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

Should you visit Paihia or Rotorua?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare 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. 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.

Rotorua

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 city 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 $70, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $86. 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 Rotorua in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Paihia, $64 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Paihia, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $32, such as in a hostel.

Travelers usually pay around $90 for a double occupancy room in Rotorua If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $32
    Rotorua $45
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $64
    Rotorua $90

Food

Paihia food costs typically run travelers around $25 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.

On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $25 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $10.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Paihia $25
    Rotorua $25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paihia

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

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Bay of Islands 3-Hours Sailing & Gourmet Dinner Burger Buffet: $74
  • 3 Hour Bay of Islands Sailing Cruise with Gourmet Dinner: $89
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua

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

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance: $100
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $140
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141

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.

Rotorua's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $4.69 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $11
    Rotorua $4.69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paihia

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

  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Luxury Transfers to The Remarkables: $445

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

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

  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $148
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389

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.





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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $32 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paihia $32
    Rotorua $32

Tours and Activities in Paihia

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

  • 4WD-U Drive Experience: $232
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Day Tour from Auckland: $140
  • Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Tour from Auckland: $211
  • Kaituna Whitewater Rafting Experience : $84
  • Kaituna Whitewater Sledging Experience: $91
  • Milford Sound Vista Day Tour from Queenstown or Te Anau: $127
  • Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Hiking Experience: $131
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Queenstown Scenic Cruise - Spirit of Queenstown: $28
  • Queenstown Tiki Tour: $70
  • Rotorua Day Tour from Auckland: $188
  • Ultimate Queenstown Highlights Tour: $77

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
    $32

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • 4WD-U Drive Experience: $232
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Day Tour from Auckland: $140
  • Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Tour from Auckland: $211
  • Kaituna Whitewater Rafting Experience : $84
  • Kaituna Whitewater Sledging Experience: $91
  • Milford Sound Vista Day Tour from Queenstown or Te Anau: $127
  • Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Hiking Experience: $131
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Queenstown Scenic Cruise - Spirit of Queenstown: $28
  • Queenstown Tiki Tour: $70
  • Rotorua Day Tour from Auckland: $188
  • Ultimate Queenstown Highlights Tour: $77

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Paihia spend on average $21 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $21
    Rotorua $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Paihia

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Bay of Islands Craft Beer & Wine Tour: $93
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Taste Marlborough Wine Tour: $138
  • Queenstown E-Bikes Wine Tour: $147
  • Private Wine Tour in a Mustang or 4x4: $148
  • Private Shore Excursion: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $236

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Rotorua

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Taste Marlborough Wine Tour: $138
  • Queenstown E-Bikes Wine Tour: $147
  • Spa and Wine Tasting Experience in Queenstown: $293
  • Queenstown Private Helicopter and Wine Tour: $672


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.

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Paihia vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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