A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Nelson vs. Christchurch for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Nelson or Christchurch?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Nelson and Christchurch can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Nelson

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.

Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, right beside the Canterbury Plains. Most people begin their South Island travels here. The city itself can be fascinating to explore so it is worth allowing yourself several days in town as an introduction to the region.

The River Avon flows through the city center, twisting through the old buildings. Christchurch is referred to in New Zealand as the Garden City and it is easy to see why. It's quite a nice city with trees spread throughout. The economy is centered around international tourism as well as foreign education. There is a high Asian student population here, giving the city a diverse feel.

Christchurch's climate is temperate and the city receives moderate rainfall. In January average high temperatures are around 73 degrees Fahrenheit with averages around 52 degrees Fahrenheit in July. There is a sea breeze during the summer months that keep temperatures pleasant. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night during the winter months. Snow may also fall several times a year.

Which city is cheaper, Christchurch or Nelson?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nelson is $89, while the average daily cost in Christchurch is $90. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Nelson and Christchurch in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Nelson is $76. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $46. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Christchurch the cost is $92 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nelson $38
    Christchurch $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nelson $76
    Christchurch $92

Food

The price of a meal in Nelson can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $26 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $10 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

Food in Christchurch costs travelers about $29 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Nelson $26
    Christchurch $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Christchurch

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

  • Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch: $92
  • Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch: $174

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Nelson is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $27 per person, per day, on local transportation in Nelson.

The average price of local transportation around Christchurch is $14 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nelson $27
    Christchurch $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nelson

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nelson:

  • Arrival Transfer: Nelson Airport to Nelson City Centre Hotels: $43
  • Departure Transfer: Nelson City Centre Hotels to Nelson Airport: $43

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Transfer from Christchurch Central City to Christchurch Airport: $21
  • Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Christchurch Central City Hotels: $21
  • Christchurch City Hotels to Airport Transfer - Lowest price 1 to 4 Pax & 2 Bags: $43
  • Private Transfer - Airport to Central Christchurch: $44
  • Private Departure Transfer: Central Christchurch to Christchurch Airport: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $59
  • Executive Sedan Airport Transfer(Pickup Airport to Hotel/Residence) Christchurch: $60
  • Executive Sedan Airport Transfer (Pickup Hotel / Residence to Airport): $60
  • Christchurch City Hotels to Airport Transfer - Lowest price 1 to 9 Passengers: $67
  • Departure Private Transfers from Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $71
  • Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer:Christchurch Airport to Central Christchurch: $74
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into Nelson or Christchurch?

Prices for flights to both Christchurch 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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Nelson typically cost an average of $22 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Christchurch's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $16 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nelson $22
    Christchurch $16

Tours and Activities in Nelson

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

  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $36
  • Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure: $75
  • Skywire Experience: $76
  • SKYWIRE Experience: $78
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure Option B Nelson City: $100
  • Dragon Hunt Archery Experience in Pristine Native Forest: $115
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure - Option A Via Mapua: $125
  • Abel Tasman and Golden Bay Tour: $149
  • Abel Tasman National Park: Day Trip with 1.5-Hour Cruise: $150
  • Fly Golden Bay & Cruise Abel Tasman Day Tour from Nelson: $341
  • Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise: $354

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Christchurch Botanic Gardens Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $15
  • Chairlift Sightseeing Pass at the Christchurch Adventure Park: $15
  • Punting on the Avon River with Optional Christchurch Gondola and Botanic Gardens Tour: $21
  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $22
  • 1-Hour City Highlights Tour by Bus: $26
  • Christchurch Tram City and Botanic Gardens Full–Day Tour: $30
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Center Entry Tickets: $35
  • Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo: $36
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $36
  • International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket: $36
  • Urban Explorer Tour: $41
  • Discover 3-Hour Double Decker Bus Tour: $51

Alcohol

The average person spends about $12 on alcoholic beverages in Nelson per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Christchurch may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nelson $12
    Christchurch $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Half Day Wine Tour: $114

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

Also in Christchurch, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • A Waipara Wine Experience with Giles Tours, includes wine tastings and lunch: $95
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $100
  • Akaroa Eco-Safari with Alpaca Farm Tour and Wine Tasting: $103
  • Full-day Akaroa Tour with Penguins Safari and Wine Tasting: $114
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $115
  • Full-day Akaroa Tour with Dolphin Cruise & Wine Tasting: $133
  • Private Waipara Valley Wine Tasting Tour with optional Gourmet Lunch: $190
  • Hanmer Springs Private Day Tour Including Hot Pool & Wine Tasting: $356


When comparing the travel costs between Nelson and Christchurch, we can see that Christchurch 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.

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Nelson vs. Christchurch Travel Comparison

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