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

Should you visit Arrowtown or Picton?

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 Picton can help you decide which place is right for you.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a historic, charming, and quaint town. Because it offers so much small town charm with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Picton

Picton is a quaint, relaxing, and picturesque town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and food.

Arrowtown and Picton: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Arrowtown or Picton?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Arrowtown than Picton, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Arrowtown is better known for its skiing, nightlife, historical sights, hiking, shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Picton is more popular for its beaches. Arrowtown is well known for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. Also, Arrowtown is famous for the Chinese Settlement. Picton is well known for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails.

How is Arrowtown different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Skiing?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown is a well-known place for snow skiing. However, Picton is not a skiing destination.

Arrowtown is a well-known ski destination which attracts visitors from far and wide. In the area you'll find amazing skiing that ranges from professional level to family-friendly.

Picton is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Arrowtown or Picton?

Arrowtown
Picton

Spend time exploring the notable sights and museums in either Arrowtown or Picton.

Arrowtown is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

Picton offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a few local museums around town that are fun to visit with the weather isn't cooperating. Edwin Fox Ship is the world's oldest merchant ship. You can also learn about the town's whaling past at the Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum.

Is the Food Better in Arrowtown or Picton? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Arrowtown
Picton

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Arrowtown and Picton.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Arrowtown. 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.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Picton. The town is filled with restaurants that stay true to New Zealand's culinary traditions. Mussels and salmon are common on menus, and there are many bakeries and waterfront cafes to try.

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Arrowtown. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Picton. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.


Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Beaches?

Arrowtown
Picton

Picton is an excellent place to visit for its beaches. However, Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Picton is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are four beaches in the area. Picton Beach is by the town center and near many restaurants and cafes. About a ten minute walk from town is Shelley Beach and if you're up for more walking, Bob's Bay is secluded and nice. If you have a car you can make it to Governer's Bay.

Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for its Old Town?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown is a well-known place for its historic old town charm. However, Picton 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.

Picton does not have a historic old town.

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Hiking?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown is very popular for the nearby hiking options. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its hiking trails.

Arrowtown is well-known for its hiking and trekking. 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.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Picton. There are many nice walking paths in the area and this is a great way to explore, reach beaches, and see the surrounding landscapes. If you're up for a longer trip, Queen Charlotte Track is a popular trail.


Is the Shopping Better in Arrowtown or Picton?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown is a well-known place for its shopping areas. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Picton. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Families?

Arrowtown
Picton

You'll find high quality kid-friendly activities in either Arrowtown or Picton.

Arrowtown is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Picton is a very kid-friendly town. Kids will enjoy taking a boat cruise to Motuara Island. You can see dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. There are also wildlife centers in the area, family-friendly walking trails, museums, aquariums, and kayaking opportunities.

Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Couples?

Arrowtown
Picton

Both Arrowtown and Picton are high quality destinations to visit as a couple.

Arrowtown makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Couples visit Picton frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. There are romantic and quaint bed and breakfasts, beautiful walking paths, wildlife encounters, and many more fun activities for couples. Kayak trips, vineyard tours, and local spas make this a great couple's getaway destination.


Is Arrowtown or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arrowtown
Picton

Arrowtown and Picton are both high quality destinations for backpackers.

Arrowtown is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a couple of hostels in town and backpackers love the frequent festivals and activities that the town hosts.

Picton is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

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

Arrowtown
Picton

Visitors will find notable public transit in both Arrowtown and Picton.

Arrowtown has some public transit options. There are public buses throughout the region.

You'll find some public transit in Picton, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Is Arrowtown or Picton a more walkable city?

Arrowtown
Picton

Picton is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Picton is very walkable. It's a quaint and compact town that's easy to explore on foot.

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


For even more information, also check out Is Arrowtown Worth Visiting? and Is Picton Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Picton or Arrowtown?

How long in Arrowtown or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Arrowtown or Picton to fill your time. In our opinion, Arrowtown has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Arrowtown than Picton. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Couples should spend more time in Arrowtown than Picton. 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 Picton 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 Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Arrowtown 1-2 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Arrowtown or Picton?

Arrowtown might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

You'll find shopping and museums around the town of Picton. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Picton has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Arrowtown or Picton?

Arrowtown is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find museums and food around the picturesque destination of Picton. 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 town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Arrowtown or Picton?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Arrowtown. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the relaxing town of Picton. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


A week in Arrowtown or Picton?

Arrowtown is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Picton is a popular choice for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. 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 Luxury Tours to New Zealand, The Best Budget Tours to New Zealand, The Best Tours for Seniors to New Zealand, and The Best G Adventures Tours to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Picton or Arrowtown?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Arrowtown is $116, while the average daily cost in Picton is $88. 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 Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arrowtown $68
    Picton $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arrowtown $136
    Picton $74
Compare Hotels in Arrowtown and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Arrowtown or Picton? 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 Picton


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 and Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arrowtown $27
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim city hotels to Picton Cruise Port: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Arrowtown or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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 $30
    Picton $20

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arrowtown $15
    Picton $111

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 Picton

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Picton are as follows:

  • 1-Day Cruise in Queen Charlotte Track & Kupes Trail Walk: $122
  • 2 hour Dolphin Viewing Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • 3.5 Hour Marlborough Sounds Delivery Cruise: $69
  • Bays and Bush Scenic Tour: $99
  • Bird Watching and Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Hop on Hop off Yealands & Marlborough tour: $125
  • Captain Cook and Dolphin Cruise: $93
  • Cruise Excursion - Wines of Marlborough Tour: $106
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62
  • Cruise and Lunch at Furneaux Lodge: $84
  • Day Cruise & Lunch at Punga Cove Resort: $84
  • Early Bird Eco Cruise: $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arrowtown $13
    Picton $35

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 Picton

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Picton:

  • Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour (full day) in the Marlborough Region.: $38
  • Self-Guided Wine Tours by Bike with Steve & Jo in Marlborough : $41
  • Marlborough: Hop On Hop Off Wine, Brewery, and Wonders Tour: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Marlborough: $56
  • Marlborough Afternoon Wine Tour with Tastings: $72
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $91
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $94
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $103
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $113
  • Full-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $116


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Arrowtown and Picton, we can see that Arrowtown is more expensive. And not only is Picton much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Picton would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Picton and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Arrowtown would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arrowtown than you might in Picton.

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


Which is Bigger, Arrowtown or Picton?

Picton has a larger population, and is about 39% larger than the population of Arrowtown. When comparing the sizes of Arrowtown and Picton, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.