Where in New Zealand Should You Move To? We reveal the best places to live in New Zealand

by | Wednesday 24th January 2024

When it comes to moving abroad from the UK, New Zealand is at the top of many people’s lists. Whether you dream of the tranquillity of nature or the embrace of a close knit and welcoming community, New Zealand has a place for every lifestyle. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that New Zealand only has one type of area to offer, as exploring the diverse landscapes and unique personalities of New Zealand’s best cities and towns is all part of the fun.

Whether you are moving to New Zealand for work or leisure or as a family for a more relaxing way of life, this blog will help you discover where in New Zealand you should call home.

Moving to New Zealand’s North Island


surban houses Auckland

Nestled on New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland stands proudly as the nation’s largest city, a vibrant mix of cultures that contributes to its diversity. The bustling urban landscape is characterised by a rich tapestry of ethnicities, creating a cosmopolitan atmosphere that appeals to residents and visitors alike. Auckland’s reputation as an economic powerhouse is well earned, with a range of job opportunities spanning various industries.

Amidst the urban hustle, Auckland has natural splendour, with pristine beaches adorning its coastal fringes. From the black sands of Piha to the golden shores of Takapuna, the city’s waterfront areas present a picturesque backdrop that complements its cosmopolitan charm. However, this enticing lifestyle comes at a price, as Auckland carries a higher cost of living. Yet, the city endeavours to balance this with an extensive range of amenities, ensuring residents enjoy a high quality of life. Beyond the towering skyscrapers, Auckland offers cultural treasures like museums and art galleries, while its culinary scene thrives in diverse neighbourhoods.


surban houses Auckland

Wellington proudly stands as the nation’s capital, celebrated for its vibrant creative scene and distinguished government job opportunities. The city’s creative spirit is palpable, evident in its numerous art galleries, theatres and the annual Wellington Arts Festival, which showcases the diverse talents of local and international artists. In addition to its cultural allure, Wellington serves as the political epicentre of New Zealand, hosting the country’s government institutions.

Wellington distinguishes itself from its larger counterpart, Auckland, by offering a more moderate cost of living. This factor, combined with its dynamic job market, makes it an appealing choice for those looking to balance career opportunities with a manageable economic lifestyle. The city’s urban environment is characterised by a lively atmosphere, with a bustling central business district surrounded by eclectic neighbourhoods.


Waikato River in Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton is a popular destination, drawing attention for its affordability and the burgeoning expansion of its business sector. In recent years, the city has witnessed a surge in economic activity, with a growing number of businesses finding a place in the area. This has not only resulted in an influx of job opportunities but has also positioned Hamilton as a promising hub for career growth and entrepreneurial ventures.

Hamilton’s charm extends beyond its economic prospects, as the city is known for its pleasant climate and abundance of parks. The temperate weather creates an inviting atmosphere for outdoor activities, and the city’s green spaces provide a serene backdrop for residents to unwind and connect with nature.

New Plymouth

New Plymouth is an attractive destination for those seeking a more serene and affordable lifestyle. With a slower pace than larger urban centres, this smaller city provides an inviting atmosphere for residents prioritising tranquillity. New Plymouth has carved out a niche for itself as an ideal place to call home, offering a cost of living that is more manageable than its metropolitan counterparts. The city’s charm lies in its ability to balance a peaceful environment and the necessary amenities that contribute to a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Beyond its peaceful ambiance and affordability, New Plymouth is notable for specific job opportunities that have taken root in the city. The local economy thrives in sectors such as teaching, engineering, and food technology, providing a diverse array of career options for residents. Additionally, the city boasts a vibrant local music scene, attracting music enthusiasts and fostering a sense of community through live performances and cultural events. The surrounding natural beauty further enhances the quality of life, with residents enjoying easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports and exploring the stunning landscapes that characterise the Taranaki region.

Taupō and Rotorua

Rotorua New Zealand

The towns of Taupō and Rotorua have become attractive locations for those seeking an affordable and idyllic retirement. Popular among early retiree expats, these towns offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of larger cities. The cost of living in Taupō and Rotorua is considerably more reasonable than in metropolitan areas, making them popular options for individuals looking to enjoy their retirement years without breaking the bank.

Beyond their affordability, Taupō and Rotorua present a unique blend of natural beauty and community amenities. The picturesque landscapes surrounding Lake Taupō and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua provide residents with stunning backdrops for their daily lives. Whether it’s the pristine waters of Lake Taupō, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in water activities, or the bubbling mud pools and geysers of Rotorua, these towns seamlessly integrate natural wonders into the everyday lives of their inhabitants. Alongside the scenic beauty, both towns offer essential community amenities, including healthcare facilities, recreational spaces, and cultural activities, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling retirement experience.

Northland Region

Waitangi, Bay of Islands, Paihia, Northland, New Zealand

This region is ideal for those who seek a more temperate environment, with its inviting weather allowing residents and visitors alike to revel in outdoor activities year round. Northland’s scenic landscapes boast pristine beaches that stretch along its coastline and national parks, showcasing the region’s diverse flora and fauna. The breathtaking beauty of places like the Bay of Islands and Ninety Mile Beach adds to the region’s appeal, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Among the notable cities in the Northland Region, Whangārei stands out as a popular destination, celebrated for its rich history and natural attractions. As the largest city in Northland, Whangārei offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and modern amenities. In essence, the Northland Region, with Whangārei at its heart, beckons with a combination of warm hospitality, historical richness, and awe inspiring natural wonders, creating a truly unique and captivating living experience.

