Did You Know This About Auckland?
Auckland, New Zealand, is the third most livable city in the world! In March 2019 ‘Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey’ ranked Auckland in third place in its ‘World’s Most Livable Cities’ list of 450 cities in the world.
And isn’t New Zealand on every traveler’s bucket list too? The scenery is absolutely stunning, the people are very friendly, the food is delicious, and it is ranked as one of the best places in the world for adventure holidays. It’s best not to rush a visit here. Take your time to live like a local and enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Why Live in Auckland?
Auckland has volcanoes and islands in abundance. If you should arrive in Auckland by ship, you will pass a large symmetrical cone-shaped island called Rangitoto that is actually a volcano. Auckland has been built on a volcanic field of over 50 volcanoes! Fortunately, the last eruption in Auckland was over 600 years ago. The volcanoes are considered by scientists to be dormant, and there is an extremely slim chance of any of them erupting in the near future.
Many are now unrecognizable as they have been quarried away or built into or over, but the main ones that still can be seen and visited for their great views are Mount Eden, One Tree Hill, Mangere Mountain, Mount Wellington, and Pukekawa, where the Auckland Museum is built.
Why is Auckland called “The City of Sails?”
If you love the sea you’ll really love Auckland. The central urban area has developed around a narrow isthmus between two harbors. On the western side is the Manukau harbor on the Tasman Sea with its black sand and rugged surf, and on the eastern side is the sparkling Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean with its beautiful beaches and interesting islands.
Called the ‘City of Sails’ because one in three households are said to own a boat of some size or shape, the Auckland coastline covers 3,700 km, and there are over 50 islands in the harbor, each with its own unique character. You don’t need to own a boat to access the islands. There are excellent ferry services, boat tours, and charter boats available.
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Waiheke Island, about 40 minutes ferry ride from downtown has been voted amongst the top islands in the world on several well known international polls in recent years and has become, probably, the number one place to visit on all tourists lists of places to go and things to do in Auckland. Why? Along with its white sandy beaches, coves, and estuaries, there are olive groves, hiking trails, native bush, farms, a quaint main village and plenty of activities from zip-lining to kayaking. It has about 30 vineyards, most with tasting rooms and restaurants with absolutely stunning views. Once a hippie retreat, it has retained its artsy bohemian feel.
What is Auckland’s Climate Like?
Auckland has a subtropical temperate climate, which means it usually doesn’t experience climate extremes, although it can be very changeable and it is possible to experience four seasons in one day!
The average temperature in summer (November to March) is warm at about 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) and in the cooler and damp winter (June to August) averages 14 degrees Celsius. (58 degrees Fahrenheit) These are pleasant weather conditions for holidaying and sightseeing.
Is it easy to get to other tourist spots outside Auckland?
Auckland has all the usual big-city attractions and amenities like art galleries, museums, parks, gardens, shopping centers, pubs, and nightclubs, but it is also an ideal place to use as a base for touring the North Island. It is only a two or three hours drive to the top tourist spots of Rotorua, Hobbiton, Coromandel, Tauranga, and Waitomo Caves and these can all be visited on a day trip. The Bay of Islands, Taupo, Mount Taranaki, and Napier /Gisborne are about four to five-hour drive from Auckland and better suited to an overnight stay.
How Does The Cost of Living in Auckland, New Zealand Compare With Other Cities in the World?
According to the ‘Mercer Cost of Living Ranking’ Auckland was ranked 89th out of 209 cities in the world. Hong Kong ranked as the most expensive and Singapore was third, San Francisco 16th, Los Angeles 18th, Honolulu 36th, Paris 47th, and Sydney 50th. Other cities, similar in ranking to Auckland, were Detroit at 90 and Barcelona at 91.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent an Apartment or House Per Month in Auckland?
Rental houses and apartments are usually advertised with a weekly rental rate and a minimum six-month rental term. The average costs (based on a six-month minimum lease) currently are:-
1 bedroom central city apartment NZ$1800 a month (US$1207, EUR 1082)
1 bedroom outer Auckland apartment NZ$1450 per month (US$977, EUR 873)
3 bedroom inner-city apartment NZ$3400 per month (US$2290, EUR 2044)
3 bedroom outer Auckland apartment NZ$2500 a month (US1684, EUR 1504)
Short term apartments and houses with daily, weekly, and monthly rentals are available but will usually be more expensive than the six months plus option, although utilities are usually included. Airbnb and Bookabach advertise a good selection of monthly rentals from about NZ $2500 (US$1684, EUR 1503) to NZ $4000 (US$2694, EUR 2406) for a two to three-bedroom apartment or house.
These figures are just a guide as the length of your stay, the location, quality, size, furnishings, the timing of the tourist season, access to sea views and demand all affect the price. The more expensive rentals will generally be in the central city areas, the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore, with the less expensive rental areas most likely to be in the western, southern and outer suburban areas.
Internet Cost in New Zealand
There are three main network providers to choose from and each has their own network- Vodafone, 2 Degrees and Sharp. However, Skinny Direct and Warehouse Mobile offer the most competitive rates. Warehouse Mobile has super cheap data/phone/text packages from NZ$12 a month (US$8, EUR 7.22) to NZ$38 a month (US$25.59, EUR 22.85) and Skinny Direct offers NZ$36 for 28 days with 4.5 GB data and unlimited texts and phone calls. (US$24.24, EUR 21.65) There is plenty of free Wifi around Auckland available in shopping centers, coffee bars, cafes, and public libraries.
