Should you visit Lake Tekapo or Rotorua?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Lake Tekapo and Rotorua. 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.
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 Lake Tekapo?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Lake Tekapo is $71, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $86. 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 Rotorua in more detail.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $112 for a double occupancy room in Lake Tekapo.
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.
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.
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.
Meals for one day
Lake Tekapo $12
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:
Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner:
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.
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:
Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms:
Is it cheaper to fly into Lake Tekapo or Rotorua?
Prices for flights to both Rotorua 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.
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.
Tours and Activities in Lake Tekapo
Here are a few actual costs in Lake Tekapo for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory:
Dark Sky Experience:
Summit Experience - University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory:
Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Rotorua's activities, tours, and tickets:
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:
Whaka Geothermal Trails Self-Guided Tour:
Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour:
Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour:
The Farm Tour:
Rainbow Springs Ticket - Lite Pass:
Rainbow Springs Ticket - Essentials Pass:
Nocturnal adventure Glow-worm tour:
Rotorua Hot Lakes Bike Tour:
Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour:
Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure:
Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour:
Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lake Tekapo and Rotorua, we can see that Rotorua 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 Rotorua would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rotorua than you might in Lake Tekapo.
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