Where to Live in Auckland

A few days ago, on my Facebook page I asked my followers what they wanted to know about living in New Zealand.

One follower commented that they’d just moved to Auckland and, having sorted out the nitty gritty bits of moving to New Zealand (we’ll get to those in a minute), she was now wondering where to live in Auckland.

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Moving to a brand new city can be ridiculously daunting, especially on your own.

In June 2012 I moved to Auckland for a year after two years of working and travelling in Australia, suddenly became a solo female traveller and (despite not really liking Auckland when I first arrived) I eventually found my feet and fell in love with New Zealand’s city of sails.

Before I even started thinking about where to live though, I had 3 other  important things to sort out:

1. IRD Number – you can’t work in New Zealand without one

2. Opening a bank account

3. Registering with recruitment agencies

With those out of the way, I could concentrate on moving out of the hostel I was living in and finding somewhere a bit more permanent to park my suitcase.

Who knows, maybe I’d even find somewhere with a proper wardrobe so that I’d be able to (gasp) unpack – after living in a campervan in Australia for a month prior to this, the prospect of unpacking was pretty exciting.

Tips for living in Auckland

Auckland

The first thing you’re going to need to establish is whether you’re looking for a room to rent in a shared house, an apartment or house you can rent as a whole with friends you made when you arrived or an apartment just for yourself.

If you’re looking to rent a room in a shared house the best place to start your search is TradeMe – this is the Kiwi equivalent to Gumtree and Craigslist.

If you’re looking for an apartment or house to rent with friends or by yourself, your best bet is to start looking on the Real Estate NZ website where you’ll find all the listings from various real estate agents all in one place.  Handy!

Where to live in Auckland

Deciding where to live in Auckland, or any city that you’ve just moved to, can be a daunting task.  There’s so many things to think about, like how close to the city you want to be and how much rent you’re willing to pay and which amenities you’d want to have in the area.

With this in mind, I’ve put together a mini guide to the various areas of Auckland that you might be considering moving to.

Right, let’s find you somewhere to live!

Street art on Federal Street, Auckland

Flat hunting: probably more fun with a drink in your hand….

Auckland CBD

If you want to be close to all of Auckland’s best bars, clubs and tourist attractions and also have easy access to the ferries which will whisk you off for a day on Waiheke or Rangitoto Island then the CBD  is where you need to be.

I lived in two different apartments in Auckland CBD; one on Federal Street and one on Vogel Lane, and never had any problems.  In fact, it was great being so close to everything and there’s always something going on at the weekend within walking distance.  Whether it’s the markets down at Silo Park or touring exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery.

Great for: being able to walk home after a night out.  Seriously I must have  saved a fortune in taxi fares.  Also if your new job is based in the city you won’t have to contend with Auckland’s public transport on a daily basis.

Not so great for: those who like their peace and quiet.  It’s not always noisy but, as with any modern city, there’s always going to be traffic and people around at all hours.

Nearest supermarket: Countdown (Victoria Street and Quay Street), New World Metro (Queen Street)

Nearest Park: Albert Park, Victoria Park, Myer Park, Silo Park

Transport: Britomart Transport centre hosts a train station and it’s also where many buses depart from.  More buses use The Sky Tower and Albert Street as their main drop-off points.

Average room price: $110-$200 NZD/week

Personal favourites

Bar: The Occidental, Vulcan Lane

Restaurant: Cafe Hanoi, Britomart

Breakfast spot: Lorne St Cafe, Lorne Street

Ponsonby

Chapel Ponsonby

Located about 2km outside the city centre, Ponsonby is awash with upmarket boutiques, bars and restaurants and residents live in restored vilas, many of which have verandas out front.  If you want to live in a suburb that’s home to a brilliant live music scene, art galleries and great cafes, Ponsonby is the place to be.

Ponsonby is about 20 minutes walk from the city centre and the suburb’s many street, Ponsonby Road, leads conveniently into Karangahape Road (or K-Road as it’s known locally) where you’ll find clubs and loads of vintage shops.

Great for: people watching outside a cafe with an amazing cup of coffee in your hand and a good book.

