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The basics
New Zealand: Student Finances - Must read

Student living costs in New Zealand

Our guide to living costs for international students in New Zealand, including accommodation, public transport, food and utilities.

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Famous for its breathtaking landscapes, what’s less known about New Zealand is that the cost of living is relatively low. With our guide to basic living costs when studying in New Zealand, you can easily organise your finances so you can embrace student life and still have enough money left over to try your hand at one of the nation’s popular extreme sports.



Most universities in New Zealand offer students the option to live on-campus in residence halls, generally located a short walk from campus. Meals are included in the rental price and rooms are either single or twin-share, all with a communal laundry, lounge room and dining hall.


On campus housing is in high demand due to the appealing lifestyle it offers, and so tends to be the most expensive accommodation option for students. The University of Auckland offers 38, 42 or 52 week living agreements in halls, with the cost of a standard single bedroom totalling NZ$8,944.40 for 38 weeks and a room in a 3-4 person shared apartment costing NZ$10,010. Costs vary depending on the city and university, but on average a student living in halls will be looking to pay around NZ$200-NZ$300 per week.


You can also opt to do a homestay, which means you will live as a guest in a New Zealand home whilst you study. Meals will usually be provided, and the cost of utilities will generally be included in the price of the room. On average a homestay costs around NZ$180-NZ$240 per week.


Find out more about a homestay option in our Q&A with a US company, or watch our video playlist featuring questions being answered by that company and one of their hosts.


Renting an apartment or room in a share house will probably be your cheapest option, but you will have to split gas and electricity costs between yourself and your flatmates in addition to your rent. When you move in, you will need to pay a deposit equivalent to 2-4 weeks rent that you’ll get back once you move out. Your weekly rent is likely to be between NZ$120-NZ$230 per week, depending on the size and location of the property.


Living Costs

For those unavoidable everyday living costs, here is what you might be looking at paying:

  • Internet, 8MB, monthly...NZ$59
  • Utilities (if not included in rent), monthly ...NZ$156
  • 1 minute prepaid mobile tariff, no discounts or plans ...NZ$0.60
  • Taxi fare, per kilometre, inner-city...NZ$2-NZ$3



All major cities in New Zealand have a range of public transport systems. And for the most part, they’re quite affordable. The primary mode of public transport is bus, but there are also trains that travel between cities and ferries that can take you across islands. Bus fares are calculated based on how many sectors you’ve travelled across. Student discounts are available so be sure to look into getting the relevant ID card.

  • Single bus ticket, average per sector...NZ$1.50-NZ$3.00
  • City LINK, CBD fare zone, Inner Link sectors, student discount... FREE
  • Discovery Pass, day pass for unlimited travel...NZ$16
  • Airbus, adult return...NZ$28



New Zealand has a range of supermarkets where you can easily stock up on good quality, moderately priced basics.

  • Full cream milk, 2L...NZ$4.40
  • Loaf of white sandwich bread, 700g...NZ$2.99
  • Chicken breast fillet, 400g...NZ$26.99
  • Spaghetti, 500g...NZ$2.29
  • Coca-cola, 1.5L...NZ$3.40
  • White rice, 500g...NZ$1.59
  • Eggs, free range, 12pk...NZ$6.59
  • Olive Oil, 500ml...NZ$8.39
  • Big Mac...NZ$5.00


Misc. Costs

Not all entertainment in New Zealand is in the way of bungee jumping or mountain biking. With a thriving student scene to keep you busy in the city, you can easily enjoy yourself affordably.

  • Pint of beer in a neighbourhood pub...NZ$8
  • Cappuccino...NZ$4.30
  • Bottle of water, 330ml...NZ$3
  • Eating out, mid-range restaurant, three-course...NZ$40
  • Glass of wine, mid-range restaurant...NZ$6- NZ$9
  • Movie ticket, without student discount ...NZ$12.50


Now that you’ve got an idea of how much student life costs in New Zealand, why not start browsing courses in New Zealand and start planning your adventure! 


Useful links

Student Rent New Zealand

NZstudy accommodation