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

Should you visit Kaikoura or Rotorua?

Should I visit Kaikoura 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.

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.

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 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 Rotorua is $85. 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 Rotorua 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.

Travelers usually pay around $92 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.


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

On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $25 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Kaikoura $36
    Rotorua $25

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

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.

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 $4.72 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kaikoura $16
    Rotorua $4.72

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 Kaikoura or Rotorua?

Prices for flights to both Rotorua 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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $33 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kaikoura $143
    Rotorua $33

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

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

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
    $32

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
  • Rainbow Springs Ticket - Essentials Pass: $44
  • Nocturnal adventure Glow-worm tour: $51
  • Rotorua Hot Lakes Bike Tour: $55
  • Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour: $56
  • Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure: $62
  • Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour: $63

Alcohol

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kaikoura -
    Rotorua -

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $13


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kaikoura and Rotorua, we can see that Kaikoura is more expensive. And not only is Rotorua much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Rotorua would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Rotorua 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 Rotorua.

Budget Your Trip

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Kaikoura vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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