A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Taupo vs. Cromwell for Skiing, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Taupo or Cromwell?

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

Should I visit Taupo or Cromwell? 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 is a stunning, otherworldly, and striking town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the skiing, nightlife, and food.


Cromwell is a cultural, outdoorsy, and historical town. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and skiing.

Taupo and Cromwell: Pros and Cons

  • 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
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Less popular with backpackers

Is there more to do in Taupo or Cromwell?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Taupo than Cromwell, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Taupo is better known for its skiing, food, and impressive beauty, while Cromwell is more popular for its museums. Taupo is more touristy than Cromwell and is popular for its thermal hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and world class hikes. Also, Taupo is famous for the Craters of the Moon reserve. Cromwell is well known for its fruit farms, orchards, and vineyards.

How is Taupo different from Cromwell?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Skiing?


Taupo is very popular for skiing. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for snow skiing.

Visitors will find world class skiing in Taupo. 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.

Head to Cromwell for some great skiing and other winter activities. The town isn't far from several ski fields, so it attracts winter sports enthusiasts when the weather gets cold.

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


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

Cromwell offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting historical activities around town like Goldfields Mining Centre.

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 Cromwell? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Taupo is a great town for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Taupo has a huge number of terrific restaurants. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cromwell area. There are charming cafes and bakeries where you can grab a light meal or snack. There are also quaint restaurants and wineries with nice meals available.

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Nightlife?


It's hard to distinguish whether Taupo or Cromwell 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 Cromwell has a few options to choose from. There are a few breweries and a number of wineries around town where you can have a relaxing night out.

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Hiking?


If you're looking to go hiking, Taupo and Cromwell both have excellent 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 Cromwell for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful walks in the area that take you through diverse landscapes and to impressive views.

Is the Shopping Better in Taupo or Cromwell?


Shopping is a popular activity in both Cromwell and Taupo.

Taupo offers some nice shopping areas. The lakefront town has a nice, pedestrian-friendly stretch with boutique shops, fashion outlets, and souvenir vendors.

Cromwell has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a farmers market in town as well as several local vendors and cute shops.

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Families?


Taupo is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Taupo is an extremely popular town to visit for families. 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.

Cromwell is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The lakefront setting means that there are water activities during the warmer months. There are also ski fields nearby for the winter months. Biking and walking are also popular in the area.

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Couples?


Taupo is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for couples.

Taupo is a great town for couples, as it 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.

Cromwell is a very popular place to visit for couples. Cycling, walking, kayaking, and skiing all make this a romantic a charming town to visit as a couple. There are also wineries in the area with beautiful vineyards.

Is Taupo or Cromwell Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Taupo is very popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Cromwell is not as popular, but is still a nice town for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Taupo is extremely popular for backpackers. 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 backpackers visit Cromwell. There are a handful of great hostels in the area and plenty of things to keep backpackers entertained.

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


Taupo is a town with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Cromwell is not known for its public transit.

While Taupo offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. 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.

Public transit is generally limited in Cromwell. Public transit around town is limited to a couple of buses.

Is Taupo or Cromwell a more walkable city?


Taupo and Cromwell both are notable 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.

Cromwell is a somewhat walkable town. Parts of the town are walkable.

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

Should I spend more time in Cromwell or Taupo?

How long in Taupo or Cromwell?

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

Families should spend more time in Taupo than Cromwell. 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 Cromwell. 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 Cromwell 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 Cromwell? Ideal Length of Stay
    Taupo 2-3 
    Cromwell 1-2

One day in Taupo or Cromwell?

The town of Taupo offers nightlife and food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Cromwell, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this historical destination offers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Cromwell?

Taupo is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Taupo, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

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

Taupo is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that skiing is why people visit. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Cromwell is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Cromwell. 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.

A week in Taupo or Cromwell?

Taupo is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that skiing is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.

You'll find museums and skiing around the outdoorsy destination of Cromwell. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. 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, Cromwell or Taupo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Taupo is $112, while the average daily cost in Cromwell is $82. 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 Cromwell in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Taupo $63
    Cromwell $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Taupo $126
    Cromwell $78
Compare Hotels in Taupo and Cromwell

Looking for a hotel in Taupo or Cromwell? 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 Cromwell

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 Cromwell Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Taupo $25
    Cromwell $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Taupo or Cromwell?

Prices for flights to both Cromwell 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 Meals for one day
    Taupo $24
    Cromwell $27

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Taupo $35
    Cromwell $16
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
  • Jet Boating

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: $30
  • 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: $98
  • Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience: $84
  • Lake 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise: $27
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $29
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 8.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $29
  • Lake Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise: $29
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures - Kindred Spirit: $36

Tours and Activities in Cromwell

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cromwell.

  • Queenstown: Mount Cook Premium Guided Day Tour: $150
  • Ultimate Lake Dunstan Trail Experience Bike & Boat Return: $174

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Taupo $13
    Cromwell $9.22
Typical Alcohol Prices in Taupo

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

  • Wine

Sample the Local Flavors in Cromwell

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

  • Wines and Views: Private Wine Tour of Otago from Queenstow: $1,508

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Taupo and Cromwell, we can see that Taupo is more expensive. And not only is Cromwell much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cromwell would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cromwell 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 Taupo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Taupo than you might in Cromwell.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Taupo Expensive? and Is Cromwell Expensive?.