A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Arrowtown vs. Aoraki Mount Cook for Hiking, Couples, Food, and Families

Should you visit Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook can help you decide which place is right for you.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a quirky, historic, and charming town. With amazing attractions and sights, it's also a fun small town not to be missed. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the museums, skiing, and nightlife.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is a world renowned, scenic, and dramatic mountain. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include hiking.

Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Small town charm
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Arrowtown than Aoraki Mount Cook, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Arrowtown is better known for its skiing, museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Aoraki Mount Cook is more popular for its impressive beauty. Arrowtown is well known for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. Also, Arrowtown is famous for the Chinese Settlement. Aoraki Mount Cook is well known for its glaciers, alpine setting, and being the highest mountain in New Zealand.

How is Arrowtown different from Aoraki Mount Cook?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Aoraki Mount Cook and Arrowtown. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Skiing?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for skiing. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a skiing destination.

Arrowtown draws a large crowd in the winter for its impressive snow skiing opportunities. In the area you'll find amazing skiing that ranges from professional level to family-friendly.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Arrowtown. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Arrowtown has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. For such a small town, there's a surprising number of great restaurants with award winning chefs. You'll find quaint cafes, traditional eateries, and casual restaurants where you can sample the local dishes.

Aoraki Mount Cook offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are a few cafes and restaurants in the village, but if you're doing any hiking you should pack your own food.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Nightlife?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Arrowtown has a few options to choose from. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for its Old Town?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for its historic old town charm. However, Aoraki Mount Cook does not have a historic old town.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Arrowtown. This is a quirky and charming historic mining town that has many cottages and historic buildings. Many places have been restored to maintain their original character.

Aoraki Mount Cook does not have a historic old town.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Hiking?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

You'll find first-rate hiking in both Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook.

Many people visit Arrowtown specifically for its hiking. Many people use this town as a jumping off point for some of the world's most iconic hikes. You can explore Lord of the Rings country or do one of fifteen different listed walks in the area.

Known for its hiking, Aoraki Mount Cook draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. There are beginner trails as well as world class routes that bring out expert climbers. As the highest peak in New Zealand, many people come here for the challenge, but if you're looking for a most simple experience, the hiking opportunities are still abundant.

Is the Shopping Better in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for its shopping areas. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Arrowtown. Shopping is an experience in town. Head to Buckingham Street, which is the main street in town. You can wander through a wild west setting with local vendors and quirky galleries.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Families?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Aoraki Mount Cook is not as popular, but is still a nice mountain for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Arrowtown. Kids will enjoy the old world charm as much as adults. There's gold panning, bike trails, and even a historic Chinese village. During the winter there are snow sports and during the summer there are outdoor activities that take advantage of the nice weather.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a family-friendly place to visit. There are plenty of short walks that are perfect for little legs. Kids will also enjoy the boat rides on the lakes and the area's superb stargazing.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Couples?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is terrific for romance. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Aoraki Mount Cook has plenty to offer. Couples will enjoy the stunning glaciers, beautiful walks, and iconic views. Many couples take helicopter rides to fully experience the area. Stargazing and hiking is also high on the list of must-do romantic activities.

Couples visit Arrowtown frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The charming atmosphere and beautiful walks make this a great weekend destination for couples. You can take a stroll on the Arrow River Walkway or grab a meal at a quaint cafe followed by ice cream at a classic ice cream parlor.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Aoraki Mount Cook is not as popular, but is still a nice mountain for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Arrowtown. There are a couple of hostels in town and backpackers love the frequent festivals and activities that the town hosts.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Aoraki Mount Cook. While many activities in the area are expensive, the hiking is world class and there are a few hostels and camping opportunities nearby.


Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is a good destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its public transit.

While Arrowtown offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are public buses throughout the region.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Aoraki Mount Cook. Having a car is essential unless you take a private tour that provides transportation.

Is Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook a more walkable city?

Arrowtown
Aoraki Mount Cook

Arrowtown is a good destination for its ease of walking around. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its walkability.

Arrowtown is a somewhat walkable town. Parts of the town are fun to explore on foot.

Aoraki Mount Cook is generally not very walkable. While there are many trails through the region, you really must have a car to access the trail heads and efficiently get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Arrowtown Worth Visiting? and Is Aoraki Mount Cook Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Aoraki Mount Cook or Arrowtown?

How long in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

It's fun to spend time in either Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Aoraki Mount Cook due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Arrowtown, and 2-4 days is enough time in Aoraki Mount Cook.

Families should spend more time in Arrowtown than Aoraki Mount Cook. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Arrowtown, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Arrowtown than Aoraki Mount Cook. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Arrowtown that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arrowtown than Aoraki Mount Cook if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Arrowtown.


  • How many days in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook? Ideal Length of Stay
    Arrowtown 1-2 
    Aoraki Mount Cook 2-4

One day in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Even though Arrowtown is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. One day is often enough time to do most activities. It offers something for everyone.

You'll find around the mountain of Aoraki Mount Cook. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Arrowtown is a small town where visitors enjoy the museums and skiing. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here.

You'll find around the world renowned destination of Aoraki Mount Cook. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this mountain has to offer. This mountain offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Arrowtown is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the breathtaking mountain of Aoraki Mount Cook. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Arrowtown is a popular choice for travelers. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to New Zealand, The Best G Adventures Tours to New Zealand, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Auckland, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Arrowtown?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Arrowtown is $119, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $109. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arrowtown $69
    Aoraki Mount Cook $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arrowtown $138
    Aoraki Mount Cook $124
Compare Hotels in Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Arrowtown


Hotels in Aoraki Mount Cook


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Arrowtown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arrowtown $28
    Aoraki Mount Cook $28

Is it cheaper to fly into Arrowtown or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Arrowtown change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Arrowtown $31
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arrowtown $15
    Aoraki Mount Cook $24

Tours and Activities in Arrowtown

For Arrowtown, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Queenstown: Arrowtown Mountain Biking Adventure: $58

Tours and Activities in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Aoraki Mount Cook.

  • (MT) Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch: $214
  • Day Tours from Mount Cook: $157
  • Fox Glacier Nature Tour: $56
  • From Christchurch: Mount Cook One-Way Discovery Tour: $122
  • From Queenstown: Mount Cook Private Day Tour: $1,224
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $232
  • Lake Matheson Nature Tour: $56
  • Mount Cook to Queenstown Day Tour: $153
  • Mt Cook & Hooker Valley Hike Small Group Tour from Queenstown: $157
  • Mt Cook Small Group Tour from Queenstown with Optional Activities : $157
  • Mt Cook Tour: Finish at Christchurch, Queenstown or Dunedin: $795
  • Mt Cook Tour: Finish at Queenstown, Christchurch or Dunedin: $795

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arrowtown $14
    Aoraki Mount Cook $21

Sample the Local Flavors in Arrowtown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arrowtown:

  • From Scenic Valley of the Vines Bike & Wine Tour: $92

Sample the Local Flavors in Aoraki Mount Cook

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Aoraki Mount Cook:

  • Kinross Winery: Classic Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $16
  • Kinross Winery: Valli Wine Tasting Experience: $28
  • Kinross Winery: Premium Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $47


When comparing the travel costs between Arrowtown and Aoraki Mount Cook, we can see that Arrowtown is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Pacific, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Arrowtown Expensive? and Is Aoraki Mount Cook Expensive?.