A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Dunedin vs. Picton for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Beaches

Should you visit Dunedin or Picton?

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

Should I visit Dunedin 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.

Dunedin

Dunedin is a cultural, vibrant, and small city. 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. Other popular activities here include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Dunedin 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 Dunedin or Picton?

Both Picton and Dunedin have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Dunedin is very popular for its museums, nightlife, and shopping, while Picton attracts visitors for its food, beaches, hiking, and small town charm. Picton is more touristy than Dunedin and is known for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails. Dunedin is famous for its wildlife and proximity to the Otago Peninsula.

How is Dunedin different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Dunedin
Picton

Dunedin 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 Dunedin. 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.

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 Dunedin or Picton? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Dunedin
Picton

Picton 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 Picton is an experience not to be missed. 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.

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 Picton Better for Nightlife?

Dunedin
Picton

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

Dunedin offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.

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 Dunedin or Picton Better for Beaches?

Dunedin
Picton

Picton is well known for the beach. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its beaches.

Picton is considered a top beach destination. 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.

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.


Is Dunedin or Picton Better for Hiking?

Dunedin
Picton

Picton is well known for its hiking experiences. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

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

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 Picton?

Dunedin
Picton

Dunedin 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 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.

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

Is Dunedin or Picton Better for Families?

Dunedin
Picton

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Dunedin or Picton.

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.

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 Dunedin or Picton Better for Couples?

Dunedin
Picton

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

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

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 Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Dunedin
Picton

Dunedin and Picton are superb 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.

Picton is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

Is Dunedin or Picton Better for Students?

Dunedin
Picton

Dunedin is a well-known place for students. However, Picton is not popular with students.

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

Picton is not popular with students.


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

Dunedin
Picton

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

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

Is Dunedin or Picton a more walkable city?

Dunedin
Picton

Dunedin and Picton both are superb when exploring on foot.

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

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

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

Should I spend more time in Picton or Dunedin?

How long in Dunedin or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Dunedin or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Dunedin than Picton 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 Picton.

Families should spend more time in Picton than Dunedin. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Picton, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

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

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


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

One day in Dunedin or Picton?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Dunedin. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

In Picton, you'll find museums and food. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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 Picton?

Dunedin 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.

In Picton, you'll find food and shopping. 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. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Picton has to offer.

Five days in Dunedin or Picton?

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

Picton is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. 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 Picton?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the small destination of Dunedin. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Picton. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Picton. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. 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, Picton or Dunedin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dunedin is $105, while the average daily cost in Picton is $89. 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 Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dunedin $53
    Picton $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dunedin $106
    Picton $76
Compare Hotels in Dunedin and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Dunedin 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 Dunedin


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: Dunedin Hotel Prices and Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Dunedin $28
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dunedin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dunedin:

  • Dunedin to Dunedin Int Airport (DUD) - Departure Private Transfer: $36
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Cruise Port to Dunedin City Hotels: $44
  • Private Transfer from Dunedin Airport (DUD) to Chalmers Port: $44
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Port to Dunedin Airport (DUD): $44
  • Dunedin Int Airport(DUD) to Dunedin - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $73
  • Momona Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Momona: $90
  • ONE WAY MOMONA: Transfer from /to Dunedin Airport: $125

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $46
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Dunedin or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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
    Picton $20

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

Tours and Activities in Dunedin

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

  • Dunedin Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Dunedin Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Olveston Historic Home Guided Tour: $16
  • Quickie Tours 1 Hour City Sights Tour CRUISE PASSENGERS ONLY: $25
  • Skip the Line: Larnach Castle & Gardens Admission Ticket: $28
  • Garden and City tour: $38
  • Monarch Wildlife Cruise: $39
  • Heritage Dunedin City Walking Guided Tour: $41
  • Shore Excursion: V8 Trike, Peninsula and City Tour: $50
  • Larnach Castle & Gardens Tour from Dunedin winter : $51
  • Larnach Castle & Gardens Tour from Dunedin: $51
  • Nature and City Tour: $56

Tours and Activities in Picton

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

  • 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: $59
  • Half-Day Cruise in Marlborough Sounds from Picton: $60
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dunedin $14
    Picton $36

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: $22
  • Emerson's Brewery Tour: $25

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.: $37
  • Self-Guided Wine Tours by Bike with Steve & Jo in Marlborough : $41
  • 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: $91
  • Morning Guided with Afternoon Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour: $94
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $97
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $103
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $112


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Dunedin and Picton, we can see that Dunedin is more expensive. And not only is Picton much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Picton would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Picton and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Dunedin would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Dunedin than you might in Picton.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Dunedin Expensive? and Is Picton Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Dunedin or Picton?

Dunedin has a larger population, and is about 40 times larger than the population of Picton. When comparing the sizes of Dunedin 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.