How is life in New Zealand?

The design of the house is still progressing slowly so time to reflect on life in New Zealand.

We have been here for about a year and a half now and I still love living here. Especially the beautiful environment and views stay stunning and are such a great factor in feeling happy. Cycling home from work passing the harbour with sail boats and cycling along the waterfront with views over water, mangroves and hills seeing so many different birds, spoonbills, kingfishers, herons, pied shags, tuis. Even Orca’s where spotted in the water in front of our house a few days ago!

As with every country that I have stayed in there are always things to like and not to like so much. Here is my take on the goods and bad of living here.

The goods:

  • Beautiful environment, especially in the North with more tropical plants and native trees and a lot of water and hills
  • Pick your beach every weekend. Whangarei is also called the city with 100 beaches with so many beautiful beaches in a short driving distance.
  • Pick your hike every weekend. Loads of short and longer tracks in the area from coastal, forest to mountain tracks
  • Good climate, mild winter, nice warm summer
  • With a big influx of tourists over summer the holiday atmosphere is contagious
  • We have a home with a beautiful view over the harbour inlet and sunsets.
  • A big garden and space for kids to play and explore
  • Great primary school and kindy, so much space, more freedom at kindy, great activities, truly well organised
  • Kindy is almost free and so is basic healthcare
  • The lifestyle and work life balance is pretty good here. Quite a few people are moving up North to escape the ratrace and traffic jams of Auckland to live a more relaxed life here
  • Fruits and vegetables from the garden. With the mild climate a lot of yummy fruits grow here. From our own garden we have heaps of passion fruit, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons, fejoas.  We also have water melons, tomatoes, capsicums, courgettes, onion, pumpkin and different herbs. In the area there are a lot of orchards with kiwi fruit, peach, nectarine, orange and avocado trees
  • I like the job I have as Sustainability Development Manager at the Northland District Health Board
  • Social life is pretty relaxed as well and we met some nice new families in our area
  • Exploring the area, New Zealand and the pacific

The not so goods:

  • Food is really expensive even local produced food like proper bread, milk, meat, fish. You are living closer to nature eating what the season brings you which is something I feel is lost in Europe with produce available all year round. In a sense it is a good thing but I remember after last winter eating mostly potato, kumara, carrot and pumpkin I was dying for salad, cucumber and tomatoes but wasn’t willing to pay $13/kg for tomatoes
  • Rent is relatively expensive as well
  • Salary is a lot lower in comparison to the Netherlands so we earn a lot less but our costs are about the same
  • There is a lot more real poverty and families struggling especially in the region where we are living
  • It is not as green as you would think. A lot of polluted rivers, hardly action or incentives on climate change
  • Public transport is almost absent just like cycling/walking infrastructure so it is a car dominated country
  • Less availability of products or long lead times and high shipping costs. The New Zealand market is too small for global companies to be interested in. There is e.g. no IKEA
  • Housing quality is bad. Hardly any insulation in homes so although it is called the winterless North waking up in a home with temperatures below 8 °C is not very comfortable and unhealthy
  • Whangarei is not a very exciting city
  • Roads are pretty dangerous and there is no motorway to Auckland


One thought on “How is life in New Zealand?

  1. Hoi Magriet, really enjoyed your article. I am envious of your walking and swimming options. Makes me want to move near you! Definitely some of the negative things are comparable to Australia. I’ll be interested to reread this post in a year and a half. 🙂
    We got back two nights ago from our last European holiday, and are now busy sorting and organising stuff. Unlike you, we’re taking a container…
    Love and cheers to all the family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *