If you have to choose between Auckland and Christchurch, why?
Even though Auckland is by far New Zealand’s biggest city, it’s only the 314th biggest city in the world, just behind Tirupur, India. With just over 396,200 people living in cities, Christchurch is New Zealand’s second-most popular city, but not even close to Auckland’s 1,700,000 residents.
Are there many differences between life in Auckland and Wellington? Of course. Both have their own unique personalities that come from their people, the scenery around them, and, in the case of Christchurch, earthquakes. Even though there have been shocks, life moves more slowly in Christchurch.
So where should you plant your roots? It’s time to find out what makes Auckland and Christchurch great places to live. Which place is better for you and your family, though?
Due to its size, Auckland has a lot of the things you’d expect from a city: lots of people, big buildings, and general noise and activity.
It feels more open and there is less urban growth in Christchurch. One more big difference is the cost of living. In terms of value for money, Christchurch is better. But before you start packing, it might help to compare things one more time.
Pros of living in Auckland
About 40% of Auckland’s people were born outside of New Zealand, making the city very multicultural. Because of this, the city now has some great foreign food. You can eat your way along Dominion Road. The area around the town heart of Balmoral has been called the “United Nations of restaurants.”
There aren’t many cities in the world that have as many beautiful beaches as Auckland. About 80 swimming beaches are thought to be inside the city borders of Auckland. Do your first stop at Piha and Orewa, two of the more well-known beaches.
You might not want to swim in the ocean, but you might want to ride on it. Auckland is the best place in the world to get out on the water because every single person there owns a boat.
The economy of New Zealand has been going up and down, but the job market is still pretty strong. Because Auckland has so many people, it’s definitely the place with the widest range of job opportunities. This is in contrast to other New Zealand cities, where it might be hard to find work outside of a key industry like agriculture.
We said that Auckland isn’t a very big city in the world sense, but in New Zealand it’s still the tallest city. That being said, if you can’t live without the excitement of city life, Auckland is the place for you!
Pros of living in Christchurch
Christchurch is a small city that is easy to get around in. There aren’t many hills or slopes in downtown Christchurch. The city is second in New Zealand for how easy it is to walk around.
The scenery around Christchurch is both stunning and beautiful. The city is on the flat lands of Canterbury, between the beautiful Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean. In other words, it only takes 1.5 hours to drive to the mountains. There are also many beautiful, mostly empty beaches in Christchurch, like the one in Sumner.
The biggest city on the South Island is also a lot cheaper than its North Island cousins. In general, living costs are 22.7% higher in Auckland than in Christchurch. It costs more in Wellington than in Christchurch by more than 24%.
There are a lot of newer homes in the centre city of Christchurch, which gives you more choices when you’re looking to rent or buy an apartment. After the earthquakes in 2011, a lot of work was done to rebuild the area.
It’s easy to tell the seasons apart. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. In Auckland, on the other hand, all four seasons can happen in one day… or one hour.
Cons of living in Auckland
Auckland’s landscape is beautiful, but it could be a pain in the rear. A lot of Auckland’s cities are built on a small strip of land that runs between the city’s two harbours. Going from one end of the city to the other end for work can be very annoying because the roads are so long and small. Get ready for a long drive.
People in Auckland often have long commutes and get stuck in traffic. Every day, it seems like there are more cars in the city than its streets can handle. Also, the rush hours in the morning and afternoon are getting longer. To get around by train, it won’t be any easier unless you live near one of the few suburban lines.
New Zealand doesn’t have a very high crime rate compared to some other countries, but since the pandemic, crime rates have been going up, especially in Auckland. In just over a year, crime rates went up by 20.3%. It’s scary that a lot of these acts are violent.
Since the end of the pandemic, Auckland’s growth has turned back on. Every year, an average of 47,000 people move to the city. Because of this, there is a lot of tough competition for real estate.
Cons of living in Christchurch
People often say that Christchurch is full of cliques. Some people hang out with friends they’ve had since they were kids, which can be hard for someone new. Making friends with people at your new job or joining an informal sports group is a good way to start.
If you like going out at night, it’s not the liveliest city. In Christchurch, the nights end pretty early, and some nights the central business district (CBD) can feel like it’s empty.
It looks like the Christchurch City Council really enjoys building shopping malls. They have taken over the outer suburbs and may have changed the nature of many of these areas.
