A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Nelson for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Paihia or Nelson?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Paihia and Nelson. 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.

Nelson

Nelson is a city that sits on Tasman Bay on the South Island of New Zealand. Travelers, especially ones that are heading to explore Abel Tasman National Park, frequently visit this town. Nelson has a population of about 46,000 people and, geographically speaking, it is the center of New Zealand as a whole.

Which city is cheaper, Nelson or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $69, while the average daily cost in Nelson is $87. 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 Nelson in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Paihia, $62 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Paihia, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $31, such as in a hostel.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Nelson is $74. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $31
    Nelson $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $62
    Nelson $74

Food

Paihia food costs typically run travelers around $24 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.

The price of a meal in Nelson can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $25 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $10 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Paihia $24
    Nelson $25

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

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 $11 on transportation in Paihia on average per day.

The cost of a taxi ride in Nelson is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Nelson.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $11
    Nelson $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nelson

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nelson:

  • Departure Transfer: Nelson City Centre Hotels to Nelson Airport: $43
  • Arrival Transfer: Nelson Airport to Nelson City Centre Hotels: $43

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Nelson?

Prices for flights to both Nelson 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Paihia, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $32 per day, per person.

Entertainment and activities in Nelson typically cost an average of $22 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $32
    Nelson $22

Tours and Activities in Paihia

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

  • Skip the Line: Waitangi Treaty Grounds Experience Pass: $37
  • Sundowner Evening Cruise: $46
  • Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise: $49
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Cruise Kayak or Paddle board: $50
  • Parasailing Adventure Over the Bay of Islands: $78
  • Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike, Swim, Paddleboard, Wildlife: $84
  • Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over: $86
  • Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock with Island Stopover - Afternoon Cruise: $89
  • Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock with Island Stopover - Morning Cruise: $89
  • V8 Trike Tours - Bay of Islands 30 minute Scenic Tour (x 2 Passengers): $91
  • V8 Trike Tours 30 minute Bay of Islands Thriller Tour - 2 Passengers: $91
  • Waipoua Forest: Giants and Glow Worms Full Day Tour: $100

Tours and Activities in Nelson

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

  • Abel Tasman National Park: Day Trip with 1.5-Hour Cruise: $150
  • Abel Tasman and Golden Bay Tour: $149
  • Dragon Hunt Archery Experience in Pristine Native Forest: $115
  • Fly Golden Bay & Cruise Abel Tasman Day Tour from Nelson: $341
  • Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise: $354
  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $36
  • Skywire Experience: $76
  • SKYWIRE Experience: $78
  • Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure: $75
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure - Option A Via Mapua: $125
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure Option B Nelson City: $100

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Paihia spend on average $20 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

The average person spends about $12 on alcoholic beverages in Nelson per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $20
    Nelson $12

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Half Day Wine Tour: $114


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

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Paihia vs. Nelson Travel Comparison

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