Should you visit Auckland or Rotorua?
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 Rotorua can help you decide which place is right for you.
Auckland is located on the North Island of New Zealand on an isthmus between the Northland Peninsula and the other parts of the North Island. Auckland is not only a city but also a region. In 2010 New Zealand combined what had previously been four separate cities into one region. These cities include the southern city of Manukau, the western city of Waitakere, the North Shore in the north, and Auckland City. The City of Auckland is the largest city in Polynesia and is very diverse with many expatriates from elsewhere in Polynesia. This diversity becomes most apparent in Auckland's many festivals and sporting events.
Located on the banks of Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is famous as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. The area has a variety of geothermal sights, but it is also close to several lakes and has more traditional activities as well, including fishing, boating and white water rafting.
Rotorua is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which is the largest volcano in the area. There are four major volcanic calderas that now have lakes, and several other volcanoes in the area. Rotorua sits on top of a thermal hot spring, and there are many vents and hot pools throughout the area. Many of the hot pools and sights are located within parks, with some of the best being Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Rotorua has a warm, temperate climate. Because of the area's inland location, it has less wind than many places in New Zealand. Temperatures during the winter months can fall to below freezing, but snow is incredibly rare.
Which city is cheaper, Rotorua or Auckland?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Auckland is $135, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $90. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Auckland and Rotorua in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $174 in Auckland For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Travelers usually pay around $94 for a double occupancy room in Rotorua If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Auckland food costs typically run travelers around $24 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $26 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $10.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Auckland
For Auckland, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua
For Rotorua, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance:
Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Auckland than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $15 on transportation in Auckland on average per day.
Rotorua's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $4.89 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Auckland
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Auckland:
Bus from Airport
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Auckland
Also for Auckland, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private transfer: Auckland Airport (AKL) to Auckland:
Private Transfer North Shore or Henderson to Auckland Airport AKL by Luxury Van:
Private Transfer North Shore or Henderson to Auckland Airport AKL by Luxury Car:
Private Transfer From Auckland International Airport To Auckland City:
Private Transfer From Auckland Domestic Airport To Auckland City:
Private Transfer From Auckland City To Auckland Airport:
Private Inter City Transfer From Auckland To Hamilton:
Private Auckland Airport to City Transfer for up to 5 passengers:
Private Airport Transfer: from Auckland to Auckland Airport (AKL):
Private Airport Transfer: Auckland Airport (AKL) to Auckland:
Intercity (Tauranga, Whangarei, Hamilton etc) /Auckland Airport Transfers:
Great Barrier transfer - fly directly from Waiheke Island:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua
Also for Rotorua, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms:
Departure Transfer: Rotorua City Centre Hotels to Rotorua Airport:
Sightseeing expenses in Auckland, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $27 per day, per person.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $34 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Typical Entertainment prices in Auckland
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Auckland's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Auckland
For Auckland, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
10-Day 'Vibe of the North' Epic Summer Tour for 18-30s!:
13,000 Feet Tandem Skydive & Gannet Experience:
14 Day - North to South Island Tour (All inclusive):
16,000 Feet Tandem Skydive & Gannet Experience:
17 day - North to South Island Tour (All inclusive):
2 Day Rotorua Experience: Waitomo Caves, Maori Culture & Ziplining from Auckland:
2 Day Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton Movie Set and Rotorua Tour from Auckland:
2-Day Tour of Waitomo, Rotorua & Taupo from Auckland:
20,000 Feet Tandem Skydive & Gannet Experience:
23-Day Epic New Zealand Tour:
3 Day Bay Of Islands Tour from Auckland including Waitangi and Cape Reinga:
3 Day Bay of Islands Winterless North Tour:
Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Rotorua's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Rotorua
For Rotorua, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Auckland to Rotorua Private Tour:
Auckland: Full Day Rotorua Private Tour:
Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour:
Combo Day Tour Wai-O-Tapu, Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Lake, Polynesian:
From Eco Cultural & Wildlife Full-Day Tour:
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Small-Group Day Tour From Rotorua:
Kahukiwi Experiences Luxury 4WD 3hour Guided Maori Tour:
Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour Whitewater Rafting Experience:
Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure:
Katoa Jet Boat & guided tour of the sacred Mokoia Island:
Katoa Jet Boat tour on Lake Rotorua:
Lake Rotorua Paddle Boat Cruise:
Typically, people visiting Auckland spend on average $7.63 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Sample the Local Flavors in Auckland
Also in Auckland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Tour and Tastings in an Urban Craft Beer Brewery:
Wild West Coast & Black Sand Beach Tour incl Craft Beer Brewery Lunch & Tasting:
Premium Full Day Waiheke Wine Tour:
Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience on Waiheke Island:
Waiheke Island Premium Food & Wine Tour with Platter Lunch:
Waiheke Island: Private Wine Tour with Tastings:
The Essence of Waiheke Wine Tour:
Waiheke Island: Afternoon Small Group Wine Tour with Lunch:
Full-Day Waiheke Island Food and Wine Tour:
Matakana: Full-Day Food and Wine Tour:
The Afternoon Artisan Food and Wine Tour:
Auckland Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing, Harbour Cruise and Waiheke Island Wine Tasting:
Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Auckland and Rotorua, we can see that Auckland is more expensive. And not only is Rotorua much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Rotorua would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Rotorua 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 Rotorua.
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