Earthquakes happen all the time, but most of the time you can’t even feel them. When a big quake hits the city, though, it can be very bad. The Christchurch fault is the name of the landform that runs under the city of Christchurch.
1. Quality of life
There are some bad things about living in New Zealand, but overall, the country has a high quality of life, and people in both cities and rural areas enjoy it equally. According to a study by the OECD, Kiwis were asked to rate their quality of life on a scale of 10 points. The average answer in New Zealand was 7.3, which is better than the average answer around the world, which was 6.7.
There is crime in both places, but it is lower when compared to other cities of the same size. Overall, crime is going up in both Auckland and Christchurch. In Auckland, drug-related crimes are going up the most. Aside from that, both towns get low or moderate scores on crime comparison scales.
In the 1980s, a lot of New Zealand’s transport infrastructure was sold off to private companies. Since then, public transport hasn’t really become the same. Buses make up almost all of Christchurch’s vast and well-connected public transport. But Auckland doesn’t.
2. Cost of living in Christchurch vs Auckland
A rough guess is that Auckland has the 65th highest cost of living of all the cities in the world. The 151st spot goes to Christchurch. It’s interesting to see how much the cost of living was different in each place.
When rent is taken into account, prices in Christchurch are 18.5% lower than prices in Auckland. Things like food will also cost about 9.5% less in Christchurch.
3. House prices
Auckland’s home prices have gone up so much that they’re almost in orbit. Want to get a house? The middle price is more than a million dollars, or NZ$1,040,000. The usual price in Christchurch is NZ$741,178, which isn’t too high or too low.
As was already said, Christchurch’s central business district (CBD) has newer homes, and a small apartment in the city centre is cheaper than a detached house in the outskirts. It can be hard to find a good house in Auckland. People who need a bigger family home might want to look in West Auckland, which is cheaper than the rest of the city.
4. Family life
Auckland was just named one of the world’s best places to raise a family. Even though Christchurch didn’t make the list, a lot of the good things about Auckland are also true for Christchurch.
The main things that parents were asked about were their feeling of safety and well-being, educational opportunities, family activities, and the cost of living. Even though it costs more to raise a child in Auckland, they will have more chances later on.
Because Auckland is bigger than Christchurch, it gets more votes. It’s statistically better in many ways because it has more things to do and more open areas. You may think that Christchurch is a better place for your kids to grow up because it has a lower cost of living and a relatively low crime rate.
5. Job opportunities
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has the most diverse job market in the country. The income of Christchurch is mostly based on farming. The hills around Canterbury are used for dairy farming, and a lot of barley and other grains are grown there.
Both places need people to work in construction and healthcare, but IT workers are more likely to find work in Auckland. Because tourism is big in Christchurch, there are a lot of jobs in the hotel industry—more than you might think for such a small city.
It costs NZ$71,960 a year to live in Auckland. It costs NZ$77,656 a year in Christchurch. People who live in Christchurch may have a better quality of life than people who live in Auckland because they can earn more money and spend less.
In general, people who work in information and communication technology can get higher salaries. However, the construction industry has seen the biggest salary rises, along with higher demand, especially in Christchurch’s rebuilding after the earthquake.
Pay rates in retail and leisure are at the bottom of the range. New Zealanders who work in stores can expect to make about NZ$45,825. Since New Zealand has a minimum wage, the pay for unskilled work is pretty much the same all over the country.
7. Weather and climate
New Zealand’s weather can change quickly, but in the summer it’s pretty common to have a string of hot, sunny days. In the summer, there is also a lot of heat. Plain and simple, winters are wet. If you go to Christchurch in the winter, you might even see a little snow. The weather there is more in line with the season.
Christchurch is farther south than Auckland, but it’s about the same temperature and has more sunshine each year (2,141 hours vs. 2,003 hours in Auckland). Christchurch is better for hiking and sports than Auckland when it comes to beaches and boats. It depends on the kind of life you want to live.
And since we’re talking about how each city lives, it’s time for some (mostly nice) competition. People all over the country love to compare places and cities to each other, and there have been some heated arguments between Christchurch and Auckland.
Auckland is becoming too famous very quickly, and its infrastructure can’t keep up with all the people who want to live here. You can have a pretty stress-free life if you live and work in the same part of Auckland. But Christchurch might be the better city if you want to live somewhere cute, cheap, and useful with a more laid-back attitude towards life.