How Much do Utilities Cost in Auckland?
If you’re renting short term through Airbnb, Bookabach or the short term holiday apartments, utilities will usually be included in your monthly rental charge. If not a couple in a one-bedroom house or apartment could expect to pay from NZ$200 to NZ$400 per month. (US$134 to US$269, EUR 120 to Eur 240)
What is the Cost of Public Transportation in Auckland?
Within the central city, there is an efficient bus system that provides continual loops of the inner city. There are a few bike rental stands around but the electric scooters have proved extremely popular and are around the city in abundance. There are plenty of taxis and other ridesharing services. Public transport is cheaper than ridesharing, and ridesharing is cheaper than taxis. Uber, Zoomy (locally owned), Ola (newish in Auckland) and DriveHer all offer competitive rates.
The train system is improving and the express bus systems are becoming more and more popular as parking in the city becomes harder to find and more expensive from around $4 per hour (US$2.69, EUR 2.41) and up to $40 (US$26, EUR 24) per day. You can purchase an AT HOP electronic card which you can use for discounted fares on buses, trains, and ferries in Auckland. You can also purchase individual tickets if required. Fares vary from NZ0.50 cents for the inner city bus to NZ$12.50 (US$9, EUR 8) for the longest trip.
Are Cars Expensive in New Zealand?
Driving in Auckland City is not much fun. Aucklanders, traditionally were used to being able to drive anywhere and everywhere and being able to park right at the door of their destination, and they have been most reluctant to move to public transport in spite of rising petrol costs, but now the motorways are congested and busy 24 hours a day and peak-time driving is a nightmare. Petrol costs are quite high too at about NZ$2.10 to NZ$2.50 per liter. (US$1.34, EUR 1.2)
You can buy an older, but reasonably good vehicle for NZ$1500 to NZ$3,000. Parking is difficult and expensive in the inner city, but a car will get you to those amazing places like the wild, rugged, black sand West Coast beaches such as Muriwai Beach and Piha Beach that you can not get to by public transport. Rental car prices are reasonable. Many visitors pick up second-hand cars through the car markets or Trade Me website.
How Much Does Food Cost in New Zealand?
Food is not cheap in New Zealand. There are three major supermarket chains. They are Countdown, New World and Pak’nSave. Pak’nSave generally has the cheapest prices. The cost of fruit and vegetables varies according to the season, but the quality is usually excellent, as is the quality of the meat and fish. Prices for some of the basics are listed below. Buying fruit and vegetables in season and at the Farmers Markets or directly at the gardens or orchards is the most economical way to go.
- 1 Litre Milk NZ$1.80- 3.70 (US$1.21, EUR 1.10)
- Loaf bread NZ$1-4 (US$ 0.67 , EUR 0.60)
- 1 kg Cheese NZ$8-12 (US$5.40- US$8.00, EUR 4.81-EUR 7.22)
- 1 free range whole chicken NZ$12-16 (US$ 8.08-US$10.77, EUR 7.22-EUR 9.02)
- Bottle of wine NZ$12-16 (US$ 8.08-US$10.77, EUR 7.22-EUR 9.02)
What is the Cost of Eating Out in Auckland?
Auckland has an abundance of excellent restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets. The restaurant and cafe scene is world-class.
- Meal (Inexpensive cafe) NZ$15-30 (US$ 10 -US$ 20, EUR 9 -EUR 18)
- Meal for 2. Midrange- 3 courses NZ$70-100 (US$ 47-US$ 67, EUR 42-EUR 60)
- McDonalds (Combo Meal) NZ$8.50 -NZ$12 (US$ 5.72-US$ 8.08, EUR 5.11-EUR 7.22)
- Beer -local .5 litre draught NZ$7-NZ$12 (US$4.71-US$8.08, EUR 4.21-Eur 7.22)
- Cappuccino (regular) NZ$4-NZ$5 (US$ 2.7-US$3.37, EUR 2-41-EUR 3)
How big is Auckland and What is the Population?
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand in both size and population. The area is about 1000 square km and the population is approximately 1.6 million. It is an extremely multicultural city with about 40% of its population born overseas and this is reflected in the very wide variety of affordable and excellent ethnic cafes and restaurants.
Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population in the world and the weekend markets in Otara and Avondale reflect this and make for an interesting cultural and colorful trip.
The cost of living in Auckland is not cheap but it’s not horrifically expensive either. There are so many free outdoor things to do and places to see if you are on a budget and its a great base for touring the North Island. So, as I said before, take your time and enjoy the experience of living like a local and enjoying everything Auckland City has to offer.
Aucklanders, like all New Zealanders love their sport and there is a great rivalry with our Australian neighbours ‘over the ditch.’ If, while you’re here you get the chance to see New Zealand play Australia in any sort of sport, and in particular rugby football or cricket, go and watch. It is guaranteed to be a fiercely competitive game!
About The Author
Maureen Spencer is a passionate traveler and Head Writer at “So Many Places! So Little Time!- Online Travel Magazine & Blog.” Maureen was born in Auckland and lived there most of her life apart from 20 or so years living, working, visiting and collecting fridge magnets from over 70 countries. You can follow “So Many Places! So Little Time!” on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.