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.