Are you deciding whether to live in New Zealand or Australia? Here you will find out which country is best suited for you based on different factors.

Moving to a new country is a pivotal decision, intertwined with dreams, aspirations, and the quest for a more fulfilling life. When it comes to choosing between Australia and New Zealand, the dilemma becomes even more difficult, given the unique offerings and distinct lifestyles each country presents.

Australia buzzes with a plethora of job opportunities, all under a wonderful sunny climate. From the sun-kissed beaches to the vast outback, this wonderful country is appealing to many lifestyles, including those who love leisurely beach time.

New Zealand, or Aotearoa, offers an intimate embrace with its compact cities, close-knit communities, and breath-taking natural settings. It’s a country where the balance between work and life isn’t just a concept but a lived experience, with opportunities for epic adventures and hikes.

In this post, we’ll delve into crucial aspects that you need to consider before choosing to live in either Australia or New Zealand. These include the differing cultures, employment opportunities, and visa and immigration protocols for entry, among other considerations.

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1. Which country has the better climate?Which country has the better climate

There is much to consider when considering the question of which is the better place to live. Whether you are looking for a climate similar to the UK or want to bathe in the Antipodean sun all year round, there are benefits and some downsides to each country in terms of their respective climates.

Australia’s climate

Australia, due to its vast landmass, has a wealth of different climates to choose from. With a vast outback, stunning stretches of beautiful beaches and luscious green rainforests, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Northern Australia, for example, encompasses the cities of Cairns and Darwin, which are mainly tropical, with warm, dry winters and hot and humid summers. Southern Australia, on the other hand, is mostly temperate, with Adelaide and Hobart offering cool winters and mild summers.

Southern Australia, on the other hand, is mostly temperate, with Adelaide and Hobart offering cool winters and mild summers. Those moving to the southeastern cities such as Melbourne, Canberra, or Sydney and those in Perth to the southwest will experience moderate rainfall. Expats tend to describe Melbourne as being the most like the UK in terms of climate if that’s what you’re looking for.

New Zealand’s climate

New Zealand’s topographical beauty has much to admire. With a variety of mountains, green spaces, and lakes to explore, you’ll want to know a little about what weather you’ll experience while you’re out and about.

Typically, the climate in New Zealand tends to be milder. In the cities on the North Island, such as Wellington and Auckland, you’ll experience subtropical conditions in the furthest north, while a temperate climate with warm summers and relatively mild winters (compared to the UK) will be prevalent elsewhere.

The South Island is more variable when it comes to the weather. Christchurch, for example, is a good option if you’re keen on drier conditions, as it is located on the east coast. If you don’t mind a bit of wet weather, Greymouth on the west coast might be the better choice. If you’re not a fan of hot weather, then the southern regions of Invercargill and Dunedin might be a good option.

2. Which country has the better beaches?Which country has the better beaches

Both known for their stunning coastlines, and whilst there are some similarities between the coastlines, there are also huge differences, and it is best to weigh up what you’re looking to experience, whether that’s great surf, a dip in the ocean or a walk on a quiet beach before exploring further.

Australia’s Beaches

Australia plays host to some of the world’s most iconic beaches. For example, Bondi Beach in Sydney not only plays host to an excellent surfing community who enjoy the great conditions there, but it is also known as a destination for those seeking a vibrant atmosphere and a place to party. Queensland’s Gold Coast is also a well-known destination for long golden stretches of sand and a range of water sports to try out.

Perhaps slightly less famous, Perth’s Cottesloe is a family friendly option, with crystal clear waters and a holiday vibe, while Byron Bay in New South Wales is another option for those who love their surf.

New Zealand’s Beaches

Perhaps less iconic and well-known, New Zealand’s beaches are natural, tranquil and just as beautiful as Bondi and its Australian counterparts. Palhia, located in the Bay of Islands gives you the opportunity to experience calm waters and the odd sight of dolphins. For extreme tranquillity, there’s Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula, which is only accessible by foot or by boat, meaning you can escape the crowds any time you like.

