A Beginner’s Guide to the Cities of the North Island

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Let’s switch gears this week and move away from the recruitment discussion. We’re halfway through November, which means it’s not long to go until 2019 is upon us. The New Year often inspires a lot of change for people, especially job seekers looking to change their work-life situations. For many, this means relocating to a new town or city. Are you new to New Zealand and looking at moving to the North Island? Not sure what each of our cities have to offer? Read on!

The Cities of the North Island: Let’s start from the top.

AUCKLAND is the largest city in the country by population, boasting over 1.6 million residents – and its definitely a city in which you’ll notice that straight away. Town is busy and you’ll often want to allow time for a traffic jam if you’re commuting to work by car. Auckland’s public transport system is reportedly very good (albeit expensive), with buses coming multiple times an hour.  For those born and raised here in New Zealand who have not lived in Auckland before, the hustle and bustle of the city can be overwhelming at times. On the contrary however, if you’re coming from a densely populated country yourself, you may find that Auckland is far less busy than we as locals consider it to be. I know people that spent a couple of years in London and came back saying that Auckland looked tame by comparison.


Auckland City, with the famous Sky Tower visible at its center.

With Auckland’s high population comes a high saturation of jobs, especially in the sectors we typically recruit for (Construction, Manufacturing, Food & Dairy, Industrial). However, there’s also no shortage of jobs in general, as the “supercity” continues to grow and more businesses crop up.

The Tron

HAMILTON is definitely a ‘change of speed’ compared to Auckland. While still very much a typical NZ city, the bustle that exists in Auckland isn’t the same here. The CBD is particularly quiet during the day time which can be nice, and perks up at in the evening until the early hours of the morning when the restaurants and clubs come alive. Hamilton’s shopping centers (Chartwell Shopping Centre and Te Awa aka. The Base) generally see most of the daytime foot traffic. It can be a very relaxed place to live, with some of the best suburbs being Rototuna and Flagstaff. Summers in Hamilton get very hot, owing the fact that Hamilton, unlike the other North Island cities, does not back onto the ocean. As such, trips to the beaches in Raglan are a common past-time for locals.


Hamilton’s botanic gardens have long been both a tourist attraction and a nice place to relax.

As far as job opportunities go; vacancies in the CBD typically aren’t as common as Auckland’s, although this can be industry dependent. Technical job seekers in particular would do well to keep their minds open to the wider Waikato region as well as Hamilton city.

Idyllic and Picturesque

…would be the two words I would use to describe TAURANGA. The heart of the Bay of Plenty has grown at an alarming rate over the last decade. From a quiet town to an arguably overpopulated city, Tauranga has become a hot destination for both tourists and those permanently moving from abroad. I can draw a lot of similarities between Hamilton and Tauranga – for starters, it unfortunately suffers from a less-than-active CBD, often devoid of much foot traffic except on weekends. Just as Hamilton’s shopping malls draw people away from town, the iconic Bayfair shopping centre has the same effect in Tauranga. The climate is also extremely warm, so sunscreen is your friend if you’re heading outside on a scorching summer’s day in the Bay.


Encased in blue all around, Tauranga city and the Mount really are sights to behold.

No discussion about this city would be complete without bringing Mount Maunganui in. You’ll be hard pressed to see a view in the North Island that is better than the one at Mount Maunganui’s summit. The beaches both at the Mount and in Papamoa are some of the best beaches the North Island has to offer, and the property prices in the area definitely reflect the idyllic nature of the area. On that note, the cost of living in Tauranga can be up there depending on where you choose to settle, but you definitely get what you pay for.

Job opportunities in Tauranga are constantly on the rise as the city continues to expand – this is especially true for construction. Even right now, Bayfair mall is under construction for expansion, there’s a huge residential property expansion coming to West Tauriko over the next few years and Stage 2 of the Tauranga Crossing is due early next year.

People say you can’t beat it on a good day…

WELLINGTON is the capital city of New Zealand, home to the countries’ parliament buildings and national museum. Wellington is a city brimming with character and creativity. One stroll down the city’s iconic Cuba Street on a Saturday evening will illustrate what I’m talking about – you’ll see several vinyl stores, recycled clothing stores, a colourful ‘bucket fountain’, a rainbow road crossing and the vibrant and diverse Wellington Night Markets on Lower Cuba. More akin to Auckland than its other North Island city counterparts, Wellington’s CBD is very much surging with activity at all times. There’s no shortage of public events and activities to engage with around the city and by immersing yourself in the culture, you’ll quickly find that it’s both inclusive and progressive.


Wellington’s iconic bucket fountain in the heart of Cuba Mall.

Although Wellington can be congested with traffic at times, the city actively encourages more environmentally-friendly modes of transport. If you’re out and about in the mornings, you’ll see no shortage of people walking and cycling to work (the city has also recently embraced a public bike-sharing system!). So long as you live in the CBD or in one of the suburbs nearby, you can effectively walk or bike wherever you need to go without the need to pay those ever-increasing fuel prices. Wellington joins Auckland in the ‘full of opportunity’ category for job vacancies. The city is doing well and continues to be a highly desirable place to live.

In closing…

The North Island truly is a fantastic place to live – and I think many of us locals really do take its charms for granted. There’s plenty to do in each of the main cities and we’re fortunate that we can travel between them easily by car or a short plane ride.

Thanks for tuning into this weeks blog. If you want to know more about the North Island and the country in general, we have a dedicated page on our website aimed at prospective immigrants which you can read here.  It contains helpful information on NZ news sites, grocery shopping, banks, climate, geography, currency and much more.

Article by Dario Luca, Marketing Coordinator

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