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Whangarei, 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 Whangarei, 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 Whangarei?

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

"Before moving to Whangarei, expats should know that the city is located in the Northland Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, including mountains, beaches, and forests. The climate is subtropical, with warm, humid summers and mild winters. English is the primary language spoken in Whangarei, but the Maori language and culture are also significant in the region. Expats should familiarize themselves with some basic Maori phrases and customs to show respect for the local culture. The cost of living in Whangarei is generally lower than in larger cities like Auckland or Wellington. Housing is more affordable, but expats should be aware that the quality and style of housing can vary significantly. The city has a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle, which can be a significant change for those used to a fast-paced urban environment. The pace of life is slower, and the community is tight-knit, with locals known for their friendliness and hospitality. Whangarei has a strong focus on outdoor activities, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. Expats should be prepared for an active lifestyle and take advantage of the city's natural beauty. Healthcare in New Zealand is of a high standard, and residents have access to both public and private healthcare services. Expats should ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage, as not all services are free. The education system in New Zealand is also highly regarded. There are several good schools in Whangarei, both public and private, and the city is also home to a campus of the Northland Polytechnic, offering a range of tertiary education courses. Public transportation in Whangarei is limited, so expats may find it more convenient to own a car for getting around. The city is also very bike-friendly, with numerous cycle paths and trails. Finally, expats should be aware that while Whangarei is a safe city overall, like any city, it has areas that are safer than others. It's advisable to research neighborhoods thoroughly before deciding where to live," commented one expat who made the move to Whangarei.

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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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