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.
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
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!
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
Bar: The Occidental, Vulcan Lane
Restaurant: Cafe Hanoi, Britomart
Breakfast spot: Lorne St Cafe, Lorne Street
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
Bar: Chapel, Ponsonby Road
Restaurant: Thai Me Up, Ponsonby Road
Coffee: One 2 One Coffee, Ponsonby Road
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
Bar: Windsor Castle, Parnell Road
Restaurant: Renkon Japanese, Parnell Road
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
Bar: The Lumsden, Khyber Pass Road
Restaurant: Hansan Vietnamese
Coffee: Nuffield St Cafe, Bar & Bistro, Nuffield St
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
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
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
Awesome little place with some nice bars and restaurants. Also has good transport links to the city as it has a train station.
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.
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.
This is where lots of people who work in Takapuna live if they can’t afford Takapuna rent prices. Quiet suburb with convenience shops.
Auckland blog posts
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