A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Lake Tekapo vs. Cromwell for Hiking, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

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 Cromwell. 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.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a small, remote, and basic town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the hiking.

Cromwell

Cromwell is a outdoorsy, historical, and cultural town. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Lake Tekapo and Cromwell: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cromwell. Although Lake Tekapo and Cromwell are both popular with visitors, Cromwell has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Cromwell is more popular for its skiing, museums, food, nightlife, and shopping, while Lake Tekapo is known for its impressive beauty. Lake Tekapo is popular for its hot springs, remote location, and beautiful night sky. Cromwell is popular for its fruit farms, orchards, and vineyards. It is also home to the big fruit.

How is Lake Tekapo different from Cromwell?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Skiing?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for winter skiing. However, Lake Tekapo is not a skiing destination.

Head to Cromwell for some great skiing and other winter activities. The town isn't far from several ski fields, so it attracts winter sports enthusiasts when the weather gets cold.

Lake Tekapo is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Lake Tekapo does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Cromwell. There are some interesting historical activities around town like Goldfields Mining Centre.

Lake Tekapo does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its restaurant scene. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for its local flavors and cuisine.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cromwell area. There are charming cafes and bakeries where you can grab a light meal or snack. There are also quaint restaurants and wineries with nice meals available.

Lake Tekapo offers some easy restaurants to choose from. The town is very small with just a couple of restaurants and fast food joints.

Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Nightlife?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for nightlife.

Cromwell has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There are a few breweries and a number of wineries around town where you can have a relaxing night out.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Lake Tekapo This is a very small town and there isn't a real nightlife scene. The night sky is incredible though, and you should absolutely do some stargazing.


Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Hiking?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Hiking trails can be found around both Lake Tekapo and Cromwell, and they are very good.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Lake Tekapo. There are many beautiful hikes in the area with some of the most popular being the Mount John Summit Track, the Richmond Trail, and Cowan's Hill Walkway.

Many visitors go to Cromwell for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful walks in the area that take you through diverse landscapes and to impressive views.

Is the Shopping Better in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for its shopping areas. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for shopping.

Many visitors go to Cromwell to go shopping. There's a farmers market in town as well as several local vendors and cute shops.

Shopping in Lake Tekapo can be found for those interested. There are a couple of shops where you can pick up basic necessities.

Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Families?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Both Lake Tekapo and Cromwell are very good family-friendly destinations.

Lake Tekapo is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy a visit to Tekapo Springs, which is particularly fun in the winter months. There's snow tubing, ice skating, and, of course, the hot pools. There are also short hikes in the area like the Mount John Summit Walk. Biking, paddleboarding, and kayaking are also popular in the area.

Cromwell is a very family-friendly destination. The lakefront setting means that there are water activities during the warmer months. There are also ski fields nearby for the winter months. Biking and walking are also popular in the area.


Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Couples?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a great destination for couples. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Cromwell frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Cycling, walking, kayaking, and skiing all make this a romantic a charming town to visit as a couple. There are also wineries in the area with beautiful vineyards.

Lake Tekapo is a nice destination for couples. Couples will enjoy the stunning scenery, beautiful hikes, and the romantic hot springs. Stargazing is another popular activity in the area.

Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Lake Tekapo and Cromwell are good places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Lake Tekapo. It's a small town with a couple of cheap places to stay that backpackers will appreciate.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Cromwell. There are a handful of great hostels in the area and plenty of things to keep backpackers entertained.

Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Cromwell is a town with a few options for its public transit. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Cromwell. Public transit around town is limited to a couple of buses.

Public transit is quite limited in Lake Tekapo. Public transportation in the area is very limited. If you don't have a car, you'll want to arrange tours to get out and about.


Is Lake Tekapo or Cromwell a more walkable city?

Lake Tekapo
Cromwell

Lake Tekapo and Cromwell both are good when exploring on foot.

Lake Tekapo is a somewhat walkable town. The town is small enough to get around on foot, and you can hire a tour to get out into the region.

Cromwell is somewhat walkable. Parts of the town are walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Lake Tekapo Worth Visiting? and Is Cromwell Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cromwell or Lake Tekapo?

How long in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell to fill your time. In our opinion, Cromwell has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cromwell than Lake Tekapo. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cromwell than Lake Tekapo 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 Cromwell.


  • How many days in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lake Tekapo 1-2 
    Cromwell 1-2

One day in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

The beautiful town of Lake Tekapo offers . Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the outdoorsy town of Cromwell. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Lake Tekapo is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Lake Tekapo, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the outdoorsy destination of Cromwell. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Lake Tekapo is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The historical town of Cromwell offers museums and skiing. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Lake Tekapo is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the skiing and nightlife when visiting Cromwell. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


Which place is cheaper, Cromwell or Lake Tekapo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lake Tekapo is $78, while the average daily cost in Cromwell 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Lake Tekapo and Cromwell in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lake Tekapo $62
    Cromwell $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lake Tekapo $124
    Cromwell $80
Compare Hotels in Lake Tekapo and Cromwell

Looking for a hotel in Lake Tekapo or Cromwell? 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 Cromwell


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 and Cromwell Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Cromwell $26

Is it cheaper to fly into Lake Tekapo or Cromwell?

Prices for flights to both Cromwell 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Lake Tekapo $13
    Cromwell $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Cromwell $17

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: $187
  • 45 Minutes Virtual Stargazing Experience in Lake Tekapo: $44
  • Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory: $88
  • Dark Sky Indoor Cultural Astronomy Experience: $32
  • From Tekapo: Mt Cook day tour via Pukaki, Tasman Glacier: $103
  • Lake Tekapo Scenic 4WD Cass Valley Wilderness Tour: $171
  • Dark Sky Virtual Stargazing Experience: $42
  • Indoor Māori Cultural Astronomy Experience: $31
  • Petting Zoo Experience in Tekapo: $12
  • Stargazing Experience: $67
  • 中文观星团 Chinese tour: $67
  • Mt Cook Day Tour From Tekapo (Small Group, Carbon Neutral): $156

Tours and Activities in Cromwell

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cromwell.

  • Queenstown: Mount Cook Premium Guided Day Tour: $153
  • Ultimate Lake Dunstan Trail Experience Bike & Boat Return: $178

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lake Tekapo -
    Cromwell $9.52

Sample the Local Flavors in Cromwell

Also in Cromwell, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Wines and Views: Private Wine Tour of Otago from Queenstow: $1,499


When comparing the travel costs between Lake Tekapo and Cromwell, we can see that Cromwell 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.

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


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