A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Christchurch for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Paihia or Christchurch?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Paihia and Christchurch. 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Paihia

Paihia is a relaxing, fun-filled, and beautiful coastal town. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Christchurch

Christchurch is a outdoorsy, adventure-filled, and cultural city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Paihia and Christchurch: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • 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
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Paihia or Christchurch?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Paihia than Christchurch, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Paihia is better known for its scuba diving & snorkeling and beaches, while Christchurch is more popular for its museums, nightlife, shopping, and impressive beauty. Paihia is more touristy than Christchurch and is popular for its warm year round climate, impressive beaches, and world class snorkeling and scuba diving. Also, Paihia is famous for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Christchurch is well known for its outdoor beauty and relaxing, scenic atmosphere.

How is Paihia different from Christchurch?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Paihia or Christchurch?

Paihia
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Paihia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Christchurch. The city is filled with street art and local galleries. There's also Canterbury Museum, the International Antarctic Centre, the Arts Centre, and the Riccarton House & Bush.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Paihia. There are some interesting cultural sights in the area like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Museum of Waitangi.


Is the Food Better in Paihia or Christchurch? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Paihia
Christchurch

Both Paihia and Christchurch offer a number of superb restaurants to choose from.

Paihia has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Local seafood, regional produce, and fresh ingredients make dining in the area a rewarding experience. You'll find fine dining restaurants, pizzerias, and local cafes to choose from.

Dining out in Christchurch is an experience not to be missed. There's a mix of cozy cafes and casual eateries around town. You'll also find some fine dining restaurants as well as international flavors.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Nightlife?

Paihia
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for nightlife and partying. Also, Paihia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Christchurch has a large number of nightlife venues. The city has its share of dance clubs, live music venues, and laid back bars. You'll find a number of popular hangout spots around Oxford Terrace or on the historic New Regent Street.

Paihia has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. As a holiday spot, there are a number of clubs and bars that cater to tourists in the area.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Paihia
Christchurch

Paihia is well known for its diving and snorkeling. However, Christchurch is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting Paihia. There are scuba diving and snorkel shops available around town where you can organize trips and excursions to experience the undersea world.

Christchurch is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Beaches?

Paihia
Christchurch

Paihia is terrific for the beache. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beach.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Paihia. There are stunning beaches both in Paihia and throughout the Bay of Islands. Paihia Beach is in town. It's small but nice and makes a great picnic spot. For a more secluded spot head to Matauri Bay Beach or Takou Bay.

Christchurch is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are sandy beaches in the area with water sports and various amenities. The summer months are the most popular time for hanging out at the beach, and you'll find local families playing in the sun or enjoying a picnic.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Hiking?

Paihia
Christchurch

Hiking trails can be found around both Paihia and Christchurch, and they are superb.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Paihia. The Bay of Islands is filled with coastal walks and peaceful hikes. This is a great way to soak up the area's atmosphere and take in some spectacular views.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Christchurch. There are many beautiful hikes in the area that take you along the coastline or past local historic sights. The landscape is diverse and you'll find many amazing parks in the area. Hooker Valley Track is one of the best hiking routes nearby.

Is the Shopping Better in Paihia or Christchurch?

Paihia
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Paihia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Christchurch is well-known for its shopping. There's a mix of boutique shops, outlet malls, and open air markets. Some of the best shopping places include the Tannery and the Colombo.

Many visitors go to Paihia to go shopping. There are plenty of retail stores around town where you can pick up clothes or enjoy some souvenir shopping.


Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Families?

Paihia
Christchurch

Both Paihia and Christchurch are amazing family-friendly destinations.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Paihia is very family-friendly. Beaches, dolphin spotting, ice cream, and chocolate factories make the Bay of Islands the perfect place for a family vacation. There are amazing walking trails like the Manginangina Kauri Walk and opportunities to learn about the Maori culture. There are also adventure spots and great beaches.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Christchurch is a very family-friendly destination. The International Antarctic Centre is a thrilling and fun experience. There's also the Orana Wildlife Park or Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. For adrenaline junkies there are the ropes courses at the Adrenalin Forest. There are also many indoor playgrounds and rock climbing facilities.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Couples?

Paihia
Christchurch

Paihia is terrific for its romantic activities. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Paihia makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. You can enjoy sunset boat cruises, sip wine with a waterfront view, or walk through pristine natural areas. For thrill seekers there are adrenaline filled activities like parasailing or scuba diving.

Christchurch is a great coastal town if you're traveling as a couple. Punting on the Avon River is one of the most romantic activities in the city. There are also botanical gardens, parks, and natural areas that are fun to explore. Nearby, you can do a wine tour, or there are cocktail bars and charming restaurants in town. The city also has a nice theater and many other date night activities.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paihia
Christchurch

Paihia and Christchurch are both superb destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Paihia. There are a handful of hostels around town as well as many great activities for backpackers like scuba diving or parasailing.

