A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Napier vs. Dunedin for Beaches, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Napier or Dunedin?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Napier and Dunedin can help you decide which place is right for you.

Napier

Napier is a character-filled, coastal, and relaxed town. Other popular activities here include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Dunedin

Dunedin is a vibrant, small, and hilly city. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Napier and Dunedin: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less attractive beach


Is there more to do in Napier or Dunedin?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Napier than Dunedin. While Dunedin is larger than Napier, Napier has more sights and attractions for tourists. Napier is better known for its food, beaches, and hiking, while Dunedin is more popular for its shopping. Napier is more touristy than Dunedin and is popular for its many art deco buildings, its beautiful vineyards, and the area's long sandy beaches. Also, Napier is famous for the art deco architecture. Dunedin is well known for its wildlife and proximity to the Otago Peninsula.

How is Napier different from Dunedin?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Napier or Dunedin?

Napier
Dunedin

Spend time exploring the great sights and museums in either Napier or Dunedin.

Many visitors head to Napier specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Considered an "Art Deco capital", there are many interesting buildings around town and it's worth taking an Art Deco Walk. The National Aquarium of New Zealand is also impressive as is the MTG Hawke's Bay, which is a museum, gallery, and theater in one. For something a little outside the box, you can visit the Napier Prison, which is New Zealand's oldest place of incarceration, dating back to 1862.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Dunedin can be an interesting and educational experience. The city has cultural scene that is centered around both Scottish and Maori heritage. Top sights around town include the Larnach Castle, the Dunedin Railway Station, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and the Otago Museum.


Is the Food Better in Napier or Dunedin? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Napier
Dunedin

Napier is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Napier is an experience not to be missed. With its many wineries and big mix of fine dining restaurants, there is plenty for a foodie to enjoy around town. You'll find restaurants that serve up New Zealand favorites as well as those that experiment with modern and trendy recipes.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Dunedin. The culinary scene in town continues to grow and improve. There are local eateries that have charm and character and serve interesting and local dishes.

Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Nightlife?

Napier
Dunedin

The great nightlife scene is relatively similar in Napier and Dunedin.

Napier has a large number of nightlife venues. The nightlife scene is diverse and fun. Whether you're looking for a wild party or just want to relax with a drink and some friends, there are plenty of places where you can hang out.

Dunedin is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The town has eclectic bars and a diverse club scene that is fun to experience. It has a lively nightlife scene that is driven, in part, by the large student population.

Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Beaches?

Napier
Dunedin

Napier is an unbeatable place for the beach. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its beaches.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Napier. It's a popular beach destination and you'll find plenty of beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and playing with the kids. You'll want to head out of town to find the best and most beautiful beaches. For hidden beaches and some of the area's best surf, head to Mahia Peninsula. To escape the tourists and hang out with the locals, go to Waipatiki Beach. And for a picnic, Westshore Beach is a favorite. Waimarama Beach is another favorite in the area as well.

Many people head to Dunedin to enjoy the beach. Many of the beaches are just a short drive from the city center. The surf is surprisingly good and the beaches are fun during the warmer summer months.


Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Hiking?

Napier
Dunedin

Napier is well known for its hiking experiences. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Napier. Hawke's Bay is filled with wonderful walks and hikes. There are easy coastal paths as well as mult-day treks around Lake Waikaremoana. It's not hard to find somewhere to stretch your legs and explore the scenery.

Many people include a hike when visiting Dunedin. There are biking and hiking trails that travel around town and through the surrounding landscapes.

Is the Shopping Better in Napier or Dunedin?

Napier
Dunedin

Dunedin is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Dunedin. The shopping scene is diverse and eclectic with everything from vintage shops to fashion boutiques. Some of the most popular shopping areas are Edinburgh Way, Octagon Entertainment Precinct, Moray Place, and the Warehouse Precinct.

Napier offers some nice shopping areas. You'll find all of the standard New Zealand retail chains as well antique and boutique shops. With its many Art Deco buildings, the city has character and personality.

Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Families?

Napier
Dunedin

You'll find great kid-friendly activities in either Napier or Dunedin.

Napier is a very family-friendly destination. This coastal city has a waterpark, a waterfall walk, and plenty of beaches where the family can hang out. There's also a waterfront promenade that is filled with water features and playgrounds where the kids can run around. You can also check out Hawke's Bay Farmyard Zoo or on a rainy day head to the Faraday Museum of Technology.

Dunedin is a very kid-friendly town. It's one of the largest cities on the South Island, and there are many educational opportunities and unique experiences available to kids. You can visit the Otago Museum or the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, take a wildlife cruise, or visit the Larnach Castle. You can also take a ride on the Inlander or simply hang out at a playground.


Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Couples?

Napier
Dunedin

Napier is well known for couples. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Napier frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Surrounded by vineyards and lined with beaches, this is a great place for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon. Hop on a bike and explore the wineries or enjoy a beautiful hike through nature. There are also adrenaline-filled activities for thrill seekers or fine dining restaurants for the foodies.

