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Cost of Living in New Zealand vs Australia

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NEW ZEALAND cost of living

In 2019 we were fortunate enough to spend the winter in Australia escaping the cold kiwi winter! If you are like us and often questioned the cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia you have come to the right place! We have heard rumours that it is almost ‘on par ‘so we thought that the time we have spent in Australia would allow us to compare the two countries cost of living.

In this article, we are discussing:

  • Cost of living in Australia vs New Zealand in 2019
  • The cost of living in Sydney for a month;
  • The cost of eating out in Australia vs New Zealand;
  • A supermarket cost comparison;

What exactly are we comparing?

We spent the month of July 2019 living in a 2-bedroom apartment in Manly, a beautiful coastal suburb just north of Sydney. Sydney, by the way, is often referred to as the most expensive city to live in Australia! As we now live full time in our motorhome we have decided to compare our July 2018 cost of living in New Zealand when we lived in our 2-bedroom apartment in Paraparaumu Beach (an hour north of Wellington), another beautiful coastal town, but just a bit smaller than Manly!

What was our actual cost of living for a month in Sydney?

Below is a chart where you can see a list of the costs (in GBP) that we incurred during a month of living in Sydney. We were lucky that our friend rented us her 2-bedroom apartment whilst she was out of town at a rate which included rent, internet, electric and water. When we were checking our places to stay in Sydney and indeed Manly for a month on AirBnB it was a lot more than $2,400 AUD for a months stay. For that price, we could only get a small studio apartment, so we were very grateful that this situation arose and that it worked out perfectly for both of us!

As we were living in Australia for a month, we actually wanted to feel like we were living there, so that meant no extravagant expenses, we cooked our own meals each night and only had the occasional meal out. The only thing we didn’t have in Australia vs New Zealand was access to a vehicle.

cost of living New Zealand vs Australia

Please note: All prices are in GBP and is converted at the current exchange rate at the time of writing this article (53 pence to 1 NZ dollar or 56 pence to 1 AU dollar )

What about eating and going out in Australia?

This really is a quite a subjective matter, and what we mean by that is that one person’s version of ‘going out’ is splurging on a 3-course dinner whilst another person might be just having a beer (or 10!) and a burger at the local pub around the corner.

But one thing we can tell you is eating and drinking out in Australia is just as expensive as New Zealand! For a main meal at a restaurant in Sydney, Australia was around $25-$30 and a single beer was around $11. Although we did find plenty of “Apps” such as “Hey You” & “Me&U” that offered food and drink deals around the city, something that New Zealand doesn’t have a huge amount of.  We did find $7 pints of Guinness one day in one centrally located Irish bar – so if you look hard enough it can be cheaper eating and drinking out than in New Zealand.

So what about our supermarket shop? Was Australia cheaper than New Zealand?

Below we have posted our most recent food shop receipts at Countdown (the one on the right) and also our receipt for Coles (both are medium-priced supermarkets) where you can compare the price of items for yourself. The one for Coles is dated 28th June 2019 and the Countdown receipt is dated 12th August 2019.

We are a bit of sucker for our fancy cheeses and Australia did deliver on that front! One thing we did love was that Aldi was widely available in Australia, and it is heaps cheaper than Coles, but unfortunately, we don’t have a receipt to show you for that shop!

On average (roughly the same amount of items per week) our weekly winter food shop in Australia was 65% cheaper than our winter food shop in New Zealand. And it all came down the price of vegetables, dairy, and meat. For example, in Australia, we spent just under $20 AUD (on vegetables) and in NZ we spent over $23.12 AUD and don’t get me started on the difference between the price of eggs!

To Conclude:

To summarize our monthly cost of living in New Zealand turned out to be 12.4% more expensive than Australia and this is massively to do with the cost of food in New Zealand. The cost of food in New Zealand in winter increases tremendously which we all end up paying the price for whilst in Australia the cost for food seems to be a lot steadier all year round.

We have created a tool so you can compare your own cost of living to what it might be when you live in New Zealand. It’s free to download and has all the instructions you need on where to find out the exact costs of things in New Zealand.

I do wonder if our results would have been different if we weren’t comparing the cost of food in winter in NZ or if we didn’t rent our friends apartment off her, but something tells me the cost of rent (especially in Sydney) and household bills in Australia is more than NZ!

If you want to read our in-depth article on the cost of living in New Zealand where we compare New Zealand with The UK and the cost of living in New Zealand now in 2022 please click on this link. In this article we also discuss what resources you can use to actually compare your current cost of living situation with your potential new cost of living situation when you move to NZ