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Wanaka, 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 Wanaka, 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 Wanaka?

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

"Wanaka is a small town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand, known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities. Before moving to Wanaka, expats should know that the cost of living can be high, especially when it comes to housing and groceries. The town is a popular tourist destination, so it can get crowded during peak seasons. The primary language spoken in Wanaka is English, but there is also a significant Maori cultural influence. The climate in Wanaka is temperate, with warm summers and cold winters, and it's important to be prepared for outdoor activities in all weather conditions. The healthcare system in New Zealand is of a high standard, but expats should ensure they have adequate health insurance. The education system is also highly regarded, with a mix of public and private schools available. Wanaka is a safe town with a low crime rate, but like anywhere, it's important to take basic safety precautions. The town is relatively isolated, with the nearest city, Queenstown, about an hour's drive away, so having a car is beneficial for getting around. The job market in Wanaka is competitive, with tourism and hospitality being the main industries. It's advisable to secure a job before moving. Lastly, New Zealand has strict biosecurity laws to protect its unique environment, so be aware of what you can and cannot bring into the country," wrote one member in Wanaka.

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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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