Which Country Should I Move To: Australia or New Zealand?

Comparing Australia VS New Zealand

Are you considering a big move down under and asking yourself, “should I move to Australia or New Zealand?” Australia and New Zealand are two beautiful countries with unique qualities that attract people from all over the world. But how do you choose between the two? In this blog post, we’ll dive into important aspects such as job opportunities, cost of living, work-life balance, healthcare, education, safety, climate, and visas to help you make an informed decision. So buckle up and let’s embark on an exciting journey to discover the best destination for your new adventure!

Short Summary

  • Compare job opportunities in Australia and New Zealand to make the best decision.
  • Consider cost of living, housing costs, utilities & groceries for budgeting.
  • Explore work/life balance options + cultural differences for successful adjustment to new home.

Comparing Job Opportunities

When it comes to job opportunities, Australia and New Zealand have their own unique benefits. Australia offers more job opportunities and higher pay, while New Zealand has fewer job openings but lower taxes and was voted the simplest country to start a business.

But how do these factors affect your decision? Let’s take a closer look at the job markets in both countries.

Australia’s Job Market

Australia’s job market is more competitive than New Zealand’s, with higher minimum and median wages. The minimum wage in Australia will soon increase up to $23.23 (AUD) or £12.46 (GBP) per hour. However, the cost of living is also higher in Australia, which we will go into below. This may offset some of the wage benefits.

Salaries And FinancingAustraliaNew Zealand
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)2,689.02 £
(5,037.43 A$)
2,293.30 £
(4,726.34 NZ$)
     -14.7 %
Source: Numbeo

On the upside, as a New Zealand citizen, you’ll have the same rights as Australian citizens when it comes to purchasing property and accessing government grants such as the First Home Owners Grant.

With more job opportunities and higher salaries, Australia could be the perfect place for those seeking career growth and financial stability.

New Zealand’s Job Market

In contrast, New Zealand’s job market is characterized by a low unemployment rate of 3.4% (March 2023) and a range of opportunities in fields like engineering, IT, and medicine. Minimum wage in New Zealand was recently increased on April 1st 2023 and currently stands at $22.70 (NZD) or $20.63 (AUD) or £11.06 (GBP). That’s a difference of £1.40 from compared to Australia.

While the wages may be lower than in Australia, the cost of living is also more affordable, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more balanced lifestyle. If you value work-life balance and prefer a more relaxed pace, New Zealand could be the right choice for you.

Cost of Living Comparison

While both countries offer a high quality of life, their cost of living differs. Australia’s cost of living is slightly higher than New Zealand’s, with higher rent and utility costs. However, Australians also enjoy higher incomes, which can offset these increased costs.

In New Zealand, the cost of living is more affordable, with cheaper rent and utility costs, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more budget-friendly lifestyle. Let’s examine housing costs and utilities in more detail.

Housing Costs

In Australia, property prices are high and obtaining a mortgage can be challenging. On average, the price per square meter in Australia is higher than New Zealand by 10-15%, depending on whether you plan to live in a city centre or not.

Buy Apartment PriceAustraliaNew Zealand
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre5,921.64 £
(11,093.19 A$)
5,013.16 £
(10,331.78 NZ$)
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre4,458.75 £
(8,352.71 A$)
4,035.04 £
(8,315.95 NZ$)
Source: Numbeo

Rent is around 15-20% more expensive in Australia outside of city centres. This figure rises to 26% as you get closer to city centres.

RentAustraliaNew Zealand
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre1,225.07 £
(2,294.96 A$)
897.73 £
(1,850.17 NZ$)
     -26.7 %
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre951.70 £
(1,782.85 A$)
759.13 £
(1,564.52 NZ$)
     -20.2 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre2,009.27 £
(3,764.02 A$)
1,485.47 £
(3,061.45 NZ$)
     -26.1 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre1,408.10 £
(2,637.84 A$)
1,202.63 £
(2,478.54 NZ$)
     -14.6 %
Source: Numbeo

Housing tends to be more affordable in smaller towns in both countries, as opposed to big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, and Auckland. When considering where to live, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of different housing options.

Utilities and Groceries

When it comes to utilities, currently New Zealand is 33.6% cheaper than Australia, on average.

Utilities (Monthly)AustraliaNew Zealand
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment161.00 £
(301.60 A$)
106.85 £
(220.22 NZ$)
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.40 £
(0.74 A$)
0.22 £
(0.45 NZ$)
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)45.80 £
(85.80 A$)
41.09 £
(84.67 NZ$)
Source: Numbeo

As for groceries, they are 8.5% more expensive in Australia than in New Zealand, according to Numbeo. When considering the cost of living, it’s essential to factor in these differences and decide which country’s costs align better with your budget and lifestyle, but remember, these living cost comparisons don’t paint the whole picture. As we have seen, salaries in Australia are almost 15% higher than New Zealand, on average, which certainly helps offset the higher cost of living.