What New Zealand’s South Island Has to Offer


Sumner Beach in Christchurch New Zealand

As the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch has earned its reputation for providing a unique blend of urban living and natural tranquillity. The city is renowned for its spacious, tree filled parks, offering residents a breath of fresh air and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. This emphasis on green spaces contributes to Christchurch’s distinctive charm, creating a cityscape that seamlessly integrates nature into its urban fabric.

Christchurch is distinguished by its lower cost of living when compared to larger cities in the region. This affordability factor, combined with the city’s robust economy, make it an attractive destination. Christchurch has become a hub for various industries, with notable strengths in software development, medicine and hospitality, creating an attractive job market. Additionally, the flourishing hospitality sector ensures a dynamic atmosphere, with an array of dining, entertainment, and cultural experiences contributing to the city’s overall vibrancy.


Dunedin Otago New Zealand

Affectionately referred to as the “Edinburgh of the South,” Dunedin is a city of distinctive charm, drawing in families and professionals alike. The moniker captures the essence of Dunedin’s unique appeal, referencing its blend of urban sophistication and the natural beauty that surrounds it. The city’s architectural landscape, reminiscent of its Scottish namesake, reflects a sense of history and cultural richness. The vibrant city centre creates an atmospheric backdrop for residents and visitors to explore.

One of Dunedin’s standout features is its reasonable cost of living, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a high quality of life without the financial strain often associated with urban living. Families find the city appealing for its educational opportunities, and professionals appreciate the diverse job market that spans various sectors, including academia, healthcare, and technology.


Queenstown New Zealand

Queenstown stands as a destination that’s celebrated for its stunning lake settings and luxurious amenities. The city’s fame is tied to the dramatic beauty of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, creating a picturesque backdrop. Queenstown’s appeal extends beyond its natural wonders to encompass a selection of high quality facilities, ranging from upscale resorts and spas to gourmet restaurants and boutique shops.

Queenstown has become a preferred choice for individuals seeking a lifestyle that exudes luxury and exclusivity. The city’s upscale living experience is showcased by its premium real estate options, upscale entertainment venues and various recreational opportunities. From upscale skiing resorts in the winter to outdoor adventures and fine dining experiences throughout the year, Queenstown caters to those who appreciate the finer things in life.


Nelson New Zealand

Nelson boasts idyllic landscapes, golden sand beaches and picturesque towns. The region’s coastline is made up of pristine beaches, such as Tahunanui and Kaiteriteri, offering residents a blissful escape to sun soaked shores. Beyond the beaches, Nelson is dotted with small, scenic towns that exude a laid back charm, providing a tranquil backdrop for those seeking a slower pace of life.

Nelson’s appeal is further heightened for expats drawn to coastal living and a relaxed atmosphere. The city provides an escape for those who appreciate the harmony between urban amenities and the tranquillity of coastal landscapes. In addition to its natural beauty, Nelson is conveniently positioned for easy access to other parts of New Zealand.


Invercargill boasts a reputation for fostering a friendly and close knit community. The city’s welcoming atmosphere is reflected in the warm interactions among its residents, creating a sense of camaraderie that contributes to its unique charm. The cost of housing is notably reasonable, making it an attractive choice for individuals and families looking to establish roots without the financial strain often associated with urban life. This affordability, combined with a strong sense of community, creates an environment where residents feel connected and engaged with their surroundings.

Invercargill’s appeal extends beyond its community-oriented atmosphere to the breathtaking natural landscapes that surround it. Positioned in proximity to some of New Zealand’s most stunning regions, including Fiordland and Stewart Island, residents of Invercargill are granted easy access to outdoor havens.


Wanaka stands as a testament to the extraordinary natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. Wanaka is celebrated for its incredible views of the pristine lake and the surrounding Southern Alps, creating a memorable backdrop that captures the hearts of residents and visitors alike. The town’s intimate setting, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities, allows individuals to immerse themselves in the tranquillity of its surroundings.

What sets Wanaka apart is its status as a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, attracting those who have a passion for adventure and nature. The town has carved a niche as a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, with numerous trails catering to various skill levels, from leisurely walks along the lakeshore to challenging alpine tracks. In the winter months, Wanaka transforms into a snowy wonderland, drawing skiers and snowboarders to its world class slopes.

Decided Where to Move to in New Zealand?

best places to live in New Zealand

Regardless of whether you want to move to the North Island or South Island of New Zealand, you won’t be short of choice. Once you have decided, it’s time to start planning your move, which includes informing everyone of your relocation and organising an international removal company.

At United International Removals, we streamline the removals process. From the moment you begin organising your relocation to the moment your belongings arrive in New Zealand, our removals team ensures that everything is as stress-free and straightforward as possible. Contact us today to find out more or organise a quote.

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