Expat Guide on Where to Live – Auckland
Greater Auckland is divided into five major districts. Central Auckland, the area surrounding the city center, boasts much of the most expensive real estate in New Zealand, although there are pockets that remain affordable. Residents here are close to the CBD, nightlife and all the amenities a large urban area has to offer, as well as the waters of the Harukai Gulf. Residents of Waiheke Island and other, smaller Gulf islands are considered Central Auckland residents.
Across the Harbour Bridge is the North Shore – best known for its spectacular coastline. The area boasts its share of pricey beach enclaves, but on the whole is more affordable than the central city and offers properties with more space. Transport to the city is fairly easy if you are in the areas immediately on the other side of the harbour bridge, however, if you decide to move further north then you will encounter slow moving traffic in the mornings. The North Shore is considered a safe, family friendly area with lots of great parks and friendly local communities.
South Auckland is more culturally diverse – and more affordable, with large Maori and Pacific Island populations. The further south you go, the more rural the housing becomes, featuring many farms and “lifestyle properties” on large pieces of land. Travelling into the city centre from South Auckland is a time consuming business in the mornings, and heading back south in the evenings will also take a very long time. On the plus side, though, you are closer to the airport. Some parts of South Auckland are very rough with high crime rates, however, there are also some nice family friendly areas, and also some up market areas, with access to beautiful parks and some great shopping locations.
West Auckland stretches from the rugged, West Coast beaches, through the Waitakere Ranges to city-close suburbs. The area has officially “gone green” and some villages out west have a pronounced arty, hippie-esque vibe. Travelling into the city has been made easier with the new motorway extension, and whilst traffic is heavy, it does move. Property prices in West Auckland are very reasonable and it’s possible to find a comfortable house in a nice location for a great price.
East Auckland is settled and suburban, with a large immigrant population and many enclaves of new homes and other developments located a kilometre or so inland from the region’s gorgeous beaches. The Eastern Bays area – Kohimarama through to Mission Bay – can be very pricey, but the further back from the beach you go, the cheaper the properties will be. Travelling from East Auckland and The Eastern Bays is not the easiest of tasks. The best option from here would be walking, cycling or public transport.