A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Taupo vs. Christchurch for Families, Couples, Backpackers, and Food

Should you visit Taupo or Christchurch?

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

Should I visit Taupo or Christchurch? 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 stunning, otherworldly, and striking town. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and shopping.

Christchurch

Christchurch is a outdoorsy, adventure-filled, and cultural city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Taupo and Christchurch: 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 museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Taupo or Christchurch?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Christchurch than Taupo, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Christchurch is better known for its museums, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Taupo is more popular for its skiing and small town charm. Taupo is more touristy than Christchurch and is known for its thermal hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and world class hikes. Christchurch is well known for its outdoor beauty and relaxing, scenic atmosphere. Also, Christchurch is famous for the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

How is Taupo different from Christchurch?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Skiing?

Taupo
Christchurch

Taupo is terrific for winter skiing. However, Christchurch is not a skiing destination.

If you're an avid snow skiier, Taupo should be on your list. 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.

Christchurch is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Taupo or Christchurch?

Taupo
Christchurch

Christchurch is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Taupo is a town with minimal options for its historical sights.

Christchurch offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with street art and local galleries. There's also Canterbury Museum, the International Antarctic Centre, the Arts Centre, and the Riccarton House & Bush.

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 Christchurch? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Taupo
Christchurch

Both Taupo and Christchurch offer a number of high quality 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.

Christchurch has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. There's a mix of cozy cafes and casual eateries around town. You'll also find some fine dining restaurants as well as international flavors.

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Nightlife?

Taupo
Christchurch

Christchurch is a great destination for nightlife and partying. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

The people in Christchurch know how to have a good time. The city has its share of dance clubs, live music venues, and laid back bars. You'll find a number of popular hangout spots around Oxford Terrace or on the historic New Regent Street.

If you're looking for night time activities Taupo has a few options to choose from. 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.


Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Beaches?

Taupo
Christchurch

Christchurch is a great destination for the beache. However, Taupo is not a beach destination.

Christchurch is considered a top beach destination. There are sandy beaches in the area with water sports and various amenities. The summer months are the most popular time for hanging out at the beach, and you'll find local families playing in the sun or enjoying a picnic.

Taupo is not a beach destination.

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Hiking?

Taupo
Christchurch

If you're looking to go hiking, Taupo and Christchurch both have high quality trails.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Taupo. 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.

Many visitors go to Christchurch for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful hikes in the area that take you along the coastline or past local historic sights. The landscape is diverse and you'll find many amazing parks in the area. Hooker Valley Track is one of the best hiking routes nearby.

Is the Shopping Better in Taupo or Christchurch?

Taupo
Christchurch

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

Christchurch is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There's a mix of boutique shops, outlet malls, and open air markets. Some of the best shopping places include the Tannery and the Colombo.

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 Christchurch Better for Families?

Taupo
Christchurch

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Taupo or Christchurch.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Taupo is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Christchurch is one of the most popular family destinations. The International Antarctic Centre is a thrilling and fun experience. There's also the Orana Wildlife Park or Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. For adrenaline junkies there are the ropes courses at the Adrenalin Forest. There are also many indoor playgrounds and rock climbing facilities.

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Couples?

Taupo
Christchurch

Taupo is terrific for its romantic activities. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Taupo makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

Christchurch is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. Punting on the Avon River is one of the most romantic activities in the city. There are also botanical gardens, parks, and natural areas that are fun to explore. Nearby, you can do a wine tour, or there are cocktail bars and charming restaurants in town. The city also has a nice theater and many other date night activities.

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Taupo
Christchurch

Taupo is terrific for backpackers. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit 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.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Christchurch. There's no shortage of hostels around town, and many backpackers pass through Christchurch on their epic New Zealand adventure.


Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Students?

Taupo
Christchurch

Christchurch is a great destination for students. However, Taupo is not popular with students.

Christchurch is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. It's the largest city on the South Island and there are plenty of activities and nearby trips that you can enjoy.

Taupo is not popular with students.

Is Taupo or Christchurch Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Taupo
Christchurch

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

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 Christchurch offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. While it's not a diverse transit system, the buses are well connected and offer the cheapest way to get around town.

Is Taupo or Christchurch a more walkable city?

Taupo
Christchurch

Christchurch is a great destination for its high level of walkability. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Christchurch is a very walkable city. The city center is relatively flat and easy to explore on foot.

Taupo is a somewhat walkable town. 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.


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

Should I spend more time in Christchurch or Taupo?

How long in Taupo or Christchurch?

It's fun to spend time in either Taupo or Christchurch. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Christchurch due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Taupo, and 2-4 days is enough time in Christchurch.

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

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


  • How many days in Taupo or Christchurch? Ideal Length of Stay
    Taupo 2-3 
    Christchurch 2-4

One day in Taupo or Christchurch?

In Taupo, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this otherworldly town offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Christchurch, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this cultural destination offers. It's also a great beach destination, too. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Taupo or Christchurch?

Taupo is a fun place to experience. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the skiing. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

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

You'll find shopping and skiing around the stunning destination of Taupo. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the skiing. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Christchurch is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Christchurch. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Taupo or Christchurch?

Taupo is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the adventure-filled destination of Christchurch. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Christchurch 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 Christchurch is $99. 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 Christchurch in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Taupo $65
    Christchurch $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Taupo $130
    Christchurch $102
Compare Hotels in Taupo and Christchurch

Looking for a hotel in Taupo or Christchurch? 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 Christchurch


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 Christchurch Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Taupo $26
    Christchurch $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $92
  • Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Christchurch Central City Hotels: $19
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC) to Christchurch - Round-Trip Transfer: $64
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC): Transfer to Christchurch hotels: $131
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers: $84
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Car: $108
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Luxury Van: $92
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Car: $108
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $92

Is it cheaper to fly into Taupo or Christchurch?

Prices for flights to both Christchurch 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
    Christchurch $32

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Taupo $36
    Christchurch $18
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
    $158
  • Jet Boating
    $59

Tours and Activities in Taupo

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

  • Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Hunting Lodge: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Marvelous Circus: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Candy Cottage: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - Cabin in the Woods: $23
  • Lake 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise: $28
  • Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise: $29
  • Self-Guided Geothermal Tour in Orakei Korako: $30
  • Lake Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise: $30
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $30
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures - Sail Fearless: $31
  • Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo: $31

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Chairlift Sightseeing Pass at the Christchurch Adventure Park: $13
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tour by Vintage Tram: $22
  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $25
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Centre Entry Tickets: $37
  • International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket: $37
  • Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo: $43
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $43
  • Gondola Ticket and Punt Ride on the Avon River: $46
  • Discover Christchurch Sightseeing Tour with optional International Antarctic Center Admission: $54
  • Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo Ticket: $65
  • Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch: $79
  • Christchurch Zipline Tour: $92

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Taupo $14
    Christchurch $12
Typical Alcohol Prices in Taupo

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


  • Wine
    $5.26

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

Also in Christchurch, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • From Full-Day Wine Tour with Lunch: $105
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $108
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $111
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - City Highlights & Waipara Wine Tour : $124
  • From Guided Local Wine Tours in Waipara: $124
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $555


When comparing the travel costs between Taupo and Christchurch, we can see that Taupo 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 Christchurch Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Taupo or Christchurch?

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