The cost of living in Auckland is fairly high in comparison to cities such as Brisbane and Stockholm. The city ranks 95th out of 227 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey in 2022. In contrast, Wellington ranks 120th, and Perth ranks 97th.

Food prices in New Zealand are higher than what some expats may be used to. Accommodation prices have also skyrocketed recently, with more expats choosing to settle in Auckland.

Luckily, the competitive salaries offered in this economic hub tend to make up for the high cost of living. The quality of life and safety in Auckland are also excellent, making the steep cost of living more bearable.

Cost of accommodation in Auckland

Accommodation is likely to be the highest expense for anyone moving to Auckland. Rental prices in any city centre tend to be pricier than those in the suburbs, and as a hive of economic activity, Auckland is known for having some of the highest rental prices in New Zealand.

It can also be challenging for expats to find suitable accommodation due to the soaring demand for properties in the city. That said, there are various online platforms and real-estate agents available to help with the search. We cover this in more depth in Accommodation in New Zealand.

It's worth noting that utilities are largely not included in the rental price of a property, so expats should budget accordingly. While the cost of accommodation may be hefty, Auckland tends to offer spacious living spaces that provide good value for money. When searching for a rental property, expats should consider factors such as proximity to public transport, safety and access to amenities.

Cost of groceries in Auckland

The cost of groceries in Auckland can be a significant expense for expats. As an island country, New Zealand is relatively remote, and many products including meat and dairy need to be imported, driving up prices. However, expats can manage their shopping budget by purchasing locally grown or produced goods and taking advantage of special offers commonly run at supermarkets and convenience stores.

To save money, it's recommended that expats compare prices between different stores, and shop around for the best deals. Additionally, purchasing in-season produce can be a cost-effective way to eat healthily while keeping within a budget. With some planning and smart shopping, expats can manage the cost of groceries in Auckland.

Cost of transport in Auckland

Getting around in Auckland can be affordable, especially when using public transport. The city has a reliable public transport system that includes buses, trains and ferries, with reasonably priced fares. Monthly and annual transport passes are also available, which can save expats money on transport costs.

While car prices in Auckland may be relatively inexpensive, expats should consider the costs of ownership, such as petrol, insurance and maintenance. Expats living in the city centre where public transport is readily available may find it largely unnecessary to buy a car. Although, for expats with families or those who travel regularly for work, owning a vehicle may be more convenient.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Auckland

Auckland offers a wide variety of entertainment options for expats, including museums, galleries and theatres, as well as numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, beaches and parks. While some entertainment options, such as attending concerts or shows, can be pricey, there are many free or low-cost activities available. For example, many museums and galleries offer free entry, and Auckland's parks and beaches can be accessed at no cost.

Eating out in Auckland can be fairly costly, but there are also many affordable options available, especially in the city's different neighbourhoods. Auckland is known for its diverse culinary scene, which reflects the city's multicultural population. From street food to high-end restaurants, Auckland has something to offer for every budget and palate.

Many restaurants and cafés also offer special deals and discounts, particularly during the off-peak season, which can help reduce the cost of eating out in Auckland. Overall, while entertainment and eating out can be expensive, expats can still enjoy a range of activities and experiences in Auckland without breaking the bank.

Cost of education in Auckland

Auckland offers a range of options for expats who are looking to enrol their children in schools. Public schools in New Zealand are generally of exceptional quality and are free for citizens, permanent residents and dependent child student visa holders. Expats who are considering enrolling their children in public schools should research the school zoning system to ensure that they choose a school within their catchment area.

Private and international schools are also available in Auckland, but they can be steeper than public schools. Tuition fees for private and international schools can vary widely, depending on the school and the age of the child.

Many private and international schools also charge additional fees for activities and materials, such as textbooks, uniforms and extracurriculars. Expats who considering enrolling their children in private or international schools should research the institutions thoroughly to ensure they select a school that is a good fit for their budget and their children's needs.

Cost of healthcare in Auckland

New Zealand has a public healthcare system that provides free or low-cost medical care to citizens, work visa holders and permanent residents. Expats who do not fall into these categories are not eligible for free healthcare and will need to pay for medical treatment. Private healthcare is available in Auckland and is often of impeccable standard, but is typically pricey.

Expats should consider purchasing health insurance to help cover the cost of medical treatment, especially if they're not yet permanent residents. Health insurance policies in New Zealand can vary widely, so expats should shop around to find a policy that suits their needs and budget.

In addition to health insurance, expats should also be aware of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). The ACC is a government-run scheme that provides no-fault personal injury cover for all residents and visitors to New Zealand. That said, the ACC only covers accidents, not illnesses or pre-existing conditions, so expats should still consider purchasing health insurance to cover these costs.

Cost of living in Auckland chart

Note that prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Auckland in March 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NZD 3,900

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NZD 3,100

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NZD 2,100

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NZD 1,880

Food and drink

Dozen eggs


Milk (1 litre)

NZD 2.61

Rice (1kg)

NZD 3.45

Loaf of white bread

NZD 3.32

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NZD 14

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NZD 36

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

NZD 120

Big Mac meal

NZD 14

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NZD 3.90


NZD 5.50

Bottle of beer (local)

NZD 4.13


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NZD 0.34

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NZD 73

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

NZD 330


Taxi rate/km

NZD 3.30

City-centre public transport fare


Gasoline (per litre)

NZD 2.98

Expat Health Insurance

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If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

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