I get asked frequently about the difference between Australia and New Zealand in terms of price, what it’s like to be on a working holiday visa in each country, and which one is better (lolz). While I can’t say that one is better than the other, I can give you a breakdown in cost of living in New Zealand. How expensive is Auckland, New Zealand? Here is a full breakdown of my expenses living in Auckland.
How Expensive is Auckland, New Zealand?
How expensive is Auckland for renting an apartment? It depends what you’re looking for.We found an apartment to sublet for the first three months that was fully furnished, with no lease and no deposit, for a weekly price of $405 – which includes all bills (water, electricity, garbage, internet). We split that, meaning we each pay $202.50 per week for rent.
If you’re looking at renting a room or an apartment, check out Facebook for housing groups. This is the best facebook group I’ve found for locating good affordable housing. When I came to Auckland, I rented an airbnb for the first couple of weeks so we could see apartments in person.
How expensive is Auckland for food? Groceries can be expensive here, but as long as you are buying ingredients to prepare food instead of prepackaged food, it won’t cost you too much. Michael and I go grocery shopping together once a week, and we pay about $80-$100 a week for the both of us. We make 99% of our food at home, which includes a lot of Indian, Mexican, and Italian food. There are a few grocery store chains here; the cheapest is Pak N Save, but my favorite is Countdown (which is the New Zealand version of Woolworths).
I do love to eat out occasionally, but that isn’t cheap to do in Auckland. Lunch will usually cost you about $20, and dinner will be upwards of $25 for a main. Drinks out will cost you about $10+ each. I really love to go out for coffee, which runs about $5 for a cup. New Zealand (& Australia) is serious about their coffee, so that $5 will buy you an insanely good cup. P.S. I found the best latte art – a kitten in my coffee – at Petit Bocal. Check it out if you want your own coffee kitten!
Cell Phone Plans & Data
When I got to Auckland, I signed up for a SIM card for Vodafone. You must have an unlocked phone to be able to do this. I simply top up my plan every month and choose how much data/texts/minutes I want. My phone plan runs me about $30 a month for 2GB of data, 50 texts, and 50 minutes of calling.
How expensive is Auckland for transportation? Getting around Auckland using public transport is cheap but not time efficient. The public transport here is rarely on time and not the most efficient I’ve seen, but if you use the AT Transport app, you’ll be able to get from point A to point B as seamlessly as possible. An hour long bus ride costs me about $2 NZD, while a train ride would cost about $5-$6.
Michael bought a used car here for $3k NZD. He spends about $65 every week and a half to fill it up. Having a combination of a car and public transport works well for us, because this way we have full control over where and how we get places on the weekends. It’s ideal to have a car in New Zealand to take weekend or day trips. You can rent a car for about $20 a day from places like Jucy Car Rentals.
Minimum wage in New Zealand is just over $15 for an adult, but you can expect to make around $17 an hour working at a job in retail or hospitality. While you won’t be making as much in New Zealand as you can on the Australian working holiday visa, you can still make enough to live and save a bit for some day trips or weekend exploring. I work 4 days a week and bring in just under $400 per week. You can find jobs by walking in to places (probably your best option), or searching on websites such as TradeMe, the New Zealand version of Craigslist.
I am loving New Zealand so far and am so excited to explore more. If you’re planning to do the working holiday visa in New Zealand, make sure to check out my post explaining all of the details of how to go about getting the visa.
If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to!