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Auckland vs Canberra (to live)

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What's the better place to live for two professionals and one preschooler: Auckland or Canberra? Assume that residency issues are not a problem.

Here's some background. We are from the US and currently live in Auckland. It's really too big for us and we hate the traffic. The homes are terrible - no central heat or air, moldy and cold in the winters, no screens on the windows, so if you open them up, you get tons of flies and spiders. I know this might sound like nit-picking, but your entire winter is ruined if you have a frigid, moldy house with no real way to heat it. (It rains most of the winter so you are indoors a lot of time, especially with a preschooler.) The homes are also very expensive. Pay is low and organizations are not particularly professional. On the plus side, you don't have to drive far to enjoy the outdoors, and it's very green and dramatic scenery. Child care is inexpensive compared to the US and it's very high quality. We've made some good friends, but almost none of them are Kiwis - they are almost all expats. We've found Kiwis to be somewhat standoffish, although with some very noticable exceptions.

Canberra, on the other hand, seems like the perfect city. Where in the US can you get a town of 350,000 with three universities, the capital, embassies, culture, and museums? I understand there is little traffic. The homes seem to be much higher quality - when we look online, all the homes for rent have central heat. My Australian friends have expressed shock that NZ homes don't have fly screens on the windows, so I am assuming screens are normal in Australia. This is especially important when you consider one of the big downsides of Australia/Canberra: lots of crawly things that can kill or hurt you. I love being able to sit in the grass in Auckland and not worry about fire ants, but apparently they are a problem in Canberra. Cost of living may be a lot higher (although my pay would be about 25% more for the same job). I understand high quality day care is in great demand in Canberra, and that is an absolute must for us. Another positive in Canberra is that the population is supposedly more educated. We currently have problems with drunken loud neighbors in Auckland - the police come out here quite a bit. Of course in part that's our neighborhood, but finding a home to rent with insulation and heat pump is almost impossible, so we couldn't be that picky with neighborhoods.

What am I missing? Any ideas, thoughts, advice would be greatly appreciated!

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