A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Aoraki Mount Cook for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Paihia or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Paihia and Aoraki Mount Cook. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Paihia

Paihia is a town on the North Island of New Zealand in the Bay of Islands region. It is about a three hours north of Auckland by car. For those visiting the Bay of Islands, it is the main town in the area and is located near the town of Russell and Kerikeri. There is a wharf in town where most ships depart from if you are planning on going out to explore the Bay of Islands. Paihia is a very small town with a population of about 1800 people. There is a fair climate all year round with temperatures ranging from sixty to seventy degrees Fahrenheit.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is located on the South Island of New Zealand. It was declared a national park in 1953 to protect and preserve the landscape. The park is home to the country's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook. In Maori, Aoraki means, "cloud piercer", and the English name, Mt Cook, refers to the navigator James Cook, who discovered New Zealand in the 18th century. Mt Cook was the training location for Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first person to summit Everest in 1953. Other peaks in the park include Mount Tasman, Mount Sefton, and Mount Hicks. Not only can you find lush greenery all over the park, but also, glaciers cover 40% of the parks area.

Which city is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $65, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $92. 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 Paihia and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Paihia, $60 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Paihia, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $30, such as in a hostel.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Aoraki Mount Cook, $104 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Aoraki Mount Cook, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $52, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $30
    Aoraki Mount Cook $52
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $60
    Aoraki Mount Cook $104

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Paihia than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $10 on transportation in Paihia on average per day.

Aoraki Mount Cook's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $24 per person, per day on transportation in Aoraki Mount Cook.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $10
    Aoraki Mount Cook $24

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Paihia 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

Paihia food costs typically run travelers around $23 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

In Aoraki Mount Cook travelers spend around $23 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Paihia $23
    Aoraki Mount Cook $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paihia

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

  • Bay of Islands 3-Hours Sailing & Gourmet Dinner Burger Buffet: $74
  • 3 Hour Bay of Islands Sailing Cruise with Gourmet Dinner: $89

Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Paihia, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $30 per day, per person.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Aoraki Mount Cook can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $30
    Aoraki Mount Cook $20

Tours and Activities in Paihia

For Paihia, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 6 Hour Cruise with Island stop over- Gourmet lunch cooked aboard: $113
  • 90 Mile Beach Bike Tour: $170
  • Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike, Swim, Paddleboard, Wildlife: $84
  • Bay of Islands Day Wildlife Cruise: $110
  • Bay of Islands Half-Day Private Tour: $152
  • Bay of Islands Highlights Tour - With Glow Worm Caves: $137
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Cruise Kayak or Paddle board: $50
  • Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour: $198
  • Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over: $92
  • Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise: $46
  • Cape Reinga - 90 Mile Beach Tour: $104
  • Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach Tour from Bay of Islands: $119

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Paihia spend on average $19 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Aoraki Mount Cook, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $18.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $19
    Aoraki Mount Cook $18

Sample the Local Flavors in Paihia

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

  • Bay of Islands Craft Beer & Wine Tour: $93
  • Private Wine Tour in a Mustang or 4x4: $148
  • Private Shore Excursion: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $236
  • Private Tour: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $236


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

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Paihia vs. Aoraki Mount Cook Travel Comparison

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