A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Taupo vs. Arrowtown for Skiing, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Taupo or Arrowtown?

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

Should I visit Taupo or Arrowtown? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Taupo

Taupo is a striking, stunning, and otherworldly town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and skiing.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a quaint, quirky, and historic town. It also offers plenty of small town charm and also has plenty of sights and activities. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and skiing.

Taupo 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
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 Taupo or Arrowtown?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Arrowtown. Although Taupo and Arrowtown are popular destinations, Arrowtown has more sights and attractions for tourists. Arrowtown is very popular for its museums, historical sights, hiking, shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Taupo attracts visitors for its skiing and impressive beauty. Taupo is famous for its thermal hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and world class hikes. Arrowtown is famous for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. It is also well known for the Chinese Settlement.

How is Taupo different from Arrowtown?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Skiing?

Taupo
Arrowtown

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

Taupo is among the world's best ski destinations. Nearby Mount Ruapehu offers access to the longest running ski season in both Australia and New Zealand. From June until October you can enjoy the largest commercial ski areas around. There are options for everyone from young beginners to experts. The two main ski resorts in the area are Whakapapa Ski Area and Tūroa Ski Area.

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 Taupo or Arrowtown?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a popular place for its museums and landmarks. However, Taupo is a town with minimal options for its historical sights.

Arrowtown offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Taupo. Stunning natural beauty and adventure-filled activities are what Taupo is all about, but you won't find much in the form of museums.

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

Taupo
Arrowtown

Both Taupo and Arrowtown offer a number of great restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Taupo. The town is filled with local restaurants that make use of local ingredients such as fresh caught trout, local produce, and wild game. The town also has many farmers markets and a strong cafe culture.

Arrowtown has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. 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 Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Nightlife?

Taupo
Arrowtown

It's hard to distinguish whether Taupo or Arrowtown has a better nightlife scene.

Taupo has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. It's a small resort town that is active during the day and night. There are low key activities in the evening like soaking in the thermal hot pools or grabbing a drink at a bar.

If you're looking for night time activities Arrowtown has a few options to choose from. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.


Is Taupo or Arrowtown Better for its Old Town?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a great destination for its old town. However, Taupo does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting 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.

Taupo does not have a historic old town.

Is Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Hiking?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a must-visit destination for its hiking experiences. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

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.

Many visitors go to Taupo for the hiking trails. The area is filled with beautiful hikes that take you through the natural beauty. During the fall season you can enjoy the fall foliage and during the summer months the wildlife and waterfront setting is at a peak.

Is the Shopping Better in Taupo or Arrowtown?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Arrowtown is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Taupo has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The lakefront town has a nice, pedestrian-friendly stretch with boutique shops, fashion outlets, and souvenir vendors.


Is Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Families?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Taupo is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Taupo is one of the most popular family destinations. Set on the edge of Lake Taupo, there are many family-friendly activities in the area like swimming, boating, and hiking. There are also thermal hot springs and in the winter months skiing. Families who enjoy outdoor adventures will find no shortage of options year round.

Arrowtown is a very kid-friendly town. 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 Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Couples?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Taupo 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, Taupo has plenty to offer. Honeymooners and couples who enjoy romantic scenery, beautiful sunsets, and outdoor adventure will fall in love with this area. You can soak in thermal hot springs and picnic next to beautiful waterfalls. There are also breathtaking hikes and great water activities.

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 Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Taupo
Arrowtown

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

Many backpackers frequent Taupo. There's plenty of backpacker and hostel accommodation in the area. There are also free outdoor activities and adrenaline-filled adventures that backpackers will enjoy.

Arrowtown is a great town 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 Taupo or Arrowtown Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Taupo
Arrowtown

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Taupo and Arrowtown.

You'll find some public transit in Taupo, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are local bus service, the Taupo Connector, that travels around the town center. If you want to get outside of town, you'll need to have a car.

While Arrowtown offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are public buses throughout the region.

Is Taupo or Arrowtown a more walkable city?

Taupo
Arrowtown

Taupo and Arrowtown both are nice when exploring on foot.

Taupo is a somewhat walkable place. The town is fairly compact, but if you want to efficiently get around and experience everything that the area has to offer, you'll want to have a car.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Arrowtown or Taupo?

How long in Taupo or Arrowtown?

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

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

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

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


  • How many days in Taupo or Arrowtown? Ideal Length of Stay
    Taupo 2-3 
    Arrowtown 1-2

One day in Taupo or Arrowtown?

You'll find food and shopping around the town of Taupo. 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.

Even though Arrowtown is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Lots of people come for the hiking. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.


A weekend in Taupo or Arrowtown?

You'll find shopping and skiing around the striking destination of Taupo. 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 town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Arrowtown. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Taupo or Arrowtown?

Travelers enjoy the skiing and nightlife when visiting the stunning town of Taupo. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the skiing. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Arrowtown is a fun place to experience. Arrowtown is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. Lots of people come for the hiking. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Taupo or Arrowtown?

Taupo is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Arrowtown is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the hiking. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to New Zealand, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Auckland, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to New Zealand, and The Best Wildlife Tours to New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Arrowtown or Taupo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Taupo is $115, while the average daily cost in Arrowtown is $119. 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 Taupo and Arrowtown in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Taupo $64
    Arrowtown $69
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Taupo $128
    Arrowtown $138
Compare Hotels in Taupo and Arrowtown

Looking for a hotel in Taupo 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 Taupo


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: Taupo Hotel Prices and Arrowtown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Taupo $26
    Arrowtown $28

Is it cheaper to fly into Taupo or Arrowtown?

Prices for flights to both Arrowtown and Taupo 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
    Taupo $24
    Arrowtown $31

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Taupo $36
    Arrowtown $15
Typical Entertainment Prices in Taupo

Here are a few typical costs in Taupo for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Bungy Jumping
    $157
  • Jet Boating
    $58

Tours and Activities in Taupo

Here are a few actual costs in Taupo for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo: $31
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - Cabin in the Woods: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Candy Cottage: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Hunting Lodge: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Marvelous Circus: $23
  • Great Lake Trail Lake Taupo 2-Day Mountain Biking Tour: $101
  • Huka River Trail Guided geothermal E-bike Tour: $184
  • Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience: $85
  • Lake 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise: $28
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $30
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 8.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $30
  • Lake Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise: $30

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: $58

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Taupo $14
    Arrowtown $14
Typical Alcohol Prices in Taupo

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Taupo from other travelers:


  • Wine
    $5.23

Sample the Local Flavors in Arrowtown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arrowtown:

  • From Scenic Valley of the Vines Bike & Wine Tour: $92


When comparing the travel costs between Taupo 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 Taupo Expensive? and Is Arrowtown Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Taupo or Arrowtown?

Taupo has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Arrowtown. When comparing the sizes of Taupo 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.