A beautiful country with a familiar culture that is crying out for skilled workers, New Zealand is the perfect match for savvy Brits looking for a new home abroad. From its stunning coastline to its rolling green hills, New Zealand’s picturesque scenery and pleasant climate regularly place it amongst the most desirable places in the world to live. Auckland is not only the biggest city, but also the financial and commercial heart of New Zealand. This spectacular, sprawling city stretches from the Tasman Sea to the South Pacific. There are sought after suburbs throughout the area, from urban hotspots to quaint coastal neighbourhoods. If you’re wondering where to live in Auckland, here is our guide to some the most popular areas and how to chose between them.
If you want to be right at the heart of Auckland’s vibrant social and cultural scene, the city’s bustling central business district (CBD) could be just the place for you. With the city’s best bars, galleries and shops right on your doorstep you won’t have to travel far and may be able to forgo car ownership entirely. As the busiest business district in New Zealand, central Auckland is ideal for those wanting to avoid a long commute.
Despite the urban setting, there is still a strong sense of community with plenty of groups and clubs to join and regular street markets at Silo Park. As the most ethnically diverse of Auckland’s suburbs, it is culturally rich and extremely welcoming and tolerant. There is wide variety of accommodation from affordable flats around the High Street and Vulcan Lane area to chic harbourside apartments and townhouses.
Just west of the CBD, Ponsonby offers a more bohemian, edgy vibe, great for younger, single expats looking for a lively social scene close to the city centre. Packed with unique, independent shops, cafes and bars, you’ll have a great time discovering your new favourite haunts. Ponsonby has a thriving music scene with live acts most evenings and some of the best music stores in New Zealand.
There is also a broader selection of ‘character’ properties, such as restored villas and quirky wooden houses if you’d like a home with a bit more history. As it borders central Auckland, the city’s main attractions and biggest businesses are just a short walk or drive away.
Sumptuous, central and very sought after, Parnell is the one of the most popular suburbs in Auckland, with good reason. Just two kilometres from the city’s bright lights, there are excellent commuter links and plenty of diversions even closer to home. Property is slightly cheaper than central Auckland and there is good selection of charming period homes as well as smaller, more affordable accommodation.
Despite its proximity to the CBD, Parnell boasts a distinctly quieter vibe. It is a suburb made for lazy weekends spent staring out to sea along the Hobson Bay walkway or strolling through the beautiful Auckland Domain park or around the Auckland Museum. For a slightly faster pace, head into Parnell Village to explore the array of fabulous high-end shops and restaurants.
Just ten minutes South West of the city centre, but substantially cheaper than many central suburbs, Grey Lynn is an ideal choice for expats wanting to stay close the CBD on a budget. Despite its relatively low cost, you still get harbour views, gorgeous parks and hundreds of buzzing bars and cafes.
This pretty suburb attracts creative, artistic types and holds the ever popular Grey Lynn Park Festival each November celebrating the city’s best art, crafts and music. There are also plenty of great schools nearby including Auckland Girls Grammar School, Mount Albert Grammar School and St Paul’s and St Mary’s Catholic Schools.
If you’re wondering where to live in Auckland with a family, Takapuna could be right up your street. This popular, family friendly suburb is just North of the city centre over Shoal Bay. Its quiet, green surroundings make it an ideal place to raise children with plenty of parks and play areas and great schools including the prestigious Takapuna Grammar School, particularly well regarded amongst expats.
The stunning white sand beach is the ideal spot for warm summer weekends swimming, relaxing and enjoying spectacular views of Rangitoto Island and the sea. There are plenty of good shops and restaurants and a busy Sunday market selling everything from fruit and veg to art and antiques.
If you’re looking for a home a little further away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and looking for where to live in Auckland to find this, Howick offers a pleasant, suburban atmosphere less the 30 minutes from central Auckland. This safe, friendly suburb has a strong sense of community and is perfect for expats looking to settle in Auckland with their family.
This seaside suburb is full of history and boasts some of the oldest buildings in Auckland. As one of the first European settlements in Auckland, Howick is rich in heritage and culture, particularly around the Historical Village with 30 beautifully maintained colonial buildings. It is relatively self-contained with a thriving café culture and some excellent shops
Just a 15 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland is the pretty seaside village of Devonport. Home to the Royal New Zealand Navy, it has a strong maritime history and plenty of heritage buildings and unique shops selling antiques, books and clothing. Devonport also boasts enviable harbour views and a dazzling selection of waterfront bars and restaurants.
There are stunning views over the bay from the top of either of Devonport’s two volcanic peaks and great parks for the kids run around. There’s also a great selection of properties from waterfront apartments to family villas.
South of the city, Mangere Bridge is beautiful coastal suburb with affordable homes still within easy commute of central Auckland. Just a 30 minute drive from the CBD, this increasingly popular suburb is an ideal choice for families wondering where to live in Auckland.
Waterfront properties come with incredible views over Hilsborough Bay, and a hefty price tag, but you can easily find less pricey homes just a little way back. The suburb has a village-like feel with a strong sense of community. There are plenty of clubs, groups and organisations eager to welcome new arrivals and help you make friends in your new hometown.
Where to Live in Auckland: Useful Resources
If you’ve decided where to live in Auckland and want to find out a little more about a particular suburb or start house hunting, there are plenty of online resources to help. Hometopia is packed with information about each suburb from house prices to schools. The ‘Suburb Sleuth’ tool is particularly clever as it allows you to filter suburbs by your own personal preferences. You can, for example, decide how far you want to commute, how ‘hip’ your new home should be and what sort of neighbours you would prefer.
Once you selected your suburb, it’s time to find your new home. One of the most popular house hunting websites is realestate.co.nz which allows you to browse homes to rent or buy across New Zealand. Like many property websites, you can search by area, price, size and style. So, now you’ve where to live in Auckland, check out our destination guide to find out how we can get you there.