A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Rotorua vs. Picton for Families, Couples, Backpackers, and Attractions

Should you visit Rotorua or Picton?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Rotorua and Picton can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Rotorua

Rotorua is a diverse, cultural, and natural town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Picton

Picton is a quaint, relaxing, and picturesque town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's also popular because of the food, beaches, and hiking.

Rotorua and Picton: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
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 Rotorua or Picton?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Picton. Although Rotorua and Picton are popular destinations, Picton has more sights and attractions for tourists. Picton is very popular for its beaches and small town charm, while Rotorua attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and impressive beauty. Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity, Maori cultural influence, and its role in the famous Lord of the Rings movies. Picton is famous for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails. It is also well known for the Queen Charlotte Track.

How is Rotorua different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Rotorua
Picton

Rotorua is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Rotorua. The area is filled with opportunities to learn about the Maori culture. The Maori village of Whakarewarewa is a highlight and you should also visit Te Wairoa. Fans of Lord of the Rings won't want to miss Hobbiton either. Finally, Rotorua Museum well worth a visit.

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.


Is the Food Better in Rotorua or Picton? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Rotorua
Picton

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Rotorua and Picton can be difficult as they are each very good in their own way.

Rotorua has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. There's a wide selection of culinary options in the area that include steambox (food prepared with the geothermal heat), and hāngī, which is a traditional Maori cooking technique. Many restaurants also make use of the local fruit, vegetables, and meats.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Picton makes for a great culinary experience. 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 Rotorua or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Rotorua
Picton

Rotorua is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Picton is not a good town for nightlife.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Rotorua. You'll find the best concentration of bars and restaurants around Tutankei Street, which is often referred to as "Eat Street".

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 Rotorua or Picton Better for Beaches?

Rotorua
Picton

Picton is an excellent place to visit for the beach. However, Rotorua is not a beach destination.

The beaches at Picton attract visitors from all over. 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.

Rotorua is not a beach destination.


Is Rotorua or Picton Better for Hiking?

Rotorua
Picton

Both Rotorua and Picton are destinations which offer very good hiking.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Rotorua. The area is filled with beautiful walking trails that take you by lakes, volcanoes, and geothermal hot springs. A favorite route in the area is Tarawera Trail, which is 15 kilometers long and ends at a natural hot water beach.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around 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 Rotorua or Picton?

Rotorua
Picton

Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Rotorua and Picton.

Rotorua has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find stores and galleries selling art and crafts around the main town center.

Picton is a great destination for shopping. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.

Is Rotorua or Picton Better for Families?

Rotorua
Picton

Rotorua is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Rotorua is very family-friendly. The geothermal activity is fascinating for kids and adults alike. There are also many activities that will teach kids about the Maori culture and for animal lovers, there are farms and wildlife tours. Lord of the Rings fans won't want to miss Hobbiton, and there are many thrilling activities in the area such as white water rafting.

Picton is a very family-friendly destination. 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 Rotorua or Picton Better for Couples?

Rotorua
Picton

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

Rotorua is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. The unique environment and beautiful natural setting make this a wonderful honeymoon destination. Couples will appreciate the geothermal activity, beautiful walking trails, and diverse outdoor activities. There's also horseback riding, hot springs, and helicopter rides.

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 Rotorua or Picton Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Rotorua
Picton

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

Rotorua is a very popular town to visit for backpackers. Well established on the backpacker trail, there are plenty of hostels in the area and tons of activities that backpackers will enjoy.

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

Rotorua
Picton

Visitors will find nice public transit in both Rotorua and Picton.

Rotorua has some public transit options. There are buses and shuttles that travel around town and through the area.

You'll find some public transit in Picton, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are water taxis but no buses around town.


Is Rotorua or Picton a more walkable city?

Rotorua
Picton

Picton is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. Also, Rotorua is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its walkability.

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

Rotorua is somewhat walkable. The town itself is fairly walkable but if you want to get into the surrounding areas, having a vehicle provides the most flexibility.

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

Should I spend more time in Picton or Rotorua?

How long in Rotorua or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Rotorua or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Rotorua than Picton because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Rotorua, and 1-2 days is enough time in Picton.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Rotorua 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 Rotorua.


  • How many days in Rotorua or Picton? Ideal Length of Stay
    Rotorua 2-3 
    Picton 1-2

One day in Rotorua or Picton?

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

In Picton, you'll find museums and food. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Rotorua or Picton?

Rotorua 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.

In Picton, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Picton has to offer.


Five days in Rotorua or Picton?

