A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Cromwell for Families, Couples, Food, and Hiking

Should you visit Paihia or Cromwell?

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 Cromwell. 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. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Cromwell

Cromwell is a cultural, outdoorsy, and historical town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and hiking.

Paihia and Cromwell: 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 for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Paihia or Cromwell?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Paihia than Cromwell, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Paihia is better known for its food, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches, while Cromwell is more popular for its skiing and small town charm. Paihia is more touristy than Cromwell and is known for its warm year round climate, impressive beaches, and world class snorkeling and scuba diving. Also, Paihia is famous for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Cromwell is well known for its fruit farms, orchards, and vineyards.

How is Paihia different from Cromwell?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Skiing?

Paihia
Cromwell

Cromwell is a good destination for skiing and snowboarding. However, Paihia is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Cromwell is a great destination to visit. The town isn't far from several ski fields, so it attracts winter sports enthusiasts when the weather gets cold.

Paihia is not a skiing destination.


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

Paihia
Cromwell

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Paihia and Cromwell.

Paihia offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting cultural sights in the area like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Museum of Waitangi.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Cromwell. There are some interesting historical activities around town like Goldfields Mining Centre.

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

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is a great coastal town for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cromwell area. There are charming cafes and bakeries where you can grab a light meal or snack. There are also quaint restaurants and wineries with nice meals available.

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Nightlife?

Paihia
Cromwell

The notable nightlife scene is relatively similar in Paihia and Cromwell.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Paihia. As a holiday spot, there are a number of clubs and bars that cater to tourists in the area.

Cromwell has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There are a few breweries and a number of wineries around town where you can have a relaxing night out.


Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is a great coastal town for its diving and snorkeling. However, Cromwell is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Paihia is an extremely popular place to visit for scuba diving and snorkeling. There are scuba diving and snorkel shops available around town where you can organize trips and excursions to experience the undersea world.

Cromwell is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Beaches?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is very popular for the beache. However, Cromwell is not a beach destination.

Paihia is considered to be a world-class beach destination. 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.

Cromwell is not a beach destination.

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Hiking?

Paihia
Cromwell

Hiking trails can be found around both Paihia and Cromwell, and they are very good.

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 Cromwell. There are many beautiful walks in the area that take you through diverse landscapes and to impressive views.


Is the Shopping Better in Paihia or Cromwell?

Paihia
Cromwell

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Paihia and Cromwell.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Paihia. There are plenty of retail stores around town where you can pick up clothes or enjoy some souvenir shopping.

Many visitors go to Cromwell to go shopping. There's a farmers market in town as well as several local vendors and cute shops.

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Families?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Paihia is an extremely popular coastal town to visit for families. 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.

Cromwell is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The lakefront setting means that there are water activities during the warmer months. There are also ski fields nearby for the winter months. Biking and walking are also popular in the area.

Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Couples?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for couples.

Paihia is a great coastal town for couples, as it has plenty to offer. 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.

Cromwell is a very popular place to visit for couples. Cycling, walking, kayaking, and skiing all make this a romantic a charming town to visit as a couple. There are also wineries in the area with beautiful vineyards.


Is Paihia or Cromwell Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is a great coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town 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.

Plenty of backpackers visit Cromwell. There are a handful of great hostels in the area and plenty of things to keep backpackers entertained.

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

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia is a coastal town with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Cromwell is not known for its public transit.

While Paihia offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are ferries and some intercity buses through the Bay of Islands.

Public transit is generally limited in Cromwell. Public transit around town is limited to a couple of buses.

Is Paihia or Cromwell a more walkable city?

Paihia
Cromwell

Paihia and Cromwell are notable when it comes to walkability.

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

Cromwell is a somewhat walkable coastal town. Parts of the town are walkable.


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

Should I spend more time in Cromwell or Paihia?

How long in Paihia or Cromwell?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Paihia or Cromwell to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Paihia than Cromwell because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Paihia, and 1-2 days is enough time in Cromwell.

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

Couples should spend more time in Paihia than Cromwell. 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 Paihia than Cromwell 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 Paihia.


  • How many days in Paihia or Cromwell? Ideal Length of Stay
    Paihia 3-5 
    Cromwell 1-2

One day in Paihia or Cromwell?

The coastal town of Paihia offers museums and nightlife. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Cromwell. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Paihia or Cromwell?

Paihia is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Cromwell 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 Cromwell?

Paihia is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Paihia, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cromwell. 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 Cromwell?

Paihia 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.

Travelers enjoy the skiing and nightlife when visiting the historical destination of Cromwell. This town 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.


Which place is cheaper, Cromwell or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $77, while the average daily cost in Cromwell is $85. 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 Cromwell in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $35
    Cromwell $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $70
    Cromwell $80
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Cromwell

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Cromwell? 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 Cromwell


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 Cromwell Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Cromwell $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paihia

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

  • Private Transfer from Bay Of Islands Port to Auckland Airport AKL: $116
  • Private Transfer from Bay Of Islands Cruise Port to Auckland city: $116

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Cromwell?

Prices for flights to both Cromwell 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 $27
    Cromwell $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paihia

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

  • Private Modern Vegetarian Cooking Class with Anna in Northland: $195

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $36
    Cromwell $17

Tours and Activities in Paihia

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

  • Adrenalin Junkie Tour - 60 mins (min 2): $113
  • *Popular Cruise Ship Tour* Bay of Islands and Glow Worm Caves Shore Excursion: $133
  • 3 Hours // Hole in the Rock Cruise & Bay of Islands Tour: $79
  • 3 Hours // Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stopover: $79
  • Bay Combo Tour - 60 mins (min 2): $113
  • Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise: $50
  • Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike,Swim,Wildlife: $94
  • Bay of Islands Discover the Bay cruise including Dolphins: $95
  • Bay of Islands Half-Day Private Tour: $206
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Explorer Kayaking Tour: $62
  • Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour: $182
  • Bay of Islands: 4.5 Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour: $77

Tours and Activities in Cromwell

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

  • Queenstown: Mount Cook Premium Guided Day Tour: $154
  • Ultimate Lake Dunstan Trail Experience Bike & Boat Return: $180

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $23
    Cromwell $9.52

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: $105

Sample the Local Flavors in Cromwell

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

  • Wines and Views: Private Wine Tour of Otago from Queenstow: $1,507


When comparing the travel costs between Paihia and Cromwell, we can see that Cromwell 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.

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