Not so great for: well-insulated, modern houses – because a lot of the houses in Ponsonby are restored villas (and central heating isn’t a guarantee in many Kiwi homes) the properties and rooms for rent can be cold in the winter

Nearest Supermarket: New World (College Hill)

Nearest Park: Victoria Park

Transport to the city: The Inner Link bus runs through Ponsonby

Average room price: $180-$270 NZD/week

Personal favourites

Bar: Chapel, Ponsonby Road

Restaurant: Thai Me Up, Ponsonby Road

Coffee: One 2 One Coffee, Ponsonby Road

Parnell

Parnell Markets

Over on the other side of Auckland, Parnell is an upmarket suburb with everything you need in easy reach of the main street Parnell Road.  Basically if you can imagine a suburb with even more old buildings, expensive boutiques and art galleries than Ponsonby, then you’ve got a pretty good picture of what Parnell is like.

That being said, Parnell is a great area to live; you’re within walking distance of the beautiful (and huge) Auckland Domain where Auckland Museum is located and the rose gardens are lovely.  It’s a well-preserved, pretty area with a few bars and restaurants and walkable from the city.

Great for: the markets which take place every Sunday morning

Not so great for: cheap living

Nearest supermarket: Countdown (Quay Street and Broadway)

Nearest park: the Domain

Transport to the city: The Inner and Outer Link buses both run through Parnell.

Average room price: $250-$300 NZD/week

Personal favourites

Bar: Windsor Castle, Parnell Road

Restaurant: Renkon Japanese, Parnell Road

Newmarket

Head a bit further along Parnell Road and you’ll find Newmarket; with its big Westfield shopping centre, cinema and more shops lining Broadway, the main street, Newmarket’s a popular destination for out-of-city dwellers who don’t want to go right into the city.

The real gems of Newmarket are located behind the main street on Nuffield St where you can lots of different restaurants; from upmarket coffee shops to Mexican, Japanese and Spanish restaurants – to name just a few.  There’s also a kitsch (and very pink!) Hello Kitty themed cafe on Remuera Road which I’ve heard fantastic things about.

Good for: shopping and eating

Not so good for: traffic – Newmarket is ridiculously busy but if you’re using the train station this shouldn’t be too much of a problem

Nearest supermarket: Countdown (Broadway)

Nearest park: the Domain, Lumsden Green

Transport into the city: Newmarket is on the Inner Link bus route and also has a train station.

Average room price: $180-$300 NZD/week

Personal favourites

Bar: The Lumsden, Khyber Pass Road

Restaurant: Hansan Vietnamese

Coffee: Nuffield St Cafe, Bar & Bistro, Nuffield St

Mount Eden

Mount Eden, Auckland

The view of Auckland from Mount Eden

East of Newmarket, Mount Eden is a gorgeous little suburb famous for its dormant volcano, the highest natural point in Auckland.  The suburb itself is leafy and green and feels much more like a village than any of the other suburbs close to Auckland city.

Living in Mount Eden, you’ll probably come across a few tourists making their way up the top of the volcano – the view of the city is awesome and it’s great to have something like this on your doorstep.

Mount Eden has a community feel to it with lots of little independent cafes, bookstores, tea shops, small shops and specialty food stores.  You can also catch a cricket game at Eden Park or head to the award-winning garden on the other side of the actual Mount Eden.

Good for: music fans – local and international bands regularly play at The Powerhouse on Mt Eden Road

Not so good for: people who like the buzz of a busy suburb – Mount Eden is a quiet place to live.

Nearest supermarket: Countdown (Dominion Road)

Nearest Park: Mount Eden Domain

Transport into the city: Buses run from Dominion Road and Mount Eden also has a train station

Average room price: $150-$250 NZD/week

Personal favourites

Bar: De Post Belgian Beer Cafe, Mt Eden Road

Restaurant: Circus Circus, Mt Eden Road

Coffee: Chapter, Mt Eden Road

More places to live in Auckland

Auckland sunset

The sunset as seen from my Auckland apartment

Grey Lynn

It’s further out of the city than any of the  suburbs listed above but because of that rent in Grey Lynn is much cheaper

Kingsland

Awesome little place with some nice bars and restaurants.  Also has good transport links to the city as it has a train station.

