The Truth About Moving to New Zealand Solo

Written by Kelsey Powell

Moving overseas for the first time on your own obviously comes with your fair share of nerve-wracking moments.  You will likely start asking yourself questions like, “Will I be safe?” “Am I going to make friends?” “Is it going to be any fun?” “How am I going to figure everything out like where to live?” “Who do I even life with?”


Yeah, those questions are very normal, my friend.


When I moved to New Zealand on my own, of course I was nervous, but I was also completely infatuated with the idea of driving around the country, stopping wherever I felt like it, and enjoying the natural beauty along the way.


I had lived abroad before in places like Thailand, Ghana, and Australia, but I hadn’t moved there by myself.  While New Zealand seemed to have a pretty good reputation for safety -- I mean, it’s known for hitchhiking for Pete’s sake! -- I was still worried about how everything would pan out being a solo traveller.


Now that I’ve been in New Zealand for several years, I realize that my worries were totally understandable, but not 100% necessary.  And since the initial move here, I can say I’ve learned a lot about moving somewhere totally alone and would love to tell you the truth about my experience.


The first thing I learned about moving to New Zealand alone is how friendly people can be to solo travellers.  Kiwis are already notoriously kind, but when you travel on your own anywhere, you tend to get welcomed in a bit easier being in a party of one.


Whether it’s a trivia night at a random pub or a ball game on the beach, hanging out alone, but appearing approachable will likely make you friends fast.


The second thing I learned about relocating to Aotearoa by myself was that I never felt unsafe wherever I was.  When I arrived, I spent my first few weeks in Wellington and then decided I’d go further south to see what the mountains were like.

Road-tripping across the South Island was a complete and total adventure that I never felt scared even when stopping in little dark towns at night looking for a place to pitch my tent.

I met other people solo-exploring and we started to create a vagabond family that drove from location to location with each other. We even ended up at Resonance Festival together, which made me totally forget I had actually come to New Zealand alone.


The third thing I learned about moving to a new country alone, in particular, New Zealand, was how many other people were doing the same thing as I was.

When it came time to find a place to live, instead of renting out a room in a house with previously formed friendships, I decided to ask my fellow solo travellers scattered around Queenstown if they wanted to rent a house together.

We all became fast friends and ended up having a living experience like any tight-knit group of friends would if they had known each other for years. I was very fortunate to have ended up with the group I did, but it never would have happened if I didn’t move here alone.


The fourth thing I learned about moving to New Zealand solo was that I can figure out anything on my own.

I know that I can navigate a city, eat at a restaurant alone, and drive for hours in an empty car, but I didn’t realize how resilient I would become when faced with some tough situations and choices without anyone to consult.

I bought a car by myself at an auction when I had no clue what I was doing; I decided which direction I was going in every single day when there was no set plan; and I got to choose exactly how I wanted to design my life moment-by-moment.

It was liberating, empowering, and really freakin’ awesome.


The last thing I learned about moving to New Zealand on my own was that it’s the perfect place to start if you want to live abroad for the first time with a friend, a partner or yourself.

The Kiwis here are truly wonderful, the land is more majestic than your dreams, and the adventures come in all shapes and sizes for any type of explorer.


As long as you respect New Zealand, New Zealand will respect you.


Moving here solo was perhaps the greatest decision I’ve ever made for myself and I couldn’t recommend it enough, even to someone with a 1% chance of trying it.

New Zealand is the perfect place to give living overseas solo a try. If you have any questions about my experience, please write to me! You can email me at [email protected].


Happy travelling!