cheaper in New Zealand.

Next, we will examine the cost of daily essentials such as utilities and groceries.

Accommodation Costs: From City Centre to Suburbs

When it comes to accommodation costs, both big cities and smaller towns in New Zealand and Australia have their pros and cons. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Housing is generally more affordable in smaller towns compared to larger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, and Auckland. This affordability gap is due to factors such as demand, population size, and cost of living.
  • If you step outside the city centres, you’ll find that rent prices in Australia are between 15-20% higher than in New Zealand.
  • Rent prices can be up to 26% more expensive in the city centres of Australia compared to New Zealand.

Therefore, smaller towns or suburbs on the East Coast in both countries could be preferable for those seeking more affordable accommodation with competitive prices, such as finding the same apartment at a lower cost.

Everyday Expenses: Groceries and Utilities

Aside from housing, everyday expenses like groceries and utilities also play a significant role in the cost of living. Surprisingly, groceries are on average 8.5% more expensive in Australia than in New Zealand. Therefore, for those aiming to economize on grocery bills, New Zealand could be the preferable choice.

When it comes to utilities, New Zealand again takes the lead with average monthly costs being 33.6% cheaper compared to Australia. The only exception is the cost of the internet, which is nearly identical in both countries. Overall, when considering everyday expenses, New Zealand seems to provide a more affordable way of life.

Transportation and Miscellaneous Costs

While New Zealand may be cheaper in terms of accommodation and everyday expenses, other factors like transportation also contribute to the overall cost of living. Interestingly, New Zealand encourages sustainable travel options, promoting behaviours such as video conferencing and the use of electric or hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions. Although this doesn’t have a direct impact on the cost of living, it does indicate a commitment towards creating a sustainable future.

Work Opportunities and Economic Prospects

Of course, the cost of living is just one part of the equation. Your ability to support yourself and your family in a new country also depends on the availability of work opportunities and the overall economic prospects. When it comes to job opportunities, both New Zealand and Australia have dynamic job markets, with certain industries experiencing growth and increased demand for skilled workers. Some of the industries with good job prospects in both countries include:

  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Information technology and digital services
  • Education and training
  • Tourism and hospitality

Considering these factors along with the cost of living can help you make an informed decision about which country is the best fit for you.

However, does this imply job equality in both countries? We will find out in the succeeding sections.

Pursuing a New Career: Industries on the Rise

Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to advance your career, it’s essential to know which industries are on the rise. In New Zealand, the top industries for job ad growth include:

  • Government & Defence
  • Healthcare & Medical
  • Manufacturing
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Sales
  • Information & Communication Technology

This suggests a wide range of career opportunities in disability services, from healthcare to technology.

On the other hand, Australia offers diverse job opportunities across various industries. Hence, for those contemplating a significant career move, both countries provide numerous opportunities.

Salary Showdown: Earnings in New Zealand vs Australia

While job opportunities are important, so is the salary that comes with it. When it comes to earnings, Australia seems to be leading the way. Here are some key salary statistics:

  • The average monthly net salary after tax is higher in Australia compared to New Zealand.
  • Australians earn an average annual salary of AUD90,800.
  • New Zealanders earn an average of NZD97,300.

Thus, for those prioritizing a higher salary, Australia could be a better option.

Lifestyle and Leisure: Comparing the Great Outdoors

Life isn’t just about work and expenses, is it? Leisure and lifestyle play a huge role in determining your quality of life. Both Australia and New Zealand are famous for their love of the great outdoors, offering a plethora of activities to satisfy your adventurous spirit. From skiing and mountaineering in New Zealand’s Southern Alps to surfing and sailing in Australia’s Gold Coast, there’s never a dull moment in these countries.

Which country, though, provides a better work-life balance? We will further explore the only country that excels in its lifestyle and leisure activities.

Embracing Nature: Outdoor Adventures in Both Countries

When it comes to embracing nature, both Australia and New Zealand have plenty to offer. New Zealand is known for its picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing. On the other hand, Australia’s favourable climate lends itself to an active outdoor lifestyle, with activities like surfing, sailing, and camping being widely enjoyed across the country. The New Zealand-Australia region, as a whole, offers an incredible array of experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Thus, whether you are an adrenaline enthusiast or a nature aficionado, both countries provide a myriad of outdoor activities for your entertainment.

The Pace of Life: Slower in New Zealand?

While both countries offer a wealth of outdoor activities, the pace of life differs significantly. New Zealand is often seen as a lifestyle-first country where friendliness, life outside of career, and the value of material things contribute to a more relaxed pace of life compared to Australia’s vibrant cities and emphasis on work.

This slower pace of life, coupled with a lower cost of living and smaller populations in cities and towns, makes New Zealand an attractive choice for those seeking a more relaxed lifestyle.

Safety and Wellbeing: Is New Zealand the Safer Choice?

Safety and wellbeing are crucial factors to consider when choosing a new home. According to the Global Peace Index, New Zealand ranked as the second safest country in the world in 2020, with Australia ranked at 13. But how safe do residents feel in these countries? And what about natural hazards?

We will delve into these aspects in the subsequent sections.

Peaceful Living: How Safe Do Residents Feel?

When it comes to feeling safe, both countries have their strengths. In 2014, a significant majority of New Zealand adults reported feeling safe in their neighbourhoods after dark, and 69% did not perceive a crime problem in their area.

On the other hand, Australians have been affected by regional terrorism events such as the Bali bombings, which have increased awareness and contributed to concerns about the threat of terrorism within the country. Thus, although both countries are generally safe, safety perceptions can differ based on individual experiences and situations.

