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The 20 Best Places to Live in New Zealand

New Zealand

If you're planning to relocate to New Zealand, and if you're not familiar with the country then it's a good idea to find out what it's like to live there and which places are the most ideal. We've conducted the research to identify the areas that offer the most affordable housing, safety, access to resources and amenities for your consideration. With these features in mind, here are the 20 best places to live in New Zealand.

20. Palmerston North, New Zealand

Palmerston North is one of the more affordable places in New Zealand to live. It's a lovely area that features rivers and mountains with scenic views. There are quite a few amenities in the area if you love the outdoors, hiking, and backpacking. It's located in the Manawatu region on the North Island of New Zealand.

19. Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka is another desirable place to live in the country of New Zealand. Although it has its pros and cons, most of this city's features are positive. It's known for being a safe city with good air quality and an ideal humidity level. The people are friendly and it's a good place to make friends and do business. The roads in the area are safe and the majority of the residents do not use tobacco products. If you're raising kids, the quality of the education system is highly rated and it is diverse and friendly for people in the LGBT community. The cost of living is a bit high in the city and this is because of its high desirability and livability scores.

18. Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

Kapiti Coast is located on the North Island and is about sixty miles north of the city of Wellington. The majority of residents work in Wellington and commute to their jobs. It's within driving distance to the amenities and events of the larger city of Wellington. The charm of this city is what draws so many. It is the ultimate sanctuary for those who want a laid back, quiet, and peaceful town to live in. Here you can enjoy either bush walks or walks along with the beach. This is more of a retirement town but many are discovering how nice it is to live here. There is a golf course in town as well as a horse racing track. It's a city where a lot of cyclists are active and there are multiple tai chi groups and yoga classes available. The flora and fauna are amazing in Kapiti Coast, and it's cheaper to get housing in Kapiti Coast than it is in Wellington. Health care is very affordable even if you are not insured. Be prepared for a slow pace of life, but expect the cost of food and general goods to be higher in Kapiti Coast.

17. Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island is located just off the coast of Auckland. It is an affordable place to live if you are there working for the summer and you don't mind living in portable housing such as a tent or RV. With a thriving tourist industry, there are plenty of jobs available. The landscaping is beautiful and it's like living in paradise.If you choose to go with a rental, the cost is moderate to moderately high, but not out of reason.

16. The West Coast, New Zealand

The West Coast is located on the South Island of New Zealand. This location has earned a reputation for being one of the most tranquil regions. It's off the beaten path and there are a lot of people who haven't even heard of it before, but it features some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. There are several great places for hiking as well as a few tourist attractions that bring in visitors. This creates jobs. There is plenty to do if you like fun in the sun. Off-peak tourist season, it's a lovely place to relax and enjoy life at a slower pace.

15. Northland, New Zealand

Northland is known for its long pristine beaches of pure white sand. This region is also away from the main hubs of the larger cities. It features ancient kauri forests, Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga, and Poor Knights Islands as tourist attractions. The seafood is amazing and there are plenty of giant dunes for a variety of recreational opportunities. It's a beautiful location that has a lot to offer with plenty of jobs available during tourist season and peace and quiet in the off months.

14. Taranaki, New Zealand

Taranaki is in the west coast region. It's an ideal choice for those who love the ocean and the mountains equally well because this is what it is comprised of. You can surf and you can snowboard in teh winter months. The locals are friendly and they love hosting outdoor events. There is a lot to do in Taranaki. It's a city that embodies the elements of paradise with emerging beer culture and a reputation for serving great food.

13. Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Hawke's Bay is one of the more cultured locales in New Zealand. This area is known for its world-class wine and amazing food as well as architecture that follows an art-deco format. There are lots of pristine beaches and opportunities for fun and recreation. The cost of living is a bit on the high side, but if you prefer to live in an area that offers many of the finer things of life, this is likely to be one of the best choices in all of New Zealand. The weather at Hawke's Bay is temperate coastal and here you'll find tons of creature comforts.

12. Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan is the ideal choice for anyone who loves breathtaking scenery along with beautiful beaches to explore, and the world-class surfing. It offers access to all of these amenities. Raglan is a relaxed area that is considered to be one of the best places for artisan cafes where you can find some of the best coffee shops in the country. There are frequent live music concerts to add to the enjoyment of the place and although the housing is not cheap, it is affordable. It's a relatively safe place to live and it's popular with tourists. If you enjoy fun in the sun and beach activities this is one place that you'll want to consider living. Raglan is situated in the Waikato region's North Island on the west coast.

