Should you visit Dunedin or Rotorua?
Should I visit Dunedin 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.
Dunedin is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the southeast coast and is largely Scottish in its heritage. It is part of the Otago region and has mild temperatures during the spring and summer, but extremely cold temperatures during the end of fall and winter. Dunedin is a university town; The University of Otago is the oldest in New Zealand, established in 1869. The students make up over a tenth of the entire city's population.
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 Dunedin?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Dunedin is $100, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $90. 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 Dunedin and Rotorua in more detail.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $50. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Dunedin the cost is $100 on average.
Travelers usually pay around $94 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.
In Dunedin travelers spend around $28 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.
On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $26 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.
Meals for one day
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:
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $27 per day to get around in Dunedin.
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 $4.89 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dunedin
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dunedin:
Departure Transfer: Dunedin Central City Centre Hotels to Dunedin Airport:
Arrival Transfer: Dunedin Airport to Central Dunedin City Centre Hotels:
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:
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Dunedin. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $34 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Dunedin
Here are a few actual costs in Dunedin for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
1 Day Private Tour with Basic Landscape Photography Around Dunedin:
5-Day Stewart Island Tour with Small Group from Dunedin:
A 2 hour Small Group Dunedin City Highlights Tour:
Carbon-free transport and tour through Orokonui Ecosanctuary:
Culture in Context Tour on the Otago Peninsula:
Dunedin City Highlights, Otago Peninsula Scenery & Albatross Guided Tour:
Dunedin City and Coastal Views 3-Hour Small-Group Guided Tour:
Dunedin City and Otago Peninsula Small-Group Tour:
Dunedin City, Wildlife and Scenery Tour:
Dunedin Gardens and City Highlights Tour:
Dunedin Onshore Cruise Group Tour:
Dunedin Shore Excursion: Half-Day Wildlife Cruise and Portobello Village:
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 Dunedin may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 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 Dunedin
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Dunedin:
Speight's Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting:
Speight Brewery Small Group Guided Tour from Dunedin:
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 Dunedin and Rotorua, we can see that Dunedin 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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