While New Zealand may not be considered a top destination for international students, due to how far away it is from most countries, the country is one of the best places to study in the world. New Zealand is home to some of the best universities in Oceania and is one of the more affordable developed countries to study. Today, we will discuss how much it can cost an international student to study and live in New Zealand.

Cost of Studying in New Zealand

As is to be expected, the cost of studying in New Zealand varies between universities. Subject choices are especially important in New Zealand, with medicine and engineering being some of the most expensive subjects. Alongside this fact, international students usually have to pay a bit more than national students.

Below, we have included just some universities and what they each charge in tuition fees:

As you can tell, there is still quite a bit of difference in tuition fees between different universities in New Zealand. However, these are not the only costs that international students will have to account for.

Cost of Living in New Zealand

1. Hamilton

The largest and most important city in the Waikato region is Hamilton. The city is one of the best places in New Zealand for students. Over 40,000 students live in the city, accounting for over 20% of Hamilton’s population.

The cost of living in this city in New Zealand, while being a great place to live, is expensive. For example, rent in Hamilton can cost between 1,070 and 1,480 NZ$ per month (approximately between 746 and 1032 USD per month). Utilities are, on the other hand, reasonably affordable. Water, heating, and garbage can cost between 140 and 280 NZ$ per month (97-195 USD). Groceries can vary quite a bit – Hamilton is famous for its many farmer’s markets which are usually less expensive than supermarkets. However, groceries usually start at about 80 NZ$ and above.

2. Dunedin

Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ based on the Scottish origins of its name, Dunedin is one of the most affordable cities for students in New Zealand. The city is home to the University of Otago, the oldest in the country, as well as the Otago Polytechnic, one of the county’s most modern.

The city, as mentioned previously, is one of the most affordable in the country, with lower rents than many other parts of the country. Rent usually costs between 680 and 1,300 NZ$ per month. Childcare costs can vary by quite a wide margin. However, the price of childcare is usually somewhere between 415 and 1,100 NZ$, which converts to 290 and 767 USD respectively. Finally, the cost of transportation in the city depends on where you are going and what you use to get there. A one-way ticket on public transport costs about 2.60 NZ$ while one kilometer on a taxi costs 3.40 NZ$.

3. Wellington

While not the largest city in the country, as the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is likely the most important in the country. The city, the windiest in the world, is an excellent place to study. It is relatively small, with a population of only 215,000. Even so, there is a lot to do and explore in the city, especially for students.

There is a great selection of restaurants in Wellington with many different price ranges. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will only cost around 20 NZ$ while a three-course meal for two may cost up to 150 NZ$. In terms of the cost of living in Wellington, utilities, such as water, heating, etc, are also not particularly expensive. A full suite of utilities usually ranges between 150 and 300 NZ$. Finally, rent in Wellington is high, especially in the city center. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost as much as 2,800 NZ$ per month, which may be out of reach for many students.

4. Christchurch

While Christchurch is not especially cheap, it is reasonable compared to other major cities in the country. Childcare, unfortunately, is expensive in Christchurch. It costs nearly 15,000 NZ$ for a child to attend one year at an international primary school. Preschool is also costly, costing around 1,130 per month for a child.

Utilities for an average apartment can cost between 106 and 270 NZ$ per month, which includes electricity, water, garbage disposal, etc. Lastly, rent in Christchurch can get expensive very quickly – a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between 1,200 and 2,000 NZ$. This cost converts to around 1,016 and 1,694 USD.

Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most important economic and cultural hubs. For example, the Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens are both extremely popular with the many students that live in the city.

5. Auckland

The largest city in New Zealand, with a population well above 1.6 million. Auckland, while not the capital, has a massive influence on the nation as a whole. However, when it comes to the cost of living in this New Zealand city, it is also by far the most expensive, especially for students.

Firstly, eating out in a restaurant in Auckland is more expensive than in most other places in the nation. An inexpensive meal costs around 25 NZ$ but can end up costing as much as 50 NZ$. Entertainment in the city is also somewhat expensive; a ticket to the cinema costs 20 NZ$ while joining a sports club can cost between 30 and 120 NZ$.


With all this in mind, there are several factors international students have to consider before traveling to New Zealand. While the country is wonderful to visit, it is expensive to live in. We hope this guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to studying in New Zealand.


We hope you found this article on the best cities to study in New Zealand for international students informative and helpful.To know more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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