A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Noosa Heads vs. Kaikoura for Beaches, Families, Food, and Hiking

Should you visit Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Noosa Heads and Kaikoura 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.

Noosa Heads

Noosa Heads is a natural, charming, and laid back coastal town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a unique, nature-oriented, and biologically diverse town. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and beaches.

Noosa Heads and Kaikoura: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Noosa Heads than Kaikoura, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Noosa Heads is well known for its stunning beaches, natural beauty, and surfing culture. Also, Noosa Heads is famous for Noosa Main Beach. Kaikoura is well known for its local Sperm Whale population, abundance of marine life, and local crayfish (lobster) recipes.

How is Noosa Heads different from Kaikoura?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura.

While most people don't head to Noosa Heads specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. As a holiday destination, it is all about the beaches and laid back natural beauty. You'll find little in the form of museums, but do make your way to Laguna Lookout to take in the view.

Kaikoura offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. There aren't many museums in the area, but it's worth learning more about the region's history with a visit to Kaikoura Museum.


Is the Food Better in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura offer a number of excellent restaurants to choose from.

Noosa Heads has a huge number of terrific restaurants. The scenic setting means that there are peaceful restaurants that look out on the sea or river. Many restaurants use local ingredients from nearby farms. Farm-to-table is a popular concept here, and there are many sustainable seafood dishes that use locally caught fish.

Dining out in Kaikoura is an experience not to be missed. Seafood lovers will be in heaven in this town! There are many local, freshly caught favorites such as cod, mussels, and crayfish (which is actually lobster). You'll find plenty of casual eateries, including an authentic American diner.

Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Nightlife?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find notable options in both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura.

If you're looking for night time activities Noosa Heads has a few options to choose from. There are a number of pubs and bars that have opened around town. You'll find cocktail lounges, beer gardens, an plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Kaikoura. This is a small town so the nightlife scene is limited, but there are a few restaurants with bars around town.

Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Beaches?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Noosa Heads is a world-class destination for the beache. Also, Kaikoura is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for the beach.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Noosa Heads. Visitors come for the laid back vibe and the spectacular beaches. For swimming, head to Noosa Main Beach. There's also surfing at the Noosa World Surfing Reserve and a peaceful and natural setting at Noosa National park.

Kaikoura is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are many black pebble beaches in the area, which are great for wildlife spotting, but not so good for swimming. Gooch's Beach is one of the most popular, and it's sandier than many of the other beaches. South Bay is another popular area to visit.


Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Hiking?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura are destinations which offer excellent hiking.

Many visitors go to Noosa Heads for the hiking trails. There are hiking trails that take in the coastal views or you can head inland and wander through wooded landscapes. Some of the best hiking trails are found at Noosa National Park.

Kaikoura is a popular spot for hiking. There are many coastal walks in the area that will take you through a variety of landscapes. This is also a great way to see the many diverse types of wildlife throughout the peninsula.

Is the Shopping Better in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

If you're looking to go shopping, Noosa Heads and Kaikoura both offer plenty of notable spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Noosa Heads. The main shopping street through town is Hastings Street. It's where you'll find beachside boutiques, impressive art galleries, as well as international brands.

Many visitors go to Kaikoura to go shopping. There are local shops where you can pick up some interesting products that are unique to the area.

Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Families?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Noosa Heads is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal town for its family-friendly activities.

Kaikoura is an extremely popular town to visit for families. Kids who love animals will appreciate all of the wildlife in the area. This is one of the best places in the country to see dolphins, whales, and seals. There are world class whale watching trips as well as opportunities to swim with the dolphins and get close to the seals. There is also kayaking, a coastal train, and even sheep shearing. Minigolf is also a fun activity in the area.

Noosa Heads is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. There are playgrounds and green space where you can picnic at the Noosa Villages. Kids will also enjoy taking ferry rides and exploring Noosa National Park. Also nearby is the impressive K'Gari (Fraser Island).


Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Couples?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura are excellent destinations for a couple's getaway.

Noosa Heads is a great coastal town if you're traveling as a couple. It's filled with romantic beaches and fun outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking. There are plenty of places to hike and explore, as well as sunset cruises and dolphin spotting tours. You can also unwind with a spa day or sip wine by the sea.

Kaikoura is a very popular place to visit for couples. The town is all about wildlife, so if whale watching trips, dolphin spotting, and experiencing amazing local wildlife is your thing, then this is your spot! There are also beautiful coastal sights with a dramatic mountain backdrop.

Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

For backpackers, both Noosa Heads and Kaikoura are excellent places to visit.

Many backpackers visit Noosa Heads. The laid back atmosphere makes this a long running stop for backpackers to Australia. There are a number of hostels to choose from and many ways to explore nature.

Kaikoura is a very popular coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a decent number of hostels in the area and plenty of fun activities that backpackers will enjoy.

Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Noosa Heads is a popular place for its public transit. However, Kaikoura is not a good town for times when you don't have a car.

Noosa Heads has a few public transit options. There's a ferry that travels along the river. There are also buses that travel to local destinations.

Public transit is quite limited in Kaikoura. The town is very small and there is no real public transit in the area.


Is Noosa Heads or Kaikoura a more walkable city?

Noosa Heads
Kaikoura

Noosa Heads is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. Also, Kaikoura is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its ease of walking around.

Noosa Heads is a very walkable coastal town. It's fun to explore the town and surrounding areas on foot. There are walking and bike paths throughout.