3. Which country has the better job market?Australia job market

If you’re considering moving to Australia or New Zealand, one of the most important decisions you will need to consider is the job market, skillset, and the potential job opportunities and cost of living for you and any other members of your family.

Australia’s Job Market

The diverse and large economy within Australia means there is likely to be a wide range of options when it comes to seeking employment. The most prevalent industries for migrants include mining, finance, healthcare and information technology, and the wages for specialist work can be relatively high. The Australian Government is actively seeking skilled migrants to fulfil roles in the sectors above, as well as in engineering. However, typically, city living can be expensive in Australia, and there is significant competition for jobs in certain areas.

New Zealand’s Job Market

While New Zealand is economically smaller, there are still a range of opportunities, particularly in sectors such as tourism, technology and agriculture. Again, there is a push to attract skilled migrants to the country, especially in sectors such as construction, retail and accommodation services. The New Zealand government offers a wealth of support for innovators looking to base new organisations in the country too. However, salaries are lower, although this usually reflects a lower cost of living compared to other countries.

4. Which country has the better outdoor activities and lifestyle?New Zealand outdoor lifestyle

Obviously, when it comes to the question of Australia versus New Zealand and which is the better place to live, the answer will depend on the lifestyle you’re looking to have. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, both countries have much to recommend them, and your decision will likely come down to the specifics of what you enjoy best and what will work for you long term, how busy you want life to be, and what pace of life suits you.

Australia’s outdoor activities and lifestyle

Well renowned for its dynamic outdoor lifestyle, there are a range of outdoor activities you can partake of across the country. Whether you prefer surfing on the stunning beaches, hiking through the outback or even lush rainforests, you are sure to find a destination to suit your outdoor pursuits.


If it’s more city-living you’re looking for, you will find a community that is rich in cultural diversity and a fantastic food scene, where you can partake of authentic Asian dishes and traditional Aboriginal fayre.

However, one thing to note would be that there is often a vast distance between cities, which can make travelling a bit of a hassle. That said, with a fantastic transport network, and relatively cheap flights between major cities, you’re still able to get around.

New Zealand’s outdoor activities and lifestyle

If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace of life and want the work life balance that doesn’t seem achievable in the UK, New Zealand may well be an excellent choice. When it comes to pursuing activities outdoors, you’ll find a stunning landscape which is easily accessible, and you will have ample opportunity to explore the fiords, beaches and mountains. Outdoor activities such as canoeing, skiing and bungee jumping are common here.

When it comes to community, the slower pace of life in New Zealand allows more time to make connections with neighbours and the local community. While larger cities are perhaps not as lively as in Australia, New Zealand offers an exceptional opportunity for a good work-life balance, and a good chance that you’ll settle in quickly.

5. What country provides the cheaper cost of living?What is the cost of living of Australia and New Zealand

Obviously, you will have a better lifestyle in an area that provides a good standard of living and decent salaries. When comparing whether to move to Australia or New Zealand from the UK, it is common for people to have explored the salary they can command, without actually thinking about how far it will take them. Here, you’ll see a brief comparison of the cost of living in Australia and New Zealand, which may help you to decide which option is best for you.

Cost of living in Australia

You might not be surprised to learn that there is a high cost of living in Australia, particularly in major cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney. While salaries are certainly higher, particularly for those in skilled positions, the cost of living and housing expenses can be a drawback.

When it comes to the housing market, it is worth noting that the home index value rose by 0.4% in January 2024 in Australia. The average house prices in some of the major Australian cities include:

Obviously, if you’re not looking to live in a city, you will be able to find more affordable properties out in the suburbs. With a great transport network, depending on whether you want to commute, this may be an option for you.

If you’re not sure where to base yourself long-term, you always have the option of renting, too. There is a thriving rental market in many of the major cities that you might find more affordable until you decide where you want to set down roots. Make sure to visit our guide to what property to buy in Australia for further information.

Cost-of-living in New Zealand

Particularly in major cities, the cost of living in New Zealand can be high. Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington are the most expensive however, your choice really depends on the quality and style of life you are looking for. New Zealand is well known for offering a good lifestyle to its residents.