Dunedin is a nice destination for couples. You can wander through the castle or explore one of the city's markets. There are also romantic restaurants and many opportunities to see wildlife.

Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Napier
Dunedin

Napier and Dunedin are both great destinations for backpackers.

Napier is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a couple of hostels around town and plenty of fun activities like mountain biking or white water rafting that you can enjoy.

Dunedin is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are many hostels around town and plenty of activities that keep backpackers entertained.

Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Students?

Napier
Dunedin

Dunedin is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Napier is not popular with students.

Dunedin is very popular with students. This is a large student city that is welcoming to international students and a popular place to study.

Napier is not popular with students.


Is Napier or Dunedin Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Napier
Dunedin

Dunedin is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Dunedin has some public transit options. There a relatively decent bus system that travels through town.

Public transit is generally limited in Napier. Public transit to most of the beaches is limited or nonexistent, so you really need a car if you want to get around and see everything.

Is Napier or Dunedin a more walkable city?

Napier
Dunedin

Dunedin is a very popular place for its walkability. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

Dunedin is very walkable. Parts of the town are easy to explore on foot.

Napier is generally not very walkable. If you stay in town you can walk to cafes and restaurants, but you really need a car if you're planning to visit beaches or explore the area in depth.

For even more information, also check out Is Napier Worth Visiting? and Is Dunedin Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dunedin or Napier?

How long in Napier or Dunedin?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Napier and Dunedin. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Napier, and 1-3 days is enough time in Dunedin.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Dunedin than Napier 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 Dunedin.


  • How many days in Napier or Dunedin? Ideal Length of Stay
    Napier 2-3 
    Dunedin 1-3

One day in Napier or Dunedin?

In Napier, you'll find nightlife and food. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. This town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Dunedin. One day is often enough time to do most activities.


A weekend in Napier or Dunedin?

In Napier, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Napier has to offer.

Dunedin is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Napier or Dunedin?

Napier is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dunedin. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Napier or Dunedin?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Napier. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Napier. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cultural destination of Dunedin. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to New Zealand, The Best G Adventures Tours to New Zealand, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Auckland, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Dunedin or Napier?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Napier is $167, while the average daily cost in Dunedin is $102. 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 Napier and Dunedin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Napier $101
    Dunedin $52
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Napier $202
    Dunedin $104
Compare Hotels in Napier and Dunedin

Looking for a hotel in Napier or Dunedin? 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 Napier


Hotels in Dunedin


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: Napier Hotel Prices and Dunedin Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Napier $30
    Dunedin $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dunedin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dunedin:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin Airport (DUD) to Chalmers Port: $44
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Port to Dunedin Airport (DUD): $43
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Cruise Port to Dunedin City Hotels: $43
  • ONE WAY MOMONA: Transfer from /to Dunedin Airport: $125
  • Momona Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Momona: $90
  • Dunedin to Dunedin Int Airport (DUD) - Departure Private Transfer: $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Napier or Dunedin?

Prices for flights to both Dunedin and Napier 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
    Napier $36
    Dunedin $29
Typical Food Prices in Napier

For Napier, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.32

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Napier $27
    Dunedin $17

Tours and Activities in Napier

For Napier, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Self-Guided Earthquake Audio Tour: $14
  • Art Deco Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $14
  • Hastings Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Art Deco Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Hawkes Bay Wineries Self-Guided Bike Tour: $35
  • National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier Native Icons Tour: $36
  • Hawke's Bay: Self Guided Coastal Winery Cycle Tour: $47
  • Cape Coast Wineries Self-Guided Scenic Bike Tour from Napier: $48
  • Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour: $57
  • Small Group 2.5-Hour Napier History and Art Deco Tour : $57
  • 2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour: $57

Tours and Activities in Dunedin

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

  • Shore Excursion: V8 Trike, Peninsula and City Tour: $48
  • A 2 hour Small Group Dunedin City Highlights Tour: $57
  • Albatross, Wildlife and Harbour Cruise: $97
  • All in Dunedin - Nature & City Tour: $515
  • Brews and Views: Private Tour of Dunedin’s Craft Beer Scene: $1,031
  • Captivating Side of Dunedin Walking Tour for Couples: $272
  • Castle, Coast & City Small Group Tour (8 pax max): $120
  • Clearwater Wildlife - Small Guided Tours (10 max) Otago Peninsula: $106
  • Cruise Dunedin City and Castle Tour: $112
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $173
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $338
  • Dunedin City & Coast Views 3-Hour Small-Group Tour: $74

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Napier $16
    Dunedin $14
Typical Alcohol Prices in Napier

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Napier are as follows:


  • Wine
    $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Napier

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Napier:

  • Half Day Small-Group Hawkes Bay Wine Tour: $94
  • Wine Tour and Tastings in Hawkes Bay: $166
  • Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting: $621

Sample the Local Flavors in Dunedin

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

  • Speight Brewery Small Group Guided Tour from Dunedin: $21
  • Emerson's Brewery Tour: $24


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

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


Which is Bigger, Napier or Dunedin?

Dunedin has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Napier. When comparing the sizes of Napier and Dunedin, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.