Cost of Living for International Students in New Zealand


Meridean Overseas

Updated On 02 February 2024 & Read Time 15 minutes


When one thinks of studying abroad, New Zealand is often at the top of the list. However, the cost of living in New Zealand can be slightly higher than the study abroad destinations. Moreover, we highly recommend New Zealand for all those students who wish to study in top-ranking universities. There are a total of 8 universities in New Zealand, and all of these are in the top 3% of the world. This attracts many international students to immigrate and study in New Zealand.


New Zealand has seen the living cost rise sharply as the global economy emerges year to year. As an international student, before moving to New Zealand, it is essential to set out your living expenses and understand how to live comfortably in another country; managing expenses is very important. Let’s look at the living expenses in New Zealand for international students.


Why Study in New Zealand?

New Zealand immediately springs to mind as a stunning country with incredible locations. However, the nation is more than just its beautiful scenery. Top universities, including the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, and many others, are housed in New Zealand.


Cost of Living for International Students in New Zealand


Here are a few justifications for choosing to study in New Zealand.

  • Quality of life

  • You can work to support your education

  • Globally recognised qualifications

  • Excellent research-based teaching

  • Highly experienced faculty

  • Great opportunities for PhD scholars

  • Laboratories with the latest equipment and technology

  • Safe and peaceful

  • NZQA and NZQF-authorised courses

  • Many merit-based scholarships

  • Recognised education by agencies like QS World Uni Rankings 2024, US News &World Report and Times Higher Education Ranking.


Top Universities in New Zealand

New Zealand has 8 universities in total, all of which are ranked among the top universities globally by QS World Rankings 2024. These universities provide international students with a high-quality education that helps them achieve their objectives and learn to tackle difficulties, collaborate with others, and develop and invent.


These universities are listed below. 


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Cost of Living in New Zealand

According to NZ universities, you will need to budget between NZ$15,000–$20,000 (South Island) and NZ$18,000 – $25,000 (North Island) per academic year for New Zealand expenses, depending on where you live.


An international student's annual cost of living in New Zealand is 1,500 NZD (78,600 INR). New Zealand cost of living for students is roughly 225.5% more expensive than India's. So, it is recommended that you budget an additional expense of 32,000–35,000 NZD (16.77–18.35 lakhs INR) to study in New Zealand.


A master's degree costs between NZD 26,000 (13 lakhs) and NZD 37,000 (19 lakhs) for an academic year, while a PhD may cost between NZD 6,000 (3 lakhs approx) and NZD 9,000 (4 lakhs approx) depending on the amount of funding they receive in New Zealand for their studies.


Moreover, an undergraduate degree typically costs an academic year between NZD 22,000 (11 lakhs approx) and NZD 32,000 (16 lakhs approx). The immigration agency requires the applicant to have at least NZD 10,200 (5 lakhs approx) in their account to demonstrate that they can afford to support their studies, according to the official criteria. After demonstrating this amount, candidates are only given a visa to study in New Zealand.


In addition to your tuition and insurance expenditures, NZD 20,000 (10lakh to 11 lakh) and NZD 25,000 (13 lakhs approx) a year (NZD 380 - 480 per week) living expenses in New Zealand for international students must consider for housing/rent, food, transportation, phone bills, internet usage, and entertainment.


The typical living expense will be the same regardless of your tuition or course fee. Note that these figures are only suggestions; the requirements for immigrating to New Zealand are $15,000 per year plus return flights or an additional $2,000. The table below shows the average cost of living in New Zealand for international students. 

Cost of Living in New Zealand


Expense (in NZD)



NZD 10–NZD 12 (for 5 km) 

650 approx 


NZD 800–NZD 950 per month 

48,000-50,000 approx 


NZD 200–NZD 500 per week 

10,000-27,000 approx

Visiting a doctor 

NZD 45–NZD 85

2,500-4,500 approx 


NZD 3 per litre

160 approx 


NZD 15 - NZD 20

800-11,00 approx 


NZD 19 

1,000 approx 


NZD 200 per week 

10,000 approx 

Also, Read: Scholarships to Study in New Zealand


Here are the regional house prices in different cities in New Zealand.

New Zealand Cost of Living For Students – Accommodation Cost


House Price



Bay of Plenty










Hawkes Bay




Central Otago
















West Coast


Cost of Living in Different New Zealand Cities

To apply to universities in New Zealand, you must prove to have around 7,88,255 NZD to cover all the New Zealand expenses. The table below shows the average cost of living in New Zealand for different cities.

Cost of Living in Different New Zealand Cities


Monthly Average Expenses 



1,333 NZD

70,000 approx 


1,291 NZD

68,000 approx 


1,322 NZD

69,000 approx 


1,490 NZD

77,000 approx  

Here is a detailed overview of the Cost of Living in New Zealand for different cities.



Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, stands out as both a hub for high-paying jobs and the most expensive place to reside in the country. While the city boasts some of the nation's top-salaried positions and a robust job market, the Auckland, New Zealand cost of living for students in terms of rent, property, and dining is notably high.