Christchurch is a very popular coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of hostels around town, and many backpackers pass through Christchurch on their epic New Zealand adventure.


Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Students?

Paihia
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Paihia is not popular with students.

Many students visit Christchurch. It's the largest city on the South Island and there are plenty of activities and nearby trips that you can enjoy.

Paihia is not popular with students.

Is Paihia or Christchurch Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Paihia
Christchurch

Visitors will find notable public transit in both Paihia and Christchurch.

Paihia has some public transit options. There are ferries and some intercity buses through the Bay of Islands.

You'll find some public transit in Christchurch, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. While it's not a diverse transit system, the buses are well connected and offer the cheapest way to get around town.

Is Paihia or Christchurch a more walkable city?

Paihia
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. Also, Paihia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

Christchurch is a very walkable city. The city center is relatively flat and easy to explore on foot.

Paihia is a somewhat walkable coastal town. It's possible to explore parts of the town on foot.


For even more information, also check out Is Paihia Worth Visiting? and Is Christchurch Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Christchurch or Paihia?

How long in Paihia or Christchurch?

It's fun to spend time in either Paihia or Christchurch. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Paihia due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Paihia, and 2-4 days is enough time in Christchurch.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Christchurch than Paihia 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 Christchurch.


  • How many days in Paihia or Christchurch? Ideal Length of Stay
    Paihia 3-5 
    Christchurch 2-4

One day in Paihia or Christchurch?

In Paihia, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this fun-filled coastal town offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Christchurch. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Paihia or Christchurch?

Paihia is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the beaches. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

Christchurch 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 Paihia or Christchurch?

In Paihia, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this beautiful destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Lots of people come for the beaches. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Christchurch. 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 Paihia or Christchurch?

Paihia is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cultural destination of Christchurch. This city 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in New Zealand, The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand, and The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Christchurch or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $80, while the average daily cost in Christchurch is $96. 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 Paihia and Christchurch in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $34
    Christchurch $50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $68
    Christchurch $100
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Christchurch

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Christchurch? 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 Paihia


Hotels in Christchurch


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: Paihia Hotel Prices and Christchurch Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Christchurch $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Private Transfer from Lyttelton Port to Christchurch Airport CHC: $29
  • Private Transfer from Christchurch City to Lyttelton Cruise Port: $29
  • Christchurch to Christchurch Airport(CHC)- Departure Transfer: $32
  • Christchurch City Hotels to Airport Transfer - Lowest price 1 to 9 Passengers: $80
  • Christchurch Airport: 1-Way Private Transfer to Christchurch: $69
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $91
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Car: $106
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $91
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC): Transfer to Christchurch hotels: $131
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $91

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Christchurch?

Prices for flights to both Christchurch 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Paihia $28
    Christchurch $31

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $35
    Christchurch $18

Tours and Activities in Paihia

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

  • Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise: $48
  • Sundowner Evening Cruise - 2 hour evening sailing cruise with swim stop: $49
  • Bay of Islands 30-minute Adventure Jet Boat Trip: $54
  • Bay of Islands Trike Tour Experience: $54
  • Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise: $60
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Explorer Kayaking Tour: $60
  • Bay of islands Waterfall Cruise Kayaking Tour: $60
  • Scenic Tour - Bay of Islands, 30 mins (min2): $61
  • Thriller Tour - Bay of Islands, 30 mins (min 2): $61
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock: $69
  • Parasailing Adventure Over the Bay of Islands: $70
  • Hole in the Rock 1.5-Hour Fast Boat Ocean Adventure: $72

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $26
  • (MT) Mount Cook Return Day Tour Via Lake Tekapo from Christchurch: $183
  • Akaroa Day Tour From Christchurch: $114
  • Akaroa Full Day Sightseeing Tour from Christchurch: $153
  • Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch: $208
  • Arthur's Pass and TranzAlpine Train Day Tour from Christchurch: $254
  • Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour: $237
  • Arthurs Pass Day Tour With TranzAlpine and Jet Boat Ride : $233
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $42
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Centre Entry Tickets: $35
  • Christchurch Scenic Helicopter Tour: $193
  • Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo: $46

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $22
    Christchurch $11

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 Wine Tour with Lunch: $101
  • Private Tour: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $291
  • Private Shore Excursion: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $291

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

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

  • From Full-Day Wine Tour with Lunch: $102
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $107
  • From Guided Local Wine Tours in Waipara: $120
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $538


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Paihia and Christchurch, we can see that Christchurch 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 Christchurch would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Christchurch than you might in Paihia.

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


Which is Bigger, Paihia or Christchurch?

Christchurch has a larger population, and is about 190 times larger than the population of Paihia. When comparing the sizes of Paihia and Christchurch, 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.