• Best Places to Live in New Zealand for Expats

    Posted by Dannielle Noonan


    Wine, rugby and stunning scenery… what’s stopping you moving to New Zealand?

    With the familiarity of a shared language, the warm, welcoming climate and a laid back ‘work to live’ mentality; New Zealand is a top choice for many Brits looking to escape the UK’s weather. The team of international health insurance advisors at Medibroker speak to many people planning a life in this part of the Southern Hemisphere.

    If you’re planning a move to New Zealand, which was recently named Forbes' 'Friendliest Country in the World for Expats', you might be wondering about the best locations for expats to live in NZ. Which of the two beautiful islands you choose will depend on what attracts you to New Zealand as an expat destination. Whether you are moving to NZ for work or to retire, what kind of lifestyle you’re seeking, and how important it is to you to be close to a city are all factors you should consider.

    People thinking of bringing up children in New Zealand are drawn to the emphasis on sports in schools, the proud Maori culture and the fact that it's common to see schoolchildren forego shoes for bare feet and a smile!

    Getting there

    New Zealand is home to immigrants from over 145 countries. There are several different visas for people who are going to New Zealand to work, including an essential skills visa aimed at highly qualified workers aged under 55 who can fill shortage skills, and a working holiday visa for under-30s. Comprising global reach with the charm of small town communities, the Kiwi country is a relocation destination that offers a smooth transition to life overseas. We've put together a list of the best places for expats to live in New Zealand.

    The South Island

    The South Island allows a rural retreat for those who shy away from the bright lights of crowded cities. Just one third of New Zealand's entire population live in the South Island, even though it is much larger than its Northern counterpart. The South Island also has less rain and more sunshine - perfect for expats seeking a life in the sun! Home to natural beauty spots like Lake Tekapo, unique sights like the Franz Josef Glacier and the world's biggest swing (yes, really) in Queenstown; expats can look forward to a well-rounded life in the South Island of New Zealand.


    Nelson’s economy is mainly driven by the seafood, horticulture, tourism and forestry industries. Expats are likely to find jobs in Nelson’s growing art, aviation, engineering and information technology industries. Nelson residents enjoy free WIFI in the town centre and weekend trips to the impressive and tranquil Abel Tasman National Park. The town also boasts an annual average of 2400 hours of sunshine, which is a huge perk!


    Though still recovering from the earthquakes, the city’s resilience reflects its inhabitants’ positive outlook and pride in their city. Christchurch, with its small-town feel is known as the most ‘English’ city in New Zealand – so expats should feel right at home!


    Tourism is a huge industry in this quaint lakeside town, meaning plenty of jobs and a happy cacophony of accents. If you’re into skiing, socialising and amazing burgers; this is the place for you. Nestled between majestic mountain ranges, Queenstown is a haven for adventure junkies – but still has plenty to offer those who prefer a more relaxed way of life.



    The North Island

    New Zealand's North Island, particularly around Auckland, can be more expensive than down South. It’s a bit of a haven for beach lovers and its rugged scenery charms expats and travellers alike. Auckland airport is the country's main transport hub and from there expats and travellers can access the diverse and endless attractions of New Zealand. If you're moving to New Zealand to work in an international office, you can expect a more laid-back approach to work and a less hierarchic structure in the New Zealand office.


    New Zealand’s largest and most highly populated city has two stunning harbours that grant Auckland the nickname “City of Sails”. Auckland exhibits all the benefits of city living while retaining the beauty of New Zealand with offices a stones throw from the beach. Job wise, many international companies have offices in Auckland due to its weight in the Asian Pacific – but this also means the cost of living is higher than elsewhere in NZ.



    Windy Wellington has been referred to as the ‘world’s coolest capital’. If you loathe your morning commute, you might be interested to learn that most Wellington residents’ journey to work is under 5km. If that’s not enough to tempt you, Wellington is also home to a thriving nightlife and culinary scene.


    Hailed as New Zealand’s most beautiful city, Rotorua has an emphasis on sustainability. Situated in what is considered to be one of the most volcanically active regions, it is often nicknamed ‘the smelly city’ – but don’t let that put you off. The abundance of crystal clear lakes in the region allow you to reconnect with nature in Rotorua.

    Do you live in any of these Kiwi destinations?

    It's easy to forget that in other English speaking countries, healthcare isn't free. If you’re moving to New Zealand or anywhere else in the world, it’s important to get the right international health insurance for your needs. Request a free quote today or call one of our advisors for a jargon-free chat on +44 (0) 191 270 3034. Alternatively, email customer.services@medibroker.com and one of our team will get back to you.

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