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

Should you visit Lake Tekapo or Queenstown?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Lake Tekapo and Queenstown. 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. So, let's dig into it.

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.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a popular tourist destination on New Zealand's South Island. It is beautifully surrounded by the Southern Alps and sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Across the lake you will find a stunning view of the Remarkables, a dramatic mountain range. The town itself is quite touristy, but prices still remain reasonable. There are options for all travel budgets, whether you're a backpacker hoping to save a few dollars or a family looking for some luxury accommodation. Despite its natural and tranquil setting, Queenstown is actually very much a party town, particularly during the peak seasons. Don't be surprised to find people out enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning. If you're not into the party scene and are hoping to get a decent night's sleep, consider staying a little outside of town. About an hour outside of Queenstown you'll find Wanaka, which is a much smaller and peaceful town without the party scene.

Which city is cheaper, Queenstown or Lake Tekapo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lake Tekapo is $72, while the average daily cost in Queenstown is $100. 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 Lake Tekapo and Queenstown in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $114 for a double occupancy room in Lake Tekapo.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $106 for a double occupancy room in Queenstown.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lake Tekapo $57
    Queenstown $53
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lake Tekapo $114
    Queenstown $106

Food

Food in Lake Tekapo costs travelers about $12 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.

The average traveler spends about $34 per day in Queenstown 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 Meals for one day
    Lake Tekapo $12
    Queenstown $34

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lake Tekapo

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Lake Tekapo.

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown: $110
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141
  • Queenstown Progressive Dinner & Wine Tour - 3 iconic locations: $207

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Queenstown is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $9.76 per person, per day, on local transportation in Queenstown.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Queenstown $9.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lake Tekapo

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lake Tekapo:

  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Entry Ticket and Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer: $40
  • Private Luxury Transfers to Coronet Peak: $375
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Entry Ticket and Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer: $40
  • Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Central Queenstown City Centre: $13
  • Departure Transfer: Queenstown Central City Centre Hotels to Queenstown Airport: $13
  • Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Queenstown to Christchurch: $1,264
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Hotel by Jet Boat: $342
  • Private Luxury Transfers to Coronet Peak: $375
  • Private Luxury Transfers to The Remarkables: $445
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Ski Transfer to Coronet Peak Ski Field: $333
  • Private Ski Transfer to The Remarkables Ski Field: $370
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629

Is it cheaper to fly into Lake Tekapo or Queenstown?

Prices for flights to both Queenstown 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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Queenstown typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lake Tekapo -
    Queenstown $20

Tours and Activities in Lake Tekapo

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

  • Time Tripper Queenstown Virtual Journey Through Time Experience: $7.09
  • Te Papa Museum Ticket in Wellington: $11
  • Devonport Ferry Tickets in Auckland: $11
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Entry Ticket: $14
  • Hamilton Gardens Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Auckland Zoo Ticket: $16
  • 3D Trick Art Gallery Entry Ticket: $16
  • SheepWorld Admission Ticket: $16
  • Puzzling World Ticket in Wanaka: $17
  • Rotorua Heritage Farm Tour: $17
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds Experience Pass in Bay of Islands: $18

Typical Entertainment prices in Queenstown

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:


  • Skyline Gondola (for 2)
    $36

Tours and Activities in Queenstown

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

  • Time Tripper Queenstown Virtual Journey Through Time Experience: $7.09
  • Te Papa Museum Ticket in Wellington: $11
  • Full & Half Day Hardtail Cruiser Bike Hire (Giant Talon 3 - 2020 model): $11
  • Devonport Ferry Tickets in Auckland: $11
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Hamilton Gardens Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Entry Ticket: $14
  • 3D Trick Art Gallery Entry Ticket: $16
  • Auckland Zoo Ticket: $16
  • SheepWorld Admission Ticket: $16
  • Puzzling World Ticket in Wanaka: $17
  • Rotorua Heritage Farm Tour: $17

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.52 on alcoholic beverages in Queenstown per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lake Tekapo -
    Queenstown $8.52

Sample the Local Flavors in Lake Tekapo

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lake Tekapo:

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Taste Marlborough Wine Tour: $138
  • Queenstown E-Bikes Wine Tour: $147
  • Spa and Wine Tasting Experience in Queenstown: $293
  • Queenstown Private Helicopter and Wine Tour: $672

Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown: $40
  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Wine Tour from Full Day: $103
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard: $116
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $122
  • Original Wine Tour: $125


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lake Tekapo and Queenstown, we can see that Queenstown 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 Queenstown would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Queenstown than you might in Lake Tekapo.

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Lake Tekapo vs. Queenstown Travel Comparison

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