If you find yourself working from home more than you’re in the office or you’re already a fully remote worker, the opportunities of where to base yourself are endless.
Auckland recorded its first ever population decrease between June 2020 and June 2021 as flexible work options skyrocketed - a trend that was also seen in Southland and the West Coast.
So, where are the best places to live in New Zealand for digital nomads and remote workers?
REDnews investigated five locations around Aotearoa that offer excellent quality of life, co-working spaces, and high internet speed.
1. Kāpiti Coast
North of Wellington City, Kāpiti Coast is fast becoming the Silicon Valley of New Zealand.
The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce revealed back in 2017 that self-employed business owners contributed to more than a third of the working population.
“The numbers of self-employed in Kāpiti are increasing year on year, which is great for our local economy,” said Kapiti mayor Gurunathan Krishnasamy.
“Our relaxed lifestyle coupled with easy access to multiple, easy transport options makes Kāpiti an attractive proposition for those wanting to set up a business in our district.”
The area is currently home to some major tech entrepreneurs who work remotely, including Westpac NZ’s digital advisor to the board Claudia Batten. And in 2021 the council estimated that an additional 30,000 people will make Kāpiti their home over the next 30 years.
As of December 2021, the median house price in the Kāpiti Coast District was $940,000, meaning you can find a relative bargain compared to its neighbour - Wellington City.
And the district is only a one-hour drive (74.7km) from the capital, so it’s easily accessible to big city amenities.
Kāpiti Coast had the highest fibre broadband uptake of all New Zealand’s regions between March 2020 and March 2021, meaning it increased the region’s capacity by almost 30% and made it one of the most connected provincial region in the country.
And if you need to rent office space or a meeting space, there are options to choose from on Sharedspace.co.nz.
The Thames-Coromandel District has already become a hotspot for Aucklanders relocating out of the city, which has pushed up property prices.
But with the median house price jumping from $763,000 in December 2020 to $1,050,000 in December 2021, according to REINZ data, it’s still much more affordable than Auckland.
For people wanting a quiet lifestyle and more value for their money when it comes to housing, Coromandel has become a great option.
CoreLogic’s chief property economist Kelvin Davidson says their data shows Auckland-based owner-occupiers moving to the region accounted for 9 per cent of the market in 2020 and 12 per cent of the market in 2021.
When it comes to connectivity, 12 Coromandel Peninsula communities have had ultra-fast broadband fibre cables installed and two others will have theirs completed by the first half of 2022.
The following communities have had their ultra-fast broadband completed: Thames, Hahei, Te Puru, Coromandel Town, Kuaotunu, Matatoki, Tapu, Whangapoua, Waiomu, Matarangi, Whitianga and Ferry Landing/Cooks Beach, according to the Thames Coromandel District Council.
Whangamata and Tairua-Pauanui are scheduled for completion by the first half of 2022.
That means you’ll be able to work online as effectively as you would in any main city centre.
This tourism hub has one of the fastest internet speeds in New Zealand, with an average of 52.8Mbps.
The town, located in the Bay of Plenty, is full of convenient cafes offering free Wi-Fi access and up to 15 co-working spaces to choose from for those who need meeting locations or conference venues.
With a median house price of $700,000, Rotorua is one of the more affordable towns to consider, while being only an hour's drive from the more expensive city of Tauranga.
If a relaxed lifestyle is what you’re looking for, Rotorua offers thermal pools and mud pools to enjoy all year round.
And hiking around the surrounding mountains, falls and springs will satisfy those who love the outdoors.
The garden city is New Zealand’s second largest city by population and largest city in the South Island, but the cost of living is much more affordable than Auckland or Wellington.
So, if you’re looking for a city lifestyle without the price tag, Christchurch could be the place for you.
The median house price as of December 2021 in Christchurch City was $700,000, while the Canterbury region as a whole was $680,000. That’s a bargain compared to Auckland City’s median price of $1,434,500 and Wellington City’s $1,161,000.
If you work remotely but seek shared workspaces from time to time, Sharedspace.co.nz has plenty of listings in Christchurch. Options range from video and podcast studio spaces to rent from $115 per hour, to co-working spaces that can cost as little as $377 per month.
The city also has a host of cafes that offer free Wi-Fi, so you can take your device on the go for a change of scenery or set up meetings at these eateries.
These cafes include: The Little High Eatery, The Origin, Grain Coffee, Switch New Brighton, Ten 27, Little Poms, South Town Club, Black Betty, Six Ounces, Addington Coffee Co-op, Foundation Café, Lux Expresso and Park Ranger.
When looking for a neighbourhood to live in, check this broadband map to find out if that area in Christchurch has ultra-fast broadband installed.
Beware that areas such as Governers Bay, Cass Bay, Corsair Bay and some other communities surrounding Lyttleton Harbour do not have access to fibre.
Despite the Queenstown-Lakes District median house price being almost that of Auckland, at $1,325,115, the quality of life is worth every penny.
Low crime rates, great air quality and fast internet all make Wanaka an idyllic location for those remote workers wanting a peaceful way of life in the great outdoors.
Most of Wanaka’s remote workers are software developers and startup founders, according to Nomad List.
But there’s a growing list of work from home jobs being advertised for people based in Queenstown and Wanaka on employment sites such as Seek.co.nz.
The area has also been rated by digital nomads on Nomad List as an easy place to make new friends and do business.
And if you love skiing, snowboarding and an outdoor lifestyle, Wanaka will offer everything you need.
Added extra: Wellington
Wellington has received international praise for its 20,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city and remote working scene, becoming a popular destination for global citizens wanting to relocate.
New Zealand’s capital was ranked the 50th best place in the world for digital nomads by Big 7 Travel in 2021 and will no doubt move up that list when international borders reopen.
Café culture in Wellington is rife, which creates the ideal ambiance for meeting fellow remote workers and creating networking opportunities.
You won’t have to worry about connectivity in the city either, as it was one of the fastest adopters of ultra-fast broadband in 2021.
And when you’re not working, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained, from visiting the Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop, to spending a day at Te Papa Museum or visiting one of the region’s vineyards.
The nightlife scene is also easy to navigate, from Cuba Street to Courtenay Place.
Despite the median house price in Wellington City slightly tipping over $1 million, there are more affordable areas just outside the city, such as Lower Hutt.