A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Nelson vs. Aoraki Mount Cook for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Nelson or Aoraki Mount Cook?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Nelson and Aoraki Mount Cook can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Nelson or Aoraki Mount Cook?


Nelson is a city that sits on Tasman Bay on the South Island of New Zealand. Travelers, especially ones that are heading to explore Abel Tasman National Park, frequently visit this town. Nelson has a population of about 46,000 people and, geographically speaking, it is the center of New Zealand as a whole.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is located on the South Island of New Zealand. It was declared a national park in 1953 to protect and preserve the landscape. The park is home to the country's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook. In Maori, Aoraki means, "cloud piercer", and the English name, Mt Cook, refers to the navigator James Cook, who discovered New Zealand in the 18th century. Mt Cook was the training location for Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first person to summit Everest in 1953. Other peaks in the park include Mount Tasman, Mount Sefton, and Mount Hicks. Not only can you find lush greenery all over the park, but also, glaciers cover 40% of the parks area.

Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Nelson?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nelson is $94, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $105. 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 Nelson and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nelson $40
    Aoraki Mount Cook $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nelson $80
    Aoraki Mount Cook $118
Compare Hotels in Nelson and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Nelson or Aoraki Mount Cook? 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 Nelson

Hotels in Aoraki Mount Cook

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: Nelson Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nelson $28
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also for Aoraki Mount Cook, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin City Hotels to Chalmers Cruise Port: $43

Is it cheaper to fly into Nelson or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Nelson 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 Meals for one day
    Nelson $27
    Aoraki Mount Cook $26

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nelson $23
    Aoraki Mount Cook $23

Tours and Activities in Nelson

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

  • Cable Bay Adventure Park: E-bike hire: $57
  • Cruise, Walk, and Sail in Abel Tasman National Park: $113
  • Dragon Hunt Archery Experience in Pristine Native Forest: $106
  • Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise: $290
  • Full-Day Sailing Adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park: $149
  • Great Taste Beer Tour by Bicycle: $67
  • Heli-Cruise Abel Tasman - The Best of Both Worlds : $4,750
  • Heli-Scenic Abel Tasman Experience: $878
  • Heli-Scenic Nelson Mountain Adventure: $1,135
  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $29
  • Nelson to Mapua: Full-Day Cycling Self-Guided Adventure: $71
  • Abel Tasman Cruise-Fly Day Tour: $357

Tours and Activities in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Aoraki Mount Cook.

  • Half-Day Self-Guided Ride and Wine Bike Tour from Arrowtown: $60
  • Half-Day Guided Sea Kayaking Tour from Anakiwa: $66
  • Mt. Cook to Queenstown Small Group Tour (1-way) : $103
  • From Christchurch: Mount Cook One-Way Discovery Tour: $118
  • Mt Cook to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo Small Group Tour 1 way: $120
  • Mt Cook & Hooker Valley Hike Small Group Tour from Queenstown: $136
  • Mt Cook Small Group Tour from Queenstown with Optional Activities : $136
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $224
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Ski Plane Tour from Mount Cook: $242
  • 35-Minute Valley and Glacier Helicopter Tour from Mount Cook: $242
  • 45-Minute Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour: $272
  • Hokitika Fly SIX Glaciers Heli Tour: $303

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nelson $13
    Aoraki Mount Cook $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Nelson: $60
  • Self-guided E-bike cycle tour with private wine tasting : $97
  • Kiwi Spirit Distillery Golden Bay - Visit New Zealand's only Tequila Farm!: $2,271

Sample the Local Flavors in Aoraki Mount Cook

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Aoraki Mount Cook:

  • Classic Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $15
  • Pinot Noir Wine Tasting Experience: $27
  • Valli Wine Tasting Experience: $27
  • Wild Irishman Wine Tasting Experience: $45
  • Premium Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $45

When comparing the travel costs between Nelson and Aoraki Mount Cook, we can see that Aoraki Mount Cook is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Pacific, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Nelson vs. Aoraki Mount Cook Travel Comparison

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