Skip Navigation

Where should I live ?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Where should I live ?

1. Posted by kocolise (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

kocolise has indicated that this thread is about New Zealand

I going to moving to NZ for 1 year in June... I still havent quite figured out where to live. Any local suggestions?

2. Posted by swiss33 (Inactive 22 posts) 11y

The following question illustrates how vague yours is, but not to the same extent as yours... there are way more than 52 choices in NZ.

I am going to move to the USA, which is the best State?

Doesn't the correct or helpful answer rely on a whole lot more information? Like, am I a water person, do I like mountains? Live on a beach, or near a lake?
I like cold, I like hot, I like dry... etc etc.

We need more info to even start helping you!

3. Posted by kocolise (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

Good point... to narrow down then...probably south island.. the four choices I have as sort of my final destination are Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Te Anau... but i'm open to other options... I really want to see as much natural beauty as I can while down there... unfortunately I'm a bit limited by just reading books and websites so I'm still not completely sure what else is down there besides the bigger, more popular places...

4. Posted by swiss33 (Inactive 22 posts) 11y

Well, I am unsure of your situation, but...

If you are single then Queenstown is a great choice. Hopefully you also have lots of money to spare and would like to work in the tourism industry. You cannot eat the view... if you know what I mean.

Te Anau is a little quiet unless you will work in a hotel or the like, lovely scenery though.

Christchurch is a nice sized flat city. Great for cheap cycle transport, often sunny weather and a very English city in some respects. There are more work opporunities here than most of the South Island.

Dunedin. Strangely enough my wife and I are considering a move from Switzerland back to NZ and we have our hearts set on Dunedin. Dunedin has character and style. It is a Uni town (so plenty of rowdy students) and has a fairly good amount of opportunity. Dunedin is comfortably close to Queenstown and has nice beaches with good surf... so the best of both worlds.

Check out my site New Zealand Focus: Tourism Information Guides to find a whole load of information in our "Destinations" section. We have plenty of information covering all of these areas.

Good luck... I know it isn't easy, doing it myself and all.

5. Posted by kocolise (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

Well I'm doing a program that will let me have a work permit for a year ... so i'm going to be living and working somewhere down there... the problem with the cities I'm looking at is they all have something to offer.. seeing as though a year is a relatively long period of time I'm might be able to swing living in 2 or 3 of these cities ... how "touristy" is Queenstown? I ask because I'd rather not move down there and be surrounded by americans wearing fanny packs.

6. Posted by swiss33 (Inactive 22 posts) 11y

The word Queenstown in the NZ dictionary translates to Tourist Resort in English.
You will find plenty of American Tourists with fanny packs, including Bill Clinton and Shania Twain who both own properties in the regions, alongside old favourites like Sally Jesse Rapheal etc.
Queenstown really is just a big tourist town. Hate to burst the bubble, but as beautiful and exciting as it is, I wouldn't want to live there... not anymore.

I would really suggest Dunedin or Chritchurch if you want lots of opportunity. There are, however, hundreds of smaller places like Timaru, Oamaru, Kaikoura, Invercargill, Nelson (nice and sunny) Blenheim and so many more that you could consider. The only catch is that the smaller the town, the less chance of finding work. But hey, NZ has an unemploment rate of 3.3% as the moment, so you should be fine!

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 11y

Quoting kocolise

Well I'm doing a program that will let me have a work permit for a year

Working holiday visa like? (That is, with you only being permitted to work for the same company up to three months, before having to find other work?)
Is work the main reason you're going, or is vacation the main reason, with work being sadly needed to pay for it all?

Assuming the working holiday visa, or vacation as the main reason, I'd pick a city that has the absolute highest chance of employing you. Which probably would be Auckland, although that doesn't hold true for all kinds of work (tourism for example, as noted, is booming in Queenstown). Plan to be there during the New Zealand winter, so you get to benefit from the "winterless north" temperatures.
And then _travel_. You have an entire country to explore. Why limit yourself to just one city? Especially if you have the three month limitation anyway, you can go to multiple places. Finding accomodation for just a few months might be harder than for an entire year, but the benefits are more than worth it.
The South Island definitely has the absolutely most glorious scenery ever (though don't dismiss Tongariro or the absolute green-ness of the north of the north island), but the North Island has nearly the entire New Zealand population, and that's definitely noticeable in amount of work available, not to mention in things like availability of culture.

Of the cities you listed as initial options, I'd strongly recommend against Te Anau. It's a dump, outside of its focus on tourism. The walks you can do from there are the best, but I wouldn't live there if paid to. If you're set on the South Island though, Nelson might be another option worth considering, although it's nowhere near as good as Christchurch or Dunedin.

8. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 611 posts) 11y

Hi,
Just to add my own thoughts, even though most things have been covered really.
I would agree that you couldn't possibly live in Te Anau unless you love solitude. It is a stunning place to visit and stay for a little while, but it is tiny (a small village rather than a town). Although I have no idea how anyone can call it a dump!
It would probably be a good idea to split between North and South - say Dunedin or Christchurch, and then Auckland, or a place nobody has mentioned yet, Wellington. Sadly I never got there, but from what I read, it seemed to have a bit of culture about it, and it's at the southern tip of the North Island, so you could hop back to the South quite easily if you felt like it.

9. Posted by kocolise (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

true about the split between north and south... I don't mind cold but being from texas I havent lived in a very cold place for much time before... since I'm getting there in the middle of winter I wondered if perhaps it might be best to live in the north where it would be a little milder and then move to the south as it gets a little warmer