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The differences in cost of living in Australia and New Zealand

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The differences in cost of living in Australia and New Zealand
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Moving overseas
July 1, 2020
minute read

Compare the costs of life in Australia versus New Zealand

Whether you are moving to New Zealand or Australia, you will find the cost of everyday items varies between the two countries. It pays to have a clear idea of living costs so you can budget accordingly, and you aren't left with any unexpected surprises.

Need assistance moving internationally? Trust WridgWays with your move between Australia and New Zealand. We provide a comprehensive removalist service so you can move and settle into your new home fast.

Cost of living in Australia compared to New Zealand

Overall, New Zealand has a lower cost of living than Australia, however it varies from city to city as to the extent. We've used data from Numbeo to compare the costs of living in Australia and New Zealand.  


If you are looking for somewhere to live, expect to pay more in Australia. Apartment living, whether you are in the city centre or in the suburbs, is more typically more expensive.

If you are looking to purchase a property, both Australia and New Zealand property prices are amongst the highest in the world. According to Budget Direct in 2020 the national median property price is $549,918 AUD. In city centres such as Sydney and Melbourne you can expect the median property prices to be higher.  In comparison, the median New Zealand property price in 2019 was $558,780 AUD, with Auckland being the most expensive city in the country.

Food and restaurants

  • Markets - Shopping for everyday food items is something that everyone needs to budget for and purchase. Overall, everyday items are slightly cheaper in New Zealand, however there is minimal difference. Items you may pay more for in New Zealand include milk, rice, eggs, chicken fillets, beef and tomatoes.
  • Eating out - One thing most people enjoy doing when they move to a new city is explore the nightlife, restaurants and café culture. If you opt for an inexpensive take away meal, expect to pay less in New Zealand. Again, if you choose to eat at a mid-higher range restaurant the cost will typically be less in New Zealand. You can also expect to pay less for a coffee, a regular cappuccino will set you back $4.50 in Australia, compared to $4.42 in New Zealand.


Public transportation costs are cheaper in New Zealand. For a one-way ticket on local transport in Australia you would expect to pay approximately $4.40 versus $3.27 for a ticket in New Zealand. A monthly pass will also cost you less in New Zealand.

If you intend to purchase and run a car in New Zealand, expect costs to be higher than Australia. A tank of gas (1 litre) will set you back on average $2.03 in New Zealand, compared to $1.63 in Australia.


For your basic utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water for an apartment the costs are significantly lower in New Zealand. Internet and data will cost you more in New Zealand, at $77.96 compared with $73.87 in Australia.

Childcare and Education

If you are considering childcare or school while you reside in Australia or New Zealand, overall you will b paying less in New Zealand.

Monthly preschool associated costs, including kindergarten, is significantly less in New Zealand ($1,094.38 AUD) compared to Australia ($1,899.58), while costs for the year at a primary school at an international school is less in New Zealand ($16,498.74 AUD) versus $17,936.40 AUD in Australia.  


If you are looking to update your wardrobe, you will find that costs in New Zealand are slightly more expensive, so it may be worth purchasing items you need prior to relocating to New Zealand. Clothing such as jeans, Nike running shoes and leather shoes are all more affordable in Australia. Although if you are looking to purchase a dress from a chain store, prices in New Zealand are a little less.  

Average salary

The average salary in New Zealand is less than in Australia, and the cost of living is overall less. If you are moving to New Zealand you can use a cost of living calculator, like this one from New Zealand Now, to work out your cost of living in New Zealand compared to Australia. Numbeo also provides the option to check city to city costs.

Note: Prices are in Australian dollars and are correct at time of publishing.

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