New Zealand vs Australia: How to Choose the Best Option for You

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If you’re an international medical professional weighing up a big move Down Under, figuring out which country to build your new life in can be a challenge. How do you determine whether New Zealand or Australia is right for you?

We recently released a guide on Moving Down Under as a Doctor to help you do just that – below, we break down some of the key things to think about when making this crucial decision and explain why New Zealand may ultimately be your best bet.


Understand What You Want and Need

The first step in deciding between relocating to New Zealand vs Australia is reflecting on your requirements, preferences and expectations for the move, as well as those of your family if they will be coming with you. This will likely include the following:


Although salaries in Australia tend to be a bit higher, living costs in New Zealand are generally lower. When comparing the countries’ two largest cities, Auckland and Sydney, average consumer prices, groceries, rent and restaurants are all slightly cheaper in New Zealand, as are basic utilities, public transport and leisure activities (such as sports clubs and cinemas).

Of course, this can vary from region to region so it’s important to do your research, but overall, New Zealand is the more affordable option.

Travel Options

While there is plenty to see in Australia, getting around often means long flights or multi-day road trips in order to cross the vast expanses of this continent. By comparison, tourist attractions are easily accessible in New Zealand, which is a huge bonus when you’re trying to squeeze every bit of travel and sightseeing you can into your days off.

The country offers a huge diversity of attractions and landscapes (from beautiful beaches and pristine forests to snowy mountain ranges) that are considerably closer together, making it a great choice for doctors looking to get the most out of their time outside of work without spending hours upon hours in the car.


Both Australia and New Zealand are well known for having a high quality of education and healthcare, but when it comes to overall lifestyle, New Zealand has the upper hand. In addition to the travel opportunities and stunning landscapes we mentioned above, New Zealand is recognised as the second safest country in the world (compared to Australia at 13th place) due to a lack of militarisation, conflict and terrorism threats, as well as fewer environmental hazards such as dangerous animals, extreme weather and bushfires.

We can also see this reflected in the social, economic and political metrics by the World Happiness Index, which ranks New Zealand four places higher than Australia in terms of happiness.


Identify What Opportunities are Available

Both New Zealand and Australia have skilled migration programs, but it can be easier to migrate to New Zealand if you have a sought-after skillset. As a medical professional, chances are your specialty is on the Skills Shortages List, which is a pathway towards a work visa and residency.

Whether you are looking for a position as an RMO, Registrar, MOSS, ADD Psychiatrist, Specialist or GP, New Zealand has the right position for you. When relocating as a doctor, your best bet for finding out what opportunities are available and securing a role is to speak to a local recruiter. At Triple0, for example, we are a medical recruitment agency that specialises in placing international doctors in rewarding medical jobs across all specialties and a diverse range of hospitals and practices throughout the country. Search for our latest jobs or get in touch to learn more about the great job opportunities for doctors in New Zealand.


Know Where to Get Help

Moving countries is no easy feat, and rather than go it alone, it pays to have a local support system on your side. If you have your sights set on New Zealand as the destination for your big move, we will be here to help! Our team of experienced consultants can support you through the whole journey, from finding the right role for you and getting your medical registration, to applying for a work visa.

As specialists in helping UK & Irish Doctors relocate to New Zealand, we have put together several guides to show how making the move could be the next big step in your medical career. Download our guide on Moving Down Under as a Doctor: New Zealand vs. Australia for more reasons why New Zealand should be your first choice, a detailed profile of the country and in-depth comparisons on other key considerations such as visas and immigration.

Know Where to Get Help

Also, don’t forget to check out the other helpful resources we have available – download our location guide for information on the best places to live in New Zealand as a doctor and read our comprehensive guides to moving to New Zealand for tailored advice for GPs, specialists and junior doctors on relocating, what to expect and a breakdown of each stage of the process.

Whether you’re thinking of moving to New Zealand as a doctor in the near future or you’re just exploring your options at the moment, we’re here to assist you with any questions you might have – reach out to us today for personalised advice.

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