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

Should you visit Nelson or Lake Tekapo?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Nelson and Lake Tekapo 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.

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo is a lakeside town on the South Island of New Zealand, and it is part of the Mackenzie District of Canterbury. This is one of the bluest lakes in the country and is surrounded by the mighty mountains of the Southern Alps.

Which city is cheaper, Lake Tekapo or Nelson?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nelson is $86, while the average daily cost in Lake Tekapo is $69. 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 Lake Tekapo in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Nelson is $74. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $108 for a double occupancy room in Lake Tekapo.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nelson $37
    Lake Tekapo $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nelson $74
    Lake Tekapo $108

Food

The price of a meal in Nelson can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $25 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 Lake Tekapo costs travelers about $12 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 $25
    Lake Tekapo $12

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Nelson is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Nelson.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nelson $26
    Lake Tekapo -

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Nelson or Lake Tekapo?

Prices for flights to both Lake Tekapo 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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nelson $22
    Lake Tekapo -

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
  • Nelson to Mapua: Full-Day Cycling Self-Guided Adventure: $67
  • Skywire Experience: $72
  • Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure: $75
  • 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
  • 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 Lake Tekapo

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

  • Dark Sky Experience: $33
  • Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory: $96
  • Summit Experience - University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory: $133

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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nelson $12
    Lake Tekapo -

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Half Day Wine Tour: $114


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nelson and Lake Tekapo, we can see that Nelson is more expensive. And not only is Lake Tekapo much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lake Tekapo would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lake Tekapo 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 Nelson would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Nelson than you might in Lake Tekapo.

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Nelson vs. Lake Tekapo Travel Comparison

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