Is It Worth Moving to Australia From New Zealand? It is Still the Lucky Country?

March 3, 2020

Many Kiwis move to Aussie and never return. They might plan a few months, a year, or a few years, but inevitably they decide to stay. What makes Australia so good?

There’s a whole bunch of ex-pat Kiwis that swear they’ll never return to NZ. The reasons are varied but there are a few central themes.

‘NZ is too expensive’

If you spend any time on Kiwi/ Aussie forums, you’ll see this pop up again, and again. People saying they can go grocery shopping and buy what they want, not having to worry about having enough money in the bank. In particular, the cheap fresh fruit and vege is something that people living in Oz appreciate.

But is it really any cheaper in Australia?

When you Google prices, consistently it shows that Australia is actually more expensive than New Zealand, for almost everything. Items that are cheaper in Australia include milk, eggs, chicken, and beer. It’s difficult to find fair comparisons of fruit and vegetables between the countries because there’s no way of knowing if things have been purchased in season. But overall, taking everything with a pinch of salt, there’s no real difference between the end grocery shop.

Petrol and public transport is more expensive in New Zealand, Internet is more expensive in NZ, and gym memberships too. However, NZ still ends up costing less, day to day, than Australia. This is largely due to increased childcare costs, rent is around 10% more than in NZ, and buying a home is often considerably more in Australia. However, if you’re happy living in the suburbs or in a regional area, homes are definitely far more affordable.

‘The pay is better in Australia’

This is why there is a perception that it’s cheaper to live in Aussie when it’s not—because wages are higher. The average wage in Australia is AU$1634 before a tax per week. That’s about NZ$1681. In NZ, the average wage is NZ$1016. That’s $665 less per week. So it’s not that Australia is cheaper- quite the opposite, in fact—it’s that in general, you’re making considerably more over the ditch.

Of course the salaries will differ from job to job, but overall, across sectors and work types, salaries in Australia are considerably higher. For example, a new teacher in Australia can earn between AU$65,608 (NZ$67,489) and $69,000 (NZ$70,978), depending on what state they are in. The starting salary in NZ is around NZ$45,000. This pattern of increased salaries across industries is consistent.

‘Australia has a better lifestyle’

This, of course, is entirely up for debate. But ex-pats talk about how good it is to be able to afford to eat out more, the ease of travel and holidays across Australia, and just the whole vibe of the place. Some argue that the grass is greener where you water it; many Kiwi ex-pats say there’s more grass and water available in Australia. It’s probably a little of both; a new place to explore and more expendable income.

There are a lot of opportunities to do things in Australia, more than in NZ. Theme parks, shopping and activities galore. The beaches in Oz lend themselves to stand-up-paddleboarding, swimming, surfing, and kite surfing. Australia is huge too, full of incredible scenery, with vast deserts, rainforests, mountains, rivers, and of course wildlife. While NZ also has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with less available income to spend means less travel. So, if you prioritise travel in Australia, you will definitely see more amazing things.

‘The weather is better’

That really depends on where you live and what kind of weather you like. Melbourne and Canberra have climates not dissimilar to Christchurch; with cold, frosty winters and warm summers. Heading further north, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane are mild in winter and tolerably warm in summer. Further north and you’re in the tropics; hot, sticky and humid year-round. It’s up to you what you like; living in Freo in Perth is completely different to Tasmania. You need to choose where is right for you and your lifestyle.

‘It’s close to home if I need to go back’

NZ is a quick plane trip home. The east coast of Aus is only a few hours from NZ, so if you have a family emergency, wedding to attend or simply a desire for a mince and cheese pie, it’s a simple matter; not much different than driving from Auckland to Hamilton or Christchurch to Dunedin.

Moving to Aussie is still a great opportunity for Kiwis

If you are wanting to move to Australia, there are many reasons why thousands of Kiwis love it and have never returned home. It’s a vibrant, diverse, warm country, with good salaries and loads of opportunities.

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