Should you visit Nelson or Queenstown?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Nelson and Queenstown can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
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.
Queenstown is a popular tourist destination on New Zealand's South Island. It is beautifully surrounded by the Southern Alps and sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Across the lake you will find a stunning view of the Remarkables, a dramatic mountain range. The town itself is quite touristy, but prices still remain reasonable. There are options for all travel budgets, whether you're a backpacker hoping to save a few dollars or a family looking for some luxury accommodation. Despite its natural and tranquil setting, Queenstown is actually very much a party town, particularly during the peak seasons. Don't be surprised to find people out enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning. If you're not into the party scene and are hoping to get a decent night's sleep, consider staying a little outside of town. About an hour outside of Queenstown you'll find Wanaka, which is a much smaller and peaceful town without the party scene.
Which city is cheaper, Queenstown 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 Queenstown is $95. 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 Queenstown in more detail.
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 $102 for a double occupancy room in Queenstown.
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.
The average traveler spends about $33 per day in Queenstown for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.
Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown:
Queenstown Progressive Dinner & Wine Tour - 3 iconic locations:
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.
The cost of a taxi ride in Queenstown is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $9.33 per person, per day, on local transportation in Queenstown.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nelson
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nelson:
Departure Transfer: Nelson City Centre Hotels to Nelson Airport:
Arrival Transfer: Nelson Airport to Nelson City Centre Hotels:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:
Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Central Queenstown City Centre:
Departure Transfer: Queenstown Central City Centre Hotels to Queenstown Airport:
Ski Transfer To Coronet Peak (Round Trip):
Ski Transfer To Remarkables Ski Area (Round Trip):
Queenstown and Fox Glacier 1-Way Transfer:
Private Ski Transfer to Coronet Peak Ski Field:
Private Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Hotel by Jet Boat:
Private Ski Transfer to The Remarkables Ski Field:
Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Queenstown to Christchurch:
Is it cheaper to fly into Nelson or Queenstown?
Prices for flights to both Queenstown 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 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 and activities in Queenstown typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Tours and Activities in Nelson
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Nelson are as follows:
Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided:
Nelson to Mapua: Full-Day Cycling Self-Guided Adventure:
Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure:
Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure Option B Nelson City:
Dragon Hunt Archery Experience in Pristine Native Forest:
Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure - Option A Via Mapua:
Abel Tasman and Golden Bay Tour:
Fly Golden Bay & Cruise Abel Tasman Day Tour from Nelson:
Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise:
Typical Entertainment prices in Queenstown
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:
Skyline Gondola (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Queenstown
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Queenstown are as follows:
Full & Half Day Hardtail Cruiser Bike Hire (Giant Talon 3 - 2020 model):
Escape Adventure AR Experience in Queenstown:
Odyssey Sensory Maze Entrance Ticket:
Skip the Line: Odyssey Sensory Maze Entry Queenstown Ticket:
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown:
Glenorchy Kiwi Special Tour:
Million Dollar Cruise in Queenstown:
Gibbston Valley Cave Guided Tour from Queenstown:
Queenstown Hop-on Hop-off Evening Beer Tour:
Queenstown VIP Wine Drop and Hop Tour:
TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise from Queenstown:
Self Guided Bike Experience - Frankton/Kelvin Heights/Jack’s Point to Queenstown:
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.
The average person spends about $8.15 on alcoholic beverages in Queenstown per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:
Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:
Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown:
Wine Tour from Full Day:
Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard:
Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour:
Original Wine Tour:
Vine Hopper: Queenstown's Ultimate Wine & Microbrewery Adventure:
Valley of the Vines Afternoon Wine Tour includes a Winery Tour:
Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & Wine:
Valley of the Vines Lunch & Wine Tour with a Wine Cave Adult Tour:
Wine Tour & Maori Culture Queenstown:
Queenstown Guided Ebike Wine Tour:
Full-Day Small-Group Central Otago Wine Tour:
When comparing the travel costs between Nelson and Queenstown, we can see that Queenstown 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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