A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Queenstown vs. Picton for Food, Hiking, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Queenstown or Picton?

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 Picton. 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 nature-oriented, spirited, and bustling city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and hiking.

Picton

Picton is a scenic, quaint, and relaxing town. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. It's also known for beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Queenstown and Picton: 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 museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Queenstown or Picton?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Queenstown than Picton, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Queenstown is better known for its skiing, food, nightlife, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Picton is more popular for its museums, beaches, and small town charm. Queenstown is well known for its world class skiing, adrenaline-filled adventure sports, and stunning mountain scenery. Also, Queenstown is famous for Kawarau Bridge. Picton is well known for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails.

How is Queenstown different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Skiing?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is very popular for snow skiing. However, Picton is not a skiing destination.

Queenstown is a top destination for snow skiing, and it attracts visitors from around the world. 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.

Picton is not a skiing destination.


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

Queenstown
Picton

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

Picton is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.

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 Picton? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is very popular for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.

Eat your way through Queenstown, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. 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.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Picton. 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.

Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is a well-known place for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

Queenstown offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Picton. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.


Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Beaches?

Queenstown
Picton

Picton is a well-known place for its beaches. However, Queenstown 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.

Queenstown is not a beach destination.

Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Hiking?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown 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.

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.

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 Queenstown or Picton?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is a well-known place for its shopping areas. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Queenstown. It's a bustling city with designer brands and boutique shopping. There are also souvenir shops and retail outlets.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Picton. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.


Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Families?

Queenstown
Picton

Both Queenstown and Picton are excellent 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, Picton is very family-friendly. 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.

Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Couples?

Queenstown
Picton

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

Queenstown is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. 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.

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 Queenstown or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is very popular for backpackers. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Queenstown is a very popular city to visit for backpackers. With its thrill-seeking activities and nearby skiing, this is a great backpacker destination year round.

Picton is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.


Is Queenstown or Picton Better for Students?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown is a well-known place for students. However, Picton is not popular with students.

Many students visit Queenstown. There are excellent universities in the area as well as fun activities and a lively energy that students enjoy.

Picton is not popular with students.

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

Queenstown
Picton

Both Queenstown and Picton offer notable public transit options.

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

Picton has some public transit options. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Is Queenstown or Picton a more walkable city?

Queenstown
Picton

Queenstown and Picton both are excellent when exploring on foot.

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

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


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

Should I spend more time in Picton or Queenstown?

How long in Queenstown or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Queenstown or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Queenstown than Picton 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 Picton.

Couples should spend more time in Queenstown than Picton. 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 Picton 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 Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Queenstown 2-7 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Queenstown or Picton?

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and skiing when visiting the destination of Queenstown. 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.

With museums and food around the quaint town of Picton, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Picton, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Queenstown or Picton?

Queenstown 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.

With food and shopping around the destination of Picton, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

Five days in Queenstown or Picton?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Queenstown. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Picton, 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 Picton?

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the bustling destination of Queenstown. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Picton is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. 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 Hiking & Trekking Tours in New Zealand, The Best 10-Day Tours in New Zealand, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in New Zealand, and The Best 2-Week Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Picton or Queenstown?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Queenstown is $105, while the average daily cost in Picton is $88. 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 Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Queenstown $56
    Picton $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Queenstown $112
    Picton $74
Compare Hotels in Queenstown and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Queenstown or Picton? 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 Picton


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 Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Queenstown $10
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • Queenstown Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Queenstown: $30
  • From Mount Cook Transfer w/ Guided Landmark Tour: $107
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown to Milford Sound Cruise Port: $169
  • Private Transfer from Queenstown Central to Wanaka: $183
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Airport: $183
  • Private Transfer from Wanaka to Queenstown Central: $183
  • Milford Sound Cruise with Helicopter Transfer: $761
  • Tasman Glacier Helihike with Flight Transfers: $920

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Queenstown or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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
    Picton $20

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: $118

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Queenstown $22
    Picton $111
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:

  • Time Tripper Underwater Experience: $9.20
  • Skip the Line: Odyssey Sensory Maze Entry Queenstown Ticket: $20
  • Private Race Car Simulation Experience: $21
  • Escape Adventure AR Experience in Queenstown: $24
  • Fear Factory Haunted House Admission Ticket: $25
  • Minus 5 Ice Bar Experience with Drink Options: $26
  • Go Karts - Highlands Motorsport and Tourism Park: $30
  • Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise: $36
  • Million Dollar Cruise in Queenstown: $37
  • Kids Club Experience Including Childcare: $49
  • Guided Segway Tour: $55
  • Queenstown VIP Wine Drop and Hop Tour: $55

Tours and Activities in Picton

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

  • Picton Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Skip the Line: Dangerous Skies WWII Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre: $16
  • Hinterland Cycling Tour, Havelock: $25
  • Skip the Line:WWI & WWII Combo Exhibitions at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre: $31
  • Winery Express Tour: $41
  • Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise: $43
  • Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton: $53
  • Kayaking Mangrove Adventure at Havelock: $56
  • Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton: $59
  • Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton: $59
  • Half-Day Cruise in Marlborough Sounds from Picton: $60
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Queenstown $9.00
    Picton $35

Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Ice Bar Crawl: $25
  • Queenstown & Gibbston Valley: Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tours: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Bannockburn - departing Queenstown: $62
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour: 3 Vineyards, Caves and Cheeseboard: $111
  • Afternoon brewery tour with lunch: $113
  • Afternoon Wine Tasting Tour with 3 Wineries: $113
  • Classic Wine Tour: $122
  • Queenstown Wine Tour with Wine Dog | Adults Only: $134
  • Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown Including Lunch: $134
  • Wine Tasting Tour: $134
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $136
  • The Ultimate Luxury Hop on Hop off Wine Tour: $143

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


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


Which is Bigger, Queenstown or Picton?

Queenstown has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Picton. When comparing the sizes of Queenstown and Picton, 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.