Coastal vs. Country - where should you set up home in the regions of New Zealand?
May 2024

Coastal vs. Country - where should you set up home in the regions of New Zealand?

From the bright lights of the big cities, to picturesque provincial towns and, as some may say, ‘the sticks’, there’s no shortage of places to call home in New Zealand. But with all those options to choose from, how can you make sure you pick the right address for you?

For many, there’s two main contenders when it comes to picking the prime spot for a great lifestyle and that’s the coast, or the country. You might say ‘why not both?’ and sure, in some locations it can be done. However, if you’re looking for a true blue country or coastal home, it’s all in the details.

We won’t be making the final decision for you, but perhaps we can help with guiding you on your way to your new dream property.  

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There’s around 15,000km of coastline around New Zealand, which means there are plenty of locations to land yourself a view of the ocean (or at the very least, just a short drive to the sea, surf and sand). And gosh, whether it’s the wild, raw west coast or the golden sands of the east, there’s no question it’s a spectacular place to be.

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Everyone loves the beach (well, almost everyone). Year round they have wonderful spaces to explore and the ability to enjoy a range of water activities, from walking the kids and family dog, to swimming, surfing, or simply sitting back and relaxing. So really, it’s no wonder New Zealanders, in their droves, love coastline settlements. 

We’re also lucky to have many major cities positioned amongst a number of beach offerings, as well as the quieter, more traditional holiday hotspots that boast the traditional, laidback Kiwi bach life. This means you can still have your vibrant metropolitan lifestyle, or choose somewhere that slows the pace a bit.


For those that love the idea of an idyllic coastal home, there is a price to pay. And that comes in the form of these close-to-the-beach properties being costlier than something comparable in the country. In fact, some data shows that houses on the waterfront (within 50 to 150 metres) can often command sales that are 80% - 150% more than the median price of their respective town. 

And sure, not everyone has to live on the beach - just being close enough for a short car ride can be enough. But in peak season, you may find your favourite hot spot has been taken over by crowds of visitors, all needing a car park and a possie on the sand, and that can be frustrating. 

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Thanks to modern technology, living in the country provides the best of both worlds. Easy communication and access to information - minimising issues of isolation - while still located a distance from the hustle and bustle of city or town life. It’s often the peace and tranquillity that attracts people to move to the countryside.


A great benefit is that you can get a lot more for your money in a rural location, compared to the coast. This might mean a bigger house or smaller mortgage.

A home in the country also gives you the opportunity to ‘live off the land’ - which comes with varying degrees of self-sufficiency, from establishing a productive veggie garden to having animals and maybe even turning a hobby into a full-time job.

Escaping from the ‘daily grind’ is another reason people choose the countryside, where they can get out into nature more often and find peace in the open space. It’s certainly a lifestyle choice that’s not for everyone, but here in New Zealand you’re never too far from civilisation.    


Whilst the furthest point you can get from the coast in New Zealand is 119.44 km (to be exact), just northeast of the Central Otago town of Cromwell, this isn’t exactly conducive to regular day trips to the beach. And the feeling of being landlocked may be a bit too much for those who enjoy a dose of salty ocean air.

Sure, many inland areas come with lakes and rivers which can ease any wishful ‘being close to water’ thoughts. But as many may attest to, it’s ‘not the same’.

Distance is a biggie when it comes to the countryside, with plenty of driving required if you have kids to get to school, jobs to go to and need access to healthcare, shopping and other amenities. There’s no quick popping to the dairy if you forget something!

It can also feel quite daunting in the country if the power or internet goes out. They aren’t always reliable, especially if a weather front moves through, so you need to be able to manage if it’s out for a few days or more.

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Now for decision time

Of course, deciding on the coast or the country isn’t quite as straightforward as it’s made out to be. There are many variables that come into play, including the possibility of finding a combination of the two - a country block on the coast!

This is one of those comparisons that can offer up some thoughts and ideas on which option may work best for you and your family, and get you asking questions such as ‘what’s important to us?’ You never know where deciding on a refreshing change may lead you and if you need a hand with that, we’re here to give you the inside scoop.  

With locations right across New Zealand, we’ll always have an agent who can help you with everything you need to know - from a plan of action to get your current property sold, to putting you in touch with the right people in the region you’re interested in moving to.

Get in touch with a PGG Wrightson Real Estate office today, we can get you where you want to go.

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