Baby boomers are settings their sights on New Zealand when considering the best places to retire. With mild year-round temperatures, lack of corruption and the variety of outdoor activities, New Zealand is a cultural mecca that promises to deliver the idealistic lifestyle baby boomers crave.
English is the primary language and is spoken by 98% of the population. The largest minority are the native Maori, they make up about 14% of the population. The Maori culture and language are woven into the community and respected by the leaders in New Zealand. Learning the Maori language is easier than expected since Maori has consistent pronunciation rules and a practical structure.
Before packing your bags and calling the movers, consider how you plan to spend your retirement. North Island and South Island are the two main islands that make up the country of New Zealand. New Zealand also boast an additional 600 smaller islands. The size of the country makes it easily accessible by plane.
Located on the northeast size of the North Island, Auckland holds the distinction as the largest urban area in the country. Population in 2018 was reported at just over 4.7 million. This cosmopolitan city extends over an isthmus between 2 beautiful harbors, the Manukau and the Auckland Harbour.
Auckland provides something for everyone. The alluring black sand beaches and mighty surf of Auckland’s west coast is less than a 90-minute drive from anywhere in Auckland and the surrounding neighborhoods. Meaning if you surf, you’re going to love surfing the waves of the Tasman Sea.
Considered the wine region of New Zealand, there are dozens of local wineries that beg for day tripping to experience the local nectar that is unmatched throughout the world. Nowhere else in the world shares the sub-tropical climate, volcanic cones and geographical diversity that is found in Auckland and attributes to their one of kind vino.
Auckland is the place to retire for active baby boomers that don’t want to settle down. Outdoor fun is year-round in this part if the country. From hiking, kayaking and boating, there are a plethora of choices to keep you busy. Music festivals fill the local parks. Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest park and it was built around an extinct volcano. In fact, the entire city lies across the dormant Auckland Volcanic Field.
The capital of New Zealand and the southernmost point of the North Island, Wellington is situated on Cook Strait. The strong winds have lent way to the city’s nickname “Windy Wellington”. Wellington has a population of about 400,000. That’s about a third of Auckland. This area gets a copious amount of sunshine, rain and wind.
New Zealand is melting pot of Pacific, European and Maori influences. It can be observed in the food, music and art. With more cafes per capita than anywhere else in the world, it’s no wonder Wellington is the list of top retirement spots for baby boomers. This charming city has a culture all its own with live music venues, world class museums, and performing arts centers.
The “coolest little capital” is home to the historic red Wellington Cable Car which takes riders to the lookout at Kelburn. After engaging in the interactive displays at the Space Place at Carter Observatory, you may want to simply wander the waterfront to Oriental Bay. The waterfront is where all the locals meet up throughout the week. Shopping at one of the three markets, enjoying ice cream or relaxing at one the parks, it’s the perfect way to soak up the sun.
The third largest city in New Zealand with a population just under 400,000; Christchurch is located on the east coast of the South Island and is the oldest established city in the country.
The snowcapped Southern Alps provide a breathtaking backdrop for a city that takes pride in living at a slower pace. Winters can be a little frosty as the city averages 3 snow falls a year, but the summers more than make up for the need to use the fireplace.
Locals fill their time with free events at the Botanical Gardens, Centre city, and Hagley Park. Living in or around Christchurch means you are never more than 15 minutes from the beaches, 10 minutes to the countryside and only an hour from skiing the beautiful Southern Alps.
Aquifers draw naturally filtered water from the foothills of the Southern Alps to more than 50 pumping stations throughout the city, providing residents with some of the purest water in the world.
If you’ve dreamed of retiring to New Zealand and starting a small hobby farm, the rich, fertile soil of Christchurch and her neighboring towns are the agriculture “hot spot” down under.
How do you pick just one?
In a country that offers subsidized health care, a free market economy and all the pastime pursuits you can conceive, it’s impossible to go wrong. You can always live like a kiwi (locals) and move to another area if find your heart pulling you in a new direction.
Dee Tyson is married and currently raising 2 children, ages 11 and 12. These middle school aged children keep her young and present the same daily challenges we all face. She has 2 grandchildren (ages 2 and 8) from her oldest daughter who turns 28 this year. Dee’s family is the modern American family. Balancing work, home, hobbies and trying to keep the family close to God, Dee takes each day one at a time.