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

Should you visit Kaikoura or Christchurch?

Should I visit Kaikoura or Christchurch? 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.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a town on the east coast of the South Island, situated between Christchurch and Belnheim. It has a permanent resident population of 1,971. The Seaward Kaikoura Mountains that surround this town collide with the Pacific Ocean, and the continental shelf edge is just offshore. The ocean in Kaikoura is very rich in marine life, especially seals and whales.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Christchurch or Kaikoura?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kaikoura is $127, while the average daily cost in Christchurch 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 Kaikoura and Christchurch in more detail.



Accommodation

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 Kaikoura the cost is $90 on average.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $46. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Christchurch the cost is $92 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kaikoura $45
    Christchurch $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kaikoura $90
    Christchurch $92

Food

The average traveler spends about $36 per day in Kaikoura for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

Food in Christchurch costs travelers about $29 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Kaikoura $36
    Christchurch $29

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

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Kaikoura is $16 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.

The average price of local transportation around Christchurch is $14 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kaikoura $16
    Christchurch $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Transfer from Christchurch Central City to Christchurch Airport: $21
  • Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Christchurch Central City Hotels: $21
  • Christchurch City Hotels to Airport Transfer - Lowest price 1 to 4 Pax & 2 Bags: $43
  • Private Transfer - Airport to Central Christchurch: $44
  • Private Departure Transfer: Central Christchurch to Christchurch Airport: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $59
  • Executive Sedan Airport Transfer(Pickup Airport to Hotel/Residence) Christchurch: $60
  • Executive Sedan Airport Transfer (Pickup Hotel / Residence to Airport): $60
  • Christchurch City Hotels to Airport Transfer - Lowest price 1 to 9 Passengers: $67
  • Departure Private Transfers from Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $71
  • Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer:Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $74
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into Kaikoura or Christchurch?

Prices for flights to both Christchurch and Kaikoura 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.





Entertainment

Kaikoura's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $143 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.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kaikoura $143
    Christchurch $16

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

  • Kayaking Adventure in Kaikoura: $70
  • Half-Day Seal Kayaking Guided Tour: $86
  • Guided Family Kayaking Adventure: $86
  • Wildlife Sea Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $89
  • Seal Swimming Tour from Kaikoura: $89
  • Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $178
  • 30-Minute Whale Watching Helicopter Tour: $252

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Christchurch Botanic Gardens Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $15
  • Chairlift Sightseeing Pass at the Christchurch Adventure Park: $15
  • Punting on the Avon River with Optional Christchurch Gondola and Botanic Gardens Tour: $21
  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $22
  • 1-Hour City Highlights Tour by Bus: $26
  • Christchurch Tram City and Botanic Gardens Full–Day Tour: $30
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Center Entry Tickets: $35
  • Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo: $36
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $36
  • International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket: $36
  • Urban Explorer Tour: $41
  • Discover 3-Hour Double Decker Bus Tour: $51

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Christchurch may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kaikoura -
    Christchurch $11

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


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kaikoura and Christchurch, we can see that Kaikoura is more expensive. And not only is Christchurch much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Christchurch would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Christchurch 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 Kaikoura would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kaikoura than you might in Christchurch.

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Kaikoura vs. Christchurch Travel Comparison

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