Moving to New Zealand from Australia | The Complete Guide

Are you planning on moving to New Zealand from Australia? You’re in the right place if you are!

On this page you will find a complete guide with essential information for an Australian moving to New Zealand:

Can I get a job in New Zealand?

Before setting sail over the Tasman, it’s important to check if your skills are in demand if you haven’t already secured employment.

While New Zealand is known for being major exporters of lamb and wool, its economy is growing, as is the diversity of employment positions available.

Thanks to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit the tourism industry is booming, New Zealand vineyards and wineries are world renowned, and the country is producing almost 60% of its electricity from renewable energy.

It is an exciting time to be in New Zealand!

The New Zealand Government continually update a skills shortage list checker for certain positions and industries.

There are also a number of employment websites you can check out:

International/off shore employment websites

Local New Zealander employment websites

Visa options: can Australians live and work in New Zealand?

As an Australian citizen or permanent resident travelling to New Zealand, you are not required to apply for a visa before travelling there. Being neighbours has its perks right?!

When you arrive in New Zealand with the intent to stay, to live and work, you can be granted a residency visa upon arrival. You will be asked to present the following:

  • Passport: For proof of identity and records
  • Australian Immigration Status: Your citizenship or permanent resident details are required for the visa type
  • Character: Your character will be assessed based on numerous questions; have you got a criminal record? Have you ever been deported or excluded from another country?

For those who are on temporary visas within Australia, you are most likely required to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand. The New Zealand visa system is very similar to Australia’s; for example sponsorship through a skilled job is a possibility.

New Zealand also offers permanent residency and citizenship options. And for those who are a partner of an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, there are partnership visa options available based on your relationship.

More information on Visa’s and Citizenship on the New Zealand Immigrant Website.

Essential information on New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand

CategoryInfo
Capital city:Wellington
Currency:New Zealand dollar $ (NZD)
Official languages:English, Maori, NZ Sign Language
Drives on the:Left
Timezone:UTC+13
International dialling code:+64
Emergency numbers:111
Electricity:230 volts
Internet TLD:.nz

Cost of living in New Zealand

You will see that when you move to New Zealand, the cost of living is overall cheaper, with only groceries being slightly more expensive due to the location of the country!

The average monthly costs of utilities across New Zealand for an 85m2 apartment is $174.56. If you want a gym membership, the average monthly cost is $70.

For a full outline and break down of living costs, visit the New Zealand Immigration website and use their Cost of Living Calculator.

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Pro’s/con’s

As amazing as New Zealand is, it’s always best to consider the disadvantages of the country as much as the benefits of moving there.

Pro’sCon’s
Stunning sceneryLots of mosquito’s and sand-flies
Amazing weather and climateSkin cancer is a big problem
One of the safest places on earthHousing prices in Auckland are insane
Very laid back country and peopleLow-quality housing
Its un-crowdedLimited public transport available
Multicultural and open societyFar away from everywhere
Egalitarian cultureLimited career options

Shipping costs and time from Australia to New Zealand

Based on where you are located within Australia and where you wish to move to in New Zealand will determine how long it will take to ship your items. On average, however:

Shipping FromShipping ToFlight DurationShip Duration
AustraliaNew Zealand1-3 Days4-6 Days

Shipping to New Zealand by air

Definitely the fastest method of transporting your belongings from Australia to New Zealand, but potentially a more expensive option, as well as limiting in regards to what you can bring.

Shipping to New Zealand by sea

Depending on where you are shipping your goods from, by sea could be a great option, especially for those who want to bring furniture, have a little more time and plan in advance.

Average cost

SizeFlight CostSea Cost
1 Bedroom Apartment$4,477 – $4,948$1,119 – $1,237
3 Bedroom HomeN/A$1,722 – $1,903
5 Bedroom HomeN/A$2,583 – $2,855

Moving to New Zealand

What’s next?

Documentation needed for moving to New Zealand?

To save on postage costs and time spent waiting for documentation, here are a couple of handy documents to bring with you before you move to NZ:

  • Passport
  • Australian Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Australian Drivers License
  • Academic Certificates and Transcripts

Important to note: Ensure all documents are in English and have the original document, as well as copies printed in colour and certified.

