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The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Auckland

Everything you need to know about making Tāmaki Makaurau home
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The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Auckland

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Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. With a population of 1.72 million (growing), it often tops the list of the world’s most livable cities.

If you’ve ever visited, you’ll know why. From the beautiful scenery, booming job market and diverse population to warmer weather than most of the country, immigrants and New Zealanders alike have many reasons for calling Auckland home.

If you’re considering moving to the City of Sails but have never visited, fear not! Our guide covers everything you need to know about the city.

From what to expect, where to live, how much you need to earn and how to spend your spare time, we’ve gathered all the information so you can make an informed decision about your move.

What to expect

Tāmaki Makaurau is the Maori name for Auckland and means ‘the spouse desired by many.’ It’s an apt name for New Zealand’s biggest and most diverse city! Located on a narrow band of land and surrounded by water on both sides, the city was originally established by English colonialists on land offered by Ngāti Whātua.

Today, Auckland is the gateway for many New Zealand immigrants. This makes the city wildly diverse, with heavy European, Asian, Indian and Pacific Island populations. In fact, around one-third of its population is born overseas.

Demographics

With such heavy immigration, Auckland is the most ethnically diverse region in the country. In fact, Auckland is home to the largest Pacific Island population of any city in the world. Although these numbers will have changed, as of 30 June, 2021:

  • 29% of residents identified as Asian descent

  • 11% of residents identified as Māori descent

  • 16% of residents identified as Pacifica descent

  • 59% of residents identified as Pakeha/European descent

  • 1.9% of residents identified as Middle Eastern, African or Latin descent

  • 1.2% of residents identified as having Other descent

*These numbers allow for people to identify as more than one ethnicity.

Auckland has the highest population (65%) of Asian and Pacifica people out of all New Zealand cities. While the majority of the population are of European/Pakeha descent (59%) this is much lower than most cities, where these ethnicities make up 75% of the population.

Asian populations include Chinese (9% of Aucklanders), Indian (8%), Korean (2%), Filipino (2%) and Sri Lankan (1%).

What does this mean for you:

If you’re looking for a diverse city to move to in New Zealand, Auckland is a great bet! With strong Asian, Pacific and Māori communities and immigrants from all over the world, you may find it easy to feel right at home!

Cost of Living

It’s no secret that Auckland is a great place to live but, is it affordable? Yes and no.

Many immigrants find life in New Zealand more expensive than in other western countries. This is due to a few factors. One, we’re a nation of only 5 million people. Fewer businesses mean less competition which often means paying more for products than you might in Europe or North America.

The second factor is due to our location. As a South Pacific island, New Zealand is geographically isolated from much of the world. This makes shipping goods exponentially more expensive than shipping to other countries.

The good news is that New Zealanders are pretty laid back when it comes to ‘keeping up’ with appearances. That means less pressure to buy a flashy house, new car, or designer clothes.

What does this mean for you?

To live comfortably, you’ll want to earn at least $65,000 a year as a single person living in a shared house or flat. To live independently, you’ll want to earn at least $80,000 per year. If you’re in a partnership and have children, you’ll need to earn at least $162,000 to live comfortably. You can read a thorough breakdown of the cost of living in Auckland here.

The good news is, Auckland has one of the highest pay rates in the country. While New Zealand pays are often lower than other OECD countries, data from Scoop, published in April 2022, showed that Auckland’s average income is around NZ$79,641.

Housing

House prices are always changing in Auckland, so it’s best to do some research before you move to see the true state of the market. However, in 2023:

  • The average house price is $NZD1.3million

  • Prices fell 17% over the 12 months to January 2023

  • Prices increased an average of 6.8% per year between 2003 and 2023

  • The average rent in Auckland is $610

So, is 2023 a good time to buy a house in Auckland?

Yes. While house prices are falling in the first half of 2023, they are predicted to slow in the second half of the year. Given that Auckland is a growing city, it’s a good time to buy a home. Prices are down and are likely to increase again in 2024.