As per Glimp, a comparison website, an individual looking to live independently in Auckland should aim for a monthly income of at least NZ$5,000, while a family's comfortable living requires around NZ$7,984 per month. Housing expenses, whether in rent or mortgage payments, are steep in Auckland. Living alone in the central business district can cost approximately NZ$2,280 per month, and renting a three-bedroom suburban flat may set you back NZ$2,360. Overall, the average house price in Auckland stands at NZ$1.04 million.


Auckland's central city and nearby suburbs are more conducive to walking or public transportation. However, beyond these areas, the city may not be as pedestrian-friendly, making it advisable to consider purchasing a car for convenient travel throughout the broader metropolitan area.



The capital city of New Zealand, holds the distinction of having the highest rental rates in the country. However, it is comparatively more affordable than Auckland when considering expenses such as groceries and other living costs.


According to the statistics given by Trade Me Rental Price Index, Wellington's median weekly rent stands at NZ$640, and the average house price has reached NZ$1.018 million. Typically, two-bedroom properties in Wellington command rents ranging from NZ$520 to NZ$650 per week, while three-bedroom properties range from NZ$670 to NZ$850 per week.


Living in Wellington offers a cost-saving advantage through its extensive public transport system. Unlike some other cities, owning a car in Wellington is not a necessity, thanks to the availability of buses, trains, and ferries that serve the inner city, Kapiti Coast, and Hutt Valley Regions.


Also, Read: Top 10 Jobs in New Zealand for Indians



Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island, has made significant strides in recovery since the impactful earthquake of 2011. Serving as a major business hub, the city boasts a thriving economy, and the ongoing reconstruction efforts have contributed to preventing a sharp increase in housing prices and rents.


In comparison to other major cities in New Zealand, Christchurch stands out as the most affordable. While the cost of living is higher than in smaller towns, it remains notably more budget-friendly than even smaller cities such as Gisborne, Napier, or Tauranga.


For an individual in Christchurch, the cost of living in New Zealand is around NZ$4,298 per month. However, a family of four should aim for a minimum monthly income of NZ$6,224 to meet living expenses in the city. In 2023, the average weekly rent in Christchurch stood at NZ$505. These figures serve as practical benchmarks for understanding the financial aspects of residing in Christchurch, encompassing various essential expenditures like housing, groceries, and utilities.



Despite its small size, Queenstown has gained a reputation for having some of the most expensive housing in New Zealand. Over the past three decades, it has transformed from a modest village into a town synonymous with luxurious accommodations and thrilling activities. The town has grappled with a housing shortage in recent years, a challenge attributed to its geographic location and popularity among tourists and affluent investors. This scarcity has contributed to an overall increase in the prices of goods, food, and services in the area.


As per the latest figures, in Queenstown, the average weekly rent is NZ$700, marking a year-over-year increase of $110 (18.6%). Typically, individuals share this cost among two, three, or four flatmates. For a satisfying solo living experience, a single person should budget at least NZ$5,000 per month, whereas living in a shared flat may require around NZ$4,000 monthly. Supporting a family of four necessitates a minimum monthly income of NZ$8,000. These financial considerations are higher than those in larger cities like Wellington, mainly due to the elevated costs of groceries, dining out, and entertainment in Queenstown.


Most Affordable Cities to Live in New Zealand

Some of the most affordable cities in New Zealand are given below. 

  • Christchurch 

  • Dunedin 

  • Whanganaui 

  • Rotorua 

  • Hamilton 

  • Whangarei


Also, Read: Best Courses in New Zealand for International Students After 12th


New Zealand Cost of Living for Students in Universities

Accommodation is an important factor when deciding to study at a university. Many universities provide accommodation options to students. Although availing of them is tough, they help reduce the cost of living in New Zealand.


The table below shows the accommodation fees at the top universities in New Zealand. 

Universities and their Cost of Living

University Name 

Monthly Accommodation Cost

University of Canterbury 

81,800 INR

University of Otago 

87,655 INR

University of Auckland 

82,610 INR 

University of Waikato 

77,775 INR

Victoria University of Wellington

1,01,422 INR 

Cost of Living in New Zealand per Month

The cost of living in New Zealand per month varies, with a single person in a major city requiring around NZ$4,000-NZ$5,000 per month. The monthly cost for a family of four rises to NZ$8,000-NZ$9,000. These estimates encompass accommodation, food, transportation, and other necessities. Hence, it is essential to consider these figures when planning your budget to live in New Zealand.


Everyday Item Cost in Different Parts of New Zealand

Below, you can check the average New Zealand expenses on everyday items.

Everyday Items
















Housing and household utilities





Household contents and services 















Unexpected Cost of Living in New Zealand

Living in New Zealand is great. Still, there are some unexpected living expenses in New Zealand for international students. You can check those elements below. These will help you to plan your budget better and enjoy your time in New Zealand.



