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Decisions, decisions… Relocating to Australia vs New Zealand

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Do you fancy a flat white or prefer a pavlova? Do you go for the All Blacks or the Wallabies? Australia vs New Zealand… We speak with lots of nurses and health care workers who say they are considering a move this year, but are finding it difficult to decide between moving to Australia or moving to New Zealand. In this post, we hope to help you out with this pretty tough decision!

Disclaimer: weighing up two vast countries that are both blessed with rich and varied cultures is of course not easy. The below is merely a friendly comparison. We absolutely love BOTH, and are confident that if you choose either as a relocation destination you are in for a wonderful adventure!

aus vs nz

Australia Vs New Zealand

So, which country comes out on top? Below we compare the two in terms of quality of life, meeting new people, the environment, the healthcare and education systems and the weather. I have a feeling we may be in for some pretty close calls! Australia vs New Zealand. Let’s go:

Quality of Life


Australian cities have consistently rated very highly within ‘quality of life’ surveys. The critically acclaimed Mercer Quality of Life Survey placed Melbourne and Sydney in the top 15 cities worldwide. Other surveys put Melbourne as the most liveable city in the world with other Australian cities close behind.

One thing is clear, Australia excels when it comes to a high quality of life, looking at statistics like life expectancy, education, health and standards of living.

New Zealand

The Mercer ‘Quality of Living’ Survey 2019 ranked Auckland as the 3rd most liveable city in the world for eight years running. Mercer also includes variables such as housing, economy, public transport, education, medical considerations and more.

The sub-tropical climate and forward-thinking political stability are added benefits to the quality of life in kiwi land. The opportunity for outdoor adventure is far greater than in most other countries in the world.

Combine the lack of pollution with all of the above, and you’ll realise what an excellent quality of life you can look forward to after moving to New Zealand!




The landscape of Australia can vary from tropical rainforests to vast deserts, meaning there are plenty of choices when moving down under!

Over 80% of Australians live within 50km of the coast. While this may sound like quite a distance, remember that Australia is 3860km long and 4000km wide. The added benefit is that this has very positive effects on air pollution levels.

Air pollution levels in Australia air exceedingly low throughout the country, with the exception being Sydney which has moderate levels of air pollution.

New Zealand

Due to strong sea winds and relatively low urban populations, New Zealand has very high air quality throughout the country. Moving to New Zealand from the UK, the EU, the US, or Canada means you will be moving to one of the cleanest environments in the world!

Wellington is arguably the cleanest capital city in the world, while New Zealand ranks among the least polluted countries.

With further environmental regulations on their way, New Zealand’s air is likely to become cleaner and cleaner. Ahh! Breathe it in…


Healthcare System

This will of course be an area of interest to those looking for registered nurse roles and other healthcare positions. Thankfully, the healthcare systems in both destinations look incredibly strong:


Australia’s public healthcare system is highly regarded with free and subsidised treatments accessibly by all registered residents.

Some employers offer private healthcare to employees, and it is also available to all if preferred.

For those considering relocation, we recommend getting a health check and making sure that any medication or treatment you may require in Australia are readily available.

New Zealand

The quality of healthcare in New Zealand is also excellent. New Zealand residents and many with work visas can access free or very low-cost public healthcare. You can also opt-in for private healthcare however, like in Australia, many residents find public healthcare perfectly acceptable.

There is lots of useful info on the healthcare system in New Zealand here. We recommend looking into the type of work visa you are likely to get to ensure you are eligible for public healthcare.


Friendly Culture & Making Friends

When relocating anywhere new, it is natural to feel worried about fitting in, meeting new people and establishing meaningful friendships…


Australia has a fantastic open and modern culture, and you’re likely to see people smiling in most places that you go. Making friends is widely regarded as being pretty easygoing here!

Due to high immigration rates over recent decades, ex-pats are welcomed and often find they can establish themselves relatively quickly into integrated communities.

There is a wealth of friendly advice here.

New Zealand

Culturally, New Zealand is also incredibly amiable. You are likely to be met with a smile and the offer of help if you are looking lost.

There is an especially expat-friendly atmosphere in Auckland, with 60% of immigrants heading here. Kiwis are very welcoming, and with registered nurses and healthcare workers high on the skills shortages list, many will be in the same boat as you. Try this handy guide to common Kiwi slang to help endear yourself to the locals quickly.

In both, Australia vs New Zealand, you can be sure to make life-long friends from all over the world!

Weather & Guaranteed Sunshine(?)


The typical image of a sunny Christmas on the beach doesn’t quite tell the full story: Due to the massive size of Australia, the temperature can vary a lot from district to district. The more popular coastal cities have a good blend of sun, rain and more mild temperatures.

In general, you can expect excellent weather though, with highs of 17oC in winter, and just over half the amount of annual rain that the UK sees (820mm vs. 400mm). Interestingly, Sydney and London have roughly the same number of ‘rainy days’ per year. Many may be surprised by this, but remember that while the UK sees a light amount of rain across several hours throughout the day, Australia is more likely to have showers across much shorter periods. Before you know it, the sun is back!

Australia boasts a whopping minimum of 2200 hours of annual sunshine in Melbourne. 3300 in Perth! (the UK? Just 1500). You can say goodbye to grey overcast winter days, with 10 hours of daily winter sunshine in Australia!

New Zealand

New Zealand is home to two separate climates. The north of the island (Auckland, Wellington) is sub-tropical; while the rest of New Zealand (including Queenstown and Christchurch) experiences a temperate climate with an abundance of sunshine year-round.

Here, the weather can arguably be a little more unpredictable in New Zealand. Keep an eye on that weather forecast as a single day can see sudden changes between glorious sunshine and rainfall. New Zealand is the perfect destination for fans of more mild, changeable weather. Think warm summers and mild winters.

Whether you’d like to spend your time off hiking through stunning national parks, tackling vast mountains or chilling at the beach the weather really compliments a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.


Education System


Young people and children benefit from an outstanding school system in Australia. On top of this, the outdoor nature of the country means that there are excellent opportunities for learning in nature, sports and clubs for any age. The perfect place to grow up!

Both Melbourne and Sydney universities rank very highly on general education and attract global attention too.

New Zealand

What helps the education system in New Zealand stand out from the crowd, is its consistent high ranking on the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI). The WEFFI goes beyond measuring education standards to encompass the level to which countries are adaptable to the changing needs of the modern world. NZ was awarded 3rd place out of 50 countries in 2018. This showed that education in New Zealand is world-beating and forward-thinking!

For further information on New Zealand’s educational system, check out NewZealandNow.


Live the Australasian Dream…

Ok, we may have just made your Australia vs New Zealand decision even harder. I’ve realised that we’ve just included great reasons to relocate to BOTH countries. We hope this post has got you enthused about a possible move though!

Prospero is in the enviable position of having global coverage for health and social care work. Our Australia and New Zealand offices offer a highly personalised service. Our friendly and accommodating consultants often work with nurses every step of the way: from registering interest, interviewing for positions and securing VISAs to relocating and starting on their exciting new chapter!

Check here for all our latest nursing jobs in Australia and New Zealand. Alternatively, get in touch with us directly here to tell us more about what you are looking for, or if you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog post.

Support with Relocation

We recommend speaking to one of our consultants to find out about potential benefits to new workers relocating. These benefits could include: support with managed isolation in quarantine, and flight, accommodation or VISA costs.