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

Should you visit Paihia or Rotorua?

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 Rotorua. 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.

Where Should I go: Paihia or Rotorua?


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.


Located on the banks of Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is famous as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. The area has a variety of geothermal sights, but it is also close to several lakes and has more traditional activities as well, including fishing, boating and white water rafting.

Rotorua is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which is the largest volcano in the area. There are four major volcanic calderas that now have lakes, and several other volcanoes in the area. Rotorua sits on top of a thermal hot spring, and there are many vents and hot pools throughout the area. Many of the hot pools and sights are located within parks, with some of the best being Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Rotorua has a warm, temperate climate. Because of the area's inland location, it has less wind than many places in New Zealand. Temperatures during the winter months can fall to below freezing, but snow is incredibly rare.

Which place is cheaper, Rotorua or Paihia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paihia is $75, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $91. 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 Rotorua in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $34
    Rotorua $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $68
    Rotorua $96
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Rotorua

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Rotorua? 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 Rotorua

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 Rotorua Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Rotorua $4.97

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: $114
  • Private Transfer from Bay Of Islands Cruise Port to Auckland city: $114

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

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

  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $171
  • From Auckland: Transfer to Rotorua with Waitomo Caves Tour: $178

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Rotorua?

Prices for flights to both Rotorua 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 Meals for one day
    Paihia $26
    Rotorua $26

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
  • Local Market Tour and Modern Vegetarian Cooking Experience in Northland: $340

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua

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

  • Mitai Maori Village: Cultural Experience and Dinner Buffet: $77
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $114
  • Te Pa Tu Maori Cultural Experience with Dinner: $149

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $34
    Rotorua $34

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): $108
  • *Popular Cruise Ship Tour* Bay of Islands and Glow Worm Caves Shore Excursion: $127
  • 3.5hr Cruise & Island Tour - Cruise, Hike, Snorkel, Wildlife: $55
  • 5-Day Bay of Islands Rotorua Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Tour from Auckland: $1,344
  • Bay Combo Tour - 60 mins (min 2): $108
  • Bay of Islands 2-Hour Sundowner Evening Sailing Cruise: $48
  • Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike,Swim,Wildlife: $72
  • Bay of Islands Half-Day Private Tour: $197
  • Bay of Islands Luxury Sailing Day Cruise: $148
  • Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour: $168
  • Bay of Islands incl Russell Trike Tour (2 per trike): $476
  • Bay of Islands: 4.5 Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour: $71

Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Rotorua's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Lunch Out for Two

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • 4x4 Self Drive Yamaha Experience : $94
  • Agrodome Farm Experience including Farm Show and Farm Tour - Rotorua: $30
  • Cultural Experience & Seasonal Māori Cuisine at Te Pā Tū : $151
  • Eruption Trail Tour With Natural Hot Pool Bathing: $333
  • Explore The Lakes Tour: $72
  • From Elite Cultural Eco full day tour: $194
  • From Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch: $107
  • Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+: $24
  • Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience: $51
  • Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton: $108
  • Kahukiwi Experiences Luxury 4WD 3hour Guided Maori Tour: $113
  • Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour White Water Sledging Experience: $77

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $22
    Rotorua $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 Wine Tour with Lunch: $100
  • From Bay of Islands Wine Tour with Port Pickup: $116
  • Cruise Ship - Bay of Islands Wine Tour with Lunch: $118
  • Private Tour: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $288
  • Private Shore Excursion: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $288

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:

  • Bottle of Wine

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

Which is Bigger, Paihia or Rotorua?

Rotorua is bigger, and its population is about 33.9 times larger than the population of Paihia. When comparing the population of Paihia vs. Rotorua, 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 and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Paihia vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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