A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Lake Tekapo vs. Aoraki Mount Cook for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Lake Tekapo or Aoraki Mount Cook?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Lake Tekapo or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo is a lakeside town on the South Island of New Zealand, and it is part of the Mackenzie District of Canterbury. This is one of the bluest lakes in the country and is surrounded by the mighty mountains of the Southern Alps.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is located on the South Island of New Zealand. It was declared a national park in 1953 to protect and preserve the landscape. The park is home to the country's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook. In Maori, Aoraki means, "cloud piercer", and the English name, Mt Cook, refers to the navigator James Cook, who discovered New Zealand in the 18th century. Mt Cook was the training location for Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first person to summit Everest in 1953. Other peaks in the park include Mount Tasman, Mount Sefton, and Mount Hicks. Not only can you find lush greenery all over the park, but also, glaciers cover 40% of the parks area.

Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Lake Tekapo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lake Tekapo is $75, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $105. 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 Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lake Tekapo $59
    Aoraki Mount Cook $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lake Tekapo $118
    Aoraki Mount Cook $118
Compare Hotels in Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Lake Tekapo or Aoraki Mount Cook? 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 Lake Tekapo

Hotels in Aoraki Mount Cook

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: Lake Tekapo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also for Aoraki Mount Cook, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin City Hotels to Chalmers Cruise Port: $43

Is it cheaper to fly into Lake Tekapo or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo 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 Meals for one day
    Lake Tekapo $13
    Aoraki Mount Cook $26

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Aoraki Mount Cook $23

Tours and Activities in Lake Tekapo

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

  • Lake Tekapo Tour Scenic 4WD Mountains & Glaciers: $181
  • Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory: $71
  • Dark Sky Experience: $25
  • Lake Tekapo Scenic 4WD Cass Valley Wilderness Tour: $166
  • Stargazing Experience: $65
  • Stargazing Experience (Mandarin中文): $65
  • Mt Cook Day Tour From Tekapo (Small Group, Carbon Neutral): $151
  • Scenic 4WD Tour Lake Tekapo Backcountry: $181
  • Summit Experience - University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory: $99
  • Tekapo: Indoor Māori Heritage and Astronomy Experience: $24

Tours and Activities in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Aoraki Mount Cook.

  • Half-Day Self-Guided Ride and Wine Bike Tour from Arrowtown: $60
  • Half-Day Guided Sea Kayaking Tour from Anakiwa: $66
  • Mt. Cook to Queenstown Small Group Tour (1-way) : $103
  • From Christchurch: Mount Cook One-Way Discovery Tour: $118
  • Mt Cook to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo Small Group Tour 1 way: $120
  • Mt Cook & Hooker Valley Hike Small Group Tour from Queenstown: $136
  • Mt Cook Small Group Tour from Queenstown with Optional Activities : $136
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $224
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Ski Plane Tour from Mount Cook: $242
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Helicopter Tour from Mount Cook: $242
  • 45-Minute Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour: $272
  • Hokitika Fly SIX Glaciers Heli Tour: $303

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lake Tekapo -
    Aoraki Mount Cook $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Aoraki Mount Cook

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Aoraki Mount Cook:

  • Classic Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $15
  • Pinot Noir Wine Tasting Experience: $27
  • Valli Wine Tasting Experience: $27
  • Wild Irishman Wine Tasting Experience: $45
  • Premium Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $45

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

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Lake Tekapo vs. Aoraki Mount Cook Travel Comparison

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