Choosing somewhere to live
You may need to look around for a while to find a warm house in a neighbourhood you like which is close to schools, transport, shops and where you work.
Looking for regional info?
As well as getting out and looking yourself, you should ask friends and the people you work with for advice. They may even know of places for rent - in New Zealand many good properties are let through word of mouth without being advertised.
Always visit a property before you commit to renting or buying it.
Climate and heating
Remember that here in the southern hemisphere, it’s the north facing properties that get the most sun.
Because the climate in New Zealand varies so widely - for example, winter is generally much warmer in northern areas than in the south - the issue of heating will be more important in some regions than others.
Kiwis have a bit of a pioneering attitude to heating. We wear more layers of clothing in the winter (merino wool is a favourite), and tend to only heat the room in the house that we are using, while we are using it. Many new arrivals find the first winter here a bit of a shock.
When you are choosing a house, ask about the level of insulation, the heating options and amount of sun that it gets. If you get an estimate of electricity costs, remember that many New Zealand households maintain a minimum of heating compared to other countries.
The Government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has advice on working out whether the home you’re considering is energy efficient, what sort of heating you will need, and how much heating you’re likely to use in different parts of the country.
If you’ve decided on a school for your child, check if it has an enrolment zone.
If you live in this zone, your child will be guaranteed a place in the school. If you’re not ‘in zone’, you can still apply but there’s no guarantee your child will be accepted.
There’s more about school zones and transport for your children on our page The school system.
New Zealand’s larger cities have well-developed public transport options but services can be more limited in smaller centres. Check the Regional Community services pages for more information about transport.
New Zealand cities and towns are spread out, so even if public transport can get you to and from work or school, the bottom line is you will likely need a car here.
For more details, check our Transport page. To find out about school transport services, check our School system page.