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

Should you visit Paihia or Napier?

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 Napier. 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 beautiful, relaxing, and fun-filled coastal town. Other reasons to visit include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Napier

Napier is a relaxed, character-filled, and coastal town. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Paihia and Napier: 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


Is there more to do in Paihia or Napier?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Paihia. Although Paihia and Napier are popular destinations, Paihia has more sights and attractions for tourists. Paihia is very popular for its scuba diving & snorkeling, while Napier attracts visitors for its museums and nightlife. Paihia is more touristy than Napier and is known for its warm year round climate, impressive beaches, and world class snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also well known for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Napier is famous for its many art deco buildings, its beautiful vineyards, and the area's long sandy beaches.

How is Paihia different from Napier?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Napier 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 Napier?

Paihia
Napier

Napier 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 Napier. Considered an "Art Deco capital", there are many interesting buildings around town and it's worth taking an Art Deco Walk. The National Aquarium of New Zealand is also impressive as is the MTG Hawke's Bay, which is a museum, gallery, and theater in one. For something a little outside the box, you can visit the Napier Prison, which is New Zealand's oldest place of incarceration, dating back to 1862.

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 Napier? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Paihia
Napier

Both Paihia and Napier offer a number of high quality 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 Napier is an experience not to be missed. With its many wineries and big mix of fine dining restaurants, there is plenty for a foodie to enjoy around town. You'll find restaurants that serve up New Zealand favorites as well as those that experiment with modern and trendy recipes.

Is Paihia or Napier Better for Nightlife?

Paihia
Napier

Napier 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.

Napier has a large number of nightlife venues. The nightlife scene is diverse and fun. Whether you're looking for a wild party or just want to relax with a drink and some friends, there are plenty of places where you can hang out.

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 Napier Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia is a very popular place for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Napier is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

There is a nice variety of marine life that makes scuba diving and snorkeling great in Paihia. There are scuba diving and snorkel shops available around town where you can organize trips and excursions to experience the undersea world.

Napier is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Paihia or Napier Better for Beaches?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia and Napier both offer first-rate beaches.

Paihia offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. 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.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Napier. It's a popular beach destination and you'll find plenty of beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and playing with the kids. You'll want to head out of town to find the best and most beautiful beaches. For hidden beaches and some of the area's best surf, head to Mahia Peninsula. To escape the tourists and hang out with the locals, go to Waipatiki Beach. And for a picnic, Westshore Beach is a favorite. Waimarama Beach is another favorite in the area as well.

Is Paihia or Napier Better for Hiking?

Paihia
Napier

Hiking trails can be found around both Paihia and Napier, and they are high quality.

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 Napier. Hawke's Bay is filled with wonderful walks and hikes. There are easy coastal paths as well as mult-day treks around Lake Waikaremoana. It's not hard to find somewhere to stretch your legs and explore the scenery.

Is the Shopping Better in Paihia or Napier?

Paihia
Napier

Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Paihia and Napier.

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 Napier to go shopping. You'll find all of the standard New Zealand retail chains as well antique and boutique shops. With its many Art Deco buildings, the city has character and personality.


Is Paihia or Napier Better for Families?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Paihia is one of the most popular family destinations. 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.

Napier is a very kid-friendly coastal town. This coastal city has a waterpark, a waterfall walk, and plenty of beaches where the family can hang out. There's also a waterfront promenade that is filled with water features and playgrounds where the kids can run around. You can also check out Hawke's Bay Farmyard Zoo or on a rainy day head to the Faraday Museum of Technology.

Is Paihia or Napier Better for Couples?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia is a must-visit destination for romance. Also, Napier is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Paihia 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.

Couples visit Napier frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Surrounded by vineyards and lined with beaches, this is a great place for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon. Hop on a bike and explore the wineries or enjoy a beautiful hike through nature. There are also adrenaline-filled activities for thrill seekers or fine dining restaurants for the foodies.

Is Paihia or Napier Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia and Napier are both high quality 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.

Napier is a very popular coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels around town and plenty of fun activities like mountain biking or white water rafting that you can enjoy.


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

Paihia
Napier

Paihia is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its public transit.

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

Public transit is generally limited in Napier. Public transit to most of the beaches is limited or nonexistent, so you really need a car if you want to get around and see everything.

Is Paihia or Napier a more walkable city?

Paihia
Napier

Paihia is very good for its walkability. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

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

Napier is generally not very walkable. If you stay in town you can walk to cafes and restaurants, but you really need a car if you're planning to visit beaches or explore the area in depth.

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

Should I spend more time in Napier or Paihia?

How long in Paihia or Napier?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Paihia and Napier. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Paihia than in Napier. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Paihia, and 2-3 days is enough time in Napier.

Families should spend more time in Paihia than Napier. 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 Napier. 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 Napier 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 Napier? Ideal Length of Stay
    Paihia 3-5 
    Napier 2-3

One day in Paihia or Napier?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Paihia. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Napier. 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 Napier?

Paihia is a great place to explore. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Napier is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Napier?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Paihia. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Napier. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Napier?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the relaxing destination of Paihia. This coastal 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.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the coastal destination of Napier. 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, Napier 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 Napier is $174. 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 Napier in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $35
    Napier $105
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $70
    Napier $210
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Napier

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Napier? 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 Napier


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 Napier Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Napier $31

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 Napier?

Prices for flights to both Napier 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
    Napier $38

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

Typical Food Prices in Napier

For Napier, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.67

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $36
    Napier $28

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 Napier

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

  • 2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour: $60
  • Beer, Wine, Cider and Gin Tour in New Zealand: $124
  • Best of Napier & Hawkes Bay Tour: $79
  • Cape Coast Wineries Self-Guided Scenic Bike Tour from Napier: $51
  • Cape Winery Cycle Tour - 6 wineries, self-guided: $73
  • Country Experience at Mohaka River Farm: $126
  • Deco City Black Cab Tours and Shuttles: $111
  • Half Day Sights and Tastes Tour in Napier : $101
  • Hastings Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Hawke's Bay: Coastal Winery Cycle Tour - self-guided: $50
  • Hawkes Bay Wineries Electric Self-Guided Bike Tour: $62
  • Hawkes Bay Wineries Self-Guided Bike Tour: $37

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $23
    Napier $17

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

Typical Alcohol Prices in Napier

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Napier are as follows:


  • Wine
    $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Napier

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Napier:

  • Half Day Small-Group Hawkes Bay Wine Tour: $98
  • Wine Tour and Tastings in Hawkes Bay: $174
  • Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting: $536


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


Which is Bigger, Paihia or Napier?

Napier has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Paihia. When comparing the sizes of Paihia and Napier, 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.