A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Picton vs. Aoraki Mount Cook for Hiking, Couples, Food, and Families

Should you visit Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

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 Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook. 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.

Picton

Picton is a picturesque, scenic, and quaint town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's also popular because of the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is a breathtaking, world renowned, and scenic mountain. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include hiking.

Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Picton. Although Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook are popular destinations, Picton has more sights and attractions for tourists. Picton is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, shopping, and small town charm, while Aoraki Mount Cook attracts visitors for its hiking and impressive beauty. Picton is famous for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails. It is also well known for the Queen Charlotte Track. Aoraki Mount Cook is famous for its glaciers, alpine setting, and being the highest mountain in New Zealand.

How is Picton different from Aoraki Mount Cook?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Aoraki Mount Cook and Picton. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Aoraki Mount Cook does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is great for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Picton has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. 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.

Aoraki Mount Cook offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are a few cafes and restaurants in the village, but if you're doing any hiking you should pack your own food.

Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Nightlife?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is adequate for its evening party scene. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Picton doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Beaches?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is great for the beach. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a beach destination.

Many people visit Picton for it's beautiful beaches. 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.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a beach destination.


Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Hiking?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook is very popular for the nearby hiking options. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its hiking trails.

Aoraki Mount Cook is well-known for its hiking and trekking. There are beginner trails as well as world class routes that bring out expert climbers. As the highest peak in New Zealand, many people come here for the challenge, but if you're looking for a most simple experience, the hiking opportunities are still abundant.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting 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 Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is a good destination for its shopping areas. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Picton has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.

Aoraki Mount Cook is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Families?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Aoraki Mount Cook is not as popular, but is still a nice mountain for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Picton. 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.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a family-friendly place to visit. There are plenty of short walks that are perfect for little legs. Kids will also enjoy the boat rides on the lakes and the area's superb stargazing.


Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Couples?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

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

Aoraki Mount Cook is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. Couples will enjoy the stunning glaciers, beautiful walks, and iconic views. Many couples take helicopter rides to fully experience the area. Stargazing and hiking is also high on the list of must-do romantic activities.

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 Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Aoraki Mount Cook is not as popular, but is still a nice mountain for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Picton. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Aoraki Mount Cook. While many activities in the area are expensive, the hiking is world class and there are a few hostels and camping opportunities nearby.

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

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is a good destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its public transit.

While Picton offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Aoraki Mount Cook. Having a car is essential unless you take a private tour that provides transportation.


Is Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook a more walkable city?

Picton
Aoraki Mount Cook

Picton is great for its ease of walking around. However, Aoraki Mount Cook is not a good destination for its walkability.

Picton is a very walkable destination. It's a quaint and compact town that's easy to explore on foot.

Aoraki Mount Cook is generally not very walkable. While there are many trails through the region, you really must have a car to access the trail heads and efficiently get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Picton Worth Visiting? and Is Aoraki Mount Cook Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Aoraki Mount Cook or Picton?

How long in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

It's fun to spend time in either Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Aoraki Mount Cook due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Picton, and 2-4 days is enough time in Aoraki Mount Cook.

Families should spend more time in Picton than Aoraki Mount Cook. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Picton, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Picton than Aoraki Mount Cook. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Picton that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Picton than Aoraki Mount Cook 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 Picton.


  • How many days in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook? Ideal Length of Stay
    Picton 1-2 
    Aoraki Mount Cook 2-4

One day in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

With food and shopping around the destination of Picton, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. One day is often enough time to do most activities. It offers something for everyone.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the destination of Aoraki Mount Cook. 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 Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

With shopping and museums around the picturesque town of Picton, there's plenty to do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here.

Aoraki Mount Cook is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Travelers enjoy the museums and food when visiting the relaxing destination of Picton. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Aoraki Mount Cook. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. 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 Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Picton is a popular choice for travelers. Most people come for the beaches. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the breathtaking destination of Aoraki Mount Cook. This mountain 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 The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand, The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in New Zealand, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Aoraki Mount Cook or Picton?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Picton is $88, while the average daily cost in Aoraki Mount Cook is $107. 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 Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Picton $37
    Aoraki Mount Cook $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Picton $74
    Aoraki Mount Cook $120
Compare Hotels in Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook

Looking for a hotel in Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook? 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 Picton


Hotels in Aoraki Mount Cook


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: Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Picton -
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $47
  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim city hotels to Picton Cruise Port: $39
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39

Is it cheaper to fly into Picton or Aoraki Mount Cook?

Prices for flights to both Aoraki Mount Cook and Picton 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
    Picton $20
    Aoraki Mount Cook $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Picton $111
    Aoraki Mount Cook $23

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

Tours and Activities in Aoraki Mount Cook

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Aoraki Mount Cook.

  • Lake Matheson Nature Tour: $56
  • Fox Glacier Nature Tour: $56
  • Mt. Cook to Queenstown Small Group Tour (1-way) : $109
  • Mt Cook to Christchurch 1 Way Small Group Tour, via Lake Tekapo : $124
  • Mount Cook to Queenstown Day Tour: $153
  • Day Tours from Mount Cook: $155
  • Mt Cook Small Group Tour from Queenstown with Optional Activities : $155
  • Mt Cook & Hooker Valley Hike Small Group Tour from Queenstown: $155
  • Gold Hunting Adventures: $230
  • 45-Minute Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour: $298
  • Mt Cook Tour: Finish at Queenstown, Christchurch or Dunedin: $797
  • From Queenstown: Mount Cook Private Day Tour: $1,227

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Picton $35
    Aoraki Mount Cook $21

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.: $38
  • 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 Picton: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $91
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $94
  • 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 : $113
  • Full-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $116

Sample the Local Flavors in Aoraki Mount Cook

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Aoraki Mount Cook:

  • Kinross Winery: Classic Central Otago Wine Tasting Experience: $16
  • Kinross Winery: Valli Wine Tasting Experience: $28


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Picton and Aoraki Mount Cook, we can see that Aoraki Mount Cook is more expensive. And not only is Picton much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Picton would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Picton 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 Aoraki Mount Cook would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Aoraki Mount Cook than you might in Picton.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Picton Expensive? and Is Aoraki Mount Cook Expensive?.