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    Cost of Living in New Zealand for International Students: Accommodation and Travel Guide

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    It is estimated that the cost of living in New Zealand is INR 1,85,209 for a single person for one month, which is 218.13% higher than in India. You will need to pay a tuition fee of NZD 32,000-35,000 in addition to that, in order to study in New Zealand. Therefore, international students might find it difficult to gather sufficient financial resources to cover all this.

    However, one can do their best to cut down on the living expenses by following a strict budget. There are also a number of scholarships available, like the University of Otago international Master’s Research Scholarship, which provide recipients a stipend that can be used to pay for the necessities. Other than the scholarships in New Zealand, you may also be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and even full-time during holidays, as per your student visa.

    Cost of Living in New Zealand: Travel Guide

    A one-way flight ticket to New Zealand would cost you INR 52,000-1,00,000. When you travel to New Zealand, it is recommended that you bring the following things with you:

    You have to fill out a Passenger Arrival Card, which will be handed out on the flight. You will have to submit this and show your supporting documents at the New Zealand Immigration counter. After that you can go through Customs, and declare any restricted or risk items. Finally, you can collect your baggage and move out to your accommodation. Don’t forget to carry around NZD 1,000 with you, to pay for all your initial travel costs in New Zealand, as well as for other things.

    New Zealand Travel Restrictions

    New Zealand’s borders are closed to non-residents of the country, in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. Therefore, those holding New Zealand student visas overseas cannot travel to New Zealand. The NZ government is planning to allow up to 1,000 international students to come study in the country, but this rule will most likely only be applicable to those in the final years of their course, and not to new students. If you have taken admission in a university in New Zealand, your classes will be conducted online until the borders open.

    Cost of Transportation in New Zealand

    These are the main modes of transportation in New Zealand that you can use to get around the place:

    • You can hire a taxi at a rate of NZD 3.3 per kilometre. This would mean a total cost of around NZD 90 from the airport to the Auckland city centre. The same would cost only NZD 48.5 in an Uber.
    • Trains and the rail system are sufficiently available in New Zealand, but mostly in cities. The average ticket rate is NZD 4-11.5.
    • Buses are the preferred mode of transport for most students, and the ticket rate here is also NZD 4-11.5.
    • Ferries are found in a few places, the minimum ticket for short distances being NZD 4.7-6.7. However, some longer ferry trips cost NZD 51-73.
    • If you live near the campus, you may find that it is easiest to get around on a cycle. You may buy your own bicycle, or you could rent one when you need it, for NZD 1 per hour.
    • Since New Zealand is a very spacious country, with long empty roads, it may be easier to travel between cities via domestic flight. These tickets may cost NZD 50-70.

    Each city has its own interconnected transport system, and corresponding smart cards.

    • AT Hop Card in Auckland can be purchased for NZD 10, and can be used on the bus, train, and ferry.
    • Metro card in Christchurch can be purchased for NZD 5, and can be used on buses.
    • Snapper card in Wellington can be purchased for NZD 10, and can be used on buses and in the cable car.

    You can use these in lieu of tickets, topping up every once in a while to ensure that you are not short of the required charge. Not only is it easier to handle than cash, it also offers you discounts of over 25% on the fares, which will significantly reduce your cost of living in New Zealand.

    Cost of Living in New Zealand: Accommodation

    International students in New Zealand need to find a place to stay during their period of study. The student accommodation facilities can be

    • University-managed or private rental
    • Furnished or not
    • Catered or self-catered

    Most universities provide accommodation for international students, but if you don’t get a place there, you can find information on private rentals on the university websites too. The most common types of student accommodation in New Zealand are:

    • Halls of Residence - These are usually fully furnished and inclusive of amenities like meals, laundry, internet, electricity and water. The rent ranges from NZD 300 to 400 per week.
    • Homestays - You can choose to live with a host family in New Zealand, who will provide you a fully furnished room and meals three times a day. This costs NZD 110-370 per week, and is a great way to learn more about Kiwi culture.
    • Flats - You can rent a flat alone or with friends, with each person paying NZD 215 per week. Make sure to find a flat close to the university campus, and one that includes basic utilities.

    It is also possible to get a three-four bedroom house for NZ 565 per week, but this is only advisable if you have a large group of at least 4-5 people seeking accommodation in New Zealand.

    Cost of Living in New Zealand Universities

    The accommodation fees at the top universities in New Zealand, at furnished, catered residences, inclusive of utilities, for one person per week is shown below. The fee is to be paid every two weeks, and you have to pay an initial deposit to secure a seat.

    University Accommodation (per week) Expected Yearly Living Expenses
    University of Auckland NZD 393 NZD 20,000-25,000
    University of Otago NZD 417 NZD 15,000-17,000
    Victoria University of Wellington NZD 482 NZD 18,000-27,000
    University of Canterbury NZD 389 NZD 20,000-26,000
    University of Waikato NZD 370 NZD 20,000-28,000

    Cost of Living in New Zealand: Expenditure

    When applying for a New Zealand student visa, you will have had to prove that you have at least NZD 15,000 that covers all your expenses in the first year of study, which comes to NZD 1,250 per month of living expenses in New Zealand. The cost of living at various student cities is tabulated below.

    Student City Cost of Living (per month) Accommodation (per month)
    Auckland NZD 1,490 NZD 1,681-1,903
    Wellington NZD 1,291 NZD 1,550-2,009
    Christchurch NZD 1,322 NZD 1,144-1,465
    Dunedin NZD 1,333 NZD 763-1,277

    The cost of living in New Zealand would include:

    • Groceries - NZD 100-150 per week
    • Utilities - NZD 291 per month
    • Entertainment - NZD 50 per week
    • Telecommunication - NZD 19 (starting price)

    If you want to save money on data and internet usage, you can make use of the free Wi-Fi available in cities like central Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Dunedin. You can save money on New Zealand food, which costs around NZD 43 per day, by not eating out too often. To cut down on grocery expenses, you can find a lot of offers in big grocery chains, and even at the local farmers’ market. Additionally, you can work part-time to pay for these living expenses (or full-time if you are studying in New Zealand as a Masters or PhD student).