Driving in New Zealand as an Australian

For Australians moving to New Zealand, all you need to do is convert your driver’s license to a New Zealander license.

Australians are exempt from theory tests. You are only required to take a practical driving test if you have only held your Australian driver’s license for less than two years.

Banking in New Zealand

You’re going to need a bank account if you intend on living in New Zealand. And while it does sound like yet another thing to add to your to do list, New Zealand make it very easy for you.

You are able to open a bank account up to one year before you relocate to NZ. This works great for anyone wishing to prepare as much as possible before they leave Australia. However, you will need to activate your account when you arrive. Depending on the bank, this usually requires a permanent New Zealand address, make sure you check the regulations before signing up.

Major banks you can sign up to in New Zealand are:

It may come as no surprise that Australia and New Zealand have similar banks (ANZ and Westpac as the obvious examples). It is worth asking your current Australian bank if they have any connection to the above or other New Zealand banks.

If you are unsure how long you will be living in New Zealand, and or want to still keep a connection to Australia, you are able to use your accounts and cards within New Zealand with no fuss.

When the time comes to transfer your Australian dollars over, consider then many services you can use these days. Read our guide to international moving costs for a run down on transferring money overseas.

Superannuation accounts when moving to NZ

If moving to New Zealand, be rest assured that your superannuation funds can be transferred, and you can continue accumulating money through the New Zealand superannuation equivalent: KiwiSaver.

KiwiSaver account

A KiwiSaver account is set up similarly to a Superannuation account; its intention is to make it easy for people to maintain regular savings, accessible upon retirement.

A KiwiSaver account grows by deductions from contributions from your employer, your pay or choosing your salary level, and annual top-up payments from the government.

When moving to New Zealand and beginning a new job, if you do not already have a membership, your new employer will automatically enrol you. It is then up to you check with your Australian superannuation organisation about transferring your existing retirement funds over to New Zealand.

Want information on transferring your Superannuation to New Zealand? Visit the Inland Revenue website for more information.

Government payments: pension

Known in Australia as your aged-pension.

If you meet the countries retirement requirements, your pension can be claimed in New Zealand. Because Australia and New Zealand have a Social Security Agreement, it allows citizens and residents from both countries to move, work and retire easier. 

Applying for a New Zealand tax number

So you are going to be earning money whilst in New Zealand?

You will then need to get yourself an IRD (Inland Revenue Department), which is essentially your tax file number within New Zealand. Once you arrive within New Zealand you must apply for your IRD number.

Previously if you have lived within New Zealand, then you would already have an IRD. If so, you are recommended to continue using it. However, if you have forgotten it it’s no problem, you can locate it easily.

Housing options once in New Zealand

As an Australian citizen or permanent resident living in New Zealand, you are eligible to purchase land and property just like a New Zealander.

Over the past years housing prices have increased, however this is seen as a positive reflection on New Zealand’s economy. The national median house selling price is around $475,000.

Renting in New Zealand

The average cost for rental properties has remained the same for the past year, standing around $360 per week for a three-bedroom house. However it is important to factor in where exactly you wish to live. Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch are higher populated cities, and as such will have higher rental prices.

It is important to remember in Christchurch there is a shortage of homes compared to other cities, as a result of the earthquake damage of 2011. This does affect rental and buying prices, so keep this in mind.

Moving to New Zealand

Education

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you are considered a domestic student, from early years learning, all the way to tertiary education (university). That means you are only required to pay domestic school fees or in a majority of schools no fees at all, with only minor costs associated with books etc.

For those who wish to attend university in New Zealand, as an Australian citizen or permanent resident you must consider the conditions and your eligibility around student loans and allowances. To be eligible you must have lived within New Zealand for at least three years.

Registering and using health care

There are two options for Australian citizens and permanent residents moving to New Zealand, based on how long you wish to move and stay there.

If you intend on staying for two-plus years, you are eligible to register for full health cover.

If you are unsure about your stay duration in New Zealand, you are unable to register. And as such will only receive emergency health care, and you are required to pay full doctors fees.

What’s Next?

After reading this far you must be interested in moving to New Zealand! Hopefully we’ve made moving to New Zealand a little easier to navigate with any stage of the moving process you are at. There is a long list of factors and considerations but nothing that Sirelo can’t help you with. Bets of luck with your move to New Zealand!