A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Christchurch vs. Picton for Families, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Christchurch or Picton?

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

Should I visit Christchurch or Picton? 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. Other popular activities here include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Picton

Picton is a relaxing, picturesque, and scenic town. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Christchurch and Picton: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
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 Christchurch or Picton?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Christchurch. Although Christchurch and Picton are both popular with visitors, Christchurch has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Christchurch is more popular for its museums, nightlife, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Picton is known for its small town charm. Picton is more touristy than Christchurch and is known for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails. 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 Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Picton 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 Picton?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

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.

Picton is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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 Christchurch or Picton? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Christchurch
Picton

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

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Christchurch. 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.

Picton has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. 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 Christchurch or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch is a well-known place for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

Christchurch offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.

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 Christchurch or Picton Better for Beaches?

Christchurch
Picton

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Christchurch and Picton are superb choices.

Christchurch is considered a top beach destination. 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.

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.


Is Christchurch or Picton Better for Hiking?

Christchurch
Picton

If you're looking to go hiking, Christchurch and Picton both have superb trails.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Christchurch. 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.

Many visitors go to Picton for the hiking trails. 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 Christchurch or Picton?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch 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 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.

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

Is Christchurch or Picton Better for Families?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-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.

Picton is a very family-friendly destination. 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 Christchurch or Picton Better for Couples?

Christchurch
Picton

With fun activities for couples, both Christchurch and Picton make for a superb place to visit.

Couples visit Christchurch frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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.

Picton is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. 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 Christchurch or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch and Picton are superb places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Christchurch is a great city to visit for backpackers. There's no shortage of hostels around town, and many backpackers pass through Christchurch on their epic New Zealand adventure.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Picton. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

Is Christchurch or Picton Better for Students?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch is a well-known place for students. However, Picton 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.

Picton is not popular with students.


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

Christchurch
Picton

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Christchurch and Picton.

You'll find some public transit in Christchurch, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. While it's not a diverse transit system, the buses are well connected and offer the cheapest way to get around town.

While Picton offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Is Christchurch or Picton a more walkable city?

Christchurch
Picton

Christchurch and Picton both are superb when exploring on foot.

Christchurch is a very walkable city. The city center is relatively flat and easy to explore on foot.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Picton or Christchurch?

How long in Christchurch or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Christchurch or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Christchurch than Picton because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Christchurch, and 1-2 days is enough time in Picton.

Families should spend more time in Christchurch than Picton. 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 Picton. 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 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 Christchurch.


  • How many days in Christchurch or Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Christchurch 2-4 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Christchurch or Picton?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Christchurch. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Picton, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this scenic town offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this town.


A weekend in Christchurch or Picton?

Christchurch is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Picton is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Christchurch or Picton?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Christchurch. 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.

You'll find food and shopping around the quaint destination of Picton. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. 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 Picton?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the outdoorsy destination of Christchurch. This city 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 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.


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


Which place is cheaper, Picton or Christchurch?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Christchurch is $99, while the average daily cost in Picton 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Christchurch and Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Christchurch $51
    Picton $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Christchurch $102
    Picton $76
Compare Hotels in Christchurch and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Christchurch 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 Christchurch


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: Christchurch Hotel Prices and Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Christchurch $15
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Private Transfer from Lyttelton Port to Christchurch Airport CHC: $30
  • Christchurch to Christchurch Airport(CHC)- Departure Transfer: $32
  • Christchurch Airport: 1-Way Private Transfer to Christchurch: $60
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $91
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $91
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Car: $107
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC): Transfer to Christchurch hotels: $130

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Blenheim city hotels to Picton Cruise Port: $38
  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Christchurch or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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 $32
    Picton $20

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Christchurch $18
    Picton $113

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Christchurch: $13
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tour by Vintage Tram: $22
  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $27
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Centre Entry Tickets: $36
  • International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket: $37
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $43
  • Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo: $47
  • Gondola Ticket and Punt Ride on the Avon River: $49
  • Discover Christchurch Sightseeing Tour with optional International Antarctic Center Admission: $54
  • Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo Ticket: $64
  • Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch: $79
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion: Christchurch Sightseeing with Antarctic Center: $114

Tours and Activities in Picton

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

  • Picton Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Picton Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Skip the Line: Dangerous Skies WWII Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre: $16
  • Hinterland Cycling Tour, Havelock: $25
  • Skip the Line:WWI & WWII Combo Exhibitions at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre: $31
  • Winery Express Tour: $41
  • Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise: $43
  • Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton: $53
  • Kayaking Mangrove Adventure at Havelock: $56
  • Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton: $59
  • Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton: $60
  • Half-Day Cruise in Marlborough Sounds from Picton: $61

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Christchurch $12
    Picton $36

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: $104
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $114
  • From Guided Local Wine Tours in Waipara: $123
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - City Highlights & Waipara Wine Tour : $139
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $550

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 : $44
  • 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 Blenheim: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $92
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $98
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $104
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $113
  • Full-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $116


When comparing the travel costs between Christchurch and Picton, we can see that Christchurch 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 Christchurch Expensive? and Is Picton Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Christchurch or Picton?

Christchurch has a larger population, and is about 120 times larger than the population of Picton. When comparing the sizes of Christchurch 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.


When is the best time to visit Christchurch or Picton?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Christchurch or Picton in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Christchurch and Picton. Most visitors come to Christchurch for the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Picton because of the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Christchurch is around the same temperature as Picton. Typically, the summer temperatures in Christchurch in January average around 18°C (64°F), and Picton averages at about 18°C (64°F).

In January, Christchurch usually receives less rain than Picton. Christchurch gets 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Picton receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Christchurch 18°C (64°F) 
    Picton 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Picton in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Christchurch as well as Picton. The autumn months attract visitors to Christchurch because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere are the main draw to Picton this time of year.

In April, Christchurch is generally cooler than Picton. Daily temperatures in Christchurch average around 12°C (54°F), and Picton fluctuates around 15°C (58°F).

Christchurch usually gets less rain in April than Picton. Christchurch gets 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Picton receives 82 mm (3.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F) 
    Picton 15°C (58°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Picton in the Winter?

Both Picton and Christchurch are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Christchurch this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Picton for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Christchurch is much colder than Picton in the winter. The daily temperature in Christchurch averages around 6°C (43°F) in July, and Picton fluctuates around 10°C (49°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Picton. In July, Christchurch usually receives less rain than Picton. Christchurch gets 68 mm (2.7 in) of rain, while Picton receives 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Christchurch 6°C (43°F) 
    Picton 10°C (49°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Picton in the Spring?

Both Picton and Christchurch during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Christchurch for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Picton in the spring for the beaches and the small town charm.

In the spring, Christchurch is around the same temperature as Picton. Typically, the spring temperatures in Christchurch in October average around 12°C (54°F), and Picton averages at about 13°C (55°F).

Christchurch usually gets less rain in October than Picton. Christchurch gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Picton receives 93 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F) 
    Picton 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Picton and Christchurch

Christchurch Picton
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 18°C (64°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Feb 17°C (63°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 18°C (64°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Mar 16°C (60°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 17°C (62°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Apr 12°C (54°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 15°C (58°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
May 9°C (49°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 12°C (54°F) 92 mm (3.6 in)
Jun 6°C (44°F) 51 mm (2 in) 10°C (51°F) 113 mm (4.4 in)
Jul 6°C (43°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 10°C (49°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Aug 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 10°C (50°F) 98 mm (3.9 in)
Sep 10°C (49°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 93 mm (3.7 in)
Nov 14°C (58°F) 50 mm (2 in) 15°C (58°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 16°C (61°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 17°C (62°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)