Cost Of Living In New Zealand Vs Australia

Australia and New Zealand are among the most popular choices for those looking to move to a country with a more outdoorsy vibe. While both countries have an expansive natural beauty to offer, the cost of living varies significantly.

Although New Zealand is generally considered to be less expensive than Australia, there are still numerous other factors to consider, including your income.

In this article, we compare the cost of everyday necessities, rent, and utilities, as well as the potential earning range in the two countries, to help you make the right move.

Cost of Living: New Zealand Vs. Australia

Overall, New Zealand has a lower cost of living than Australia. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is cheaper by 17.72%, one-way local transportation is cheaper by 29.06%, and a loaf of white bread is cheaper by 8.38%.

It seems obvious that New Zealand is a better choice. However, you will also need to compare work opportunities and salaries offered in the two countries.

Let’s take a closer look and compare living costs in Australia and New Zealand. All amounts we’ve presented below are in New Zealand dollars to make it easier to understand.


Whether you buy an apartment or rent one, the housing costs are lower overall in New Zealand.

If you want to buy an apartment in the main city center in Australia, it will cost you approximately 9,100 NZ$ per square ft., while the same will cost about 8,400 NZ$ in New Zealand. Outside the city center, however, the housing market is more affordable, with the cost per square ft. being nearly 6,200 NZ$ in Australia and 6,100 NZ$ in New Zealand.

The rent is also cheaper in New Zealand compared to that in Australia. A one-bedroom apartment n Australia can cost between 1,600 NZ$ to 2,000 NZ$, whereas it will cost 1,300 NZ$ to 1,600 NZ$ in New Zealand.

Irrespective of the city you choose in Australia, the housing costs will still be higher than in New Zealand. However, long-term mortgage interest rates are higher in New Zealand.


The average annual salary is $48,000 in New Zealand and $42,000 in Australia. So, employees in New Zealand, on average, earn $6,000 more per year than employees in Australia.

This difference can go as high as $10,000 or more per year for certain skilled occupations like healthcare and engineering.

Job Annual Salary In New Zealand Annual Salary In Australia
Family Doctor 148,202 NZ$ 136,083 NZ$
Architect 67,667 NZ$ 62,134 NZ$
Mechanical Engineer 66,550 NZ$ 61108 NZ$
Chemical Engineer 64,996 NZ$ 59,681 NZ$
Early Childhood Educator 53,089 NZ$ 48,748 NZ$
Registered Nurse 62,433 NZ$ 57,328 NZ$
Psychiatrist 175,542 NZ$ 161,188 NZ$
Veterinarian 78,874 NZ$ 72,424 NZ$
Carpenter 59,736 NZ$ 54,851 NZ$
Welder 52,381 NZ$ 48,098 NZ$

New Zealand is also a better place to work as employees are better protected with worker rights. This means more downtime for workers in terms of holidays and sick leaves.

Moreover, Australia’s average working hours per week are 40 hours, while New Zealand requires 38 hours. So, New Zealanders get more time to spend with family or pursue leisure activities or hobbies.

Goods And Services

Apart from your basic amenities, most people need additional spending money for clothing purchases, hobbies, or transportation costs. These purchases will reflect on your monthly expenses.

1. Shoes And Clothing

You may not think clothing costs will vary too much between Australia and New Zealand, but it does.

Australia has more extreme weather, with extreme winters and blistering hot summers. This results in people buying more clothes and clothes that are season-appropriate.

This difference in clothing and shoes is not that high between the two countries, but it does exist.

Shoes and Clothing New Zealand Australia
A Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 180.87 NZ$ 168.21 NZ$
A Pair of Nike Running Shoes 150.58 NZ$ 155.88 NZ$
1 Summer Dress (in chain stores like H and M, Zara, etc.) 65.02 NZ$ 64.12 NZ$
1 Pair of Jeans 108.91 NZ$ 109.83 NZ$

2. Transport

Local transport is cheaper in New Zealand, but transport by taxi and a private car is costly. On the other hand, buying a new car is more affordable in Australia than in New Zealand.

Transportation New Zealand Australia
One-way Ticket for Local Transport 3.50 NZ$ 4.93 NZ$
Monthly Pass 152.30 NZ$ 164.46 NZ$
Taxi Start 3.75 NZ$ 4.60 NZ$
Taxi 1 mile 4.83 NZ$ 3.83 NZ$
Taxi 1-hour Waiting 60.00 NZ$ 57.01 NZ$
Gasoline (1 gallon) 10.80 NZ$ 8.31 NZ$

3. Sports And Leisure

There is not much difference in the cost of leisure activities in Australia and New Zealand, although New Zealand is still marginally cheaper.