So, how much does an average home in Auckland cost? It depends on where you buy, but prices range from $700,000-$1,200,000. Auckland’s most expensive suburb is Herne Bay, where the average house is worth $ 3.6 million, while the most affordable suburb is Auckland Central, with a median house price of $564,300.

The median sale price for a home in Auckland in the past five years is:

  • 4 bedroom home: $1.2m

  • 3 bedroom home: $968k

  • 2 bedroom home: $815k

  • Townhouse: $762k

  • Apartment: $600k

  • Units: $700k

What does this mean for you?

2023 could be a good time to get on the property ladder. On average, you’ll need to secure a loan of between $700k-$1.2million to buy a house in Auckland. If you’re happy renting, expect to pay $610 per week. This number is cheaper if you are prepared to live with others or can split it with a partner.

Living there

What’s it like living in New Zealand’s biggest city? Auckland has a temperate climate, lots of traffic (compared to other parts of the country) and plenty of jobs. Auckland has many international attributes while retaining the feel of a much smaller city.

Auckland is both a region and a city. It used to be governed by four different councils, but in 2010 became on ‘supercity’ and is managed by one city council. This has given the city a more unified approach to public transport and city-wide services, making it easier to complete city improvement projects.

Climate

Auckland is a lot warmer than many other parts of the country. The days are fairly temperate. You’ll likely find the weather neither too hot nor too cold. Daily temperatures hit around 23°C in the summer, while in winter, an average day is 14°C.

The city is sunny too! With 2005 sunshine hours per year, there’s plenty of time for outdoor BBQs, swimming in one of the many beaches in the region and outdoor activities. In saying that, it does rain in Auckland, and often (just not as much as other parts of the country).

  • January is the sunniest month, with an average of 230 sunshine hours.

  • June is the least sunny month, with an average of 117 sunshine hours.

  • January is the driest month, with an average rainfall of 111mm.

  • August is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 210mm.

What does this mean for you?

Auckland’s temperate climate makes it a pleasant place to live. While it’s never too hot or too cold, the region is known to be humid (Auckland experiences 80% humidity most of the time), and the weather can change a lot in one day. You may have to get used to carrying a rain jacket and layering your clothing more than in other cities.

Suburbs

Auckland has 104 different suburbs — too many places for us to name individually. The city, is an amalgamation of four cities, Auckland, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere. Each city (although now all part of Auckland) has a slightly different feel.

The suburbs of Auckland Central are cosmopolitan, boast most of the cities bars, restaurants and nightlife and include upmarket neighbourhoods like Parnell, Ponsonby and Newmarket. It has a growing Asian population and some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city.

To the south is Manukau, a melting pot of diversity. Here you’ll find high numbers of Polynesian and Maori communities. South Auckland is one of the city's most affordable places to live. It’s also further away in terms of accessibility from the city centre.

Across the Harbour Bridge is the North Shore. While more difficult to get to, thanks to traffic, Devonport and Takapuna are upmarket (but not as expensive) areas with a smaller community feel.

To the West is Waitakere City. Suburbs include New Lynn, Green Bay, Kelston, Rosebank, Avondale, New Windsor and Blockhouse Bay. West Aucklanders had a reputation as being rougher around the edges, but those days are gone. With so much growth and development, it's a diverse, young and vibrant place to live.

What does this mean for you?

With a land mass of around 5,600 km2 it’s one of the world’s biggest cities in terms of geography. Finding the right place to live for you will depend on where you work, how much you can pay for housing and what type of community you want to be close to — for example you may find more churches, religious groups, community groups in some areas than others.

Transport

Despite being New Zealand’s biggest city, getting around Auckland isn’t always easy. The city is sprawling, and while buses, ferries, trains and taxis connect the suburbs, public transport isn’t as convenient as Wellington (a city constricted by its mountainous geography.)

If you plan on moving to Auckland and are not buying a car, register for an Auckland Transport Hop Card. It makes cheaper as you’ll get a 20% discount on every trip. You can pay for bus, train and ferry fares with this card.

Auckland has four train lines, the Eastern Line, Southern Line, Western Line and Onehunga Line and an Auckland Airport connection line (connected to the Eastern line).

