Top options for student accommodation in New Zealand
A general view of the beach at Oneroa Bay on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. Source: Paul Ellis/AFP

Some of the world’s most stunning landscapes are found in New Zealand. Seemingly untouched by humanity, you can almost picture the Lord of The Rings coming to life by the beautiful mountain side. Putting aside the picturesque landscape that comes to mind when you think of New Zealand, what else is there, you ask? 

Well, there is their amazing national rugby team, the All Blacks. The indigenous Polynesian Maori people, like what you’d imagine Moana’s family to be like. Last but not least, Jacinda Ardern — the country’s biggest pride and joy for various reasons that need no explanation. It’s no wonder that students from all over the world are flocking to this country. 

Besides all of the above, New Zealand has a world-class reputation for cutting-edge research and creative energy. Your tertiary education will not go to waste! Now that you’re set on New Zealand, and have your acceptance letter in hand, it’s time to start looking for a place to stay. Depending on what you need and, of course, your budget, we take a dive into some accommodation options available for international students here:

Residence halls or dormitories

If you like an all-inclusive experience and easy access to social events on campus, then this is the place for you. Halls are mostly located only a few miles away from all the main universities and institutions in NZ — many times, they are located on campus itself. If you choose this, you’ll likely be able to choose between renting a room in a shared or single facility. 

Residence halls or dormitories are a cost-effective way of saving money when looking for accommodation. Source: Shutterstock

You also have the option of being in a self-catered to a fully-catered hall — both have their pros and cons. The average cost of a fully-catered residence might seem a little expensive, but relieves you of the mundane tasks of preparing your own meals. Fully-catered residence halls also include all the facilities you could think of, whilst self-catered halls sometimes charge extra for certain facilities. 

How much should you budget to stay here? It ranges from 393 to 482 New Zealand dollars a week. At some universities, you may be able to negotiate rent.. 


Like a family-like environment? Missing your siblings and parents? Then the homestay option is for you. You can live with the host family by renting a single room at their house. Though you’ll likely have less privacy — probably no chance of hosting any wild paries —  you will be in very safe hands. 

Make sure you prepare for a curfew set by your host that you have to abide by. All your crazy student adventures you want to experience might have to take a backseat when you homestay with a family. 

Homestays are an option for students who prefer to be surrounded by a family. Source: Shutterstock

Normally, the things included in your rent for homestay would be three square meals a day, power and internet. Don’t forget that you are in a fully-furnished place of living. Prices range from NZ$180 to NZ$240 a week.

Private accommodation

Now, you can remove the thought of a “bougee” house that comes with a butler like in “Scream Queens”. Private accommodation simply means a place you rent from someone not affiliated with the university you’re studying in. You will be more in control of your options and budgets. If you have a knack for budgeting, then this would be an option to consider. 

Private accommodation is seemingly the cheapest, but it really does depend on external factors. Hence, this is mostly recommended for returning students and the majority of postgraduates as it helps provide financial flexibility. Some of the things to keep in mind would be the extra costs for food and internet. If you’re far from campus, there will be extra transport costs. You’ll probably have to buy extra furnishings for the flat too.

Learning how to budget is important for young international students as it helps them prepare for real life. Source: Shutterstock

On top of your weekly rent, these extra costs can seem a lot. With the addition of having to pay deposits or bonds, there is also a minimum requirement for the length of your stay depending on the different areas. Check out some of the options to private renting here to see if they would be suitable for you.

As always, do your research beforehand and make sure you choose the best option based on your own individual needs!

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