Auckland is a stunningly beautiful city situated on the North Island of New Zealand. It has the largest urban population in the country but this hasn't detracted from its standard of living, coming 3rd in the 2011 Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Some reports have stated that Auckland is becoming a more expensive place for expats to live, but it's still cheaper than Sydney, London and Perth and has plenty to offer such as being the sunniest city in New Zealand!
Where to Live in Auckland
When choosing where to live you need to take into account transport, schools and education, neighbourhood, convenience and affordability as well as many other factors. Roughly speaking Auckland can be broken up into 5 main areas:
1. North Shore - travel into the city is over the Auckland Harbour Bridge which can suffer from heavy congestion however regular ferries are available. The North Shore can be expensive property-wise with a stretch of the coastal area known as 'The Golden Mile'. Schools have a good reputation in this area.
2. Waitakere City - a popular spot for tourists due to the Waitakere Ranges. Transport is good, property prices are about average for Auckland and there are some good schools to choose from.
3. Auckland City - the city centre is great for singletons and couples but families tend to avoid this lively area. Transport as you can expect is good and there are some good schools in this area if you know where to look.
4. Manukau City - populated by around 50% of Europeans according to Wikipedia! This is a populated and diverse area with good transport links into the city. Rentals are high but there are some affordable houses available in this area. Most of the schools are co-educational.
5. Papakura District - is the most southerly district in Auckland and so commuting can be difficult. There are regular train services however. House prices are reasonable and schooling is generally considered good.
Transport in Auckland
As mentioned above, you need to choose your area carefully as transport can be a nightmare. The Auckland Bridge and the motorways are heavily congested during rush hour so public transport i.e. trains and ferries, would be your best bet.
Education in Auckland
Auckland has hundreds of state schools, some co-educational and some are boys or girls schools. The University of Auckland is the third largest and was ranked in 82nd place (out of 700) in the QS World University Rankings. Overall Auckland has a good reputation for standards of education. The Education Counts site has a list of all schools in Auckland.
What to do and see in Auckland
For a comprehensive view of what to do in Auckland including activities, events, festivals, maps and a free transport guide just download The Auckland Guide from the Auckland tourist website. It's your essential guide to the city and surrounding areas and a must have for migrants who want to find their way around this region.
For all other essential information on services in Auckland, visit the Auckland Council website.