  • The Western Line connects Swanson and Britomart via Henderson and New Lynn.

  • The Southern Line connects Pukekohe and Britomart via Manurewa and Newmarket.

  • The Eastern Line connects Manukau and Britomart via Sylvia Park and Panmure.

  • The Onehunga Line connects Onehunga and Newmarket via Penrose and Ellerslie.

Auckland has nine transport zones for bus and train rates starting at $0.60 in the inner city and $12.60 to travel between all nine zones. Monthly passes are available for some transport options. Bus and train monthly passes are $215 for unlimited travel. Ferry passes for some routes start at $165-$265 per month.

What does this mean for you?

Auckland is huge and doesn’t have the same public transport connections you can expect in London or New York. Owning a car is the best way to get around. If you don’t plan on buying a vehicle, budget for transport expenses. You should also consider living close to where you work or study to reduce time spent on public transport.

Education

If you are thinking of moving to Auckland with school-aged children, you can rest assured you will have access to the best schools and universities in the country. Auckland has nine out of the top ten best schools in the country in 2022:

Alternative education for primary and secondary school students includes:

There are also plenty of universities and technical institutes to choose from including:

What does this mean for you?

New Zealand is well known for having a quality education system and is ranked among the best in the world when it comes to schooling. Education in New Zealand is well known for being balanced, and placing an emphasis on practical learning, critical thinking and creativity. Auckland’s universities are amongst the top 500 in the world.

Work

Auckland has a large job market and is one of the best places to live in New Zealand to advance your career. Auckland contributes 38% of the nations GDP. It’s an innovative, international job market. Here you’ll find many head offices of global corporations. No matter what industry you’re in, or whether you’re an entry level worker or highly skilled, there’s a job for you in Auckland.

The unemployment rate in Auckland is 3.5% which is in line with the average New Zealand unemployment rate. The biggest sectors in Auckland, by industry are:

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services: 10.9%

  • Financial and Insurance Services: 8.9%

  • Manufacturing: 8.6%

  • Wholesale Trade: 7.6%

  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services: 6.8%

  • Information Media and Telecommunications: 6.6%

  • Construction: 6.5%

  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 5.5%

  • Retail Trade: 5.4%

  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing: 4.1%


Sectors that have seen significant increases in jobs include:

  • Health care

  • Construction

  • Public administration

There is currently a skill shortage in:

  • Carpentry

  • Plumbling

  • Project Management

  • Patient Care (healthcare)

  • Data Analysis

  • Sorftware development

  • Civil engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Accounting

  • Lab Science

What does this mean for you?

There are around 12,500 jobs advertised on Seek.co.nz at any given time in Auckland. Manufacturing, transport and logistics, trades and services and information technology have over 1,000 listings each. As New Zealand’s largest job market, Auckland is one of the best cities in New Zealand to find a job that utilises your skill set.

Things to Do

There’s always something to do in Auckland. The cultural diversity and size of the city lends itself to great cuisine, cultural festivals, acclaimed theatre shows and international acts regularly visiting the city. And that’s not to mention the beautiful beaches, mountains, forests and sea right on the city’s doorstep.

Entertainment

Auckland has many annual events that are worth experiencing. The city has a thriving music, arts, theatre and comedy scene. Western Springs and Spark Arena are two event centres that regularly host internation acts and festivals. Whether you are looking for intimate art events, large scale festivals, or acts from around the world, there’s something to meet everyone’s taste in entertainment.

Regular events include:

Armageddon Expo - New Zealand’s biggest pop culture event, celebrate all things comics and cosplay at this four day event attracting 65,000 people.

Pasifika Festival - The world’s largest Pacific Island event celebrating music, dance and culture from cultures from across the Pacific.

Auckland Pride - Celebrate the LGBT+ community with over 200 events including the Pride March to promote inclusivity, freedom and equality.

Big Day Out - One of Auckland’s annual music festivals, Big Day Out is also held in Sydeny, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth and brings together acts from Australasia and around the world.

