A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Dunedin vs. Arrowtown for Hiking, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Dunedin or Arrowtown?

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

Should I visit Dunedin or Arrowtown? 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.

Dunedin

Dunedin is a vibrant, small, and hilly city. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a quaint, quirky, and historic town. Because it offers so much small town charm with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Dunedin and Arrowtown: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm


Is there more to do in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Arrowtown than Dunedin, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Arrowtown is better known for its skiing, food, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Dunedin is more popular for its museums, nightlife, and beaches. Arrowtown is more touristy than Dunedin and is popular for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. Also, Arrowtown is famous for the Chinese Settlement. Dunedin is well known for its wildlife and proximity to the Otago Peninsula.

How is Dunedin different from Arrowtown?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Arrowtown and Dunedin. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Skiing?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is well known for winter skiing. However, Dunedin is not a skiing destination.

Arrowtown is a well-known ski destination which attracts visitors from far and wide. In the area you'll find amazing skiing that ranges from professional level to family-friendly.

Dunedin is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to Dunedin specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city has cultural scene that is centered around both Scottish and Maori heritage. Top sights around town include the Larnach Castle, the Dunedin Railway Station, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and the Otago Museum.

Arrowtown offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

Is the Food Better in Dunedin or Arrowtown? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Arrowtown is an experience not to be missed. For such a small town, there's a surprising number of great restaurants with award winning chefs. You'll find quaint cafes, traditional eateries, and casual restaurants where you can sample the local dishes.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Dunedin. The culinary scene in town continues to grow and improve. There are local eateries that have charm and character and serve interesting and local dishes.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Nightlife?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin is an excellent place to visit for nightlife. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Dunedin has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The town has eclectic bars and a diverse club scene that is fun to experience. It has a lively nightlife scene that is driven, in part, by the large student population.

Arrowtown has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.


Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Beaches?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin is very good for its beaches. However, Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Many people head to Dunedin to enjoy the beach. Many of the beaches are just a short drive from the city center. The surf is surprisingly good and the beaches are fun during the warmer summer months.

Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for its Old Town?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is well known for its historic old town charm. However, Dunedin does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Arrowtown. This is a quirky and charming historic mining town that has many cottages and historic buildings. Many places have been restored to maintain their original character.

Dunedin does not have a historic old town.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Hiking?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is an unbeatable place for its hiking experiences. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

People visit Arrowtown specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Many people use this town as a jumping off point for some of the world's most iconic hikes. You can explore Lord of the Rings country or do one of fifteen different listed walks in the area.

Many people include a hike when visiting Dunedin. There are biking and hiking trails that travel around town and through the surrounding landscapes.


Is the Shopping Better in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Shopping is a popular activity in both Arrowtown and Dunedin.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Dunedin. The shopping scene is diverse and eclectic with everything from vintage shops to fashion boutiques. Some of the most popular shopping areas are Edinburgh Way, Octagon Entertainment Precinct, Moray Place, and the Warehouse Precinct.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Arrowtown. Shopping is an experience in town. Head to Buckingham Street, which is the main street in town. You can wander through a wild west setting with local vendors and quirky galleries.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Families?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Dunedin or Arrowtown.

Dunedin is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It's one of the largest cities on the South Island, and there are many educational opportunities and unique experiences available to kids. You can visit the Otago Museum or the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, take a wildlife cruise, or visit the Larnach Castle. You can also take a ride on the Inlander or simply hang out at a playground.

Arrowtown is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy the old world charm as much as adults. There's gold panning, bike trails, and even a historic Chinese village. During the winter there are snow sports and during the summer there are outdoor activities that take advantage of the nice weather.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Couples?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is well known for couples. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Arrowtown frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The charming atmosphere and beautiful walks make this a great weekend destination for couples. You can take a stroll on the Arrow River Walkway or grab a meal at a quaint cafe followed by ice cream at a classic ice cream parlor.

Dunedin is a nice destination for couples. You can wander through the castle or explore one of the city's markets. There are also romantic restaurants and many opportunities to see wildlife.


Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin and Arrowtown are great places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Dunedin is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. There are many hostels around town and plenty of activities that keep backpackers entertained.

Arrowtown is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a couple of hostels in town and backpackers love the frequent festivals and activities that the town hosts.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Students?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin is an excellent place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Dunedin is very popular with students. This is a large student city that is welcoming to international students and a popular place to study.

Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Is Dunedin or Arrowtown Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Dunedin and Arrowtown.

You'll find some public transit in Dunedin, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There a relatively decent bus system that travels through town.

While Arrowtown offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are public buses throughout the region.


Is Dunedin or Arrowtown a more walkable city?

Dunedin
Arrowtown

Dunedin is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Dunedin is very walkable. Parts of the town are easy to explore on foot.

Arrowtown is a somewhat walkable place. Parts of the town are fun to explore on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Dunedin Worth Visiting? and Is Arrowtown Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arrowtown or Dunedin?

How long in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Dunedin or Arrowtown to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Dunedin than Arrowtown because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Dunedin, and 1-2 days is enough time in Arrowtown.

Couples should spend more time in Arrowtown than Dunedin. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Arrowtown that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Dunedin than Arrowtown 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 Dunedin.


  • How many days in Dunedin or Arrowtown? Ideal Length of Stay
    Dunedin 1-3 
    Arrowtown 1-2

One day in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Dunedin. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Dunedin has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Arrowtown is a small town with plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the small destination of Dunedin. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Arrowtown might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Arrowtown has to offer.


Five days in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the cultural city of Dunedin. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Arrowtown is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Dunedin is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Arrowtown. Since Arrowtown is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand, The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in New Zealand, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Arrowtown or Dunedin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dunedin is $102, while the average daily cost in Arrowtown is $114. 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 Dunedin and Arrowtown in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dunedin $52
    Arrowtown $67
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dunedin $104
    Arrowtown $134
Compare Hotels in Dunedin and Arrowtown

Looking for a hotel in Dunedin or Arrowtown? 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 Dunedin


Hotels in Arrowtown


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: Dunedin Hotel Prices and Arrowtown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Dunedin $27
    Arrowtown $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dunedin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dunedin:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin Airport (DUD) to Chalmers Port: $44
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Port to Dunedin Airport (DUD): $43
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Cruise Port to Dunedin City Hotels: $43
  • ONE WAY MOMONA: Transfer from /to Dunedin Airport: $125
  • Momona Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Momona: $90
  • Dunedin to Dunedin Int Airport (DUD) - Departure Private Transfer: $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Prices for flights to both Arrowtown and Dunedin 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
    Dunedin $29
    Arrowtown $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dunedin $17
    Arrowtown $15

Tours and Activities in Dunedin

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

  • Shore Excursion: V8 Trike, Peninsula and City Tour: $48
  • A 2 hour Small Group Dunedin City Highlights Tour: $57
  • Albatross, Wildlife and Harbour Cruise: $96
  • All in Dunedin - Nature & City Tour: $515
  • Brews and Views: Private Tour of Dunedin’s Craft Beer Scene: $1,031
  • Captivating Side of Dunedin Walking Tour for Couples: $272
  • Castle, Coast & City Small Group Tour (8 pax max): $120
  • Clearwater Wildlife - Small Guided Tours (10 max) Otago Peninsula: $106
  • Cruise Dunedin City and Castle Tour: $112
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $173
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $338
  • Dunedin City & Coast Views 3-Hour Small-Group Tour: $74

Tours and Activities in Arrowtown

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

  • Queenstown: Arrowtown Mountain Biking Adventure: $53

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dunedin $14
    Arrowtown $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Dunedin

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

  • Speight Brewery Small Group Guided Tour from Dunedin: $21
  • Emerson's Brewery Tour: $24

Sample the Local Flavors in Arrowtown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arrowtown:

  • From Scenic Valley of the Vines Bike & Wine Tour: $88


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


Which is Bigger, Dunedin or Arrowtown?

Dunedin has a larger population, and is about 50 times larger than the population of Arrowtown. When comparing the sizes of Dunedin and Arrowtown, 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.