Freemans Bay

Once an unfashionable suburb to live in, it’s now much more affluent which is reflected by the rent prices.  Close to Western Park and Victoria Park markets.

Takapuna

Quiet suburb on the north shore with a lovely beach popular with families.  Also has some nice restaurants but everything seems to close early-ish.

Birkenhead

This is where lots of people who work in Takapuna live if they can’t afford Takapuna rent prices.  Quiet suburb with convenience shops.

Helpful resources

Rough Guide to Auckland

Lonely Planet New Zealand travel guide 

Live and Work in New Zealand, a Practical Guide

Auckland blog posts

Auckland via Instagram

Stumbling Across Street Art in Auckland

7 Things to Love About Living in Auckland

7 Awesome Auckland Day Trips

Belonging in the Place I Used to Hate

On Listening to My Heart and Leaving Auckland

Useful links

Trade Me – www.trademe.co.nz/flatmates-wanted/auckland

Real Estate NZ – www.realestate.co.nz

Auckland Transport – www.maxx.co.nz

Beyond Recruitment – www.beyondrecruitment.co.nz

Madison Recruitment – www.madison.co.nz

Beverley x

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Comments

  1. Kaylin says

    This is really useful!! I’m moving to NZ at the beginning of October and not sure if I will stay in Auckland for the year but definitely planning to start out there so this is great. I honestly had no idea about Auckland other than some info on Ponsonby and the CBD. I cannot wait to head to NZ and this just made me even more excited 😀

    • says

      I loved going out in Ponsonby Julia :-) I stayed in the hostel you recommended (Ponsonby Backpackers) and really enjoyed being near the bars and cafes, then moved into the city which I also really loved!

  2. says

    This is a great post. I’ll definitely be coming back to it for reference in a few months when I plan on moving to New Zealand! Thank you.

    • says

      You’re welcome Alexa! Let me know if you need any tips or anything for your move to New Zealand – and congratulations, it’s an awesome place to be :)

  3. says

    I too lived in two places during my 16 months in Auckland. I started in Kingsland and LOVED it (even going back to frequent the cafes and get my hair cut every 4 months) before moving into town after figuring out my job and finances.
    Rebecca recently posted..Alaska – The Last Day-ishMy Profile

    • says

      I think it’s good to move about a bit, even if you only lived somewhere for a few months. I lived in 4 different places when I lived in Sydney for a year! It would be interesting to know which you preferred living in; Kingsland or the city :)

      • says

        I liked both for different reasons, I don’t know which I liked more. I had a nicer place with an AWESOME view in the city, but I didn’t save as much money when I lived in town. And I liked the suburban life and cute village of Kingsland and saved tons of money living in Kingsland. I am really glad I got to experience both places. I am really glad I lived in Kingsland first before moving back into town though.
        Rebecca recently posted..Alaska – The Last Day-ishMy Profile

  4. Ellie says

    Thanks Beverley, this is just the information I needed. :), Just got a job in Ellerslie, so might move closer to work as there seem to be some really nice places in the area and in Newmarket. But I still haven’t ruled out the city life yet. Still got a few days to decided. But this information has really helped.

    Thanks
    Ellie :)

  5. says

    My sister moved to Auckland from the UK a few months ago and found a flat share in the CBD that looked amazing (think she used Gumtree). So, knowing that the place was going to be popular, she took cookies to the viewing and gave them to her potential flatmates!!!! Needless to say, she got the room and was all sorted with one of the best places to rent I’ve ever seen within a couple of days of arriving there!!
    Arianwen recently posted..Renting a Car Abroad: What You Need to KnowMy Profile

  6. Dylan says

    Thanks a lot for this! Really helpful as I’m looking into staying in NZ for my University work placement year and I need somewhere to live.
    Also, thanks for mentioning an IRD number, that is the one thing I forgot to include on my research into my prospective travellings.
    Cheers

  7. Anna Hegstad says

    This is fantastic! Thank you for the descriptions, this is very useful for newbies:)

  8. Lizalee says

    Thanks for this useful tips, anyway is hillsborough in mt eden is safe? My husband works in the city and he was planning to move in mt eden.. Coz he sometimes comes home late. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Lizalee, you’re welcome :) I actually never went to Hillsborough but if it’s in Mt Eden then I’m pretty sure it would be. Mt Eden is only a short bus ride away from the city.

