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

Should you visit Christchurch or Rotorua?

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

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua? 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.

Where Should I go: Christchurch or Rotorua?

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 $74, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $71. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Christchurch and Rotorua in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Christchurch $38
    Rotorua $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Christchurch $76
    Rotorua $74
Compare Hotels in Christchurch and Rotorua

Looking for a hotel in Christchurch or Rotorua? 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 Rotorua


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Christchurch $11
    Rotorua $3.87

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
  • Private Transfer: Christchurch to Mount Cook: $790
  • Private Transfer - Airport to Central Christchurch: $44
  • Private Minibus Airport Transfer - Pickup Hotel / Residence to Airport (11 Pax): $120
  • Private Minibus Airport Transfer - Pickup Airport to Hotel / Residence (11 Pax): $120
  • Private Departure Transfer: Central Christchurch to Christchurch Airport: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $59
  • Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer:Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $74
  • Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Christchurch to Queenstown: $1,264
  • Executive Sedan Airport Transfer(Pickup Airport to Hotel/Residence) Christchurch: $60

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: $18
  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $148

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Christchurch $24
    Rotorua $21

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: $92
  • 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:

  • Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance: $100
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $140

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Christchurch $13
    Rotorua $27

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: $322
  • 1-Day Guided Walking Tour and Picnic on Banks Peninsula: $138
  • 10 Day Adrenalin Tour. Skydiving, Bungy, Rafting, Climbing, Heli MTB & more.: $4,219
  • 10 Day Adventure Tour. Hiking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Jet Boating & more.: $4,219
  • 2 days tour from Christchurch to Queenstown: $595
  • 2 hour Christchurch City Tour with scenic Chairlift ride: $99
  • 3 Day Christchurch and Akaroa Exclusive Private Tour: $2,026
  • 3 hour Christchurch City Tour with Ziplining at Christchurch Adventure Park: $237
  • 3-Day Christchurch City Break Tour For Locals: $337
  • 3-Day Christchurch and Akaroa Arrival Tour with Harbor Cruise: $668
  • 3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch: $1,158
  • 4 Day Kaikoura and Pancake Rocks Private Tour: $3,317

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
    $26

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: $14
  • Whaka Geothermal Trails Self-Guided Tour: $19
  • Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour: $19
  • Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour: $26
  • The Farm Tour: $28
  • Rainbow Springs Ticket - Lite Pass: $33
  • Swoop Sky Swing Experience at Velocity Valley: $37
  • Rainbow Springs Ticket - Essentials Pass: $44
  • Nocturnal adventure Glow-worm tour: $51
  • Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience: $52
  • Rotorua Hot Lakes Bike Tour: $55
  • Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour: $56

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Christchurch $8.62
    Rotorua $8.96

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: $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
  • Full-day Akaroa Tour with Dolphin Cruise & Wine Tasting: $133
  • Private Waipara Valley Wine Tasting Tour with optional Gourmet Lunch: $190
  • Hanmer Springs Private Day Tour Including Hot Pool & Wine Tasting: $356

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $11


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.


When is the best time to visit Christchurch or Rotorua?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Christchurch as well as Rotorua.

In the summer, Christchurch is a little warmer than Rotorua. Typically, the summer temperatures in Christchurch in January are around 18°C (64°F), and Rotorua is about 12°C (54°F).

Christchurch usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Rotorua. Christchurch gets 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Christchurch 18°C (64°F) 
    Rotorua 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua in the Autumn?

Both Rotorua and Christchurch are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities.

In April, Christchurch is generally cooler than Rotorua. Temperatures in Christchurch average around 12°C (54°F), and Rotorua stays around 16°C (61°F).

In April, Christchurch usually receives more rain than Rotorua. At this time of the year, Christchurch gets 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F) 
    Rotorua 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua in the Winter?

Both Rotorua and Christchurch during the winter are popular places to visit.

Christchurch is much colder than Rotorua in the winter. The temperature in Christchurch is usually 6°C (43°F) in July, and Rotorua stays around 26°C (79°F).

Christchurch usually gets more rain in July than Rotorua. Christchurch gets 68 mm (2.7 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Christchurch 6°C (43°F) 
    Rotorua 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Christchurch or Rotorua in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Christchurch and Rotorua.

In the spring, Christchurch is much colder than Rotorua. Typically, the spring temperatures in Christchurch in October are around 12°C (54°F), and Rotorua is about 19°C (66°F).

In October, Christchurch usually receives more rain than Rotorua. At this time of the year, Christchurch gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F) 
    Rotorua 19°C (66°F)

Typical Weather for Rotorua and Christchurch

Christchurch Rotorua
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 12°C (54°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 17°C (63°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Mar 16°C (60°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 15°C (59°F) 32 mm (1.3 in)
Apr 12°C (54°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 16°C (61°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
May 9°C (49°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 19°C (66°F) 16 mm (0.6 in)
Jun 6°C (44°F) 51 mm (2 in) 23°C (73°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Jul 6°C (43°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 26°C (79°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 26°C (79°F) 1 mm (0 in)
Sep 10°C (49°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 24°C (75°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 19°C (66°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Nov 14°C (58°F) 50 mm (2 in) 16°C (61°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Dec 16°C (61°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)


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Christchurch vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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