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.
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 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 $69, while the average daily cost in Queenstown is $95. 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 prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $108 for a double occupancy room in Lake Tekapo.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $102 for a double occupancy room in Queenstown.
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 $33 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.
Meals for one day
Lake Tekapo $12
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.
Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown:
Queenstown Progressive Dinner & Wine Tour - 3 iconic locations:
The cost of a taxi ride in Queenstown is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $9.33 per person, per day, on local transportation in Queenstown.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:
Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Central Queenstown City Centre:
Departure Transfer: Queenstown Central City Centre Hotels to Queenstown Airport:
Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Queenstown to Christchurch:
Private Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Hotel by Jet Boat:
Private Ski Transfer to Coronet Peak Ski Field:
Private Ski Transfer to The Remarkables Ski Field:
Queenstown and Fox Glacier 1-Way Transfer:
Ski Transfer To Coronet Peak (Round Trip):
Ski Transfer To Remarkables Ski Area (Round Trip):
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 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.
Tours and Activities in Lake Tekapo
Here are a few actual costs in Lake Tekapo for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Dark Sky Experience:
Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory:
Summit Experience - University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory:
Typical Entertainment prices in Queenstown
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:
Skyline Gondola (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Queenstown
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Queenstown are as follows:
Full & Half Day Hardtail Cruiser Bike Hire (Giant Talon 3 - 2020 model):
Escape Adventure AR Experience in Queenstown:
Odyssey Sensory Maze Entrance Ticket:
Skip the Line: Odyssey Sensory Maze Entry Queenstown Ticket:
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown:
Glenorchy Kiwi Special Tour:
Million Dollar Cruise in Queenstown:
Gibbston Valley Cave Guided Tour from Queenstown:
Queenstown Hop-on Hop-off Evening Beer Tour:
Queenstown VIP Wine Drop and Hop Tour:
TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise from Queenstown:
Self Guided Bike Experience - Frankton/Kelvin Heights/Jack’s Point to Queenstown:
The average person spends about $8.15 on alcoholic beverages in Queenstown per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:
Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown:
Wine Tour from Full Day:
Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard:
Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour:
Original Wine Tour:
Vine Hopper: Queenstown's Ultimate Wine & Microbrewery Adventure:
Valley of the Vines Afternoon Wine Tour includes a Winery Tour:
Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & Wine:
Valley of the Vines Lunch & Wine Tour with a Wine Cave Adult Tour:
Wine Tour & Maori Culture Queenstown:
Queenstown Guided Ebike Wine Tour:
Full-Day Small-Group Central Otago Wine Tour:
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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