When it comes to housing prices, Auckland properties recently reached the highest average of $1,026,000 (£488,519). Auckland is one of the most populated cities in New Zealand which is why higher house prices are almost guaranteed here. Tauranga is also known as a hotspot for retirees with a great climate and beautiful beaches.

However, there are signs that prices in the residential housing market are beginning to decrease in some areas. Suppose you’re looking for cheaper places to live. In that case, Napier and Hastings offer a cost-of-living that is below the national average in a surprisingly affordable lifestyle, and what is a beautiful high-end wine country. Whangarei, North of Auckland, is a more budget-friendly option if you’re looking for city living. Make sure to visit our previous guide for places to live in New Zealand for a heads up on where to move to.

6. How does the food compare?


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While imported foods brands are likely to be expensive in both countries, there are many opportunities to broaden your palate when settling in Australia or New Zealand. The cuisine is very similar in both country, enjoying meals such as Pavlova, Avocado toast and Meat pies. It’s best not to ask who invented Pavlova, as it is a heated debate in Australia and New Zealand, but it’s a truly delicious dessert that you must try.

Australia’s Food

Here, you’ll find an array of culinary delights, ranging from Asian streets foods to exquisite Mediterranean cuisine. Among the world’s most esteemed dining destinations are Sydney’s Chinatown and Melbourne’s Lygon Street. Popular Australian dishes that you must try include chicken parmigiana, the perfect comfort food.

Chicken Parmigiana Parma Night

Many pubs will have ‘Parma night’ where you can have a beer with the dish for an affordable price. The dish is made with chicken in breadcrumbs with tomato sauce and topped melted cheese, perfect for anyone who likes an Italian taste to their meals. Plus, who can forget their famous Tim Tams, known as the Australian equivalent to Penguin biscuits from the UK.

If you wish to find out more popular dishes in Australia, make sure to check out our blog post on most popular Australian foods that originate down under.

New Zealand’s Food

If you’re a fan of dairy, you’re sure to be in food heaven when in New Zealand. They produce some of the finest cheeses, milk and butter worldwide and the urban food scene, particularly at Auckland’s artisan markets has to be sampled to be believed.

There is a plethora of seafood available in New Zealand, such as oysters, salmon and mussels. These provide the basis of some fresh, delicious dishes that you will find on the menu of many restaurants.

New Zealand is well known for its wine too. If you are a fan of red wine, a Pinot Noir from central Otego must be on your wine list, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.

7. How does living in the major cities compare?Which major city should I live in

If you’re looking to relocate to one of New Zealand’s or Australia’s cities, you will need to carefully consider which one might be best for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to living in a city in both countries, which we will explore below.

Australia’s City Living

Sydney, with its harbour bridge and iconic Opera house, provides top-class dining, a range of entertainment options, and a vibrant cultural scene. However, the cost of living in Sydney is extremely high, both for renters and buyers.

If you would prefer a more artsy vibe, Melbourne might be a city to consider. With its street art festivals, coffee culture, and theatrical vibe affordability is still a challenge for some residents. As an alternative, subtropical Brisbane allows for cheaper outdoor activities all year round and is a little more affordable than the cities we have mentioned previously. Our previous guide on the best places to live in Australia will provide you with further information.

New Zealand’s City Living

Whilst predominantly quieter and less frantic, New Zealand cities still come with a relatively prohibitive cost of living. Auckland is one such choice. While it is extremely easy to navigate and lacks the congestion you will find in many other large cities, it has fewer amenities and is one of New Zealand’s most expensive places to live.

One option for those looking outside of Auckland would be Wellington. The capital is picturesque and relatively small compared to other capital cities. The community here is vibrant, and there are stunning harbour views from many of the city’s buildings that can be enjoyed.

8. How does the work-life balance compare?Work life balance in Australia

If your decision on relates to the potential lifestyle you can embrace, you might want to explore how much time you’ll spend in work, and whether you can tweak your employment to provide a better lifestyle than you currently enjoy in the UK.

