A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Nelson vs. Cromwell for Hiking, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Nelson or Cromwell?

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 Cromwell 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.


Nelson is a adventure-filled, natural, and beautiful city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.


Cromwell is a historical, cultural, and outdoorsy town. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. It's also known for skiing, nightlife, and food.

Nelson and Cromwell: Pros and Cons

  • 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
  • Impressive beauty
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers

Is there more to do in Nelson or Cromwell?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Nelson. Although Nelson and Cromwell are popular destinations, Nelson has more sights and attractions for tourists. Nelson is very popular for its food, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Cromwell attracts visitors for its skiing and small town charm. Nelson is more touristy than Cromwell and is popular for its stunning national parks, beautiful coastline, and outdoor adventures. It is also well known for Abel Tasman National Park. Cromwell is famous for its fruit farms, orchards, and vineyards.

How is Nelson different from Cromwell?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Skiing?


Cromwell is a town with good options for snow skiing. However, Nelson is not a skiing destination.

Cromwell is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. The town isn't far from several ski fields, so it attracts winter sports enthusiasts when the weather gets cold.

Nelson is not a skiing destination.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Nelson or Cromwell?


Both Nelson and Cromwell have nice landmarks and museums for visitors.

Nelson is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. While most people spend their time enjoying the nature-oriented activities, there are several museums in the area as well. Founder's Heritage Park Museum is a village-like setting that you can explore. There's also the Nelson Classic Car Museum and local art and craft galleries that are fun to walk through.

Cromwell offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting historical activities around town like Goldfields Mining Centre.

Is the Food Better in Nelson or Cromwell? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Nelson is a great city for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Nelson has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Local ingredients, vineyards, and craft breweries all make the foodie scene around town interesting. There are many great restaurants that offer seasonal menus that change with the season. Eating is an experience in town, and locals take pride in the food they produce.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cromwell area. There are charming cafes and bakeries where you can grab a light meal or snack. There are also quaint restaurants and wineries with nice meals available.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Nightlife?


Both Nelson and Cromwell are nice when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Nelson. The city attracts a good tourist crowd, and there are bars and clubs that keep things interesting late into the evening.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Cromwell. There are a few breweries and a number of wineries around town where you can have a relaxing night out.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Beaches?


Nelson is very popular for the beache. However, Cromwell is not a beach destination.

Nelson is considered to be a world-class beach destination. Beaches in the area are sandy and most are great for swimming. There are many water sports available as well such as kayaking, kite surfing, and paddleboarding. You'll find locals and tourists alike hanging out at the beach and enjoying a barbecue.

Cromwell is not a beach destination.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Hiking?


Nelson is very popular for hiking. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Around Nelson visitors will find world-class hiking trails. The area is filled with walking and hiking trails that wander along the coast and soak up the spectacular views. There are also three national parks in the area that are filled with trails. Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, and Nelson Lakes National Park each have their own environments and scenery to explore.

Cromwell is a popular spot for hiking. There are many beautiful walks in the area that take you through diverse landscapes and to impressive views.

Is the Shopping Better in Nelson or Cromwell?


Both Nelson and Cromwell are nice shopping destinations.

Nelson is a great destination for shopping. There are weekly markets in the area and a variety of retail shops where you can pick up anything you might need.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Cromwell. There's a farmers market in town as well as several local vendors and cute shops.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Families?


Nelson is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Nelson is an extremely popular city to visit for families. Surrounded by family-friendly national parks, this city has a number of things for kids to do. In particularly, Abel Tasman National Park is a highlight for kids, with canoeing, sailing and other activities. Kids will also enjoy a visit to Cable Bay Adventure Park or seeing the historically themed Founders Park.

Cromwell is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The lakefront setting means that there are water activities during the warmer months. There are also ski fields nearby for the winter months. Biking and walking are also popular in the area.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Couples?


Nelson is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for couples.

Nelson is a great city for couples, as it has plenty to offer. Wilderness, national parks, beaches, and mountain scenery make this a wonderful couples destination. The area also has beautiful vineyards and gardens as well hiking and outdoor adventures.

Cromwell is a very popular place to visit for couples. Cycling, walking, kayaking, and skiing all make this a romantic a charming town to visit as a couple. There are also wineries in the area with beautiful vineyards.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Nelson is very popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Nelson is extremely popular for backpackers. There are many hostels in the area as well as outdoor activities and adventure sports that backpackers will love.

Plenty of backpackers visit Cromwell. There are a handful of great hostels in the area and plenty of things to keep backpackers entertained.

Is Nelson or Cromwell Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


Both Nelson and Cromwell offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Nelson. The city has a local bus network, but to efficiently explore everything that the area has to offer, you'll want to have a car.

Public transit is mostly limited in Cromwell. Public transit around town is limited to a couple of buses.

Is Nelson or Cromwell a more walkable city?


Nelson is a great city for its high level of walkability. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its ease of walking around.

Nelson is a very walkable city. There are many great walks in the area and its a wonderful way to get around.

Cromwell is a somewhat walkable city. Parts of the town are walkable.

Should I spend more time in Cromwell or Nelson?

How long in Nelson or Cromwell?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Nelson or Cromwell to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Nelson than Cromwell because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Nelson, and 1-2 days is enough time in Cromwell.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nelson than Cromwell 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 Nelson.

  • How many days in Nelson or Cromwell? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nelson 3-5 
    Cromwell 1-2

One day in Nelson or Cromwell?

The beautiful city of Nelson offers food and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

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

A weekend in Nelson or Cromwell?

Nelson is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Cromwell 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 Nelson or Cromwell?

Nelson is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Nelson, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cromwell. 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 Nelson or Cromwell?

Nelson is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the skiing and nightlife when visiting the historical destination of Cromwell. 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, Cromwell or Nelson?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nelson is $97, while the average daily cost in Cromwell is $84. 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 Cromwell in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nelson $42
    Cromwell $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nelson $84
    Cromwell $80
Compare Hotels in Nelson and Cromwell

Looking for a hotel in Nelson or Cromwell? 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 Cromwell

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 and Cromwell Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nelson $29
    Cromwell $26

Is it cheaper to fly into Nelson or Cromwell?

Prices for flights to both Cromwell 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 $28
    Cromwell $27

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nelson $24
    Cromwell $17

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: $58
  • Cruise, Walk, and Sail in Abel Tasman National Park: $117
  • Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise: $313
  • Full-Day Sailing Adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park: $155
  • Great Taste Beer Tour by Bicycle (Self-guided): $82
  • Heli-Cruise Abel Tasman - The Best of Both Worlds : $4,928
  • Heli-Scenic Abel Tasman Experience: $911
  • Heli-Scenic Nelson Mountain Adventure: $1,178
  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $30
  • Nelson to Mapua: Full-Day Cycling Self-Guided Adventure: $73
  • Abel Tasman Cruise-Fly Day Tour: $367
  • Cable Bay Adventure Park Skywire Ticket: $67

Tours and Activities in Cromwell

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cromwell.

  • Queenstown: Mount Cook Premium Guided Day Tour: $140
  • Ultimate Lake Dunstan Trail Experience Bike & Boat Return: $178

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nelson $13
    Cromwell $9.43

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Nelson: $63
  • Self-guided E-bike cycle tour with private wine tasting : $101
  • Kiwi Spirit Distillery Golden Bay - Visit New Zealand's only Tequila Farm!: $2,356

Sample the Local Flavors in Cromwell

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

  • Wines and Views: Private Wine Tour of Otago from Queenstow: $1,499

When comparing the travel costs between Nelson and Cromwell, we can see that Nelson 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. Cromwell Travel Comparison

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