Living in Auckland as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Auckland Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Auckland

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, Auckland is a melting pot of cultures, with its buzzing seaside metropolitan core and picturesque East Coast beaches. With a population of approximately 1.5 million people, the city boasts a rich heritage, thriving arts scene, and world-class food and drink. The sunny climate, lush greenery, and laid-back vibe make Auckland an irresistible destination for expats seeking a healthy work-life balance.

Tips for expats in Auckland

Visa requirements

Expats planning to work in Auckland will need to apply for a work visa before entering New Zealand. This can either be a skill shortage work visa, which requires a letter of endorsement from a recognized organization in New Zealand, or an employee work visa, which requires a job offer from a registered New Zealand business. Expats with professional skills in high demand may also apply for a residence work visa, which provides permanent residency status.

Language resources

New Zealand English is the primary language used in everyday communication, but Auckland is also home to a diverse range of cultural communities, with Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Korean being some of the most prominent. Expats are encouraged to learn basic New Zealand English before relocating to improve integration into the community. Language schools such as Complete Learn English in Auckland and English Schools New Zealand offer English language courses, particularly for beginners.

Cost of living for expats in Auckland


The cost of housing in Auckland varies considerably depending on location and property type. A room in a shared house can range from $200 - $300 per week, while a one-bedroom apartment starts at around $400 per week. Two-bedroom apartments can cost approximately $500 - $700 per week, while three-plus-bedroom houses can cost around $1,000 per week or more. The popularity of the city and limited housing supply have led to high prices, making it one of the most expensive places to live in Oceania.


The cost of groceries in Auckland is relatively high due to the high cost of importing goods. However, it is possible to find affordable options in discount supermarkets such as New World and Countdown. Fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables, can be found in local markets such as the Auckland Central City Farmers' Market and the Auckland Epsom Farmers' Market, offering lower prices and higher quality than supermarkets. Limiting the purchase of imported goods can also help significantly reduce expenditures.


Public transport fares in Auckland are relatively affordable, with a single trip costing around $3.50 (adult), and multi-journey tickets providing better value. As the cost of purchasing and maintaining a vehicle is high in Auckland, many expats prefer to use public transport, especially for commuting. Riding a bicycle is also a popular alternative for short distances, with plenty of bike lanes throughout the city.

Climate in Auckland

Auckland's climate is subtropical, characterized by warm summers and mild winters. The average temperature in summer (December to February) is around 20°C (68°F), and winter (June to August) brings an average temperature of around 13°C (55°F). Rainfall is highest in autumn (March to May), with an average of approximately 140 mm (5.5 inches). Aucklanders enjoy plenty of sunshine, with over 1,900 hours of sunlight annually.

Job market in Auckland

Auckland's economy is robust and diverse, with growing opportunities in various industries. The city is home to a thriving technology sector, with a high concentration of startups and established players such as Xero and EzyVet. Other major industries include healthcare, finance, and professional services. The city is also a significant center for trade and logistics due to its strategic location, with its impressive port handling over $100 billion worth of cargo annually. With a profusion of jobs across a range of sectors, Auckland's job market offers a wealth of opportunities for expats seeking employment.

Healthcare in Auckland

Auckland's healthcare system is well-established and of high quality, with a range of public and private facilities available. Public hospitals such as Auckland City Hospital and Starship Children's Hospital provide comprehensive healthcare services, including emergency care, specialist clinics, and elective procedures. For expats seeking private healthcare, a wide range of options are available, from small clinics to large multispecialty hospitals such as Mercy Ascot, St. Lukes Hospital, and Wesley Hospital. Auckland is also home to various health and wellness centers, offering an array of complementary therapies and alternative treatments.

Transport in Auckland

Getting around Auckland is straightforward, thanks to an efficient and integrated public transportation network that includes buses, trains, ferries, and taxis. The city's new light rail network, the Auckland Harbour Bridge Connection, is set to open in 2024, providing faster travel times and improved connectivity across the city. The most popular mode of transportation is driving, with many expats opting to own their cars. The Auckland Transport app makes it easy to plan and monitor trips using public transport, while the purchase of a multi-journey ticket provides better value.

Safety in Auckland

In terms of safety, Auckland is a relatively safe city compared to other major urban centers. While petty crimes such as theft and vandalism do occur, it is not generally perceived as a dangerous city. Expats should, however, take common-sense precautions, particularly in unfamiliar areas or after dark. The police force in New Zealand is highly regarded for its efficiency and fairness, and the emergency services (ambulance, fire, and police) are easily accessible via the triple zero (00) number

Neighborhoods in Auckland

  1. Ponsonby

    Located to the west of the central business district, Ponsonby is a trendy neighborhood known for its arts and culture scene. The area is home to numerous art galleries, boutique fashion stores, cafes, and local restaurants, making it a creative hub for expats seeking an alternative lifestyle. Ponsonby is also well-connected to other parts of Auckland via public transport, ensuring easy accessibility.

  2. Mission Bay

    Located in the eastern suburbs of Auckland, Mission Bay is a picturesque neighborhood popular with families and young professionals due to its proximity to the waterfront and access to a range of leisure activities. The neighborhood is filled with trendy cafes, restaurants, and bars and hosts an array of social events such as music festivals, outdoor cinemas, and fireworks displays.

  3. Devonport

    Located on a peninsula overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, Devonport is a peaceful haven renowned for its historical architecture, stunning waterfront views, and provision of a range of local services. Devonport's secluded location and low-density housing supply make it an ideal spot for expats seeking a relaxed lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Attractions in Auckland

  1. Auckland Domain

    Located in central Auckland, the Auckland Domain is a vast urban park comprising over 124 hectares of lush greenery. The park features a range of attractions, including an art gallery, war memorial museum, botanic gardens, a lake, and several walking trails.

  2. Auckland Sky Tower

    Standing at 328 meters, the Auckland Sky Tower is the tallest building in New Zealand, providing breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. The tower features a range of attractions such as a revolving restaurant, an observation deck, and a glass-bottomed viewing platform.

  3. Waiheke Island

    Located off the coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island is a haven of natural beauty, with picturesque beaches, vineyards, and olive groves. Expats can explore the island's galleries, boutique stores, and eateries, including several seafood restaurants showcasing the best of New Zealand's famous cuisine.

International Schools in Auckland

  1. St. Cuthbert's College

    Cornwallis Road, Epsom

    Located in central Auckland, St. Cuthbert's College is a leading international school known for its rigorous academic programs, innovative teaching methods, and first-class facilities. The school's curriculum is based on the New Zealand National Curriculum, enriched with a range of international programs and extracurricular activities.

  2. AGS Auckland

    20c St Mark's Rd, Sandringham

    Located in the eastern suburbs of Auckland, AGS Auckland provides a diverse learning experience for expat students, catering to the educational needs of students from kindergarten to year 13. The school's curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate Program, adapted to meet New Zealand and Australian requirements.

  3. Dalton Academy

    48 Blake St, Freemans Bay

    Located in central Auckland, Dalton Academy is a leading international school offering innovative teaching methods, first-class facilities, and a comprehensive co-curricular program. The school's curriculum is based on the New Zealand National Curriculum, enriched with a range of extracurricular activities and sports programs.

Useful expat resources in Auckland

Expat destinations in New Zealand