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Emigrating to Auckland? Guide to the best expat areas to live.

Posted by By Bournes International Moves - November 19, 2014

where to move to in AucklandThinking of moving to New Zealand? Read on to discover the best areas of Auckland. 

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest urban area and its geography is such that the city’s skyscrapers are surrounded by the breathtaking backdrop of mountains and waterfronts. 

Relocating and choosing to work abroad is a becoming an increasingly popular choice. Whether it be to go travelling and working in the city, winging it  and working for bars and restaurants as you travel or taking on an executing position in one of the world's many big cities, there's something for everyone to do.

With this decision comes more choices of where you want to go and what you deem important. Are cities with stunning views, public transport and cheap house prices important? Or are you game for being 30 minutes from the vibrant bars and cafes. Whatever your reasoning and choices, relocating to Auckland, New Zealand is becoming a popular option for travellers. But deciding where to live in Auckland might be the biggest question you face when making your move. 

Sites like the Albert Grammar School, Auckland Museum, North Shore or being close to CBD Parnell are all appealing. But there's a great deal more to relocating to Auckland to look forward to than what occupies the first page of your Google search. We've got some insider info for you below. But first ... 

There are two main areas to look at in considering where to move to in Auckland:

  • The Auckland Metropolitan Area: located in the North Island of New Zealand, this is the largest and most populous urban area in the country and the chief port for goods coming in and out. It’s also the industrial hub for the country.

  • The Auckland Urban Area: this is the area that ranges from Waiwera in the north, down to Runciman in the south.

Here are 6 great areas to live in Auckland for expats:

  • Auckland Central Business District (CBD)
  • Ponsonby
  • Parnell
  • Howick
  • Newmarket
  • Devonport.

Find out more about each below. 

Need more help finding a home? Our relocation team provide home search services to help you find the right home for you quickly, safely and easily, Contact us to find out more.


1. Auckland CBD:

If it’s the quiet life you’re after then Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD) definitely won’t be on the top of your list – with all of the city’s best bars, clubs and tourist attractions located in and around here, this is a lively and vibrant place to be.

The view if you move to Auckland in New Zealand Sourced from Auckland and City and Fringe

Close to all of the main businesses, this is a great place to live if you don’t want to commute far to work, and most people who live here can enjoy the benefit of walking to and from their workplace.

Of particular interest to those moving here might be their close proximity to the regular street markets which take place at Silo Park, or perhaps the Auckland Art Gallery, where regular exhibitions are held.

Another bonus of moving here is that you’ll have access to the ferries which run to Waiheke and Rangitoto Island; both of which make for great days out.

2. Ponsonby:

Another hive of activity, Ponsonby has more of a bohemian vibe to it than the CBD – despite its close proximity - with its restored villas, relaxed atmosphere and trend for live music, art and street cafes intermingled with trendy boutiques, specialist vintage shops, bars and eateries.

Ponsonby in Auckland Sourced from The Culture Trip

Not an ideal place to set up a family home due to the types of houses on offer here, Ponsonby would be well suited to students or those looking to set up home in a lively location that caters for a great and varied social life.

3. Parnell:

A popular and pretty suburb on the outskirts of the CBD, Parnell is much like Ponsonby with its tendency for fine boutiques, art galleries and old-style buildings, but offers a slightly slower – not to mention marginally cheaper - pace of life.

Sourced from Hayley Anderson

With excellent commuter links into the CBD, Parnell has long been favoured by those that want to live close to work but don’t want the expense of living directly in the city. Other selling points for the area include its beautiful rose garden, as well as being home to the Auckland Museum.

4. Howick:

Home to some of the oldest buildings in Auckland, Howick is a typical seaside suburb.

Howick on the Auckland coast 
Sourced from

The high street provides everything you might need on a day-to-day basis with its variety of shops, bars and restaurants, while the noticeably quieter pace of life is perfect for those that want to feel like they are slightly more removed from city life whilst still retaining a short commuting distance to work.

5. Newmarket:

Located to the south-east of the CBD, Newmarket is a vibrant place considered to be the fashion capital of Auckland – a notion which is reflected in the plethora of shops which define the area, also making it New Zealand’s premier retailing area.

Newmarket in Auckland New ZealandSourced from Event Finda

While it might not top the list for areas to house-hunt, with so many retail outlets this is a great place to look for work if you’re new to the city – or even just to make note of if you’re looking for a day out with family or friends.

6. Devonport:

Located on Auckland’s North Shore, Devonport is a harbourside suburb which is home to the Royal New Zealand Navy – though these days it’s equally as famous for its excellent dining and drinking establishments as well as its vast array of quirky, heritage-style antique, gift and book shops.

Devonport in Auckland Sourced from Rata Cottage

Owing to its unique atmosphere, Devonport is a popular destination with tourists and Aucklanders alike, and many people regularly flock here via ferry to enjoy a starlight dinner on the harbour.

Moving to Auckland from the UK?

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Topics: New Zealand, Area Guides, Auckland

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