Natural Hazards: Weathering the Storm

While crime rates and personal safety are important, natural hazards and weather-related risks also play a role in determining the safety of a country. New Zealand, being located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is prone to earthquakes, with around 15,000 occurring annually. Australia, on the other hand, faces hazards such as bushfires and encounters with dangerous animals, particularly when driving at night in isolated areas. Thus, even though New Zealand may have a lower crime rate, it is crucial to take into account other factors such as natural hazards when determining the safer option.

Healthcare Systems Unveiled

Healthcare is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a new home. Both Australia and New Zealand offer world-class healthcare services with a mix of public and private options. However, there are significant differences in how healthcare is delivered and financed in these two countries.

We will further examine their healthcare systems in the subsequent sections.

Public vs Private: Navigating Healthcare Choices

When it comes to healthcare, both Australia and New Zealand offer a range of options, including private medical aid. In Australia, citizens, permanent residents, and some temporary residents qualify for Medicare, the public healthcare system, which covers doctor visits and medical tests. In contrast, New Zealand’s public healthcare is entirely covered for patients referred by a GP, managed by Te Whatu Ora, and involving specific Māori health via Te Aka Whai Ora. Both countries also offer private health insurance options for those seeking additional coverage.

Quality of Care: International Standards Met

While access to healthcare is important, the quality of care is equally crucial. Both New Zealand and Australia are ranked highly for the quality of their healthcare systems, with challenges like staffing shortages, ageing populations, and health disparities for indigenous populations.

New Zealand is making targeted efforts to improve healthcare for Māori through the establishment of a Māori Health Authority. In Australia, private hospitals provide additional services and shorter wait times for elective surgeries, while the public healthcare system is equipped to handle complex cases and emergencies.

Education for the Future: Australia or New Zealand?

Education is a key determining factor, especially for families with children. Both Australia and New Zealand offer world-class education, with a student-centred approach in New Zealand and a highly respected system with government-approved institutions in Australia. But how do their schooling curriculums compare? And what about higher education options? We will dig deeper into this in the upcoming sections.

Schooling Down Under: Curriculum Comparisons

Schooling curriculums in Australia and New Zealand have their distinct features. Australia’s education is compulsory from ages six to sixteen and emphasizes sports and extracurricular activities. In contrast, New Zealand’s education system is recognized for its supportive learning environment and open-minded approach.

Both countries offer diverse options for schooling, but New Zealand offers limited religious instruction and promotes its national culture and Maori language.

Higher Learning: University Options and Costs

When it comes to higher education, both countries offer a wide range of options. Australia has 43 universities, including a mix of international and private institutions, offering courses in various disciplines. However, tuition fees for local students are subsidized, while international students pay full tuition without government loans.

On the other hand, New Zealand’s education system subsidizes about 66 to 75% of university costs, with the availability of interest-free student loans. So, if you’re considering further studies, both countries offer excellent opportunities, but the cost might be a deciding factor.

Cultural Tapestry: The Social Fabric of New Zealand and Australia

Culture plays a significant role in shaping the social fabric of a country, influencing its lifestyle, values, and customs. Australia is characterized by a diverse and multicultural society, whereas New Zealand is recognized for its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. But what does this mean for potential residents? We will examine in more detail the cultural aspects of life in both countries.

Multicultural Melting Pot: Australia’s Diverse Society

Australia’s cultural diversity is enriched by Western influences and the heritage of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and other Australian people. This multiculturalism is rooted in a compact of citizenship that cherishes cultural diversity within the framework of an Australian democracy.

Hence, if you’re looking for a multicultural society with a diverse range of cultural experiences, Australia is the place to be.

Kiwi Culture: Community and Sustainability

On the other hand, New Zealand’s cultural mix prominently includes Maori and European influences. A significant aspect of Kiwi culture is the emphasis on community and sustainability, which are integral to New Zealand’s policy-making and are prominently reflected in government actions and national identity.

So, if you’re looking for a community-oriented and sustainable living approach, New Zealand might be the perfect choice.

Visa Variations: Pathways to a New Life

Finally, let’s talk about the practicalities of moving to a new country – the visa process. Both Australia and New Zealand have their own immigration policies and visa types, catering to different immigration purposes. So, whether you’re planning to:

  • visit
  • study
  • work
  • settle down

Understanding the visa process is crucial.

We will delve into the visa processes in Australia and New Zealand.

Getting In: Australia’s Immigration System

Australia’s immigration system offers a diverse range of visas for various purposes including:

  • Tourism
  • Study
  • Work
  • Family reunions
  • Investing

Short-term visitors can utilize visas like the eVisitor, Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and visitor visa. For long-term aspirants such as international students or skilled professionals, specific visa categories like the Student Visa or the Skilled Independent Visa are available.

Interestingly, Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens have a distinctive advantage with access to the Special Category Visa, allowing them to live, work, and study in Australia without a prearranged visa.

Welcome to New Zealand: Understanding the Visa Process

New Zealand provides several visa options including:

  • Work visa
  • Study visa
  • Visit visa
  • Family visa
  • Permanent residency visa

An online visa search and comparison tool helps applicants find and select the most appropriate visa for their circumstances. Some visas, particularly for skilled migrants, may require an Expression of Interest (EOI) before receiving an invitation to apply.

Visa processing times in New Zealand vary based on the type of visa, the applicant’s location, and the current volume of applications processed by Immigration New Zealand.


In conclusion, both Australia and New Zealand offer enticing prospects for potential residents. From cost of living to job opportunities, outdoor lifestyle, and quality of education, both countries have their unique strengths. While Australia offers a multicultural society and higher salaries, New Zealand is known for its relaxed pace of life and community-oriented culture.

Ultimately, the choice between Australia and New Zealand comes down to your personal preferences and priorities. Whatever your choice, one thing is certain – both countries promise an enriching and fulfilling living experience in their unique ways.

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