11. Whangamata Beach, New Zealand

Another town that features beach and leisure activities is Whangamata Beach. It is considered by many to feature the best beach in the country. You'll find Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula. One of the features that make this such an ideal location is that it combines two amazing elements fo nature. You'll have access to an amazing beach, but it's also located near the rainforest so you get the benefits of two different amenities. There are great surfing and beachcombing, but the rainforest is breathtaking and offers some great places to take scenic hikes. Whangamata offers a lot of fun outdoor activities including surfing, tramping, kayaking, beach events and concerts, and much more. It's a laid back and quiet town most of the time and there is plenty of affordable housing in the city.

10. Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin is one of the best cities to live in if you're looking for affordable housing and a city that takes pride in their communities. It is one of the safest places to live in the country and it features the only castle in the country of New Zealand. There is a historic train station in the city along with the steepest street in the world, beautiful gardens to visit, and on the Otago Peninsula nearby, you'll find some fascinating wildlife. There is a University in the vicinity and in the winter you won't be far from some excellent slopes for snow skiing. This is the tenth best place to live in all of New Zealand

9. Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton is approximately an hour and a half's drive from Aukland. It is located on teh banks of the Waikato River which enhances the natural beauty of the city. The cost of living is lower in Hamilton than it is in some of the larger cities, yet industry is thriving in this area. There are plenty of jobs available. It's also within close proximity to world-class surfing, the beautiful Hamilton Gardens, and not far from other attractions

8. Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island with the highest population density. If you favor the vibe of a larger city then this may be the ideal location for you to live. Despite the fact that the area was struck with the 2011 earthquake, there has been a great deal of redevelopment which includes stronger building materials to make the city safer in the event of another natural disaster. The community of the city is thriving. Its location on the banks of the River Avon makes it a lovely and scenic area with employment opportunities available. It's not far from beaches for fun in the sand and sun.

7. New Plymouth, New Zealand

New Plymouth is situated in the southwest part of the North Island of New Zealand. This is a hip city and although the cost of living is a bit on the expensive side, it features one of New Zealand's best art cultures. You'll find tons of galleries in the city and the flavor of the culture is a bohemian style. There are also plenty of great places to surf and beaches to comb. The nightlife is also rated highly and it's a very popular place to live.

6. Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. It comes in second in size only to Christchurch. This city is another of the more popular choices to live in. It is the home of the parliament as well as to the national museum. The waterfront area of the city is popular with visitors and locals alike. The beaches are amazing and the suburbs are also available if you don't like the dense population of the larger city.

5. Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga is one of the favorite choices for expats as well as for Kiwis. This city is located on the waterfront and the views are absolutely amazing. Tauranga is situated on the North Islan on the east coast. There are tons of industries which have their bases in Tauranga because it is a busy port city. This means that there are ample job opportunities. The cost of housing ranges from affordable to moderately high depending upon your tastes and preferences. This is a city that attracts a lot of tourists and the nightlife is ample

4. Aukland, New Zealand

Aukland is the third best place to live in New Zealand. The city is large, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. There are a lot of jobs in the city. Although Christchurch is the most densely populated, Aukland is the largest by sheer size. Industry is thriving in Aukland, and it has one of the most spectacular waterfront areas in the world. There are tons of beaches, along with great recreation opportunities for watersports, walking tours, great restaurants, regional parks, theaters, and many more amenities. If you don't mind higher housing prices and busy streets, it's a great place to live.

3. Rotaura, New Zealand

Rotaura is a popular tourist destination and if you're looking for a place to live that offers lots of job opportunities, this may be your best option. There are multiple geothermal attractions in Rotaura which brings guests and visitors year-round. This means that there are also year-round versus seasonal jobs available. Rotaura is located in a central part of the North Island

2. Napier, New Zealand

Napier is the second-best place to live in New Zealand. You will find this thriving city in the center of Hawke's Bay. It offers a lower cost of living than the larger cities in the country. Although it's a smaller town, there are plenty of businesses in the town and throughout the outlying areas, offering steady employment options. The coastline is breathtaking. There are lots of amenities including vinyards and great wines, golf courses, and some great bike paths.

1. Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown has been rated as the number one best place to live in New Zealand. This city is a year-round destination with thriving tourism industry and plenty of year-round jobs available. If you enjoy participating in outdoor activities, there are lots of options available. If you're not as fond of crowds in the larger part of the city, there are some calmer and quieter suburbs within the city to choose from.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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