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

Should you visit Auckland 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 Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook can help you decide which place is right for you.

Auckland

Auckland is a cosmopolitan , adventurous, and adrenaline-filled city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

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. Visitors also love the hiking.

Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
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 Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Auckland. Although Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook are both popular with visitors, Auckland has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Auckland is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, shopping, and big city activities, while Aoraki Mount Cook is known for its hiking and impressive beauty. Auckland is popular for its waterfront setting, diverse beaches, and active and adrenaline-filled environment. It is also home to the Sky Tower. Aoraki Mount Cook is popular for its glaciers, alpine setting, and being the highest mountain in New Zealand.

How is Auckland 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 Auckland. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

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

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland is great for its historical sights. However, Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Auckland. The waterfront is filled with sights for tourists, and many of the city's attractions are geared towards thrill seekers. The Sky Tower is a popular landmark with its Sky Walk and Sky Jump. There are also many thrilling experiences that you can have along the Harbour Bridge. For museums, head to the New Zealand Maritime Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery, or the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Auckland has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The city has a diverse selection of restaurants, but you'll also find many places that highlight local ingredients such as seafood and lamb. You'll often find the standard dishes such as fish and chips, oysters, and green-lipped mussels on the menus.

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 Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Nightlife?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many people head to Auckland for the nightlife scene. The city has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and there are many bars and clubs that you can explore in the evening. Some of the best nightlife options are found in the vibrant Britomart precinct and around the trendy Ponsonby Road. Other popular areas include Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Beaches?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland is great for the beach. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a beach destination.

Many people visit Auckland for it's beautiful beaches. You don't have to head too far from the city to find some impressive beaches that are diverse and beautiful. There are beaches that are secluded and private as well as more lively beaches with all of the amenities and activities that you might want.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a beach destination.


Is Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Hiking?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is a must-visit destination for its hiking trails. Also, Auckland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many people visit Aoraki Mount Cook specifically for its hiking. 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.

Auckland has hiking trails worth exploring. Locals love to get outdoors, and you'll find many local hikes in the area. There are easy paths that are family-friendly and perfect for a stroll, as well as longer stretches that present more of a challenge.

Is the Shopping Better in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Auckland. The city centre is cosmopolitan and full of diverse shopping venues that sell international brands as well as local designers. Some of the most popular shopping areas are Britomart, High Street, and Queen Street.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Families?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland 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 Auckland. There's a big focus on getting kids outside in the city, so you'll find many outdoor parks and play spaces. Popular activities for families include visiting the Huia Lodge Discovery Centre, going to the Museum of Transport and Technology, and wandering through the botanical garden.

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 Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Couples?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is a must-visit destination for its romantic activities. Also, Auckland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

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 Auckland frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. There are many romantic restaurants in the city, as well as spas, cocktail bars, and evening venues. Couples will also enjoy one of the many thrill-seeking activities that New Zealand is famous for.

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

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland 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 Auckland. Auckland is high on many backpackers' wish list, and usually they pass through the city at some point during their trip. You'll find a number of hostels in the city that are perfect for socializing and saving money.

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 Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Students?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not popular with students.

Many students visit Auckland. Some of the country's best universities are found in the city, many of which are popular with international students.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not popular with students.


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

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland 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 Auckland offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a mishmash of different public transit options, and trips often include a variety of modes of transport. In the city you'll find ferries, trains, and buses to help you get around.

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 Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook a more walkable city?

Auckland
Aoraki Mount Cook

Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook are decent when it comes to walkability.

Auckland is generally not a very walkable city. It is a very car-centric city and it can be challenging to explore on foot alone.

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 Auckland Worth Visiting? and Is Aoraki Mount Cook Worth Visiting?.

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

How long in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

It's fun to spend time in either Auckland 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, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Auckland, and 2-4 days is enough time in Aoraki Mount Cook.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Auckland 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 Auckland.


  • How many days in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook? Ideal Length of Stay
    Auckland 2-3 
    Aoraki Mount Cook 2-4

One day in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

When visiting Auckland, people usually allow for lots of time. It's also a great beach destination, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It offers something for everyone.