Work-Life Balance and Lifestyle

The work-life balance and lifestyle in Australia and New Zealand can have a significant impact on your overall happiness and well-being. Australia offers more career opportunities and big cities with a fast-paced lifestyle, while New Zealand values work-life balance and outdoor activities, with smaller cities and a slower pace of life.

Let’s delve deeper into the work-life balance and lifestyle of each country to help you make an informed decision.

Australia’s Work-Life Balance

An OECD survey found that 13% of employees in Australia work very long hours, which is higher than the OECD average. On average, full-time workers spend about 14.4 hours, or 60%, of their day on personal care and leisure.

Australian workers are entitled to 20 days of paid time off and four weeks of vacation, which is the minimum mandated by federal law. While work-life balance in Australia may not be as highly valued as in New Zealand, the country still offers numerous opportunities for leisure, relaxation, and personal care.

New Zealand’s Work-Life Balance

In New Zealand, the work-life balance is generally better than in Australia. The pace of life is more laid back, and the country is known for its appreciation of leisure time and smaller cities.

According to a recent survey, less than half of the respondents reported having an excellent or good work-life balance. This more relaxed approach to work-life balance is an appealing aspect of New Zealand culture and lifestyle.

Healthcare Systems

Healthcare in New Zealand

Healthcare is an important consideration when deciding between Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have excellent public healthcare systems, with Australia also offering a good private healthcare system and New Zealand offering subsidized healthcare to residents and private health insurance options.

Let’s explore the healthcare systems of both countries in more detail to help you make an informed decision.

Australia’s Healthcare System

Australia offers its citizens, permanent residents and even some temporary residents free or subsidized healthcare services through the public healthcare system named Medicare. This system is funded by the government and serves as a safety net for all citizens. The country also has a well-established private healthcare system, with private medical aid available to cover medical expenses not covered by Medicare.

With both public and private healthcare options, Australia provides comprehensive healthcare coverage for its residents.

New Zealand’s Healthcare System

New Zealand’s public healthcare system offers free or subsidized health and disability services to eligible residents. The country also has private health insurance options, which can cover expenses in the private system.

Overall, New Zealand provides a high quality of healthcare, ensuring that residents have access to the care they need.

Education Quality and Options

Education in Australia

World-class education is available for children in both Australia and New Zealand. Australia has a government-authorized education system with accredited schools, particularly the top five primary and high schools located in Melbourne and Sydney.

New Zealand’s education system prioritizes a student-centered approach and offers schools in Wellington and Auckland. Let’s take a closer look at the education systems in both countries.

Australian Education System

The Australian Education System is highly respected worldwide, with its Qualifications Framework ensuring that all schools and tertiary institutions are government-approved and accredited. The top primary and high schools in Australia are mainly located in Melbourne and Sydney, providing excellent educational opportunities for children.

University fees in Australia are generally quite expensive, but the country offers financial assistance programs such as the First Home Owners Grant for eligible students.

New Zealand Education System

New Zealand’s education system is known for its student-centered approach, which values individual learning styles and fosters a supportive learning environment. New Zealand is home to some great schools, particularly in the major cities of Wellington and Auckland. These schools are highly rated, and offer students a great education.

Overall, the country provides a nurturing and inclusive educational experience for children of all ages.

Safety and Quality of Life

How to Start a Life in Another Country

Safety and quality of life are essential factors to consider when choosing between Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have low crime rates and high quality of life, with Australia ranked as one of the safest countries in the world, while New Zealand is considered one of the most peaceful countries.

Let’s examine the safety and quality of life in both countries.

Safety in New Zealand

New Zealand was ranked 2nd in the Global Peak Index in 2022, ourranked only by Iceland. New Zealand is known for its low crime rates and peaceful atmosphere, making it one of the safest countries in the world. Most crime in New Zealand is limited to petty theft and bag snatching.

The country’s consistent high ranking in the Global Peace Index demonstrates its commitment to safety and security for its residents and visitors alike.

Safety in Australia

Australia was ranked 27th in the Global Peace Index in 2022. For context, the United Kingdom currently ranks at number 34. So, whilst Australia is a relatively safe country with fairly low crime rates, New Zealand is the clear winner here.

There are some risks associated with bushfires, dangerous animals, and driving at night in isolated areas, so being aware of these risks and taking necessary precautions can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the country.

Climate and Outdoor Activities

The climate and outdoor activities available in Australia and New Zealand can have a significant impact on your overall satisfaction and happiness in your new home. Australia has generally good weather for an outdoor lifestyle, while New Zealand has extreme weather with cold and wet winters.

Let’s explore the climate and outdoor activities in both countries.

Australia’s Climate and Activities

Australia boasts a diverse climate, ranging from tropical in the north to cooler temperatures in the south. This variety in climate allows for a wide range of outdoor activities such as surfing, sailing, and camping.

Australia’s climate and outdoor opportunities make it an ideal destination for those who love to explore and enjoy nature.