Flights within New Zealand can be a bit expensive. Going between the North and South Islands or flying around the country might cost more than expected. International flights, especially the long ones, can also be pricey. The country only has two main airlines. Flights within the country can range from as low as NZ$60 to NZ$399 during busy times. To save money, booking your flights in advance is a good idea.



New Zealand has different weather in different places. You might need lots of different clothes. Buying good quality clothes here can be a bit expensive, and you might spend more than you planned. On average, you might spend NZ$50 on tops, NZ$120 on sweatshirts, NZ$150 on shoes, and NZ$130 on jeans from mid-priced stores.


Having Your Own Car

Some people like having their own car for the freedom it gives. But owning a car costs money – not just buying it, but also fuel, fixing it, and paying for insurance and registration. On average, a litre of petrol costs around NZ$2.624.



Food prices in New Zealand went up by 12.1% in 2023, according to government data. Fresh food, especially fruits and veggies, got more expensive by 22%, and groceries increased by 14%. Some things, like eggs, went up by 63%, yoghurt by 21.7%, pastries by 17.6%, and poultry by 15.2%.


Buying Online

Shopping online is convenient, but it can come with extra costs. Shipping fees and taxes can make things more expensive. It's a good idea to check local options first before buying from other countries. 


Average Salary in New Zealand

In New Zealand, salaries might not be as great as in some other Western countries, but the cool thing is, it is a super fair place with fewer really rich and really poor folks compared to other spots.


According to the 2024 details, the average salary in New Zealand is NZ$29.66 per hour, adding up to around NZ$61,692 for a full workweek of 40 hours. However, the salary amount may change depending on where you are and what job you're doing in New Zealand. Mostly, large cities like Auckland and Wellington pay high salaries to match the higher prices for things.


Now, if you are thinking about going for higher education in New Zealand, then this is a smart move. With a Bachelor's degree, you could end up making 40% more than the usual income. The minimum wage is NZ$22.70 per hour, even if you are starting from scratch.


Below, you can check the highest-paying professions in New Zealand.


Highest Paying Professions with Salary in New Zealand

Based on information from the job-search platforms, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in the field of accounting are being offered some of the highest annual salaries in the country, reaching NZ$198,644.


Salary in New Zealand

Healthcare & Medical - general practitioner

NZ$191,060 Per Annum

Information & Communication Technology - change manager

NZ$167,345 Per Annum

Construction - construction manager

NZ$167,118 Per Annum

Information & Communication Technology - solutions architect

NZ$160,122 Per Annum

Consulting & Strategy -change manager

NZ$155,611 Per Annum

Information & Communication Technology - delivery lead

NZ$154,795 Per Annum

Accounting - financial controller

NZ$152,365 Per Annum

Information & Communication Technology - technical lead

NZ$151,426 Per Annum

However, candidates have to pay tax on their income. The tax system in New Zealand is pretty straightforward and works in tiers based on your income. Your salary or earnings may be subject to different tax rates, depending on how much you make. Here is a breakdown of the tax rates:

  • 10.5% tax on income from NZ$0 to NZ$14,000.

  • 17.5% tax on income from NZ$14,001 to NZ$48,000.

  • 30% tax on income from NZ$48,001 to NZ$70,000.

  • 33% tax on income from NZ$70,001 to NZ$180,000.

  • 39% tax on income from NZ$180,001 and above.


Contact our counselors for application details


In conclusion, understanding the cost of living in New Zealand for international students is crucial for managing finances and having an enjoyable experience. Although the country offers a high-quality education system, picturesque landscapes, and a vibrant culture, the living expenses in New Zealand for international students may be slightly higher. Above, we have covered the cost of living in New Zealand for major cities. Budgeting for accommodation, transportation, food, and other daily expenses is essential.


We hope the above information regarding the cost of living in New Zealand has proved useful. Moreover, students who wish to study in New Zealand may contact our expert New Zealand study consultants/counsellors at any branch of Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). They will guide you for admission and New Zealand study visa requirements. You can also take free online counselling through our website. For more queries or further information, contact or 1800-1230-00011.



Q1. What is the average cost of accommodation for international students in New Zealand?

Ans. The accommodation cost varies, but on average, international students can expect to spend between NZ$300 to NZ$600 per week on rent, depending on the city and type of housing.


Q2. How much should I budget for food and groceries as an international student in New Zealand?

Ans. On average, monthly grocery expenses for a single person can range from NZ$150 to NZ$300. However, individual spending habits and dietary choices can impact this estimate.


Q3. Are there part-time job opportunities for international students in New Zealand?

Ans. Yes, international students are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks. This can help offset living expenses.


Q4. What is the average cost of public transportation for students in New Zealand?

Ans. Public transportation costs vary by location. Monthly transportation expenses can range from NZ$50 to NZ$150, depending on the city and usage frequency.


Q5. Are there financial assistance programs available for international students in New Zealand?

Ans. Some institutions offer scholarships, and there may be external organisations providing financial assistance to international students. Exploring these options and inquiring with the respective educational institutions is recommended.

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