  9. Samantha Kennedy says

    Hey! This page was so helpful thank you! I’m moving to New Zealand this September with the help of the SWAP program (not sure if you’re familiar with this). I think I’d like to stay in the Auckland CBD area, and I just have one question. Should I look for rooms to rent now (from here in Canada) or wait until I arrive to room hunt?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    • says

      Hi Samantha! Firstly; WOOP for taking the plunge and moving to New Zealand! That’s awesome, you must be so excited :)
      If I were you I’d have a little look to see what you can get for your money while you’re still in Canada (you know, just to see what’s out there) but I wouldn’t start making enquiries until you actually get to Auckland – there’s no point really, if you enquired about rooms/flats while you were still in Canada they’d probably be gone by the time you got to Auckland anyway.

      Let me know how you get on, and thank you for taking the time to comment :)

      Beverley

  10. says

    Fantastic Blog Beverley! Very informative and Useful indeed.

    I will be moving to live over in Auckland early next year. I’m from an asian background and like shopping and eating at asian markets and restaurant.

    Can you give me tips on areas in Auckland that will cater for my preferences above?

    Do you also know where the Vietnamese community areas are mainly based in Auckland? I.e Richmond In Melbourne, Parramatta in Syndey.

    Thanks in advance.

    Max

    • Caitlin says

      Hi Max

      I live in Auckland, Dominion road In Balmoral (balmoral is about a 10 minute bus ride in no traffic from the cbd, so very close) has a great Asian community with many asian places to eat along this section of the road. However Auckland CBD has a vibrant asian community, with many markets and restaurants around. Good luck!!

      • says

        Hi Caitlin,

        Thank you for your response and info. provided. I shall be looking very closely at possible places to rent around this area now once I move over. Very much looking forward to living in Auckland, hope its as good as many people say! :)
        Max recently posted..4 Books To Read This AutumnMy Profile

  11. Hadi says

    Beverley,

    Great post! This information is exactly what I was looking for. Definitely helpful to plan the living area before coming.

    Kind regards,

  12. Nicolas says

    Hi Beverly! Great information thanks a lot. I am planning on moving with my wife. We like quiet suburbs, yet with some action. What do you recommend us?

    Thanks again!

  13. Karen says

    My husband & I are moving to Auckland in Nov 2015 with a young dog. My husband has a job in place, working for Gartshore Construction in Auckland.
    We are looking to rent for a few years, but are looking for fully furnished single level houses that will accept our dog. We don’t want to be in a busy area, as we currently live semi-rural in the UK.
    We don’t have any children, so don’t want to be near any busy schools.
    I would be extremely grateful for any help and advise on where the best place is to live please?.
    All the properties I have looked at on-line, Do not accept pets & are Not furnished.
    We are not intending on bringing much over, to cut the cost of emigrating down to a minimum.

    • says

      Hi Karen, thanks for your comment. It’s difficult for me to help you because I don’t have information on which rental companies will accept dogs and are fully furnished. You might have better luck looking for somewhere that isn’t furnished, just for 6 months when you first move there, as the search will be easier once you’re actually living in Auckland. I lived in a fully furnished apartment in the city with my friends so our situations couldn’t be more different! In terms of suburbs to live in you’d probably like Parnell or Mount Eden.

  14. Rachel Cunningham says

    Hey this post makes a lot of sense to me especially from living in Auckland now for three weeks. Given the option of living in orakei or ponsonby what might you suggest for someone looking to meet new friends and such like. Given that the ponsonby one is tiny and the one in orakei is a 2 bedroom?

