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 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.
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 $87, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $84. 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.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $45. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Christchurch the cost is $90 on average.
Travelers usually pay around $88 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.
Food in Christchurch costs travelers about $28 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 $24 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 $9.60.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Christchurch
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Christchurch.
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch:
Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch:
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:
The average price of local transportation around Christchurch is $13 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 $4.59 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:
VIP Sedan Christchurch Airport Transfer to or from Central Christchurch:
VIP Range Rover Christchurch Airport Transfer to or from Central Christchurch:
Transfer from Christchurch Central City to Christchurch Airport:
Private Transfer: Christchurch to Mount Cook:
Private Transfer - Airport to Central Christchurch:
Private Minibus Airport Transfer - Pickup Hotel / Residence to Airport (11 Pax):
Private Minibus Airport Transfer - Pickup Airport to Hotel / Residence (11 Pax):
Private Departure Transfer: Central Christchurch to Christchurch Airport:
Private Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch:
Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer:Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch:
Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Christchurch to Queenstown:
Executive Sedan Airport Transfer(Pickup Airport to Hotel/Residence) Christchurch:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua
Also for Rotorua, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Departure Transfer: Rotorua City Centre Hotels to Rotorua Airport:
Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms:
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.
Christchurch's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $16 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 $32 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Christchurch
Here are a few actual costs in Christchurch for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
1 day private tour from Christchurch to Queenstown via Mt.Cook:
1-Day Guided Walking Tour and Picnic on Banks Peninsula:
10 Day Adrenalin Tour. Skydiving, Bungy, Rafting, Climbing, Heli MTB & more.:
10 Day Adventure Tour. Hiking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Jet Boating & more.:
2 days tour from Christchurch to Queenstown:
2 hour Christchurch City Tour with scenic Chairlift ride:
3 Day Christchurch and Akaroa Exclusive Private Tour:
3 hour Christchurch City Tour with Ziplining at Christchurch Adventure Park:
3-Day Christchurch City Break Tour For Locals:
3-Day Christchurch and Akaroa Arrival Tour with Harbor Cruise:
3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch:
4 Day Kaikoura and Pancake Rocks Private 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:
Lake Rotorua Paddle Boat Cruise:
Whaka Geothermal Trails Self-Guided Tour:
Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour:
Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour:
The Farm Tour:
Rainbow Springs Ticket - Lite Pass:
Rainbow Springs Ticket - Essentials Pass:
Nocturnal adventure Glow-worm tour:
Rotorua Hot Lakes Bike Tour:
Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour:
Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure:
Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour:
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Christchurch may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $10 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch
Also in Christchurch, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
A Waipara Wine Experience with Giles Tours, includes wine tastings and lunch:
All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch:
Akaroa Eco-Safari with Alpaca Farm Tour and Wine Tasting:
Full-day Akaroa Tour with Penguins Safari and Wine Tasting:
Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch:
Full-day Akaroa Tour with Dolphin Cruise & Wine Tasting:
Private Waipara Valley Wine Tasting Tour with optional Gourmet Lunch:
Hanmer Springs Private Day Tour Including Hot Pool & Wine Tasting:
Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:
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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