New Zealand

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New Zealand Fast Facts

People enjoying a beach in Queenstown, New Zealand

Population: 5,133,680
Capital City: Wellington
Climate: Temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Mount Cook from a distance

Language: English
International Dialing Code: +64
Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand: Adventure Awaits In The Land Of The Long White Cloud

Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

View of buildings in Auckland, New Zealand
Adobe Stock/martins cernecovs/EyeEm

New Zealand is a mystical country renowned for its incredible natural beauty. Mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, rolling plains, tropical forests, and dramatic coastlines encapsulate this remote land.

This diverse landscape makes New Zealand the ultimate outdoor playground, drawing people from all over the world to explore the exciting outdoor pursuits on offer here.

New Zealand is made up of over 700 islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

The largest of these islands are the North Island and the South Island, making up the majority of the country. With a population of around 5 million and a landmass of 270,000 square kilometers, nearly 80% of which is uninhabited, it’s not hard to see why people are drawn here, to spend their retirement in peace, surrounded by nature.

A very young country in terms of human settlement, New Zealand was discovered by the descendants of the Māori people, who came from Polynesia around 1200 to 1300 AD. In 1642, a Dutch explorer was the first European to set foot on the islands.

It wasn’t until 1769 that the British arrived and slowly began to establish power across the country. The “Treaty of Waitangi” was signed in 1840, which declared New Zealand a colony of Great Britain.

After years of conflict over land disputes, New Zealand slowly lost its ties to Britain, and in 1947 became fully independent.

Living In New Zealand

New Zealand is a destination made for adventure seekers. A retirement here would mean making the most of the great outdoors or taking up a new hobby. Be it hiking, surfing, kayaking, cycling, or even something extreme like bungee jumping… New Zealand has it all.

The climate, however, may not be so attractive for some. A temperate climate dominates most of the country, with the far north experiencing a subtropical climate during the summer. The South Island can get very cold during winter, with temperatures dropping to 14℉ in highland areas.

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New Zealand does get plenty of sunshine, although rainfall levels are high. Since it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand experiences its summer from December to February, making it an ideal destination for snowbirds.

One huge benefit of moving to New Zealand for North American and Canadian expats is the language.

English is an official language of New Zealand, and most of the population speaks it proficiently. This makes day-to-day life, meeting new people, and creating a social circle much easier in New Zealand than in other countries.


Close up hand man doing finance and calculate on desk about cost at home office.
Adobe Stock/wutzkoh

New Zealanders are friendly towards foreigners, and there are active expat groups across the country, making it easy to feel at home after a move to the other side of the world.

New Zealand is one of the safest countries across the globe, so crime is something you don’t need to worry about here. These factors are essential to creating a peaceful, welcoming environment for new expats.

Cost Of Living In New Zealand

The quality of life in New Zealand is as good as it gets, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of living here can be up to 10% more expensive than in the States, Canada, and Europe.

This expensive lifestyle is because New Zealand is a remote island, so many products have to be imported. High import taxes drive up the costs for consumers, while a lack of competition means businesses can up their prices as they like.

If you are on a budget, it’s a good idea to look into moving to one of New Zealand’s smaller cities, such as Dunedin or Hamilton.

Here rental prices, real estate, and general day-to-day expenses are much cheaper than in New Zealand’s bigger cities.

The good news is that not everything in New Zealand will break the bank… public education and most health care services are free, along with the unique natural features, which of course, don’t cost a cent.

Health Care In New Zealand

Doctor working on digital tablet on hospital background
Adobe Stock/ipopba

New Zealand has one of the world’s best health care systems, and it’s almost completely free for citizens and permanent residents of the country.

Doctors’ visits, appointments and procedures at public hospitals, and prescriptions are either free or heavily subsidized.

Long wait times can be an issue for non-life-threatening procedures, so many residents opt for private health insurance to avoid this annoyance.

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The standard of care in New Zealand is excellent in both public and private hospitals. Highly trained specialists are available in every field, and facilities are complete with the best of modern technologies.

Another perk? All of the doctors here speak English; you can forget about language barriers in New Zealand.

Getting To New Zealand

Seniors standing with suitcases at international airport and looking at flight tickets
Adobe Stock/Yakobchuk Olena

Direct flights from the United States to New Zealand are few and far between.

Some major international airlines offer limited flights from L.A., San Francisco, or Houston to Auckland. Otherwise, connecting flights are widely available but often take upwards of 24 hours.

Moving to New Zealand is a significant decision to make. It is extremely remote and pretty difficult and expensive to get to.

Take the long journey there into serious consideration, as this is not the destination where you can quickly hop on a flight home if needs be.

Best Places To Live In New Zealand


Panoramic view of Auckland city from Mt Eden Summit
Adobe Stocks/zvonkodjuric

With the Hauraki Gulf to its east, Manakau Harbour to its southeast, and mountain ranges on its outskirts, Auckland is a beautiful coastal city located on New Zealand’s North Island.

Auckland is a vibrant hub of culture, attracting expats from all over the world to relocate here for its diversity, great job opportunities, beautiful natural surroundings, and excellent health care and educational facilities.

Despite being New Zealand’s largest and most populated metropolis, Auckland is a walkable city, and you can easily go about your daily life here without needing a car.

Auckland is a perfect base for exploring some of New Zealand’s stunning natural features and trying out the vast range of exciting outdoor activities available nearby.


The Octagon, center of Dunedin, New Zealand
Adobe Stock/Ralf Broskvar

Nicknamed the “Scotland of the South” for its large population of Scottish descent, Dunedin is New Zealand’s most European city.

Quaint Victorian architecture makes up the city center and creates a European feel throughout the city’s streets. Dunedin is the second-largest city on the South Island and is known for its university and medical school, which attracts students from all over the world to study here.

This creates a vibrant, multicultural vibe throughout the city and has resulted in numerous quirky cafés, bars, and festivals popping up throughout Dunedin.

Dunedin has a lower cost of living than New Zealand’s larger cities and has attracted an ever-growing expat population.

One of Dunedin’s highlights is its location by the sea. Beautiful beaches are within walking distance of the city center, and scenic rolling mountains surround the city.

Dunedin is charming, and its beautiful surroundings create spectacular views that you will never tire of.

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