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14 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving To New Zealand

moving to new zealand

While I don’t regret anything about my time in New Zealand, hindsight is a great thing and in the last few years I’ve realised that there are quite a few things that I wish I’d known before moving to New Zealand and starting a new life at the other side of the world.

It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life; I learnt so much about myself and the world while I was there. There are a few things I wish I’d have known, both before emigrating and also while actually living there.

This post is for anyone who’s considering a move to New Zealand and all the things I wish I’d known before moving to New Zealand; I really hope it helps!

moving to new Zealand

The weather is pretty similar to the UK… But sort of better

OK, so it’s probably quite a lot better than the UK’s weather but NZ does still have its fair share of rain and wind. The sun does tend to come out more often than it does here in England, and you’ll definitely need to wear suncream, especially in the height of the summer. But when it rains in New Zealand, it rains.

Christmas just won’t be the same

Christmas in New Zealand falls in their summer which means that it’s pretty damn warm on Christmas Day. While we were living there, we had Christmas on the beach, playing in the sea with our new surfboards and then we returned home and enjoyed a Christmas lunch of BBQ food.. While it was certainly an experience I’ll never forget, it just wasn’t the same as tucking into a turkey dinner with all the trimmings surrounded by family and the freezing cold weather.

Document your adventures

While I was in New Zealand, I did manage to take a fair few photos but I didn’t take nearly as many as I should have done. The pictures that I did take are poor quality and they really don’t represent just how beautiful the country is. If I was to encourage you to do just one thing while living in New Zealand it would definitely be to take as many pictures as you can and document your adventures in any way you possibly can.

Enjoy the outdoors more

I’m really not much of an outdoors person but while living in New Zealand, I did try and embrace the outdoors as much as I possibly could. Everywhere we went in NZ was truly breathtaking; from the abundance of waterfalls, beaches, parks and mountains, there really is so much to see and do outdoors and I’d thoroughly recommend enjoying everything as much as possible while you’re there.

Embrace the culture

The culture of New Zealand is entirely different to that of the UK; the supermarkets, clothes shops and restaurants aren’t quite as modern and sophisticated as they are over here but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy them. My school was incredibly strange for me when I first started but once I learnt to embrace the culture, I found it to be an incredible adventure.

The people are incredibly friendly in New Zealand

The people that I met in New Zealand are some of the most friendly I’ve ever met in my life. I still keep in touch with a few people that I met there and I’m so glad that they make the effort to still communicate with me. Nothing was too much to ask from a Kiwi and they’re more than happy to help you in anyway they possibly can.

Don’t freak out about the ‘shoe thing’

One thing that was definitely a huge culture shock when we first moved to New Zealand was the fact that not many people actually wear shoes to go out and about. My younger brother and sister didn’t wear shoes at all to school, and I didn’t wear them to do P.E. – not even to do cross country running! Some people even omitted their shoes when doing their weekly grocery shop which seemed incredibly strange to me but also kind of cool!

There’s way more English expats than you’d imagine

We actually ended up living next to an English family who we became very good friends with! There were way more English people living in New Zealand than I expected which was actually incredibly nice because it felt like we were sharing this journey with people who knew exactly what we were doing through.

Spiders are most definitely a thing in New Zealand

While they may not be as big and imposing as the ones you’ll find in Australia; the spiders in NZ were still pretty intimidating, especially for someone who’s as terrified of them as I am! My mum actually got bitten by a white tail spider twice while we were living there and I definitely saw some pretty huge ones – it makes me shudder to just think about it!

The meat is some of the best I’ve ever had

Many people in New Zealand own plenty of land where they keep their own animals and while it’s not very nice to think about, the meat that I ate in New Zealand was some of the best that I’ve ever had and I think that’s largely due to the way that the owners looked after and cared for their animals. They had plenty of space to roam around and were very well looked after.

Learn about rugby – the Kiwis love it!

We were actually living in New Zealand at the time of the Rugby World Cup when it was held there and it was so amazing to see everyone get into the spirit of the sport. The Kiwis absolutely love rugby and if you’re going to move over there, you can bet that the topic of rugby will come up fairly often!

New Zealand is nothing like Australia – and the natives will get offended if you think it is!

Despite being in the same part of the world, New Zealand is actually nothing like Oz, and the locals will never let you forget that fact! The accent may sound fairly similar but the Kiwis actually have slightly different inflections at the end of some words; not only that but the culture itself differs to that of the Australian culture.

The food can be a little strange but just embrace it

While some supermarkets stock some food similar to the food that you’d find in the UK, there’s also plenty of differences and variations. For example, when we were living there, I really missed the likes of Jaffa cakes, Pringles and Monster Munch. Thankfully, my family and friends were more than kind enough to send over care packages full of our favourite foods which I’d highly recommend if there’s a particular thing you’re missing while living there!

There really are more sheep than people!

I had actually heard about this fact before I moved to New Zealand but after living there for almost nine months, I really can vouch for the fact that there are more sheep than people in NZ! As there’s so much countryside and open spaces in New Zealand, it only makes sense for there to be so many sheep and cows.

moving to new zealand

Is there anything else you’d like to know about what it’s like to move to New Zealand? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.


  1. Aaliyah
    19th July 2018 / 5:20 pm

    This is a great post for anyone thinking of moving abroad! I always thought that New Zealand was hot all year round! Never realised. I also would t fine Christmas the same if it’s the summer time! Great post x

    • chloedickenson
      19th July 2018 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you! Yeah, Christmas in the sun was definitely a strange experience! X

  2. 19th July 2018 / 5:24 pm

    Hahaha i remember when i moved to New Zealand… they love rugby! and yes christmas is different .Don’t call them australians ahah and walking barefoot ahahah

    • chloedickenson
      19th July 2018 / 9:05 pm

      They really do haha!

  3. 19th July 2018 / 5:59 pm

    This is such an interesting post Chloe! I never knew about the shoe thing! That is kinda cool and unusual. I imagine having Christmas Day in the summer on the beach is really strange but that’s so nice everyone is friendly. The spiders sound pretty scary though! Thanks for sharing, it looks like a such a beautiful place 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • chloedickenson
      19th July 2018 / 9:03 pm

      Thank you so much Bexa! Xx

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