Family Friendly Cities to Settle in the South Island

When considering a permanent move to the South Island, there are many factors to take into account. But if you have a family, some cities are better suited than others. There are many things to think about when narrowing down your search for the perfect city to settle in, for example schools, proximity to public transport and shops, perhaps you’d like to be close to a hospital or even near the coast, inner city or outer province, every families different and there is definitely no one size fits all. However, there are plenty of choices when it comes to moving to New Zealand’s South Island and no matter what factors are important to your family, you’ll be sure to find some of the best family friendly cities right here.


The most populous and largest city in the South Island is Christchurch, it has a diverse range of schooling options available. There are over 50 primary and secondary schools in Christchurch, as well as several private and special needs schools. The public transport system is easy to use with a super extensive bus network that can take you to most places. Being the heart of the South Island, it is highly accessible and¬†exploring other parts of the island is very easy. There are heaps of things to do with your family in Christchurch, you could visit one of the many parks or spend a day at the beach. Plus there’s always something going on in the city, with festivals and events happening all year round. There is a booming job market and ongoing investments and projects are constantly being poured into innovation. Settling in Christchurch suits many families and there’s a reason why so many Christchurch movers have seen an influx from people wanting to relocate from other major cities such as Auckland and Wellington.


If you’re looking for small-town charm with big city amenities, then Dunedin is the place for your family. Located on the Otago coast, it’s a beautiful harbour city with plenty of things to do. There is affordable housing, a good selection of schools, city vibes without being in the major city. Dunedin is a city full of charm and character with a welcoming local community, there are wonderful beaches, great food, creative street art, fashion and architecture.


Nelson is a great place to raise a family, the city is located on the shores of Tasman Bay and is surrounded by three National Parks and some of New Zealand’s best beaches. It’s a beautiful place to live with a relaxed lifestyle and there are plenty of things to do and explore. The schools are not all zoned here so you’ll have a choice as to what school to send your children to. Peak hour traffic is not existent here apart from the morning school rush. With a Mediterranean climate the summers are longer and the winters are milder giving you plenty of daylight to explore and enjoy nature that is a stone throw away. Nelson is the perfect spot for any family and finding moving companies Nelson to help with your relocation won’t be difficult at all.


Invercargill is the southernmost city in New Zealand and is a great place to raise a family. A big advantage is the cost of accommodation is very affordable, the cost of living is relatively low and there are good schooling options available. It’s a safe and friendly city with plenty of things to do, from parks and gardens to museums and art galleries. Invercargill is a quieter city much of a contrast to big city Auckland. It gives you great access to some of the best skiing in the Southern Hemisphere and is perfect for families that enjoy the cooler climate.


Timaru is a great place for families that prefer a laid-back lifestyle, it’s a safe and friendly city with plenty to do. The commute to work takes 10 minutes, buying a family home is totally achievable and the city has great accessibility to amenities which makes it an easy choice for many people who move here. It has good schooling options available and is close to some of the best beaches in New Zealand. Any family choosing to settle in the South Island should consider Timaru as it has plenty of job opportunities to complement a relaxed family lifestyle and also makes a great base to explore the rest of the South Island.

South Island’s Top Five Must Visits

The South Island in New Zealand is known for its breathtaking landscapes, friendly people and wide range of activities. If you haven’t been, then you are truly missing out. To name a few, places like Queenstown is said to be the adventure capital of the world, Wanaka is a haven for nature lovers and Franz Josef is perfect for those who want to explore New Zealand’s glaciers. Christchurch is a major city hub within the South Island and is a multi-cultural city known for its diversity, world famous street art and there is no shortage when it comes to relaxing at cafes and bars or enjoying a romantic fine dining experience. It sets the scene as a basecamp for adventurers exploring the South Island, the Southern Alpine region to the south, the Banks Peninsula a short drive away, Kahurangi National Park to the north and the highest of mountains in the West Coast region.

There is something for everyone in New Zealand’s South Island and here are some of the must visits you don’t want to miss out on:

Queenstown Adventure

Queenstown is a must-do for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. It is an outdoor lover’s playground with a range of activities on offer such as bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, white water rafting and so much more.

The Southern Alps

The Southern Alps is known as the mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand’s South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the range’s western side. The tallest mountain soaring 3000 metres high is Aoraki Mount Cook and can be explored on foot with both beginner and immediate tracks starting from the Mount Cook village.

Visit Milford Sounds

Milford Sound is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. It is located within Fiordland National Park a heritage listed site, near the town of Te Anau. Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist destinations, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The magical beauty that Milford Sound offers is something that cannot be missed.


Wanaka is a small town located in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. It is situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka, next to the Clutha River. Wanaka is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding and is a gateway to ski resorts such as Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak.

Franz Josef

Franz Josef is a small town located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It is a popular tourist destination due to its close proximity to Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. The town offers a range of activities and tours such as glacier helicopter rides, Heli-Hikes on the glacier and a guided walk of the Glacier Valley.

Kayak in Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is located at the top of the South Island and is a must-do for those who love the outdoors. The park offers a range of activities such as sailing, hiking and camping. Come close to marine life and explore the Abel Tasman coastline by kayak, an experience you won’t forget.