If it’s a better work-life balance you’re seeking, life in Australia or New Zealand may be a good option for you. Both offer some protection from being overworked and depending on the employer you work with, there are a variety of things up for negotiation.

Work-Life Balance in Australia

Standard working hours in Australia are typically from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, just as in the UK. Typically, you’ll enjoy a lunch break of 30 to 60 minutes per day. There are national employment standards in place in Australia, which means that the maximum number of hours an employee can work in a week is 38 hours, unless, of course, the employer asks them to work some reasonable extra hours, and these are agreed upon.

Furthermore, if the maximum number of hours worked is less than 40, the employee and employer must try and ensure that these are worked on no more than five days of the week. Whether this means you get two days off during the weekday or a full weekend every week, this will give you ample opportunity to spend some time outside of work.

Australia also encourages employers to offer flexible working, this can include telecommuting, flexible hours and compressed work weeks. Annual leave is a minimum of four weeks paid for full-time employees, but some employers may offer additional leave. There are also 10 days of paid sick leave per year for employees, and 18 weeks for maternity leave. It may be worth considering eligible fathers can only take up to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave.

Work life balance in New Zealand

Similar to Australia, standard full-time hours are typically between 9 am and 5 pm, with a maximum of 40 hours over five days allowed. However, there is an opt out option for this, and there are also industry-specific variations. When it comes to flexible working, New Zealand also allows employees to negotiate their work hours, provides four weeks of paid annual leave, but only five days of pay per year. Parental leave is also on the table for new parents, and primary caregivers can receive up to 26 weeks parental leave.

9. What sports are popular in New Zealand and Australia?Sports in Australia and New Zealand

If you’re heavily into sports, both Australia and New Zealand provide a great place to get involved. Whether you prefer spectating or mucking in with team sports or individual events, where you choose to base yourself will dictate the types of sports you can get into.

Sport in Australia

There is a rich diversity of athletic opportunities available in Australia. It is a sport loving nation, and you will be able to get involved with any of the following sports:

  • Cricket – Australia has a strong cricket tradition. If it’s international matches you are looking to attend, you will have a wealth of great stadiums to choose from, from the MCG to the famous ‘Gabba’
  • Australian Rules Football – If you are after something a little different, AFL is a high-contact and exciting sport, unique to Australia and something that many Australians take great pride in.
  • Rugby – You can experience both rugby union and rugby league matches, and again, the amateur scene is open to anyone interested in getting involved.

Sport in New Zealand

Rugby dominates the sports scene in New Zealand, and the All-Blacks are well revered within the country and worldwide. The opportunity to witness a haka before a match will give you an unforgettable experience.

Aside from rugby, there are plenty of outdoor sports for you to enjoy in New Zealand, but you will find less of a team sports focus here. However, bungee jumping, skydiving, hiking and whitewater rafting are good options for New Zealanders, and there are other amateur sports within most of the major cities, you can get involved with as well.

10. How does the healthcare compare?Healthcare

Both Australia and New Zealand have a strong public health initiative, and practice preventative medicine rather than reactive medicine. Many people opting to move here from the UK will consider the health system in both countries better than that we currently experience. However, there are some differences between both countries that may help you make your decision.

Healthcare in Australia

The life expectancy of Australians is approximately 83 years. There is accessible and high-quality healthcare available, and this is mixed between public and private services. Medicare is Australia’s system that provides basic coverage for permanent residence and citizens. However, there is also an option for private health insurance to supplement Medicare, which allows for residence to see private specialists more quickly than they may do through Medicare.

However, obviously this comes at a cost. Private healthcare in Australia can be expensive and there are also challenges related to where you choose to live. Rural and remote areas in may not have the services you will find in larger cities so therefore you may need to travel to see a specialist if you are living in a more rural area.