International Buskers Festival - Performers from New Zealand and around the world perform in parks and public spaces around the city.

Laneway Festival - An all day outdoor music festival in the middle of summer.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival - Held on the waterfront, the Waka festival sees teams from around the pacific compete against each other.

Auckland Lantern Festival - Enjoy hundreds of brightly decorated lanterns to celebrate Chinese New Year. This family friendly event brings together performance, cuisine and fun.

Latin Festival - Enjoy salsa, samba and capoeira and other latin dances, while enjoying delicious latin foods.

Writer’s Festival - This week long affair celebrates the art of writing, attracts local and international writers from all genres and includes workshops and speaking events.

Auckland Food Show - Auckland’s annual food show brings together food vendors from around the country to share samples, recipes and demonstrations.

Diwali Festival - Enjoy and celebrate the colour, cuisine and culture of India at this two-day family-friendly festival.

Chocolate and Coffee Festival - New Zealanders love coffee and chocolate so why not celebrate them both. Discover and sample new brands and combinations your favourite foods.

What does this mean for you?

You’ll never be bored living in Auckland. With dozens of regular festivals on the calendar (many of them free and family-friendly) there’s something at all times of the year to enjoy. Add to this a thriving arts scene, plenty of comedy clubs, museums, and art galleries and your calendar will always be full.

Shopping

Auckland has shopping districts to suit any budget and style. From local boutiques to high street shops, luxury brands to second hand stores, there’s no shortage of places to spend your hard earned cash. While the wider city is home to many shops, boutiques and small owner operated stores, the suburbs close to the city are most well known as the best places to shop.

Queen Street is the main shopping district in the CBD. Here you’ll find everything from high street stores like Glassons and H&M to luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior.

High Street is less busy and has more hidden gems, cafes and cobblestoned plazas.

Westfield Mall is located in Newmarket, not far from the city. It has hundreds of shops including the city’s only Zara, a food court and supermarket.

Britomart is a recent addition to the central city. It’s home to some upmarket flagship stores, boutiques and men’s and women’s clothing. You’ll also find places to eat and drink.

Karangahape Road, also known as K’ Road is home to everything cool - carefully curated retro stores, second hand shops, music stores, cheap and cheerful food, quirky souvenir shops, and edgy streetwear. There’s something for everyone here.

Parnell is one of Auckland’s most upmarket suburbs and shopping here reflects that. You’ll find Parnell has an old money vibe and that’s reflected in the designer clothing shops dotted around the suburb.

What does this mean for you?

No matter what kind of budget you’re on or style you’re after, Auckland has many places to shop to suit a range of tastes.

Cuisine

From casual to fine dining, there’s loads of places to eat out in Auckland. The city’s diversity lends intself to lots of great Asian eateries, European cuisine, Spanish-style tapas, and South American restaurants. You’ll find everything from great tasting upscale takeaways to new takes on traditional foods as well as food to suit any type of food restrictions (dairy free ice cream, vegan italian etc).

Far from us to tell you where to eat, Metro named the following eateries the best in the city:

  • Hugo’s Bistro - an all-day European bistro

  • Masu by Nic Watt - contemporary Japanese cuisines

  • Mr Morris - Pacific-influenced cuisine with local hero ingredients

  • Haumi - authentic Chinese cuisine with a modern twist

  • Onemata - a carefully crafted yet uncomplicated homegrown menu

  • Pōni - Asian inspired food and high energy hospitality

  • Ahi - sophisticated New Zealand food in Commercial Bay

  • Alma - smart dining and Spanish wines

  • Cafe Hanoi - Asian-French inspired Vietnamese cuisine

  • Cassia - a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine

  • Gochu - flavour filled and fresh Korean food

  • Hello Beasty - Japanese, Korean and Chinese fusion

While most of these restaurants are fine dining, Auckland also knows how to do a great burger:

What does this mean for you?

There are thousands of eateries in Auckland from cuisines all over the world. No matter your taste or your budget, you’ll never tire of the food the city has to offer.

