A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Queenstown vs. Arrowtown for Skiing, Food, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Queenstown or Arrowtown?

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 Queenstown and Arrowtown. 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.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a spirited, bustling, and active city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and skiing.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a historic, charming, and quaint town. This is also a fantastic small town with plenty of charm and local activities. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. It's also known for skiing, nightlife, and food.

Queenstown and Arrowtown: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm


Is there more to do in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Arrowtown. Although Queenstown and Arrowtown are both popular with visitors, Arrowtown has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Arrowtown is more popular for its museums, historical sights, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Queenstown is known for its skiing, food, nightlife, and impressive beauty. Queenstown is popular for its world class skiing, adrenaline-filled adventure sports, and stunning mountain scenery. Arrowtown is popular for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. It is also home to the Chinese Settlement.

How is Queenstown different from Arrowtown?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Skiing?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is terrific for skiing and snowboarding. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for winter skiing.

Queenstown is among the world's best ski destinations. There are four ski areas that are near the city, and many consider these among the best ski fields in New Zealand. The ski season runs from June until October and the skiing is world class.

People head to Arrowtown specifically to take advantage of the area's skiing and winter sports. In the area you'll find amazing skiing that ranges from professional level to family-friendly.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a good destination for its sights and museums. However, Queenstown is not a good city for its museums and history.

Arrowtown is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

While most people don't head to Queenstown specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. People head to this city for its amazing outdoor activities, but you won't find much if you're looking for museums. You can check out the Lakes District Museum though.

Is the Food Better in Queenstown or Arrowtown? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is terrific for its restaurants. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Queenstown has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. Located in the heart of the Otago wine region, this city has many award-winning restaurants. Local dishes, vegan cafes, and international flavors all make for a cosmopolitan and world class dining scene.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Arrowtown. For such a small town, there's a surprising number of great restaurants with award winning chefs. You'll find quaint cafes, traditional eateries, and casual restaurants where you can sample the local dishes.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Nightlife?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is an excellent place to visit for nightlife. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Queenstown has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. This cosmopolitan town has some of the best nightlife in the country. There are laid back pubs, trendy cocktail bars, and live music venues that make for a fun night out.

Arrowtown has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.


Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for its Old Town?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a well-known place for its historic old town. However, Queenstown does not have a historic old town.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Arrowtown. This is a quirky and charming historic mining town that has many cottages and historic buildings. Many places have been restored to maintain their original character.

Queenstown does not have a historic old town.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Hiking?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Hiking trails can be found around both Queenstown and Arrowtown, and they are first-rate.

Queenstown is well-known for its hiking and trekking. The city is ideally located near some of the country's best hiking. There are walks through beech forests, along rugged mountains, and to stunning views. Several of the Great Walks are in the area as well, but if you're looking for something a little simpler, then there are many options also.

People visit Arrowtown specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Many people use this town as a jumping off point for some of the world's most iconic hikes. You can explore Lord of the Rings country or do one of fifteen different listed walks in the area.

Is the Shopping Better in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Both Queenstown and Arrowtown are high quality shopping destinations.

Queenstown is an extremely popular place for shoppers. It's a bustling city with designer brands and boutique shopping. There are also souvenir shops and retail outlets.

Arrowtown is well-known for its shopping. Shopping is an experience in town. Head to Buckingham Street, which is the main street in town. You can wander through a wild west setting with local vendors and quirky galleries.


Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Families?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Both Queenstown and Arrowtown are high quality family-friendly destinations.

Queenstown is a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy the Queenstown cable car and the Skyline Gondola. After a ride on the gondola, you can even take the luge back down! The city also offers lake cruises, family-friendly farm tours, boat tours, and kayaking.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Arrowtown is very family-friendly. Kids will enjoy the old world charm as much as adults. There's gold panning, bike trails, and even a historic Chinese village. During the winter there are snow sports and during the summer there are outdoor activities that take advantage of the nice weather.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Couples?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is terrific for romance. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Queenstown has plenty to offer. The city is known for its adrenaline-filled adventure activities and couples who enjoy a thrill will appreciate the fun. There are also hot springs, boat cruises, and wine tours in the area. One of the most romantic activities is dinner at the Skyline.

Couples visit Arrowtown frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The charming atmosphere and beautiful walks make this a great weekend destination for couples. You can take a stroll on the Arrow River Walkway or grab a meal at a quaint cafe followed by ice cream at a classic ice cream parlor.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is terrific for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Queenstown. With its thrill-seeking activities and nearby skiing, this is a great backpacker destination year round.

Arrowtown is a great city to visit for backpackers. There are a couple of hostels in town and backpackers love the frequent festivals and activities that the town hosts.


Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Students?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is an excellent place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Queenstown is very popular with students. There are excellent universities in the area as well as fun activities and a lively energy that students enjoy.

Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Both Queenstown and Arrowtown offer good public transit options.

Queenstown has a few public transit options. There's a decent bus system that travels around town.

Arrowtown has some public transit options. There are public buses throughout the region.

Is Queenstown or Arrowtown a more walkable city?

Queenstown
Arrowtown

Queenstown is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Queenstown is very walkable. In town, many of the sights and activities can be reached on foot.

Arrowtown is a somewhat walkable place. Parts of the town are fun to explore on foot.


For even more information, also check out Is Queenstown Worth Visiting? and Is Arrowtown Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arrowtown or Queenstown?

How long in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Queenstown or Arrowtown to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Queenstown than Arrowtown because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-7 days is a good amount of time for Queenstown, and 1-2 days is enough time in Arrowtown.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Queenstown than Arrowtown 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 Queenstown.


  • How many days in Queenstown or Arrowtown? Ideal Length of Stay
    Queenstown 2-7 
    Arrowtown 1-2

One day in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

You'll find food and shopping around the city of Queenstown. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Arrowtown might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Arrowtown, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

You'll find shopping and skiing around the spirited destination of Queenstown. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Even though Arrowtown is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

Five days in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

You'll find skiing and nightlife around the outdoorsy city of Queenstown. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

Arrowtown, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Queenstown is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Queenstown, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Arrowtown is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in New Zealand, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in New Zealand, The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, and The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Arrowtown or Queenstown?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Queenstown is $104, while the average daily cost in Arrowtown is $114. 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 Queenstown and Arrowtown in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Queenstown $55
    Arrowtown $67
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Queenstown $110
    Arrowtown $134
Compare Hotels in Queenstown and Arrowtown

Looking for a hotel in Queenstown or Arrowtown? 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 Queenstown


Hotels in Arrowtown


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: Queenstown Hotel Prices and Arrowtown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Queenstown $10
    Arrowtown $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • Tasman Glacier Helihike with Flight Transfers: $891
  • Milford Sound Cruise with Helicopter Transfer: $737
  • Queenstown Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Queenstown: $68
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Central: $181
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Airport: $181
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown to Milford Sound Cruise Port: $166
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown Central to Wanaka: $181
  • From Mount Cook Transfer w/ Guided Landmark Tour: $104

Is it cheaper to fly into Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Prices for flights to both Arrowtown and Queenstown 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
    Queenstown $36
    Arrowtown $30

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.

  • Bar Crawl with 5 Free Shots and Pizza: $18
  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown: $116

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Queenstown $21
    Arrowtown $15
Typical Entertainment Prices in Queenstown

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:


  • Skyline Gondola (for 2)
    $30

Tours and Activities in Queenstown

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

  • 5-Hour Wine and Food Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $138
  • Arrowtown and Wanaka Highlights Tour from Queenstown: $128
  • Boutique Winery Half-Day Tour & Vineyard Platter-Style Lunch: $142
  • Cruise Milford Small Group Day Tour from Queenstown : $168
  • Dart River Canoe and Jet Boat Experience from Queenstown: $269
  • Dart River Jet Boat and Wilderness Experience: $188
  • Dirt Bike Tour - Queenstown : $238
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown: $263
  • E-Bike Adventures Through the Wineries in Gibbston: $101
  • E-Bike Rental for Lake Dunstan Trail Experience : $113
  • Escape Adventure AR Experience in Queenstown: $24
  • Family Adventures Rafting and Sightseeing Trip in Queenstown: $140

Tours and Activities in Arrowtown

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

  • Queenstown: Arrowtown Mountain Biking Adventure: $53

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Queenstown $8.90
    Arrowtown $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Ice Bar Crawl: $24
  • Queenstown & Gibbston Valley: Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tours: $53
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Bannockburn - departing Queenstown: $61
  • Afternoon brewery tour with lunch: $110
  • Afternoon Wine Tasting Tour with 3 Wineries: $110
  • Classic Wine Tour: $118
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour: 3 Vineyards, Caves and Cheeseboard: $122
  • Wine Tasting Tour: $130
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $134
  • Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown Including Lunch: $146
  • Wine Tour & Maori Culture Queenstown: $153
  • Gourmet Food and Wine Tour with Lunch and Wine Tastings: $172

Sample the Local Flavors in Arrowtown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arrowtown:

  • From Scenic Valley of the Vines Bike & Wine Tour: $89


When comparing the travel costs between Queenstown and Arrowtown, we can see that Arrowtown 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 Queenstown Expensive? and Is Arrowtown Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Queenstown or Arrowtown?

Queenstown has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Arrowtown. When comparing the sizes of Queenstown and Arrowtown, 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.