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Decoding the Cost of Living in New Zealand 2024

Updated on 08 November, 2023

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Nestled in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand fascinates people of all age groups with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. Whether you're a mountain lover or a beach lover or inclined to the city’s luxurious life, this island nation offers a unique blend of natural wonders and a high quality of life.  It is also home to the top 8 universities that are also globally recognized for their quality education. However, as with any new destination, understanding the living expenses in New Zealand is crucial for anyone choosing to stay there. 

This article will run you through the several factors that affect your cost to study in New Zealand. Learn how to budget your monthly expenses in New Zealand and live comfortably.

Monthly Living Expenses in New Zealand-Basic Necessities

Besides rent, one of the primary needs is food and everyday necessities. A part of the cost of living in New Zealand per month can be calculated by students with the following information regarding groceries, clothing, and footwear.

Some staple grocery costs are as follows:


Cost in New Zealand Dollars (NZD)


NZD 2.35 to NZD 4.50

Rice 1 Kg

NZD 2 to NZD 4


NZD 3.30 to NZD 5

A packet of 2 chicken breasts

NZD 7 to NZD 15

A small bottle of water

NZD 1 to NZD 3


NZD 2.85 to NZD 5

Source: naumainz.studyinnewzealand.govt.nz

Typically, you might need to spend around NZD 100 to NZD 150 weekly on groceries. This is because New Zealand imports most of its food items. That being said, many Asian stores in the country have weekly discounts where you can save money on groceries and monthly expenses in New Zealand.

New Zealand has many cheap & high-end stores such as Kmart, The Warehouse, Barkers, and Cue for clothes and footwear. Additionally, second-hand stores are very popular in New Zealand, and you can find good quality houseware from places like The Salvation Army Family Store.

Average Cost of Living in New Zealand-Accomodations

Rental cost in New Zealand varies depending on where you are and the type of housing you opt for. Here are some options available:

  • Halls of Residence or Student Hostels 
  • Homestay or Private Board
  • Renting a Flat

Depending on the property type, you may calculate your average cost of living in New Zealand for indians. 

Generally, rent for a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in small cities like Dunedin and Rotorua is between NZD 360 to NZD 523 per week. This increases from NZD 410 to NZD 823 per week in larger cities like Wellington and Auckland.

Transportation Costs in New Zealand

One of the benefits of living in New Zealand is that multiple transportation options are available to you. If you live in a hostel, your universities might mostly be within walking distance. 

Apart from that, all the cities mostly have buses and ferry services you can use to travel in the town. Bus fares range from NZD 1.40 to NZD 9.00, depending on your location and how far you're going.

Cost of Bills and Utilities 

Electricity bills and utilities are another important part of the average cost of living in New Zealand. This is how much electricity costs in each city in New Zealand:


Cost Per Month in NZD


NZD 2287


NZD 2211

Palmerston North

NZD 2342


NZD 2293

Source: canstarblue.co.nz

Education Costs in New Zealand

When considering an option to study abroad, education costs are one of the main concerns for students. The education cost to study in New Zealand varies as per the universities and subjects. 

As per the official Study in New Zealand website, the educational fee range for a bachelors degree is between NZD 20,000 to NZD 40,000. This amount may go higher for subjects such as veterinary science and medicine. Many of these bachelors degrees can be finished in three years.

Fees for a masters degree range from NZD 20,000 to NZD 45,000, depending on the university. For PhD, international students pay the same as New Zealand students, about NZD 6,500 to NZD 7,500 annually.

What are Some Affordable Cities in New Zealand?

The cost of living in New Zealand will depend on the location of your education. Living in a small city is cheaper than living in a big city as the housing and transportation costs will be lower.  

The University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington estimate living expenses in New Zealand to be around  NZD 20,000 & NZD 27,000 per year. In comparison, the University of Otago estimates the same between NZD 18,000 and NZD 21,000 per year.

While applying for a student visa to New Zealand, you must provide proof that you have at least NZD 20,000 to pay for your living expenses for your first year of education. 

To lower these expenses, you could opt for cities like Dunedin, Christchurch, Rotorua, or Napier. They are cost-effective in comparison to Auckland and Hamilton.

Tips to Save Money in New Zealand as an International Student

There are many ways to save money as a college student studying abroad in New Zealand. Many local eateries around universities in New Zealand offer student discounts. You may look for advertising outside stores or ask if they offer student discounts.

University bookshops also have second-hand books that you can use to save money on textbooks. Ask your universities for student cards which avail huge discounts on necessities and other things. Some universities have cards that offer discounts on and around campuses. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cities in New Zealand have the lowest cost of living?

Whanganui, Queenstown, Rotorua, and Wanaka are four affordable cities to live in New Zealand.

Which cities in New Zealand have the highest cost of living?

Auckland and Wellington are the most expensive cities in New Zealand, with high rental prices, costs of entertainment, and eating out.

What's the average cost for a Master's in New Zealand?

Fees for a Master's degree range from NZD 20,000 to NZD 45,000, depending on the university.

What is the average accommodation cost in New Zealand?

Rent in small cities like Dunedin and Rotorua is between NZD 360 to NZD 523 per week, which increases from NZD 410 to NZD 823 per week in larger cities like Wellington and Auckland.

Which jobs are in demand in New Zealand?

Business, IT and Telecommunications, Health and Community, Engineering, and Education & Social Sciences are some of the high-demand jobs in New Zealand.

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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