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

Picton is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Rotorua or Picton?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the world-renowned destination of Rotorua. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Picton. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Picton. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours in New Zealand, The Best Bicycle Tours in New Zealand, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in New Zealand, and The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Picton or Rotorua?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Rotorua is $97, while the average daily cost in Picton is $90. 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 Rotorua and Picton in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Rotorua $50
    Picton $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Rotorua $100
    Picton $76
Compare Hotels in Rotorua and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Rotorua 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 Rotorua


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: Rotorua Hotel Prices and Picton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Rotorua $5.19
    Picton -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

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

  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $186

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim city hotels to Picton Cruise Port: $38

Is it cheaper to fly into Rotorua or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton and Rotorua 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
    Rotorua $30
    Picton $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua

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

  • Mitai Maori Village: Cultural Experience and Dinner Buffet: $95
  • Te Pa Tu Māori Cultural Experience with Dinner: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Rotorua $35
    Picton $113
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
    $28

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • Jade Carving Experience at a Local Studio: $22
  • Whaka Geothermal Trails Self-Guided Tour: $22
  • Geothermal Mineral Baths Experience: Pavilion Pools for 12+: $28
  • Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour: $28
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley Entry Ticket: $28
  • Geothermal Adults Only Mineral Bathing - Pavilion Pools Bathing Ticket: $28
  • Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour: $28
  • Agrodome Farm Tour with Show and Produce Tasting: $30
  • Agrodome Farm Experience including Farm Show and Farm Tour - Rotorua: $32
  • The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour: $36
  • National Kiwi Hatchery - Kiwi Encounter Tour: $38
  • Whaka Village Guided Tour & Self-Guided Geothermal Trails: $44

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: $123
  • 2 hour Dolphin Viewing Eco-Tour from Picton: $94
  • 3.5 Hour Marlborough Sounds Delivery Cruise: $69
  • Bays and Bush Scenic Tour: $100
  • Bird Watching and Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton: $94
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Hop on Hop off Yealands & Marlborough tour: $126
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Marlborough Hop On Hop Off Tours: $63
  • Captain Cook and Dolphin Cruise: $94
  • Cruise Excursion - Wines of Marlborough Tour: $107
  • Cruise and Lunch at Furneaux Lodge: $85
  • Day Cruise & Lunch at Punga Cove Resort: $85
  • Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton: $114

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Rotorua $12
    Picton $36
Typical Alcohol Prices in Rotorua

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $12

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 : $44
  • 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 Blenheim: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $92
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $98
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $104
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $113
  • Full-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $116


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


Which is Bigger, Rotorua or Picton?

Rotorua has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Picton. When comparing the sizes of Rotorua 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.


When is the best time to visit Rotorua or Picton?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Rotorua or Picton in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Rotorua as well as Picton. The hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Rotorua this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Picton for the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

Rotorua is cooler than Picton in the summer. The daily temperature in Rotorua averages around 12°C (54°F) in January, and Picton fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

Rotorua usually gets less rain in January than Picton. Rotorua gets 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Picton receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Rotorua 12°C (54°F) 
    Picton 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Rotorua or Picton in the Autumn?

Both Picton and Rotorua are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Rotorua for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Picton in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere.

In the autumn, Rotorua is around the same temperature as Picton. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Rotorua in April average around 16°C (61°F), and Picton averages at about 15°C (58°F).

In April, Rotorua usually receives less rain than Picton. Rotorua gets 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Picton receives 82 mm (3.2 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Rotorua 16°C (61°F) 
    Picton 15°C (58°F)

Should I visit Rotorua or Picton in the Winter?

Both Picton and Rotorua during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Rotorua in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Picton for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

In July, Rotorua is generally much warmer than Picton. Daily temperatures in Rotorua average around 26°C (79°F), and Picton fluctuates around 10°C (49°F).

Picton gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Rotorua usually gets less rain in July than Picton. Rotorua gets 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain, while Picton receives 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Rotorua 26°C (79°F) 
    Picton 10°C (49°F)

Should I visit Rotorua or Picton in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Rotorua and Picton. Most visitors come to Rotorua for the natural beauty during these months. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to Picton because of the beaches and the small town charm.

Rotorua is a little warmer than Picton in the spring. The daily temperature in Rotorua averages around 19°C (66°F) in October, and Picton fluctuates around 13°C (55°F).

In October, Rotorua usually receives less rain than Picton. Rotorua gets 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Picton receives 93 mm (3.7 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Rotorua 19°C (66°F) 
    Picton 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Picton and Rotorua

Rotorua Picton
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 12°C (54°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 18°C (64°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Feb 13°C (55°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 18°C (64°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Mar 15°C (59°F) 32 mm (1.3 in) 17°C (62°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Apr 16°C (61°F) 34 mm (1.3 in) 15°C (58°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 16 mm (0.6 in) 12°C (54°F) 92 mm (3.6 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 10°C (51°F) 113 mm (4.4 in)
Jul 26°C (79°F) 3 mm (0.1 in) 10°C (49°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Aug 26°C (79°F) 1 mm (0 in) 10°C (50°F) 98 mm (3.9 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 19°C (66°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 93 mm (3.7 in)
Nov 16°C (61°F) 77 mm (3 in) 15°C (58°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 13°C (55°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 17°C (62°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)