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

Should you visit Napier or Picton?

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 Picton 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.

Picton

Picton is a quaint, relaxing, and picturesque town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and food.

Napier and Picton: 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
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Napier or Picton?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Napier than Picton, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Napier is better known for its museums, nightlife, and beaches, while Picton is more popular for its small town charm. Napier is well known 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. Picton is well known for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails.

How is Napier different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Napier
Picton

Napier is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

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.

Picton is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are a few local museums around town that are fun to visit with the weather isn't cooperating. Edwin Fox Ship is the world's oldest merchant ship. You can also learn about the town's whaling past at the Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum.


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

Napier
Picton

Both Napier and Picton offer a number of high quality restaurants to choose from.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Napier. 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.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Picton. The town is filled with restaurants that stay true to New Zealand's culinary traditions. Mussels and salmon are common on menus, and there are many bakeries and waterfront cafes to try.

Is Napier or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Napier
Picton

Napier is a well-known place for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

Napier offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Picton. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.

Is Napier or Picton Better for Beaches?

Napier
Picton

Napier is very popular for the beach. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its beaches.

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.

Picton is considered a top beach destination. There are four beaches in the area. Picton Beach is by the town center and near many restaurants and cafes. About a ten minute walk from town is Shelley Beach and if you're up for more walking, Bob's Bay is secluded and nice. If you have a car you can make it to Governer's Bay.


Is Napier or Picton Better for Hiking?

Napier
Picton

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

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 Picton. There are many nice walking paths in the area and this is a great way to explore, reach beaches, and see the surrounding landscapes. If you're up for a longer trip, Queen Charlotte Track is a popular trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Napier or Picton?

Napier
Picton

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Napier and Picton.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Napier. 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.

Picton offers some nice shopping areas. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.

Is Napier or Picton Better for Families?

Napier
Picton

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

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.

Picton is a very kid-friendly town. Kids will enjoy taking a boat cruise to Motuara Island. You can see dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. There are also wildlife centers in the area, family-friendly walking trails, museums, aquariums, and kayaking opportunities.


Is Napier or Picton Better for Couples?

Napier
Picton

Both Napier and Picton are high quality destinations to visit as a couple.

Napier makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Couples visit Picton frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. There are romantic and quaint bed and breakfasts, beautiful walking paths, wildlife encounters, and many more fun activities for couples. Kayak trips, vineyard tours, and local spas make this a great couple's getaway destination.

Is Napier or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Napier
Picton

Napier and Picton are both high quality 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.

Picton is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

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

Napier
Picton

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

Picton has some public transit options. There are water taxis but no buses around 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 Picton a more walkable city?

Napier
Picton

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

Picton is very walkable. It's a quaint and compact town that's 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 Picton Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Picton or Napier?

How long in Napier or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Napier or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Napier than Picton 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 Picton.

Families should spend more time in Napier than Picton. 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 Picton. 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 Picton 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 Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Napier 2-3 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Napier or Picton?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Napier. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

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

A weekend in Napier or Picton?

Napier is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Picton 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 Picton?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Napier. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Picton. 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 Picton?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the coastal destination of Napier. 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.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the scenic destination of Picton. 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.


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, Picton or Napier?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Napier is $169, while the average daily cost in Picton is $88. 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 Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Napier $102
    Picton $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Napier $204
    Picton $74
Compare Hotels in Napier and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Napier or Picton? 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 Picton


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 Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Napier $30
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim city hotels to Picton Cruise Port: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Napier or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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 $37
    Picton $20
Typical Food Prices in Napier

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


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.41

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Napier $27
    Picton $111

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: $37
  • National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier Native Icons Tour: $38
  • Hawke's Bay: Self Guided Coastal Winery Cycle Tour: $49
  • Cape Coast Wineries Self-Guided Scenic Bike Tour from Napier: $50
  • Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour: $59
  • Small Group 2.5-Hour Napier History and Art Deco Tour : $59
  • 2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour: $59

Tours and Activities in Picton

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

  • 1-Day Cruise in Queen Charlotte Track & Kupes Trail Walk: $122
  • 2 hour Dolphin Viewing Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • 3.5 Hour Marlborough Sounds Delivery Cruise: $69
  • Bays and Bush Scenic Tour: $99
  • Bird Watching and Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Hop on Hop off Yealands & Marlborough tour: $125
  • Captain Cook and Dolphin Cruise: $93
  • Cruise Excursion - Wines of Marlborough Tour: $106
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62
  • Cruise and Lunch at Furneaux Lodge: $84
  • Day Cruise & Lunch at Punga Cove Resort: $84
  • Early Bird Eco Cruise: $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Napier $16
    Picton $35
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: $647

Sample the Local Flavors in Picton

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

  • Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour (full day) in the Marlborough Region.: $37
  • Self-Guided Wine Tours by Bike with Steve & Jo in Marlborough : $41
  • Marlborough: Hop On Hop Off Wine, Brewery, and Wonders Tour: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Marlborough: $56
  • Marlborough Afternoon Wine Tour with Tastings: $72
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $91
  • Morning Guided with Afternoon Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour: $94
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $97
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $103
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $113


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Napier and Picton, we can see that Napier is more expensive. And not only is Picton much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Picton would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Picton 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 Picton.

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


Which is Bigger, Napier or Picton?

Napier has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Picton. When comparing the sizes of Napier and Picton, 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.