What's a good place in NZ to live for a year?

I’ve got a friend in Canada who wants to work in NZ for a year – she’s a dental assistant and the job search site has them everywhere so finding a job doesn’t look like a problem.

The problem is that I’ve been there on holiday but don’t honestly know where the best place to live would be – I’ve never even been to the south island :(.

Also, what is the cost of living like? And the minimum wage? These are also questions I don’t know the answers too.

The South Island is definitely a cheaper place to live than Auckland or Wellington. Does she want to live in a city or rural area? I’m not sure what the basic minimum wage is in NZ but I googled dental assistant and the starting wage was $10. So not spectacular but you could manage in Christchurch or Dunedin on that kind of money.

Minimum wage is $10/hr, but a DA should be making about at least $12-15. Cost of living… well… a 500ml Coke is $2.40 and a Big Mac Combo is $6.50, petrol is NZ$1.10 per litre. Basic fruits, vegetables and meat is cheap though.

Weather is about the same as the southern parts of Canada. Bring your jumper and a tee shirt.

Can’t really say much about the ‘best’ place, but I can comment on Christchurch and Wellington. The rent for a Christchurch 1 bedroom flat should be about NZ$100-150 per week, or if you’re flatting with 3 or more people expect about $120-150 for rent+food. It’s pretty close to the main tourist haunts, only about 3-4 hours to Queenstown and just as far for skiing. Dunedin is about 10 hours drive, so do this over a long weekend or go by plane.

Wellington is a great city, but it’s a touch far to drive to the main tourisy bits in the North Island. Restaurants are the best in the country, and loads of theaters and concerts. Rent is about 15-20% more than Christchurch.

Another suggestion would be Hamilton. It’s about 3 hours drive north to Auckland and is also close to some nifty towns such as Tauranga, Ragland (both surfing), Taupo (nice tourist attractions) and Rotarua (tacky tourist attractions). I haven’t been there for several years, but I do recall the nightlife being a bit on the quiet side.

I’d say that the Nelson region (top of the south island) is really nice. I spent the last two months there. Maybe a bit small of a city depending on what your friend is looking for. But, a very nice area to live in. Otherwise Wellington seemed like a pretty cool place - I just spent a few days there though.

Don’t go to Auckland though. I wish someone had told me that before I chose to go there for a year. It’s not a bad city per se - the rest of the country just happens to be much nicer.

And I’d expect a dental asst. to be making more than minimum wage at $10/hr. I was making $12/hr working a no skills required type job over the summer. So, a DA should easily make well over that. The cost of living really isn’t too bad I’ve found. Much cheaper on the south island than up in Auckland, and I don’t think the costs are that bad in AUckland either. But, I’m comparing that to living in Sweden or the UK - I have no idea what the living costs are like in Canada to compare to that.

Woah. You can circumnavigate the whole of the South Island in ten hours.

Dunedin is about 3.5 hrs drive from Christchurch.

Well, closer to 5 hours drive if you don’t speed.

In regard to the 10 hour estimate, for some bizzare reason I got it confused with a bus trip to Invercargil.

I lived in New Zealand for three years, mostly in Wellington, but with stints in other major cities as well. Wellington beat them all hands down (especially Auckland). It’s big enough to have all of the good urban things (theatre, music, restaurants) but without the bad urban things (traffic, pollution). After Wellington my next choice would be either Christchurch or Dunedin.

…Wellington!!! Not as big as Auckland, and not as insular as the South Island. Lots of culture and arty things to do, good restaurants, plenty of sites, and a good, central place to plan excursions north or south of the country for site seeing… (not that I’m baised of course!) Drop me an email, and I’ll shout your friend a meal if she comes down!


Absolutely, positively…(and with good reason) :slight_smile:

There should be a giant sign erected over NZ that says;

“Kia Ora. Welcome to NZ. Have a wonderful stay (to ensure your stay is wonderful, please avoid Auckland)”

Don’t listen to all of the Auckland/Dorkland haters, 1 mill JAFA’s manage to live here happily. It is a nice place just not New Zealandish enough apparently. Auckland bashing is just a hobby for many.

That said, Wellington is very groovy. Whangarei is nice if you want a smaller city (and so close to beautiful Northland)…but don’t listen to me I’m a JAFA and so obviously know nothing. :smiley:

*JAFA= “Just Another Fucking Aucklander”. This is how we are fondly known by fellow Kiwis.

no way. About one and a half hours tops