Healthcare in New Zealand

New Zealand’s healthcare system is funded by the public, contributing in no small part to its 82-year average life expectancy. New Zealand puts an emphasis on universal access to medicine and the Social Security Act 1938 dictates that every resident of New Zealand should receive healthcare for free. The services covered by New Zealand’s healthcare system include primary healthcare, surgery, pharmaceuticals, and specialist consultations. The system provides care to all Australians, Kiwis and New Zealand’s permanent residents.

The quality of care in New Zealand is said to be impressive. It focuses on community healthcare and most healthcare services are subsidised or free for residents. However, while waiting lists are not as long as they are in the UK, some procedures may take some time to access and there are challenges within the system relating to New Zealand’s aging population as well as a rise in resident’s mental health care needs.

11. How does the culture compare? Cultural difference between Australia and NZ

Settling into a new country can be difficult at the best of times, especially when you have a new culture to integrate into. While Australia and New Zealand are typically known as expat-friendly countries, there are some things you may need to know about both countries that may help you to decide where to base yourself.

Cultural differences in Australia

The principal language is English, and Australians are well known for their creative use of language. Rhyming slang and sarcasm form the basis of their interactions with friends and relatives. It is also worth considering that the accent can vary significantly, depending on where you live, so getting to grips with a very strong Australian accent may take some time.

Australia’s culture is influenced by its British colonial past, which reflects in its legal system as well as its language. However, the pace of life here is far more relaxed, with an emphasis on outdoor activities and a love of sports. There is also a melting pot of cultures, due to substantial amounts of immigration from various countries around the world.

Moving here can seem easy in terms of integration, Australian are generally friendly, and there are opportunities to immerse yourself in a diverse culture. However, rural and urban life are vastly different here, so if you’re not experienced in outdoor living, yet considering living in more rural areas, you may find it more difficult to get to grips with how things are done.

Cultural differences in New Zealand

English is the primary language in New Zealand too. However, New Zealanders have a distinct accent which is quite different from both British and Australian accents. You might also find that the Māori language is used often in New Zealand, as it is often taught in schools and used in the media and government.

In terms of the cultural heritage, while New Zealand has some shared culture with the UK, including its parliamentary system, the Māori people are predominant within its culture and getting to grips with the language can add a new dimension to your life in the country.

When it comes to integrating yourself within New Zealand’s culture, the shared language and similar legal system can be comforting. However, it is wise to expose yourself to Māori cultural influences to better immerse yourself in the country.

12. How does the education compare?Education system in New Zealand and Australia

The education systems in Australia and New Zealand focus on quality and inclusivity. If you are moving to Australia or New Zealand with children, it may be worth familiarising yourself with the education system before you choose where to base yourself.

Australia’s education system

Like the UK, Australia’s education system includes primary and secondary school as well as vocational education pathways and an excellent quality of higher education. Primary and secondary schools work similarly to the UK. Students will be expected to spend 13 years from kindergarten to year 12 in school, and there are four terms per year with breaks between each term. It is also said that Australian schools, whether private or government run are amongst the highest quality around the world.

For further education, students that don’t meet entry requirements for Australian universities will be able to take vocational education and training qualifications. Run by the Australian government, TAFE institutes are a good option for those who want to go into practical trades. The duration of these course ranges from one to 4 years with some work experience placements.

University education in Australia is also some of the finest in the world. Their universities are known for their quality education and research and offer undergraduate and postgraduate studies in a variety of subjects.

New Zealand’s education system

Like Australia, primary school and secondary school are predominantly in line with the UK education system. Furthermore, there is also a good option for university or vocational education and training. Vocational education starts at secondary school level in New Zealand and can help to get students started on a trade earlier than they would in the Australian school system.

There are, however, some unique features to the New Zealand education system. The Māori culture is integrated into the education system, and Māori language is taught there.

13. Which country has the larger UK expat community?UK expat communities in Australia and New Zealand

Moving to a new country can be daunting. Thankfully, in both New Zealand and Australia, there are thriving UK expat communities to get you settled into life in a new country, make friends and learn about local culture.

