A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Paihia vs. Tauranga for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Paihia or Tauranga?

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 Tauranga. 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 food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Tauranga

Tauranga is a relaxing, nature-filled, and coastal town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Paihia and Tauranga: 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
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Paihia or Tauranga?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Paihia. Although Paihia and Tauranga are both popular with visitors, Paihia has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Paihia is more popular for its food, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches, while Tauranga is known for its impressive beauty. Paihia is more touristy than Tauranga 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. Tauranga is popular for its sandy beaches and beautiful walking trails.

How is Paihia different from Tauranga?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Paihia
Tauranga

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

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 Tauranga. There are a number of historic buildings in town like the Elms Mission Station which dates back to 1847.


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

Paihia
Tauranga

Paihia is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Tauranga is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.

Dining out in Paihia is an experience not to be missed. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Tauranga. You'll find a great mix of restaurants in the town's downtown area. There are international flavors as well as seafood and other local favorites.

Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Nightlife?

Paihia
Tauranga

The good nightlife scene is relatively similar in Paihia and Tauranga.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Paihia. As a holiday spot, there are a number of clubs and bars that cater to tourists in the area.

Tauranga has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The city is known for its laid back bar scene. There are venues with casual live music as well as pubs where locals and tourists intermingle.

Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Paihia
Tauranga

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

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting Paihia. There are scuba diving and snorkel shops available around town where you can organize trips and excursions to experience the undersea world.

Tauranga is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Beaches?

Paihia
Tauranga

Paihia is a world-class destination for the beach. Also, Tauranga is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its beaches.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Paihia. 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.

Tauranga is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. Families and travelers head here for the sandy beaches and water activities. Surfing, kayaking, and fishing are all popular in the area. Some of the most popular beaches include Mount Maunganui Beach, Waihī Beach, and Anzac Bay.

Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Hiking?

Paihia
Tauranga

Hiking trails can be found around both Paihia and Tauranga, and they are superb.

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 Tauranga. The Bay of Plenty is filled with hiking trails that run along the coast or head inland through the mountains. There are forest and bush walks that range in length and skill level and there really is something for everyone.

Is the Shopping Better in Paihia or Tauranga?

Paihia
Tauranga

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

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 Tauranga to go shopping. You'll find all of the standard shopping malls, retail outlets, and clothing boutiques around town.


Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Families?

Paihia
Tauranga

Both Paihia and Tauranga are amazing family-friendly destinations.

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.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Tauranga is a very family-friendly destination. Check out the ropes courses at Adrenalin Forest or play in the water at Waimarino Adventure Park. There are also many different walking areas like McLaren Falls Park and Kaiate Falls. Kids will love hanging out at the beach around Mount Maunganui or Papamoa Beach. This is an affordable and kid-family destination for locals and international tourists alike.

Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Couples?

Paihia
Tauranga

Paihia is a world-class destination for couples. Also, Tauranga is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for romance.

Paihia makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

Tauranga makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a romantic destination with great beaches and beautiful waterfalls. You can enjoy a picnic in the park or dine at one of the local restaurants. Kayaking is also a popular activity in the area.

Is Paihia or Tauranga Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paihia
Tauranga

Tauranga is a must-visit destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Paihia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Tauranga is extremely popular for backpackers. This is one of the more affordable destinations in New Zealand. There are also a number of backpacker-friendly jobs that make it a great place to base yourself.

Paihia is a very popular coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a handful of hostels around town as well as many great activities for backpackers like scuba diving or parasailing.


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

Paihia
Tauranga

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

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 Tauranga, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are buses, trains, and ferries in the area.

Is Paihia or Tauranga a more walkable city?

Paihia
Tauranga

Paihia and Tauranga are good when it comes to walkability.

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

Tauranga is a somewhat walkable coastal town. There are many walking and cycling paths in the area, but you really need a car to explore the area in depth.

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

Should I spend more time in Tauranga or Paihia?

How long in Paihia or Tauranga?

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

Families should spend more time in Paihia than Tauranga. 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 Tauranga. 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 Tauranga than Paihia 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 Tauranga.


  • How many days in Paihia or Tauranga? Ideal Length of Stay
    Paihia 3-5 
    Tauranga 2-3

One day in Paihia or Tauranga?

The coastal town of Paihia offers museums and nightlife. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

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

Paihia is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Tauranga 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 Tauranga?

Paihia is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Paihia, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tauranga. 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 Tauranga?

Paihia is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This coastal town offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the relaxing destination of Tauranga. 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, Tauranga 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 Tauranga is $108. 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 Tauranga in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paihia $35
    Tauranga $77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paihia $70
    Tauranga $154
Compare Hotels in Paihia and Tauranga

Looking for a hotel in Paihia or Tauranga? 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 Tauranga


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 Tauranga Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paihia $12
    Tauranga $7.06

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paihia

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

  • Private Transfer from Bay Of Islands Cruise Port to Auckland city: $115
  • Private Transfer from Bay Of Islands Port to Auckland Airport AKL: $115

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tauranga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Tauranga:

  • Roundtrip Transfer from Port of Tauranga Omanu Golf Club: $75
  • Private Transfer from Tauranga Port to Auckland Airport (AKL): $146
  • Private Transfer from Tauranga Cruise Port to Auckland city: $146

Is it cheaper to fly into Paihia or Tauranga?

Prices for flights to both Tauranga 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
    Tauranga $22

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 $36
    Tauranga $11

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 Trike Tour Experience: $54
  • Bay of Islands: Late Afternoon Sailing Cruise: $61
  • Bay of Islands Waterfall Explorer Kayaking Tour: $61
  • Bay of islands Waterfall Cruise Kayaking Tour: $61
  • Thriller Tour - Bay of Islands, 30 mins (min 2): $62
  • Scenic Tour - Bay of Islands, 30 mins (min2): $62
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Hole in the Rock: $70
  • Parasailing Adventure Over the Bay of Islands: $72
  • Bay of Islands: 4.5 Hour Day Cruise and Island Getaway Tour: $77

Tours and Activities in Tauranga

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

  • 2-Hour Tauranga & Mount Maunganui City & Scenic Local Tour: $44
  • 3hr Tauranga Sun-downer History Tour COMPLIMENTARY Wine or Beer: $56
  • 4hr Shore Excursion - History and Tasting Tour FREE Kiwifruit Tasting: $59
  • 4hr Tauranga Scenic History and Tasting Tour FREE Kiwifruit Tasting: $59
  • 6hr Hobbiton Movie Set Tour - Departs Tauranga: $147
  • 6hr Rotorua Geothermal Wonderland Tour - Departs Tauranga: $143
  • 7hr Waimangu Geothermal Valley & Lake Rotomahana Tour - Departs Tauranga: $134
  • Deluxe small group Cruise Day Tour, Rotorua, Tauranga & Mt Maunganui highlights: $138
  • Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour in Tauranga: $106
  • From Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise: $104
  • From Half-Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour: $92
  • Half Day Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise - Tauranga: $109

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paihia $23
    Tauranga $11

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: $103
  • Private Tour: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $298
  • Private Shore Excursion: Bay of Islands Tour with Wine Tasting: $298


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


Which is Bigger, Paihia or Tauranga?

Tauranga has a larger population, and is about 60 times larger than the population of Paihia. When comparing the sizes of Paihia and Tauranga, 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.