Kaikoura is a somewhat walkable coastal town. There are many coastal walks in the area, which is a great way to soak up the beauty and see the wildlife. The town itself is small and most of the accommodation is along Beach Road, so it's relatively easy to reach places on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Noosa Heads Worth Visiting? and Is Kaikoura Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Kaikoura or Noosa Heads?

How long in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

It's fun to spend time in either Noosa Heads or Kaikoura. In our opinion, Noosa Heads has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Noosa Heads than Kaikoura. However, 2-4 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Noosa Heads than Kaikoura 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 Noosa Heads.


  • How many days in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura? Ideal Length of Stay
    Noosa Heads 2-4 
    Kaikoura 2-4

One day in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads is a small town where visitors enjoy the nightlife and food. 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.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the nature-oriented town of Kaikoura. It's also a great beach destination, too. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Noosa Heads, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the unique destination of Kaikoura. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The nature-oriented town of Kaikoura offers shopping and nightlife. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. 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 coastal town offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting Kaikoura. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people come for the beaches. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Australia, The Best Walking Tours in Australia, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in New Zealand, and The Best 2-Week Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Kaikoura or Noosa Heads?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Noosa Heads is $112, while the average daily cost in Kaikoura is $134. 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 Noosa Heads and Kaikoura in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Noosa Heads $59
    Kaikoura $49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Noosa Heads $118
    Kaikoura $98
Compare Hotels in Noosa Heads and Kaikoura

Looking for a hotel in Noosa Heads or Kaikoura? 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 Noosa Heads


Hotels in Kaikoura


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: Noosa Heads Hotel Prices and Kaikoura Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Noosa Heads $17
    Kaikoura $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Noosa Heads

Also for Noosa Heads, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sunshine Coast and Noosa Eumundi Markets Bus Transfer: $32
  • Ginger Factory and Nutworks Bus Transfer (Return): $32
  • Eumundi Markets Bus Transfer from Noosa, Noosaville & Mooloolaba: $32
  • Brisbane Airport Departure shuttle Transfer from Sunshine Coast Hotels/addresses: $57
  • Australia Zoo Transfer from Noosa, Coolum, Marcoola & Twin Waters: $81
  • Private Morning Transfer From Noosa to Rainbow Beach: $91
  • Private Transfers from Sunshine Coast Airport to Noosa (4pax): $101
  • Private Transfer to or from Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY): $108
  • Private Transfers from Sunshine Coast Airport to Noosa (6pax): $118
  • Private Transfer from Sunshine Coast Airport to Noosa up to 5 pax: $125
  • Private Transfer from Noosa to Sunshine Coast Airport up to 5 pax: $125
  • Private Transfers from Sunshine Coast Airport to Noosa (8pax): $132

Is it cheaper to fly into Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Prices for flights to both Kaikoura and Noosa Heads 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Noosa Heads $34
    Kaikoura $38

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Noosa Heads

For Noosa Heads, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Classes on Witta Maleny Sunshine Coast: $122

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Noosa Heads $40
    Kaikoura $154
Typical Entertainment Prices in Noosa Heads

For Noosa Heads, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Surf Lesson
    $43
  • Sea Kayak Tour (for 2)
    $86
  • Sunset Cruise (for 2)
    $13

Tours and Activities in Noosa Heads

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

  • 2 Hours Sunset Experience on Noosa River: $22
  • The Original 1-Hour Mooloolaba Canal Cruise: $24
  • Maleny Botanic Gardens Bird Aviary Experience Ticket: $28
  • River Cruise on Historical Vessel: $33
  • Aquaduck Sunshine Coast - 1hr Mooloolaba Amphibious Tour: $34
  • The Ginger Factory Play, Taste & Discover Bundle Experience: $35
  • Noosa National Park Scenic Adventure Boat Tour on Whalesongs: $41
  • Seafood Lunch Cruise: $44
  • River to River, Land and Sea E-bike Tour in Brisbane: $47
  • Bushtucker Cruise: $51
  • Sunset Tour with Live Music: $51
  • Noosa Oceanrider - Adventure Tour: $53

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

  • Llama Trek (Taster) - Kowhai River Valley and Native Woodland Tour: $84
  • 1-Hour Private Heli-Picnic Mountain top tour in Kaikoura : $245
  • 40-minute Mt Fyffe Summit Heli Tour in Kaikoura : $229
  • Half Day Zipline Adventure in Kaikoura: $100
  • Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch: $247
  • Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch: $219
  • Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $188
  • Seal Kayaking Adventure in Kaikoura: $84
  • Sunset Evening Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $94
  • Sunset Kayak tour in Kaikoura: $85
  • Wildlife Sea Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $94

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Noosa Heads $10
    Kaikoura -

Sample the Local Flavors in Noosa Heads

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

  • Eumundi Market and Distillery Experience Market Days Wednesday & Saturday: $95
  • Sunshine Coast Brewery Tour with Lunch: $166
  • Hinterland Cheese & Wine Tasting Tour - with 2 course lunch included: $169
  • Sunshine Coast & Noosa Scenic Food & Wine Tour Inc. Lunch: $186
  • Noosa Hinterland Tour with Gourmet Lunch, Wine Tasting & Everglades Lake: $196
  • Noosa Hinterland Drinks Tour- visit 2 distilleries, a winery and a brewery : $200


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Noosa Heads Expensive? and Is Kaikoura Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Noosa Heads or Kaikoura?

Noosa Heads has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Kaikoura. When comparing the sizes of Noosa Heads and Kaikoura, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.