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

Should you visit Napier or Lake Tekapo?

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 Lake Tekapo 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.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a basic, small, and remote town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include hiking.

Napier and Lake Tekapo: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
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 food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping


Is there more to do in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Napier than Lake Tekapo, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Napier is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Lake Tekapo is more popular for its small town charm and impressive beauty. Napier is more touristy than Lake Tekapo 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. Lake Tekapo is well known for its hot springs, remote location, and beautiful night sky.

How is Napier different from Lake Tekapo?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Lake Tekapo 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 Lake Tekapo?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

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

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Napier. 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.

Lake Tekapo does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Napier is a great destination for its restaurant scene. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options 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.

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 Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Nightlife?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

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

The people in Napier know how to have a good time. 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.

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 Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Beaches?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Napier is terrific for the beach. However, Lake Tekapo is not a beach destination.

Napier offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. 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.

Lake Tekapo is not a beach destination.


Is Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Hiking?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

You'll find high quality hiking in both Napier and Lake Tekapo.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting 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.

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.

Is the Shopping Better in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

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

Many visitors go to Napier to go shopping. 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.

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

Is Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Families?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

You'll find high quality kid-friendly activities in either Napier or Lake Tekapo.

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.

Lake Tekapo is a very kid-friendly town. 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.


Is Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Couples?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Napier is a great destination for couples. Also, Lake Tekapo 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.

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 Napier or Lake Tekapo Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Napier is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Napier is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels around town and plenty of fun activities like mountain biking or white water rafting that you can enjoy.

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

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

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Napier 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 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.

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 Napier or Lake Tekapo a more walkable city?

Napier
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is very good for its walkability. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

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

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 Lake Tekapo Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Lake Tekapo or Napier?

How long in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Napier or Lake Tekapo to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Napier than Lake Tekapo because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Napier, and 1-2 days is enough time in Lake Tekapo.

Families should spend more time in Napier than Lake Tekapo. 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 Lake Tekapo. 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 Napier 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 Napier.


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

One day in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the character-filled town of Napier. It's also a great beach destination, too. Most people visit for the beaches. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the destination of Lake Tekapo. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the coastal destination of Napier. 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.

Lake Tekapo 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 Lake Tekapo?

The coastal town of Napier offers shopping and museums. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lake Tekapo. 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. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Napier. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people come for the beaches. Most people visit for the beaches. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the remote destination of Lake Tekapo. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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, Lake Tekapo or Napier?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Napier is $174, while the average daily cost in Lake Tekapo is $78. 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 Lake Tekapo in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Napier $105
    Lake Tekapo $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Napier $210
    Lake Tekapo $124
Compare Hotels in Napier and Lake Tekapo

Looking for a hotel in Napier or Lake Tekapo? 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 Lake Tekapo


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 Lake Tekapo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Napier $31
    Lake Tekapo -

Is it cheaper to fly into Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Prices for flights to both Lake Tekapo 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 $38
    Lake Tekapo $13
Typical Food Prices in Napier

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


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.67

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Napier $28
    Lake Tekapo -

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 Art Deco Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Prison Self-Guided Audio Tour: $19
  • Hawkes Bay Wineries Self-Guided Bike Tour: $37
  • Hawke's Bay: Coastal Winery Cycle Tour - self-guided: $49
  • Cape Coast Wineries Self-Guided Scenic Bike Tour from Napier: $50
  • 2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour: $55
  • Small Group 2.5-Hour Napier History and Art Deco Tour : $55
  • Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour: $59

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

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Napier $17
    Lake Tekapo -
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: $97
  • Wine Tour and Tastings in Hawkes Bay: $172
  • Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting: $529


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Napier and Lake Tekapo, we can see that Napier 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 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 Lake Tekapo.

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


Which is Bigger, Napier or Lake Tekapo?

Napier has a larger population, and is about 170 times larger than the population of Lake Tekapo. When comparing the sizes of Napier and Lake Tekapo, 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.