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New Zealand Cities

Best Cities in New Zealand for Students

New Zealand has some of the top cities in the world for university study and for students to live in. They offer the combination of excellent universities and high living standards.

It is interesting to compare New Zealand cities as places for university study. While there are many similarities, each city has its own qualities. For students coming to study abroad, knowing about the different cities can be useful. It helps to choose a university city and make the most of what the place has to offer.



Wellington is rated as New Zealand’s top city for students.

Wellington, the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand.

Students find the city peaceful and as a great option for higher studies due to universities like the Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. And, the Victoria University of Wellington is famous for its courses in law, science and humanity amongst several other courses.

  • Population: 418,500
  • Average International Fees: NZ$20,000
  • Desirability Rank: 88th
  • Employer Activity Rank: 10th
  • Affordability Rank Rank: 102nd
  • Student View Rank: 6th


University of Auckland, located in Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and highest ranked university. As per the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, it ranks at 92nd in the world.

The university comprises of eight faculties and six campuses. Auckland being the largest city in New Zealand and rated the third most livable city in the world.

Additional student expenses for living in Auckland may go up to $20,000 per year.

  • Population: 1,695,900
  • Average International Fees: NZ$20,000
  • Desirability Rank: 16th
  • Employer Activity Rank: 57th
  • Affordability Rank Rank: 97th
  • Student View Rank: 92nd


Dunedin is a historically, culturally and geographically rich city of New Zealand. While the summers here are mild, the winters are cool but mostly sunny. The frosty weather and snowfall during winters is what attracts most of the students to this city.

Dunedin is house to the oldest higher education institution in New Zealand – the University of Otago. It is the second entry in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, ranked 159th in the world.

Daily passenger bus services makes it easier for students to travel to the university and back home. The cost of living is also low in Dunedin as compared to the other cities in New Zealand.

  • Population: 130,700
  • Average International Fees: NZ$24,900
  • Desirability Rank: 29th
  • Employer Activity Rank: 62nd
  • Affordability Rank Rank: 107th
  • Student View Rank: 44th


The University of Canterbury in Christchurch is New Zealand’s third-highest ranked university at 211th in the world.

It is the second-oldest higher education institution in the country. It offers courses in subjects such as health sciences, arts, engineering, commerce, fine arts, law, forestry, sports coaching and teaching, music, speech and language pathology, social work, science, etc.

The education offered in Christchurch is outstanding and the cost of living is moderate.

  • Population: 404,500
  • Average International Fees: NZ$23,600
  • Desirability Rank: 47th
  • Employer Activity Rank: 50th
  • Affordability Rank Rank: 93rd
  • Student View Rank: 16th
new plymouth

New Plymouth

Soothing climatic conditions all-round the year make New Plymouth a preferable study abroad city for international students in New Zealand. Five universities are based in the city, with an average quality similar to other major cities. As we know that NZ specializes in hospitality related courses, New Plymouth’s Pacific International Hotel Management School is a great option for students willing to pursue hotel management and experience real life learning in the hotel school.

  • Population: 58,300
  • Average International Fees: NZ$23,600
  • Desirability Rank: 47th
  • Employer Activity Rank: 50th
  • Affordability Rank Rank: 93rd
  • Student View Rank: 16th

Ranking Formula

New Zealand’s best cities to study and live in are ranked based on three things.


New Zealand consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices, boasting a pristine natural environment, a rich cultural heritage, and a society that values diversity. The nation’s landscapes range from breathtaking mountains to serene beaches, providing students with an immersive experience that extends beyond the academic realm.

Cost of Living

Contrary to misconceptions, New Zealand provides an affordable yet high-quality lifestyle for international students. The cost of living is competitive compared to other popular study destinations, with various accommodation options, public transportation subsidies, and affordable healthcare contributing to a balanced and accessible lifestyle.

Career Opportunities

Renowned for its forward-thinking economy, New Zealand offers a wealth of career opportunities for graduates. The country’s innovative industries, including technology, agriculture, and renewable energy, are experiencing significant growth. Graduates often find themselves in demand globally, with a favorable post-study work visa policy allowing them to kickstart their careers on an international stage.

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