    • says

      Hi Rachel. Glad you found the post useful I never actually went to Orakei so it’s difficult for me to know which one would be best for you. I really loved Ponsonby, but if you’ll have more space (and if more space will make you happier in the long run) maybe Orakei is your best bet. It’s further away but you can always use public transport to spend the day in Ponsonby and some of Auckland’s other suburbs. Sorry I can’t be of more help! :)

      • Rachel says

        Hey Beverly that’s ok! I think that’s similar to where I’m at with my thought process. More space vs more opportunities to meet new people in a place where I don’t know anyone other than my work colleagues. Hope you have found something in London xox

  15. Jenny says

    Hey Beverley! Thanks for the amazing breakdown, super excited to be moving to NZ in two weeks! Was wondering if you had time to help me understand NZ:

    1) How’d you pick between the many temp agencies?
    2) What was the recruitment process like?
    3) What was your job position & was your pay above the national min wage?
    4) Were you able to save any money for travel?
    5) Is $150 per week per person (including expenses) in CBD sharing a room with another girl reasonable?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

    • says

      Hey Jenny. No problem at all! I’ll answer your questions in list mode as this seems easiest :)

      1) I got a recommendation from a friend, so to be honest I didn’t really pick an agency. I just went with the one my friend had hone with
      2) The recruitment process will differ from agency to agency but, normally, you’ll send them your CV, then they’ll book an appointment for you to come to their offices for an ‘interview’ of sorts. You might need to do a couple of tests, depending on what role you’re going for (I had to do a typing test, which was fine).
      3) I just worked in customer services since I wasn’t looking for a ‘career role’ (my background is in marketing and PR) and, yes, I think I was on minimum wage
      4) Yes I was able to save money. I was renting an apartment with some friends which kept costs down (as opposed to renting my own place) and I definitely have money for weekends trips etc.
      5) To be honest I lived in Auckland between June 2012 and June 2013 so it’s difficult to remember. I know that you shouldn’t have to physically be sharing a room though. You should try to get your own room in an apartment – I don’t know about you but sharing a room with someone else can be a little annoying!

      Hope that helps! :)

      Beverley

  16. Jenny says

    Hey Beverley! Thanks for the amazing breakdown, super excited to be moving to NZ in two weeks! Was wondering if you had time to help me understand NZ:

    1) How’d you pick between the many temp agencies?
    2) What was the recruitment process like?
    3) What was your job position & was your pay above the national min wage?
    4) Were you able to save any money for travel?
    5) Is $150 per week per person (including expenses) in CBD sharing a room with another girl reasonable?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

  17. Khaled Mahmoud says

    Thanks Beverley,for good help but i have little conflict because i need find the right place to be near lot of companies that i will try to find opportunity there. besides that in the nearest future i need to be near by good schools for my child.” which place you will advice for my case?”
    thanks a lot for your effort.bye

    • says

      Khaled you could really live in any of the suburbs and commute into the city for work – there’s buses and, depending on how far out you live, trains to get you into the CBD. It’s difficult for me to advise you about schools though; I don’t have children and this was never a factor for me when I was living in Auckland. The most opportunities for work for you, I think, will be in the city but, like I said, you don’t need to actually live in the city to be able to get there daily. Public transport isn’t too bad in Auckland. Hope that helps :)

    • says

      Khaled you could really live in any of the suburbs and commute into the city for work – there’s buses and, depending on how far out you live, trains to get you into the CBD. It’s difficult for me to advise you about schools though; I don’t have children and this was never a factor for me when I was living in Auckland. The most opportunities for work for you, I think, will be in the city but, like I said, you don’t need to actually live in the city to be able to get there daily. Public transport isn’t too bad in Auckland. Hope that helps :)

  18. Daniele says

    Such a helpful article. I have already spent 2 years in Aus and now after few travels around asia it is time to move to NZ. Could I ask you a personal advice on finding the best health insurance? Could I use my australian one? Thanks and have a lovely day

  19. says

    Auckland really is one of the world’s most beautiful cities! The clean air and all the plants and trees really allow you to breathe! While I may not live there, I have visited the city and found it to be incredibly welcoming. New Zealand as a whole is just such a breathtaking country, the views seem almost unreal.

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