The beautiful mountain of Aoraki Mount Cook offers . Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

When visiting Auckland, people usually allow for lots of time. Your budget might influence how long you stay. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this mountain makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Aoraki Mount Cook, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the adrenaline-filled big city of Auckland. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Auckland or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Auckland is a popular choice for travelers. Most people come for the beaches. This city 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 great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This mountain offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to New Zealand, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in New Zealand, The Best 10-Day Tours in New Zealand, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Auckland?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Auckland is $144, 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 Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Auckland $91
    Aoraki Mount Cook $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Auckland $182
    Aoraki Mount Cook $124
Compare Hotels in Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Auckland 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 Auckland


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: Auckland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Auckland $16
    Aoraki Mount Cook $28
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Auckland

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Auckland:


  • Bus from Airport
    $9.85
  • Airport Shuttle
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Auckland

Also for Auckland, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Auckland Airport (AKL): Private Transfer to Downtown hotels: $351
  • Auckland Airport (AKL): Transfer to North Shore hotels: $325
  • Auckland Airport to Whangaparaoa - Gulf Harbour Luxury Transfers: $240
  • Auckland Airport Transfers Sprinter up to 15 pax: $221
  • From One-Way Transfer to Rotorua w/ Hobbiton Tour: $184
  • Private Luxury Airport Transfer to/from Central Auckland: $170
  • Luxury Airport Transfer in First Class Passenger Van: $169
  • Auckland's Point to Point Transfers : $158
  • Private Luxury Transfer To/Fr City in Mercedes Van: $155
  • Private Luxury Transfer Frm Cruise Ship to Airport: $155
  • Auckland Cruise/Wharf & Airport Transfers : $151
  • Private Transfer from Auckland Airport (AKL) to Tauranga Port: $146

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also for Aoraki Mount Cook, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin City Hotels to Chalmers Cruise Port: $44

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

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Auckland 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
    Auckland $28
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27
Typical Food Prices in Auckland

For Auckland, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Breakfast
    $4.92

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Auckland

For Auckland, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Auckland Harbour Sailboat Cruise Including Three Course Dinner: $95
  • Auckland Harbour 3-Course Dinner Cruise with Welcome Drink: $98
  • Flavours of the City Walking Food Tour: $107

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Auckland $28
    Aoraki Mount Cook $24
Typical Entertainment Prices in Auckland

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Auckland's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Auckland Sky Tour (for 2)
    $34
  • Waiheke Island Tour (for 2)
    $124

Tours and Activities in Auckland

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

  • 4 Hour Auckland Premium All inclusive Tour For 4 People: $221
  • Hobbiton Lord Of Rings Movie Set tour Private Driver : $208
  • 11-Day North Island Revive Small Group Tour: $2,026
  • 3-Day - Hobbiton, Rotorua, Waiotapu, Taupo & Waitomo Tour: $1,075
  • 4 Hours Private Tour in Auckland : $252
  • 6 Hours Sightseeing Tour in Auckland: $133
  • Afternoon Piha Beach and Rainforest Tour from Auckland: $117
  • America’s Cup 2-Hour Sailing Experience Waitemata Harbour: $120
  • Auckland City & West Coast Luxury Tour: $212
  • Auckland City Highlights Full Day Tour: $189
  • Auckland City Highlights Half Day Tour: $107
  • Auckland City Small Group Morning Discovery Tour: $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: $184
  • Day Tours from Mount Cook: $157
  • Fox Glacier Nature Tour: $57
  • Franz Josef Nature Tour: $57
  • From Christchurch: Mount Cook One-Way Discovery Tour: $122
  • From Queenstown: Mount Cook Private Day Tour: $1,230
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $233
  • Lake Matheson Nature Tour: $57
  • Mount Cook to Queenstown Day Tour: $154
  • 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: $798

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Auckland

Also in Auckland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Waiheke Island: Scenic Wine Tour Tasting Wines on Waiheke: $95
  • Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour in Auckland with 3-Course Vineyard Lunch: $107
  • Muriwai Scenic Wine Tour from Auckland: $110
  • Waiheke Island: The Essence of Waiheke Wine Tour: $135
  • Waiheke Island: Tour with Wine Tastings and Restaurant Lunch: $154
  • From Waiheke Island Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch: $157
  • Waiheke Island Gourmet Food and Wine Tour with Platter Lunch: $169
  • Kumeu Wine Tour: $174
  • From Small Group Kumeu Wine Tour with Lunch: $175
  • Small-Group Kumeu Wine Country Tour Includes Wine Tastings & Lunch: $180
  • Auckland City Tour & Kumeu Wine Country Includes Wine Tastings & Lunch : $230

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: Wild Irishman Wine Tasting Experience: $47
  • Kinross Winery: Premium Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $47


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Auckland and Aoraki Mount Cook, we can see that Auckland is more expensive. And not only is Aoraki Mount Cook much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Aoraki Mount Cook would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Aoraki Mount Cook 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 Auckland would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Auckland than you might in Aoraki Mount Cook.

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