Australia’s UK Expat Community

In Australia, there is a substantial expat community, mostly due to the size of the country and the historical migration of British immigrants over the years. It is easy to find UK-specific social groups and settle into the community. The language is obviously not usually a barrier, and the communities across Australia host plenty of events, gatherings and activities that cater specifically to British expats. However, this is all dependent on where you live.

Not all communities will have such a thriving community, especially in more rural areas. It is worth exploring online whether there are groups in your area that will suit you before you choose to be base yourself in any particular location. There are also plenty of diverse nationalities within Australia, including those from Asia, other parts of Europe and beyond. Cross cultural interactions are therefore an effective way to integrate yourself into the wider community, without being restricted to a community of those in your specific position.

New Zealand’s UK Expat Community

Kiwis are known for being friendly, and New Zealand also hosts a significantly large UK expat community. This is particularly prevalent in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. There are a wealth of social clubs, online forums, and expat associations to immerse yourself in, and obviously the shared language helps.

Many of the reasons people move from the UK to New Zealand are similar, and the shared love of the landscape there provides many opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities in a busy expat community.

14. How does the visa and immigration requirements compare?What are the visa and immigration requirements

Both countries have pathways with skilled workers, as well as those with family in these countries and students who wish to study and work there.

Visa and immigration requirements in Australia

Australia offers a general skilled migration program, which is a point-based system that assesses factors such as English, proficiency, work experience, education, and age. There are various subclasses within the visa scheme, which include Skilled Independent, Skilled Nominated, and Skilled Regional Visas. These usually require plenty of evidence on the skills that the applicant will bring to the Australian workforce. There are strict definitions of what is classed as a skilled occupation; these can be found on the Australian government’s website.

Australia also offers student visas and naturally it is a popular destination for international students. These visas allow students to study at any Australian educational Institute that has welcomed them, and they can work part time while they study.

Family visas are another option, and these are available for parents, children, partners, and other relatives. The circumstances of the relationship will need to be assessed before such a visa is approved.

Visa immigration requirements in New Zealand

A holiday Visa is available for those from eligible countries. This usually allows work and travel for up to 12 months and is a good option for those who are not sure whether to move overseas permanently.

Again, New Zealand also offers a skilled migration visa. This is on a points system, like Australia, and an occupation must be on the long-term skill shortage list or the regional skill shortage list to be considered.

There are also essential skills work visas for those skilled workers that have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. The duration of these visas varies based on the employer’s sponsorship and the skill level of the employee.

Similarly to Australia, student visas are on offer for international students with university placements. Part-time work is permitted while the student is studying within the country.

Family Visa are also available which include those for dependent children, parents and partners. The circumstances of the application and the relationship of the parties will be assessed before a visa is considered.

Where to move based on your preferences

Simply put, where you choose to live, whether in Australia or New Zealand will depend on your preferences. For example, New Zealand is great if you prefer a temperate climate, a quieter, lifestyle, easy access to diverse natural attractions, excellent job, prospects in healthcare, agriculture, and tourism.

If you’re considering Australia, this may be a promising idea if you are seeking a vibrant multicultural lifestyle, superb culinary experiences, cultural events and festivals, a wealth of outdoor activities, team sports, and a thriving job market particularly when it comes to IT, finance or mining, for example. However, competition is fierce for certain types of jobs, and the lifestyle may be too fast paced for some.

Are you looking to move to New Zealand or Australia from the UK?

Ultimately, the decision between Australia and New Zealand comes down to what you value most – environment, community, career and lifestyle. Both countries offer high-quality living standards, beautiful natural landscapes and friendly communities, making them both excellent choices for those looking to relocate from the UK.

Australia attracts those who love diverse landscapes, warm weather, bustling cities, and varied job opportunities. It’s celebrated for its iconic shores, and abundant outdoor pursuits, though it does have a higher living expense. Conversely, New Zealand offers a gentler climate, accessible natural beauty, and a more relaxed lifestyle, presenting its own set of benefits.

If you are looking to relocate to New Zealand, or Australia from the UK, make you can visit our removals to Australia page, or removals to New Zealand to start your journey.