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Queenstown, New Zealand

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Queenstown, New Zealand. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know before moving to Queenstown?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Queenstown, they said:

"Before moving to Queenstown, expats should know that it is a small town with a population of around 16,000 people, but it can accommodate up to 34,000 tourists at its peak. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, including Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, which offer a wide range of outdoor activities. The cost of living in Queenstown is relatively high, with housing being particularly expensive due to the town's popularity with tourists and expats. The town has a strong tourism-based economy, offering job opportunities in hospitality, tourism, and adventure sports. However, the job market is competitive, and wages can be relatively low compared to the cost of living. Expats should secure a job before moving, if possible. Queenstown has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. Snowfall is common in winter, making it a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. The healthcare system in New Zealand is of a high standard, but expats should ensure they have adequate health insurance as not all services are free. The primary mode of transportation in Queenstown is by car, and public transportation options are limited. Expats may find it beneficial to have their own vehicle. English is the primary language spoken in Queenstown, but there is also a significant population of expats from around the world. The education system in New Zealand is highly regarded, and there are several schools in Queenstown to choose from. However, spaces can be limited due to the town's small size, so it's advisable to arrange schooling in advance if moving with children. Finally, Queenstown has a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle, with a strong emphasis on outdoor activities and enjoying the natural environment. It's a friendly and welcoming town, but it can also be busy and crowded, particularly during the tourist season," wrote a member in Queenstown.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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