New Zealand’s Climate and Activities

New Zealand has a largely temperate climate, with a range of climate zones from subtropical to subantarctic. Despite its extreme weather with cold and wet winters, the country is renowned for its adventure sports and stunning landscapes.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to enjoy, such as hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking, as well as cultural experiences like visiting museums, galleries, and exploring the country’s unique Maori culture.

Visas and Immigration Requirements

Visas and immigration requirements are important to consider when planning your move to Australia or New Zealand. Migration agents can provide valuable information and assistance with visa applications and costs for both countries.

Australian visa requirements vary depending on the type of visa, while New Zealand has a points-based immigration system. Let’s take a closer look at the visa requirements for each country.

Australian Visa Requirements

To enter Australia, you’ll need a valid visa from the Department of Home Affairs. New Zealand citizens are granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) upon arrival in Australia.

For New Zealanders with a criminal history, additional requirements include written confirmation of their criminal history and an Australian Visa if they were imprisoned for over a year. Understanding these requirements can help ensure a smooth transition to your new life in Australia.

New Zealand Visa Requirements

To visit New Zealand, you’ll typically be granted a visitor visa valid for three months upon arrival (or up to six months if you’re a UK citizen). If you plan to stay longer, you’ll need to apply for a different type of visa.

Understanding the visa requirements for New Zealand is essential to ensuring a successful move and integration into the country.

Cultural Differences and Adjustments

Maori Tattoos - Moving to New Zealand - A Guide to Maori Culture

Cultural differences between Australia and New Zealand can impact your overall experience in your new home. Australia is known for its diversity and multiculturalism, while New Zealand is more laid back and relaxed. Australians tend to be more direct and outspoken, while New Zealanders are more reserved and polite.

Let’s explore the unique cultural aspects of each country.

Australian Culture

Australian culture has its roots in Western culture, primarily stemming from Britain, but is also shaped by the land of Australia and the cultural influences of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and other Australian people. The diverse influences in Australian culture create a vibrant and unique environment for residents and visitors alike.

This environment is characterized by a relaxed and laid-back attitude, a strong sense of community, and a love of the outdoors. Australians are known for their love of sport, their passion for the arts, and their commitment to social justice. These values are reflected in the way Australians live.

New Zealand Culture

New Zealand culture is a special mix of Maori and European influences, with a big emphasis on outdoor activities and sustainability. New Zealanders value kindness, tolerance, and friendship, making the country a welcoming and open-minded place for people from all countries and cultures.

The unique blend of cultural influences in New Zealand creates a rich and enjoyable living experience.


In conclusion, both Australia and New Zealand offer unique opportunities and lifestyles for newcomers. Whether you’re drawn to Australia’s higher salaries and bustling cities or New Zealand’s laid-back atmosphere and stunning landscapes, each country has much to offer. By considering factors such as job opportunities, cost of living, work-life balance, healthcare, education, safety, climate, visas, and cultural differences, you can make an informed decision about which country is the best fit for your new adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Australia and New Zealand!

Moving to Australia or New Zealand?

At 1st Move International, we provide reliable international removals services from the UK to Australia and New Zealand. We unitilise a unique packing method that offers better protection for your belongings, and we offer faster shipping, allowing us to offer weekly sailings to both Australia and New Zealand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is it better to migrate Australia or New Zealand?

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of both Australia and New Zealand, it seems that New Zealand may be a better option if you want to migrate. Cost of living is lower, New Zealand ranks 2nd on the Global Peace Index (as opposed to 27th for Australia) and rent much cheaper, however, other factors may come into play such as lower wages in New Zealand compared to Australia, and fewer job opportunities comparitively.

Is it cheaper to live in Australia or New Zealand?

Overall, it appears to be more affordable to live in New Zealand than in Australia. For instance, rent for a 3 bedroom apartment is roughly $659.46 (USD) cheaper per month in New Zealand compared to Australia.

Additionally, New Zealand tends to have a more relaxed pace of life, making it an attractive option for those looking for a slower lifestyle.

Do you get paid more in Australia or New Zealand?

It appears you’re likely to receive a bigger pay packet in Australia compared to New Zealand. The average monthly net salary after tax in Australia is £2,689.02 (5,037.43 A$) while in New Zealand it was is currently £2,293.30 (4,726.34 NZ$), showing a clear gap in wages between the two countries.

About 1st Move International

1st Move International are a specialist international moving and shipping company offering packing, shipping and insurance for shipping household goods and personal effects overseas. We have a global reach covering over 80 countries and 6500 worldwide destinations. You can get an international removals quote here or find more information on our international removals UK to New Zealand service here.

Avatar for Mike Harvey
As the Managing Director of 1st Move International, Mike Harvey brings more than two decades of logistics expertise and three years of specialised experience in international relocations to his role. His comprehensive knowledge spans the intricacies of overseas shipping, secondary yet crucial areas such as visa application processes and immigration requirements, and the wider topic of moving abroad including topics such as comparative analyses of cost of living, healthcare and educational systems worldwide. This expertise allows 1st Move International to equip people with the information they need to not just move overseas, but to make informed decisions about whether, and where, to relocate.