Cost of Living in New Zealand for International Students: Accommodation and Travel Guide

New Zealand is consistently ranked as one of the best countries to live in. The annual cost of living in New Zealand for an international student is 1,500 NZD (78,600 INR). The estimated cost of living in New Zealand is 64,950 NZD (34 lakhs INR) per annum for a family of four. The cost of living in New Zealand is approximately 225.5% higher than in India. You can estimate an additional expense of 32,000-35,000 NZD (16.77 to 18.35 lakhs INR) as the tuition fee to study in New Zealand.

International students might find it difficult to gather sufficient financial resources to cover all this. Students can cut down on the living expenses by following a strict budget. You can choose from a number of scholarships available for international students. Other than the scholarships in New Zealand, you may also be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and even full-time during holidays, as per your New Zealand student visa

Cost of Living in New Zealand

Cost of Living in New Zealand: Travel Guide

When you travel to New Zealand, it is recommended that you bring the following things with you:

A one-way flight ticket to New Zealand would cost you between 52,000 to 1,00,000 INR. You have to fill out a Passenger Arrival Card, which will be handed out on the flight. You will have to submit this and show your supporting documents at the New Zealand Immigration counter. After that you can go through Customs, and declare any restricted or risk items. Finally, you can collect your baggage and move out to your accommodation. Don’t forget to carry around 1,000 NZD with you, to pay for all your initial travel costs in New Zealand, as well as for other things.

Cost of Transportation in New Zealand

One of the main aspects of cost of living in New Zealand is traveling. These are the main modes of transportation in New Zealand that you can use to get around the place:

  • You can hire a taxi at a rate of 3.3 NZD per kilometer. This would mean a total cost of around 90 NZD from the airport to the Auckland city centre. The same would cost only 48.5 NZD in an Uber.
  • Trains and the rail system are sufficiently available in New Zealand, but mostly in cities. The average ticket rate is 4-11.5 NZD.
  • Buses are the preferred mode of transport for most students, and the ticket rate here is also 4-11.5 NZD.
  • Ferries are found in a few places, the minimum ticket for short distances being 4.7-6.7 NZD. However, some longer ferry trips cost 51-73 NZD.
  • If you live near the campus, you may find that it is easiest to get around on a cycle. You may buy your own bicycle, or you could rent one when you need it, for 1 NZD per hour.
  • Since New Zealand is a very spacious country, with long empty roads, it may be easier to travel between cities via domestic flight. These tickets may cost 50-70 NZD.

Each city has its own interconnected transport system, and corresponding smart cards.

  • AT Hop Card in Auckland can be purchased for 10 NZD, and can be used on the bus, train, and ferry.
  • Metro card in Christchurch can be purchased for 5 NZD, and can be used on buses.
  • Snapper card in Wellington can be purchased for 10 NZD, and can be used on buses and in the cable car.

You can use these in lieu of tickets, topping up every once in a while to ensure that you are not short of the required charge. Not only is it easier to handle than cash, it also offers you discounts of over 25% on the fares, which will significantly reduce your cost of living in New Zealand.

Cost of Living in New Zealand: Student Accommodation

International students in New Zealand need to find a place to stay during their period of study. The student accommodation facilities can be

  • University-managed or private rental
  • Furnished or not
  • Catered or self-catered

Most universities provide accommodation for international students, but if you don’t get a place there, you can find information on private rentals on the university websites too. The most common types of student accommodation in New Zealand are:

  • Halls of Residence - These are usually fully furnished and inclusive of amenities like meals, laundry, internet, electricity and water. The rent ranges from 300 to 400 NZD per week.
  • Homestays - You can choose to live with a host family in New Zealand, who will provide you a fully furnished room and meals three times a day. This costs 110-370 NZD per week, and is a great way to learn more about Kiwi culture.
  • Flats - You can rent a flat alone or with friends, with each person paying 215 NZD per week. Make sure to find a flat close to the university campus, and one that includes basic utilities.

It is also possible to get a three-four bedroom house for NZ 565 per week, but this is only advisable if you have a large group of at least 4-5 people seeking accommodation in New Zealand.

Cost of Living in New Zealand Universities

The accommodation fees at the top universities in New Zealand, at furnished, catered residences, inclusive of utilities, for one person per week is shown below. The fee is to be paid every two weeks, and you have to pay an initial deposit to secure a seat.

University Monthly Accommodation Cost (NZD) Expected Yearly Living Expenses (NZD)
University of Auckland 1,572 20,000 to 25,000
University of Otago 1,668 15,000 to 17,000
Victoria University of Wellington 1,930 18,000 to 27,000
University of Canterbury 1,556 20,000 to 26,000
University of Waikato 1,480 20,000 to 28,000

Cost of Living in New Zealand Cities

When applying for a New Zealand university, and acquiring visa for the same, you will have had to prove that you have at least 15,000 NZD that covers all your expenses in the first year of study, which comes to 1,250 NZD per month of living expenses in New Zealand. The cost of living in New Zealand would include:

  • Groceries: 400 to 600 NZD per week
  • Utilities: 290 NZD per month
  • Entertainment: 200 NZD per week
  • Telecommunication: 19 NZD (starting price)

The cost of living at various popular student cities in New Zealand are tabulated below:

Student City Monthly Cost of Living (NZD) Equivalent Cost of Living (INR)
Auckland 1,490 78,150
Wellington 1,291 67,700
Christchurch 1,322 69,310
Dunedin 1,333 69,900

If you want to save money on data and internet usage, you can make use of the free Wi-Fi available in cities like central Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Dunedin. You can save money on New Zealand food, which costs around NZD 43 per day, by not eating out too often. To cut down on grocery expenses, you can find a lot of offers in big grocery chains, and even at the local farmers’ market. Additionally, you can work part-time to pay for these living expenses (or full-time if you are studying in New Zealand as a Masters or PhD student).


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