A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Christchurch vs. Rotorua for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Christchurch or Rotorua?

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, right beside the Canterbury Plains. Most people begin their South Island travels here. The city itself can be fascinating to explore so it is worth allowing yourself several days in town as an introduction to the region.

The River Avon flows through the city center, twisting through the old buildings. Christchurch is referred to in New Zealand as the Garden City and it is easy to see why. It's quite a nice city with trees spread throughout. The economy is centered around international tourism as well as foreign education. There is a high Asian student population here, giving the city a diverse feel.

Christchurch's climate is temperate and the city receives moderate rainfall. In January average high temperatures are around 73 degrees Fahrenheit with averages around 52 degrees Fahrenheit in July. There is a sea breeze during the summer months that keep temperatures pleasant. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night during the winter months. Snow may also fall several times a year.

Rotorua

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 Christchurch?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Christchurch is $91, while the average daily cost in Rotorua 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Christchurch and Rotorua in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $47. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Christchurch the cost is $94 on average.

Travelers usually pay around $92 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.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Christchurch $47
    Rotorua $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Christchurch $94
    Rotorua $92

Food

Food in Christchurch costs travelers about $29 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $25 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Christchurch $29
    Rotorua $25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Christchurch

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Christchurch.

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch: $92
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141
  • Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch: $174

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua

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

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance: $100
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $140
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Christchurch is $14 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

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 $4.80 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Christchurch $14
    Rotorua $4.80

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • VIP Sedan Christchurch Airport Transfer to or from Central Christchurch: $80
  • VIP Range Rover Christchurch Airport Transfer to or from Central Christchurch: $108
  • Transfer from Christchurch Central City to Christchurch Airport: $21
  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

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

  • SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Entry Ticket and Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer: $40
  • Departure Transfer: Rotorua City Centre Hotels to Rotorua Airport: $18
  • Private Luxury Transfers to Coronet Peak: $375
  • Private Luxury Transfers to The Remarkables: $445
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629
  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $148
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14

Is it cheaper to fly into Christchurch or Rotorua?

Prices for flights to both Rotorua 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.





Entertainment

Christchurch's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $33 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Christchurch $17
    Rotorua $33

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • 4WD-U Drive Experience: $232
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Day Tour from Auckland: $140
  • Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Tour from Auckland: $211
  • Kaituna Whitewater Rafting Experience : $84
  • Kaituna Whitewater Sledging Experience: $91
  • Milford Sound Vista Day Tour from Queenstown or Te Anau: $127
  • Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Hiking Experience: $131
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Queenstown Scenic Cruise - Spirit of Queenstown: $28
  • Queenstown Tiki Tour: $70
  • Rotorua Day Tour from Auckland: $188
  • Ultimate Queenstown Highlights Tour: $77

Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua

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


  • Lunch Out for Two
    $33

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • Time Tripper Queenstown Virtual Journey Through Time Experience: $7.09
  • Te Papa Museum Ticket in Wellington: $11
  • Devonport Ferry Tickets in Auckland: $11
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Entry Ticket: $14
  • Hamilton Gardens Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Lake Rotorua Paddle Boat Cruise: $14
  • Auckland Zoo Ticket: $16
  • 3D Trick Art Gallery Entry Ticket: $16
  • SheepWorld Admission Ticket: $16
  • Puzzling World Ticket in Wanaka: $17
  • Rotorua Heritage Farm Tour: $17

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Christchurch may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Christchurch $11
    Rotorua $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • A Waipara Wine Experience with Giles Tours, includes wine tastings and lunch: $95
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $100
  • Akaroa Eco-Safari with Alpaca Farm Tour and Wine Tasting: $103
  • Full-day Akaroa Tour with Penguins Safari and Wine Tasting: $114
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $115
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Rotorua

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Taste Marlborough Wine Tour: $138
  • Queenstown E-Bikes Wine Tour: $147
  • Spa and Wine Tasting Experience in Queenstown: $293
  • Queenstown Private Helicopter and Wine Tour: $672


When comparing the travel costs between Christchurch and Rotorua, 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.

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Christchurch vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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