Leisure Activities New Zealand Australia
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 22.20 NZ$ 21.60 NZ$
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 62.24 NZ$ 72.86 NZ$
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 18.00 NZ$ 21.93 NZ$

Food Items

Unless you eat out most days, groceries form a major part of your monthly expense, doubly so if you are living with a family.

While there is no major price difference in food items between Australia and New Zealand, some foods like bread, beer, wine, and certain fruits and vegetables are cheaper in New Zealand. However, products like rice, milk, cheese, eggs, beef, and chicken are less costly in Australia.

Item New Zealand Australia
Rice (1 lb) 1.42 NZ$ 1.39 NZ$
Loaf of bread (1 lb) 2.77 NZ$ 3.02 NZ$
Eggs (1 dozen) 6.85 NZ$) 5.66 NZ$
Chicken filets (1 lb) 6.43 NZ$ 5.70 NZ$
Beef (1 lb) 10.00 NZ$ 9.80 NZ$
Milk (1 gallon) 11.04 NZ$ 7.89 NZ$
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1.68 NZ$ 2.43 NZ$
Beer (domestic 0.5 liter bottle) 4.79 NZ$ 6.39 NZ$
Beer (imported) (12 oz small bottle) 5.46 NZ$ 6.92 NZ$
Wine (Mid-Range bottle) 16.00 NZ$ 18.67 NZ$
Cheese (1 lb) (local) 6.43 NZ$ 5.60 NZ$
Apple (1 lb) 1.94 NZ$ 2.23 NZ$
Banana (1 lb) 1.48 NZ$ 1.82 NZ$
Oranges (1 lb) 2.18 NZ$ 1.94 NZ$
Tomato (1 lb) 2.49 NZ$ 3.40 NZ$
Onion (1 lb) 1.24 NZ$ 1.37 NZ$
Potato (1 lb) 1.46 NZ$ 1.66 NZ$
Lettuce (1 head) 4.16 NZ$ 3.75 NZ$
Cigarettes (Marlboro pack of 20) 36.90 NZ$ 43.93 NZ$

Dining Out

Whether you enjoy a meal out once or twice a week or like to indulge and dine out often, you would want to know which country will be cheaper for dining out.

In Australia, beer and meals at restaurants are cheaper, whereas fast food and other beverages are cheaper in New Zealand.

Dining Out Costs New Zealand Australia
3-course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant 114.50 NZ$ 109.82 NZ$
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant 22.00 NZ$ 21.96 NZ$
McMeal at McDonald’s 14.00 NZ$ 14.28 NZ$
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught) 10.00 NZ$ 8.79 NZ$
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 10.00 NZ$ 9.88 NZ$
Cappuccino (regular) 5.22 NZ$ 5.26 NZ$
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle) 3.56 NZ$ 3.90 NZ$
Water (12 oz small bottle) 3.15 NZ$ 3.26 NZ$


Here are some common utilities and their costs in the two countries:

Monthly utilities New Zealand Australia
Basic Amenities like Electricity, Water, Heating, Cooling, and Garbage for 915 sq ft Apartment 206.17 NZ$ 225.68 NZ$
1 min. of Mobile Tariff, Prepaid and Local 0.42 NZ$ 0.45 NZ$
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 84.14 NZ$ 84.04 NZ$

The amount you pay will depend upon the size of your house and usage. However, most utilities are cheaper in New Zealand.

School System And Cost

If you are moving with your family or considering becoming a parent in the future, you will have to consider the cost of schooling.

Schooling New Zealand Australia
1 Child in Preschool or Kindergarten For Full Day, Private, Monthly Cost 1,119.04 NZ$ 2,246.05 NZ$
1 Child in International Primary School, Yearly Cost 17,734.38 NZ$ 19,214.34 NZ$

Schooling is very costly in Australia, with preschool expenses double that in New Zealand.

Quality Of Life Index

The quality of life index is a number given to each country by the World Population Review. The higher the number, the better the quality of life in that country.

According to the mid-2021 rankings, Australia comes in at the 5th position with a quality of life index value of 183.81, while New Zealand is a bit behind, ranking 9th and having an index of 176.81.

So, although most amenities are costlier in Australia, it also offers a better quality of life compared to New Zealand.


Whether you’re excited about the Land Down Under or want to explore the Kiwi country, it’s important to take into account the cost of living in both countries. New Zealand is cheaper in most aspects and also offers greater salaries, helping you save more. However, Australia is more urban and offers a higher quality of life. So, make sure you take all the factors into consideration to make the best decision for your big move!



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