Nature

Auckland is teeming with natural attractions. The city sits between two bodies of water, is surrounded by natural volanoes, has two mountain ranges on its doorstep, multiple beaches and lots of parks, gardens and greenery within the city limits.

With so many native rainforests, regional parks, hiking and walking trails and stunning beaches on your doorstep, Auckland is an outdoor-lovers paradise. Attractions of note include:

Auckland Domain - located on the site of an extinct volcano, the Auckland Domain houses the city’s museum, wintergardens, art installations and 75 hectares of grass covered in walking tracks.

Cornwall Park - located in the middle of the city with views Auckland and Waiheke Island. The park is home to One Tree Hill and the park has its own free wood BBQs for use.

Devonport - located across the harbour bridge, it’s a short drive or ferry ride away. Deveonport has it’s own small beaches short hikes and views of the city.

Great Barrier Island - this popular island is full of walks, beaches and hot springs. You can easy take your car across on the ferry.

Goat Island Marine Reserve - Auckland is surrounded by water and much of it protected by marine reserves. Go kayaking, snorkelling, rent scuba gear or enjoy a day out boating on the water. These waters are protected from fishing or collecting seafood.

Mt Eden Summit - Mt Eden boasts some of the best views over the city and Auckland harbour. This volcano stands 196 metres tall and features a 50m deep creative in the middle.

Muruwai Beach - this west coast beach is home to hundreds of gannets, black sand beaches, and lots of hiking trails.

Rongototo Island - another island in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto is home to lava fields, lava caves, stunning views and a large volcanic crater.

Rotorua Island - this is Auckland’s newest bird sanctuary. Housed on an island a 1hr 30min ferry ride from the city, the island also features amazing beaches and art sculptures.

Tāwharanui Regional Park - white sand beaches, native rainforest, and rolling hills are just a 90-minute drive north of the city. The park also features archaelogical sites including ​​ancient Māori pā, shipwrecks and fossils. The park also includes a marine reserve for diving and snorkelling.

Waiheke Island - located within the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke is a forty minute ferry ride. Here you’ll find vineyards, cycling trails, zip lining, hiking, beaches and an arty community thrown together to make it the ideal weekend getaway.

Waitakere Ranges - more than 16,000 of rainforests and coastlines with walking tracks for every ability level. Located south of the city, the beach towns of Piha and Te Henga/Bethells are located within the park boundaries.

Waitematā Harbour - This is the official name for Auckland’s main harbour which is accessible on the waterfront in Briotomart (the Auckland CBD). You’ll get views of the city, waterfront and the harbour bridge.

What does this mean for you?

Auckland’s temperate climate and natural beauty make it the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts to move to. Whether you’re into beaches, water sports, hiking, sailing, walking or just spending time outdoors with your family, there’s much to do in the city and close by.

Ready to move to Auckland?

Auckland has much to offer. As New Zealand’s largest city it’s home to one third of the population, and now you know why! From diverse cuisine to a thriving entertainment sector, booming job market, beautiful beaches and mountains to cultural and shopping districts to please everyone, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Auckland.

Make your move to Auckland stress-free by booking with us. You’ll get access to New Zealand’s most trusted, professional and reliable movers and door to door delivery that makes things easy. Book your Auckland move now.

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The most professional and value-plus service I have ever used. Marshall's communication from quote-search to delivery was second-to-none. Incredibly professional. Pricing is competitive (beat anyone else, but was superlative with comms and SO pleasant to deal with), and he took all the stress out of it for me by also dealing directly with the seller. On arrival, I saw the item had been wrapped to protect it. This is usually/always an add-on service (at extra cost) - at least certainly for the big companies. (Also, Marshall removed the wrapping and took the rubbish away!)  I have used moving/freight forwarding companies a huge number of times in the last 30+ years...no service has been this exceptional. I was reliant on the item being delivered into the room, not just in the door. No problem. I will be using this business in future whenever needed, and more than highly recommend JGM Transport. Wish I had discovered them sooner! It is quite something and so rare to come across this calibre of service these days (letalone so competitively priced). Thanks Marshall!
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