The cost of living in Wellington, New Zealand

I’ve spent most of my life in Wellington, with briefer stints in Auckland and London. If  moving to New Zealand sounds ideal to you, here’s an indication of the cost of living in Wellington, my home city and the Capital. All prices are in $NZ and many are similar across the country if you’re not looking specifically at Wellington and just after an idea of the cost of living in New Zealand.

Because if there’s one thing I enjoy geeking out on it’s watching YouTube apartment tours and reading cost of living blog posts to get a comparative glimpse of what it’s like to live in various cities around the world.

City scape of Wellington from Mount Victoria cost of living in Wellington


TradeMe was the website of choice for finding a place to rent or a room in a shared flat in New Zealand, but Facebook Groups are becoming more popular now. Rent is listed in a per week figure rather than per month and paying fortnightly in advance is usual.

When moving in you’re normally expected to pay a bond (deposit) and sign a fixed term lease of 6-12 months.

Before I bought my house in Karori I lived in a one bedroom furnished flat at the bottom of a house about 10 minutes walk up a hill from the central city. It was close to the botanic gardens and I lived there for over four years years paying $400 per week, which included power, gas and internet.

I loved my landlords and the size of my flat and was sad to move on – I’d previously lived in smaller with flatmates and I loved not owning furniture of my own. I liked the idea that packing up and leaving with a couple of suitcases was a possibility rather than accumulating a whole heap of possessions, but most flats are unfurnished here.

I think generally you’d expect to pay $400 – $550 for rent alone, $250-$350 for a room in a shared flat excluding utilities (power, internet, perhaps gas and in some locations you also have to pay for water).

Internet and Power providers

People see switching as a hassle and so often don’t switch away from the big, traditional power, phone and internet companies which often charge you more as well as requiring a fixed term contract.

Your best bet is to hit up a comparison site such as Glimp, type in your circumstances and work out which provider to go with based on your needs.


If you own a car it requires a registration (over $200 per year) as well as a current Warrant of Fitness ($50-$70 on average every 6 or 12 months depending on the age of the vehicle).

Public transport with a Snapper card (the Wellington equivalent of London’s Oyster) costs from $0.91 ($2.50 cash) off-peak. All of the CBD is walkable anyway if you have the time. Fares are based on zones rather than a flat rate so you have to remember to tag off or you get charged to the end of the route.

It costs less than $10 to go from Karori to the airport on the bus which is significantly cheaper than an Uber (at least $30 for a 30 minute trip), which is again much cheaper than a traditional taxi (closer to $45).

Cost of living in Wellington, New Zealand


I don’t really track what I spend in the supermarket as I shop sporadically but I expect it’s around $75 per week covering most meals for one person. I typically buy unprocessed vegetables and proteins which will work well together however I choose to combine them which no doubt works out cheaper than more processed meal options.

There are markets around the city at the weekends which offer cheaper produce however I quickly realised this was counter-intuitive fore me as buying coffees and other treats as I wander around only increases my weekly spend.

Entertainment and other costs

  • A plated meal in a restaurant typically costs $18-$35 depending on the calibre while takeaways are more like $17-$25. Brunch is a popular meal to catch up with friends over and there are a lot of great bars to visit.
  • A fairly standard coffee in a cafe can range from $4.50 to $6.00 but you shouldn’t be disappointed.
  • Going to the movies is getting cheaper in the age of streaming and downloading – less than $20 for a standard adult ticket.
  • You’re looking at at least $150 to watch the All Blacks rugby team play and over $100 for major music acts (when they come, there’s currently a real lack of a suitable venue in Wellington)
  • We definitely get ripped off when it comes to imported clothes and beauty items in stores so ordering them online from overseas or sale sites is a good way to go.
  • I pay around $110 to get my hair cut in the city, but if you do a bit of research and head into the suburbs and/or to an apprentice level hairdresser it’s possible to save much of that.
  • It’s about $55 to see a doctor, and $150 for a dental check up including xrays.

If the cost of living in New Zealand g hasn’t put you off moving here and you’re interested in reading more about life in Wellington check out some of my previous posts


  1. Suzanne Vickery
    July 4, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    Interesting to see how much it costs to live in New Zealand. So much dearer than in many places we now housesit. We are originally from the Bay of Plenty, now nomads 🙂

    • July 5, 2017 / 9:06 am

      The Bay of Plenty would be a beautiful spot to live in! Sounds as though you’re now living the dream Suzanne 🙂

      • Suzanne Vickery
        July 5, 2017 / 7:30 pm

        Yes I suppose you could say we are “living the dream” 🙂

  2. June 4, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    Such a useful post for people looking to relocate to NZ.

  3. Alexis Rae
    June 3, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    I just moved to Auckland from Seattle, so for me it has been pretty similar. But Seattle is expensive, so I am a little biased.

    • June 3, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      Hope you’re enjoying Auckland! I LOVED Seattle when I visited a couple of years ago but have no doubt it’s a pricey city to live in.

  4. June 3, 2017 / 2:07 am

    I love this interpretation of the home theme! But maybe I’ve been naive… I’m surprised at how expensive Wellington is, even with the currency conversion!

    • June 3, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks Sarah! And it’s always interesting to hear people’s reactions to prices here.