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

Should you visit Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

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

Should I visit Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Christchurch

Christchurch is a adventure-filled, cultural, and outdoorsy city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is a scenic, dramatic, and breathtaking mountain. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the hiking.

Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less family-friendly
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


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

Tourists will generally find more to do in Christchurch. Although Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook are both popular with visitors, Christchurch has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Christchurch is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Aoraki Mount Cook is known for its hiking and impressive beauty. Aoraki Mount Cook is more touristy than Christchurch and is popular for its glaciers, alpine setting, and being the highest mountain in New Zealand. Christchurch is popular for its outdoor beauty and relaxing, scenic atmosphere. It is also home to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

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

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

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Christchurch 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 Christchurch. The city is filled with street art and local galleries. There's also Canterbury Museum, the International Antarctic Centre, the Arts Centre, and the Riccarton House & Bush.

Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Christchurch has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. There's a mix of cozy cafes and casual eateries around town. You'll also find some fine dining restaurants as well as international flavors.

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 Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Nightlife?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many people head to Christchurch for the nightlife scene. The city has its share of dance clubs, live music venues, and laid back bars. You'll find a number of popular hangout spots around Oxford Terrace or on the historic New Regent Street.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Beaches?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many people visit Christchurch for it's beautiful beaches. There are sandy beaches in the area with water sports and various amenities. The summer months are the most popular time for hanging out at the beach, and you'll find local families playing in the sun or enjoying a picnic.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a beach destination.


Is Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Hiking?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is terrific for its hiking experiences. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

People visit Aoraki Mount Cook specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. 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.

Many visitors go to Christchurch for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful hikes in the area that take you along the coastline or past local historic sights. The landscape is diverse and you'll find many amazing parks in the area. Hooker Valley Track is one of the best hiking routes nearby.

Is the Shopping Better in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Christchurch. There's a mix of boutique shops, outlet malls, and open air markets. Some of the best shopping places include the Tannery and the Colombo.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Families?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Christchurch is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Aoraki Mount Cook is not as popular, but is still a nice mountain for its family-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Christchurch is very family-friendly. The International Antarctic Centre is a thrilling and fun experience. There's also the Orana Wildlife Park or Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. For adrenaline junkies there are the ropes courses at the Adrenalin Forest. There are also many indoor playgrounds and rock climbing facilities.

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 Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Couples?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is terrific for its romantic activities. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Aoraki Mount Cook makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

Christchurch is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Punting on the Avon River is one of the most romantic activities in the city. There are also botanical gardens, parks, and natural areas that are fun to explore. Nearby, you can do a wine tour, or there are cocktail bars and charming restaurants in town. The city also has a nice theater and many other date night activities.

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

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Christchurch 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 Christchurch. There's no shortage of hostels around town, and many backpackers pass through Christchurch on their epic New Zealand adventure.

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 Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Students?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Many students visit Christchurch. It's the largest city on the South Island and there are plenty of activities and nearby trips that you can enjoy.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not popular with students.


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

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

Christchurch 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 Christchurch offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. While it's not a diverse transit system, the buses are well connected and offer the cheapest way to get around town.

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 Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook a more walkable city?

Christchurch
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Christchurch is a very walkable destination. The city center is relatively flat and easy 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.

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

How long in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

It's fun to spend time in either Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook. In our opinion, Christchurch has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Christchurch than Aoraki Mount Cook. However, 2-4 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

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


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

One day in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

With shopping and museums around the destination of Christchurch, there's plenty to do. 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.

In Aoraki Mount Cook, many people enjoy the that this world renowned mountain offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.


A weekend in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

With museums and nightlife around the cultural city of Christchurch, there's plenty to do. 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.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a fun place to experience. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the hiking. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the adventure-filled destination of Christchurch. 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.

You'll find around the scenic destination of Aoraki Mount Cook. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the hiking. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

A week in Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Christchurch 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 popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Christchurch?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Christchurch is $96, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $106. 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 Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Christchurch $50
    Aoraki Mount Cook $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Christchurch $100
    Aoraki Mount Cook $120
Compare Hotels in Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Christchurch 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 Christchurch


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: Christchurch Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Christchurch $15
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Christchurch to Franz Josef or Fox Glacier One-Way Transfer: $5,026
  • Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Christchurch to Queenstown: $5,026
  • Christchurch to Methven Private Transfer(Or Methven to Christchurch): $628
  • Private Departure Transfer: Central Christchurch to Christchurch Airport: $314
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $314
  • Christchurch Airport to Akaroa transfer up to 4 people: $258
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC): Transfer to Christchurch hotels: $132
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Car: $107
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Car: $107
  • Departure Private Transfers from Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $91
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $91
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $91

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 Christchurch or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Christchurch 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
    Christchurch $31
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Christchurch $18
    Aoraki Mount Cook $23

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

Here are a few actual costs in Christchurch for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $25
  • 10 Day Adrenalin Tour. Skydiving, Bungy, Rafting, Climbing, Heli MTB & more.: $3,578
  • 10 Southern Pioneer Haka Plus Tour: $2,764
  • 14 Day South Island Grand Adventure Tour (Small Group & Carbon Neutral): $1,884
  • 2 Day Kaikoura Whale and Dolphin Tour from Christchurch: $534
  • 2-Day Christchurch to Queenstown Tour via West Coast: $1,554
  • 3 Day Kaikoura Sealife and Coach Tour from Christchurch: $883
  • 4-Day Great Southern Island Circle Tour from Christchurch: $1,169
  • 4-Day South Island Southern Discovery Tour from Christchurch: $915
  • 5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch: $1,253
  • 7 Day South Island Lick Tour: $1,256
  • 8-Day Snow Safari Tour: $1,884

Tours and Activities in Aoraki Mount Cook

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

  • Half-Day Self-Guided Ride and Wine Bike Tour from Arrowtown: $62
  • Half-Day Guided Sea Kayaking Tour from Anakiwa: $68
  • Mt. Cook to Queenstown Small Group Tour (1-way) : $110
  • From Christchurch: Mount Cook One-Way Discovery Tour: $124
  • Mt Cook to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo Small Group Tour 1 way: $125
  • Mt Cook Small Group Tour from Queenstown with Optional Activities : $157
  • Mt Cook & Hooker Valley Hike Small Group Tour from Queenstown: $157
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $232
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Ski Plane Tour from Mount Cook: $243
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Helicopter Tour from Mount Cook: $243
  • 45-Minute Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour: $301
  • Hokitika Fly SIX Glaciers Heli Tour: $314

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Christchurch $11
    Aoraki Mount Cook $21

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

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

  • From Full-Day Wine Tour with Lunch: $105
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $107
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $110
  • From Guided Local Wine Tours in Waipara: $124
  • Akaroa Eco-Safari with Alpaca Farm Tour and Wine Tasting: $127
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - City Highlights & Waipara Wine Tour : $132
  • Full-day Akaroa Tour with Penguins Safari and Wine Tasting: $137
  • Private Waipara Valley Wine Tasting Tour with optional Gourmet Lunch: $408
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $556
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $562

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:

  • Classic Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $16
  • Pinot Noir Wine Tasting Experience: $28
  • Valli Wine Tasting Experience: $28
  • Wild Irishman Wine Tasting Experience: $47
  • Premium Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $47


When comparing the travel costs between Christchurch and Aoraki Mount Cook, we can see that Aoraki Mount Cook 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.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Christchurch vs. Aoraki Mount Cook Travel Comparison

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