A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Picton for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Paihia or Picton?

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 Picton. 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 fun-filled, beautiful, and relaxing coastal town. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Picton

Picton is a quaint, relaxing, and picturesque town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. Visitors also love the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Paihia and Picton: 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
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Paihia or Picton?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Paihia. Although Paihia and Picton are both popular with visitors, Paihia has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Paihia is more popular for its nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches, while Picton is known for its small town charm. Paihia is more touristy than Picton and is popular for its warm year round climate, impressive beaches, and world class snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also home to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Picton is popular for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails.

How is Paihia different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Paihia
Picton

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

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 Picton. There are a few local museums around town that are fun to visit with the weather isn't cooperating. Edwin Fox Ship is the world's oldest merchant ship. You can also learn about the town's whaling past at the Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum.


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

Paihia
Picton

Both Paihia and Picton offer a number of excellent 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 Picton is an experience not to be missed. The town is filled with restaurants that stay true to New Zealand's culinary traditions. Mussels and salmon are common on menus, and there are many bakeries and waterfront cafes to try.

Is Paihia or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Paihia. As a holiday spot, there are a number of clubs and bars that cater to tourists in the area.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Picton. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.

Is Paihia or Picton Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia is a well-known place for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Picton is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Paihia. There are scuba diving and snorkel shops available around town where you can organize trips and excursions to experience the undersea world.

Picton is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Paihia or Picton Better for Beaches?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia is very popular for the beach. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its 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.

Picton is considered a top beach destination. There are four beaches in the area. Picton Beach is by the town center and near many restaurants and cafes. About a ten minute walk from town is Shelley Beach and if you're up for more walking, Bob's Bay is secluded and nice. If you have a car you can make it to Governer's Bay.

Is Paihia or Picton Better for Hiking?

Paihia
Picton

Hiking trails can be found around both Paihia and Picton, and they are excellent.

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 Picton. There are many nice walking paths in the area and this is a great way to explore, reach beaches, and see the surrounding landscapes. If you're up for a longer trip, Queen Charlotte Track is a popular trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Paihia or Picton?

Paihia
Picton

Shoppers can find a variety of good stores in both Paihia and Picton.

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 Picton to go shopping. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.


Is Paihia or Picton Better for Families?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

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.

Picton is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy taking a boat cruise to Motuara Island. You can see dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. There are also wildlife centers in the area, family-friendly walking trails, museums, aquariums, and kayaking opportunities.

Is Paihia or Picton Better for Couples?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia is very popular for couples. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for romance.

Paihia is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. 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.

Picton makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are romantic and quaint bed and breakfasts, beautiful walking paths, wildlife encounters, and many more fun activities for couples. Kayak trips, vineyard tours, and local spas make this a great couple's getaway destination.

Is Paihia or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paihia
Picton

Paihia and Picton are both excellent 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.

Picton is a very popular coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.


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

Paihia
Picton

Visitors will find good public transit in both Paihia and Picton.

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 Picton, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Is Paihia or Picton a more walkable city?

Paihia
Picton

Picton 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.

Picton is a very walkable town. It's a quaint and compact town that's 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 Picton Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Picton or Paihia?

How long in Paihia or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Paihia or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Paihia than Picton 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 Picton.

Families should spend more time in Paihia than Picton. 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 Picton. 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 Picton 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 Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Paihia 3-5 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Paihia or Picton?

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 shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Picton. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.


A weekend in Paihia or Picton?

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.

Picton 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 Picton?

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 Picton. 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 Picton?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the beautiful 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 quaint destination of Picton. 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.


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, Picton or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $82, while the average daily cost in Picton is $89. 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 Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $34
    Picton $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $68
    Picton $76
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Picton? 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 Picton


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 Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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
    Picton $20

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 $35
    Picton $113

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: $49
  • Sundowner Evening Cruise - 2 hour evening sailing cruise with swim stop: $50
  • Bay of Islands 30-minute Adventure Jet Boat Trip: $54
  • Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise: $61
  • Bay of islands Waterfall Cruise Kayaking Tour: $61
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Explorer Kayaking Tour: $61
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock: $70
  • Parasailing Adventure Over the Bay of Islands: $72
  • Paihia/Russell: Hole in the Rock Cruise with 2 Island Stops: $77
  • Hole in the Rock Tour & Bay of Islands Cruise: $77
  • Bay of Islands: 4.5 Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour: $77
  • From Scenic Cruise with Roberton Island Stopover: $77

Tours and Activities in Picton

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

  • 1-Day Cruise in Queen Charlotte Track & Kupes Trail Walk: $122
  • 2 hour Dolphin Viewing Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • 3.5 Hour Marlborough Sounds Delivery Cruise: $69
  • Bays and Bush Scenic Tour: $99
  • Bird Watching and Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Hop on Hop off Yealands & Marlborough tour: $125
  • Captain Cook and Dolphin Cruise: $93
  • Cruise Excursion - Wines of Marlborough Tour: $106
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62
  • Cruise and Lunch at Furneaux Lodge: $84
  • Day Cruise & Lunch at Punga Cove Resort: $84
  • Early Bird Eco Cruise: $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $23
    Picton $36

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: $109

Sample the Local Flavors in Picton

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Picton:

  • Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour (full day) in the Marlborough Region.: $37
  • Self-Guided Wine Tours by Bike with Steve & Jo in Marlborough : $41
  • Marlborough: Hop On Hop Off Wine, Brewery, and Wonders Tour: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Marlborough: $56
  • Marlborough Afternoon Wine Tour with Tastings: $72
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $91
  • Morning Guided with Afternoon Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour: $94
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $97
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $103
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $112


When comparing the travel costs between Paihia and Picton, we can see that Picton 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 Picton Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Paihia or Picton?

Picton has a larger population, and is about 54% larger than the population of Paihia. When comparing the sizes of Paihia and Picton, 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.