A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Napier vs. Queenstown for Food, Hiking, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Napier or Queenstown?

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 Queenstown can help you decide which place is right for you.

Napier

Napier is a coastal, relaxed, and character-filled town. It's also known for nightlife, food, and beaches.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a spirited, bustling, and active city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and skiing.

Napier and Queenstown: 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 for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Napier or Queenstown?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Queenstown. Although Napier and Queenstown are both popular with visitors, Queenstown has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Queenstown is more popular for its skiing, food, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Napier is known for its museums and beaches. Napier is popular for its many art deco buildings, its beautiful vineyards, and the area's long sandy beaches. Queenstown is popular for its world class skiing, adrenaline-filled adventure sports, and stunning mountain scenery. It is also home to Kawarau Bridge.

How is Napier different from Queenstown?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Skiing?

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown is a must-visit destination for skiing and snowboarding. However, Napier is not a skiing destination.

Queenstown is among the world's best ski destinations. There are four ski areas that are near the city, and many consider these among the best ski fields in New Zealand. The ski season runs from June until October and the skiing is world class.

Napier is not a skiing destination.


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

Napier
Queenstown

Napier is a well-known place for its sights and museums. However, Queenstown is not a good city 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.

While most people don't head to Queenstown specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. People head to this city for its amazing outdoor activities, but you won't find much if you're looking for museums. You can check out the Lakes District Museum though.

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

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown is a must-visit destination for its restaurants. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Queenstown has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. Located in the heart of the Otago wine region, this city has many award-winning restaurants. Local dishes, vegan cafes, and international flavors all make for a cosmopolitan and world class dining scene.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit 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.

Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Nightlife?

Napier
Queenstown

The high quality nightlife scene is relatively similar in Napier and Queenstown.

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.

Queenstown is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. This cosmopolitan town has some of the best nightlife in the country. There are laid back pubs, trendy cocktail bars, and live music venues that make for a fun night out.


Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Beaches?

Napier
Queenstown

Napier is a world-class destination for its beaches. However, Queenstown 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.

Queenstown is not a beach destination.

Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Hiking?

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown is a must-visit destination for its hiking trails. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many people visit Queenstown specifically for its hiking. The city is ideally located near some of the country's best hiking. There are walks through beech forests, along rugged mountains, and to stunning views. Several of the Great Walks are in the area as well, but if you're looking for something a little simpler, then there are many options also.

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.

Is the Shopping Better in Napier or Queenstown?

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown 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 Queenstown. It's a bustling city with designer brands and boutique shopping. There are also souvenir shops and retail outlets.

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 Queenstown Better for Families?

Napier
Queenstown

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

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.

Queenstown is a very kid-friendly town. Kids will enjoy the Queenstown cable car and the Skyline Gondola. After a ride on the gondola, you can even take the luge back down! The city also offers lake cruises, family-friendly farm tours, boat tours, and kayaking.

Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Couples?

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown is a must-visit destination for romance. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Queenstown has plenty to offer. The city is known for its adrenaline-filled adventure activities and couples who enjoy a thrill will appreciate the fun. There are also hot springs, boat cruises, and wine tours in the area. One of the most romantic activities is dinner at the Skyline.

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.

Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Napier
Queenstown

Queenstown is a must-visit destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Queenstown. With its thrill-seeking activities and nearby skiing, this is a great backpacker destination year round.

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


Is Napier or Queenstown Better for Students?

Napier
Queenstown

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

Queenstown is very popular with students. There are excellent universities in the area as well as fun activities and a lively energy that students enjoy.

Napier is not popular with students.

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

Napier
Queenstown

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

Queenstown has some public transit options. There's a decent bus system that travels 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 Queenstown a more walkable city?

Napier
Queenstown

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

Queenstown is very walkable. In town, many of the sights and activities can be reached 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 Queenstown Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Queenstown or Napier?

How long in Napier or Queenstown?

Both Napier and Queenstown have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Queenstown than in Napier. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Napier, and 2-7 days is enough time in Queenstown.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Queenstown 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 Queenstown.


  • How many days in Napier or Queenstown? Ideal Length of Stay
    Napier 2-3 
    Queenstown 2-7

One day in Napier or Queenstown?

With museums and nightlife around the character-filled town of Napier, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the 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 skiing when visiting the destination of Queenstown. 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.

A weekend in Napier or Queenstown?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Napier, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

Queenstown 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 Queenstown?

Napier, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Queenstown. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Napier or Queenstown?

Napier is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the nature-oriented destination of Queenstown. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.


Which place is cheaper, Queenstown 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 Queenstown is $108. 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 Queenstown in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Napier $105
    Queenstown $58
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Napier $210
    Queenstown $116
Compare Hotels in Napier and Queenstown

Looking for a hotel in Napier or Queenstown? 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 Queenstown


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 Queenstown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Napier $31
    Queenstown $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • Tasman Glacier Helihike with Flight Transfers: $857
  • Milford Sound Cruise with Helicopter Transfer: $760
  • Queenstown Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Queenstown: $64
  • Private Transfers from Queenstown Airport to Wanaka : $184
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Central: $184
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Airport: $184
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown to Milford Sound Cruise Port: $167
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown Central to Wanaka: $22
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown Airport to Milford Sound Port: $167
  • From Mount Cook Transfer w/ Guided Landmark Tour: $107

Is it cheaper to fly into Napier or Queenstown?

Prices for flights to both Queenstown 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
    Queenstown $37
Typical Food Prices in Napier

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


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.67

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.

  • Bar Crawl with 5 Free Shots and Pizza: $18
  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown: $118
  • Queenstown Progressive Dinner Tour | Experience 3 Locations: $211

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Napier $28
    Queenstown $22

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

Typical Entertainment Prices in Queenstown

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:


  • Skyline Gondola (for 2)
    $31

Tours and Activities in Queenstown

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

  • Arrowtown and Wanaka Platinum Tour from Queenstown: $162
  • 20-Minute Remarkables Helicopter Tour from Queenstown: $204
  • Arrowtown To A Full Day Mountain Biking Adventure: $56
  • Arrowtown and Around Half-Day Small-Group Tour: $87
  • Arrowtown and Wanaka Highlights Tour from Queenstown: $130
  • Best of Queenstown Sightseeing Tour: $124
  • Boutique Winery Half-Day Tour & Vineyard Platter-Style Lunch: $146
  • Cardrona Valley Mountain Quad Experience from Wanaka: $224
  • Challenger Self Drive Guided Buggy Tour from Queenstown: $292
  • Cruise Milford Small Group Day Tour from Queenstown : $171
  • Dart River 'Funyak' Canoe plus Jet Boat Tour from Queenstown: $274
  • Dart River Jet Boat and Wilderness Experience: $191

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Napier $17
    Queenstown $9.27
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

Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Ice Bar Crawl: $25
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown : $41
  • Queenstown & Gibbston Valley: Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tours: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Bannockburn - departing Queenstown: $62
  • Afternoon Wine Tasting Tour with 3 Wineries: $113
  • Original Wine Tour: $115
  • Classic Wine Tour: $122
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard: $124
  • Queenstown Wine Tour with Wine Dog | Adults Only: $134
  • Wine Tasting Tour: $134
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $137
  • The Ultimate Luxury Hop on Hop off Wine Tour: $143


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

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


Which is Bigger, Napier or Queenstown?

Napier has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Queenstown. When comparing the sizes of Napier and Queenstown, 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.