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

Should you visit Taupo or Napier?

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

Should I visit Taupo or Napier? 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.

Napier

Napier is a relaxed, character-filled, and coastal town. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Taupo and Napier: 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


Is there more to do in Taupo or Napier?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Napier. Although Taupo and Napier are popular destinations, Napier has more sights and attractions for tourists. Napier is very popular for its museums, nightlife, and beaches, while Taupo attracts visitors for its skiing, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Taupo is famous for its thermal hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and world class hikes. Napier is famous for its many art deco buildings, its beautiful vineyards, and the area's long sandy beaches. It is also well known for the art deco architecture.

How is Taupo different from Napier?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Taupo or Napier Better for Skiing?

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is a must-visit destination for skiing and snowboarding. However, Napier is not a skiing destination.

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.

Napier is not a skiing destination.


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

Taupo
Napier

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

Napier offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Considered an "Art Deco capital", there are many interesting buildings around town and it's worth taking an Art Deco Walk. The National Aquarium of New Zealand is also impressive as is the MTG Hawke's Bay, which is a museum, gallery, and theater in one. For something a little outside the box, you can visit the Napier Prison, which is New Zealand's oldest place of incarceration, dating back to 1862.

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 Napier? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Taupo
Napier

Both Taupo and Napier 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.

Napier has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. With its many wineries and big mix of fine dining restaurants, there is plenty for a foodie to enjoy around town. You'll find restaurants that serve up New Zealand favorites as well as those that experiment with modern and trendy recipes.

Is Taupo or Napier Better for Nightlife?

Taupo
Napier

Napier 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 Napier know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene is diverse and fun. Whether you're looking for a wild party or just want to relax with a drink and some friends, there are plenty of places where you can hang out.

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 Napier Better for Beaches?

Taupo
Napier

Napier is a must-visit destination for the beache. However, Taupo is not a beach destination.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Napier. It's a popular beach destination and you'll find plenty of beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and playing with the kids. You'll want to head out of town to find the best and most beautiful beaches. For hidden beaches and some of the area's best surf, head to Mahia Peninsula. To escape the tourists and hang out with the locals, go to Waipatiki Beach. And for a picnic, Westshore Beach is a favorite. Waimarama Beach is another favorite in the area as well.

Taupo is not a beach destination.

Is Taupo or Napier Better for Hiking?

Taupo
Napier

If you're looking to go hiking, Taupo and Napier both have great 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 Napier for the hiking trails. Hawke's Bay is filled with wonderful walks and hikes. There are easy coastal paths as well as mult-day treks around Lake Waikaremoana. It's not hard to find somewhere to stretch your legs and explore the scenery.

Is the Shopping Better in Taupo or Napier?

Taupo
Napier

Shopping is a popular activity in both Napier 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.

Napier has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find all of the standard New Zealand retail chains as well antique and boutique shops. With its many Art Deco buildings, the city has character and personality.


Is Taupo or Napier Better for Families?

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Napier 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.

Napier is a very kid-friendly town. This coastal city has a waterpark, a waterfall walk, and plenty of beaches where the family can hang out. There's also a waterfront promenade that is filled with water features and playgrounds where the kids can run around. You can also check out Hawke's Bay Farmyard Zoo or on a rainy day head to the Faraday Museum of Technology.

Is Taupo or Napier Better for Couples?

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is a must-visit destination for romance. Also, Napier 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 Napier frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Surrounded by vineyards and lined with beaches, this is a great place for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon. Hop on a bike and explore the wineries or enjoy a beautiful hike through nature. There are also adrenaline-filled activities for thrill seekers or fine dining restaurants for the foodies.

Is Taupo or Napier Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is a must-visit destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Napier 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.

Napier is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are a couple of hostels around town and plenty of fun activities like mountain biking or white water rafting that you can enjoy.


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

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Taupo has some public transit options. 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 Napier. Public transit to most of the beaches is limited or nonexistent, so you really need a car if you want to get around and see everything.

Is Taupo or Napier a more walkable city?

Taupo
Napier

Taupo is very good for its walkability. However, Napier is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

Taupo is somewhat walkable. 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.

Napier is generally not very walkable. If you stay in town you can walk to cafes and restaurants, but you really need a car if you're planning to visit beaches or explore the area in depth.

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

Should I spend more time in Napier or Taupo?

How long in Taupo or Napier?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Taupo and Napier. In our opinion, Taupo has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Taupo than Napier. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

One day in Taupo or Napier?

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and skiing when visiting the destination of Taupo. 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 Napier, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this relaxed destination offers. It's also a great beach destination, too. Lots of people come for the beaches. This town 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 Napier?

Taupo is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the skiing, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

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

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Taupo. Don't miss the skiing, as that's what most people do. 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.

Napier is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Napier. Lots of people come for the beaches. 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 Napier?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the otherworldly destination of Taupo. 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.

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


Which place is cheaper, Napier 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 Napier is $174. 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 Napier in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Taupo $65
    Napier $105
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Taupo $130
    Napier $210
Compare Hotels in Taupo and Napier

Looking for a hotel in Taupo or Napier? 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 Napier


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 Napier Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Taupo $26
    Napier $31

Is it cheaper to fly into Taupo or Napier?

Prices for flights to both Napier 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
    Napier $38

Typical Food Prices in Napier

For Napier, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Casural Lunch
    $8.67

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Taupo $36
    Napier $28
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:

  • 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
  • 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 Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise: $30
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures - Kindred Spirit: $37
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures - Sail Fearless: $31
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures -Tiua: $50

Tours and Activities in Napier

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

  • Self-Guided Earthquake Audio Tour: $14
  • Art Deco Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $14
  • Hastings Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Art Deco Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Earthquake Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Napier Prison Self-Guided Audio Tour: $19
  • Hawkes Bay Wineries Self-Guided Bike Tour: $37
  • Hawke's Bay: Coastal Winery Cycle Tour - self-guided: $50
  • Cape Coast Wineries Self-Guided Scenic Bike Tour from Napier: $51
  • Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour: $60
  • 2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour: $60
  • Small Group 2.5-Hour Napier History and Art Deco Tour : $60

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Taupo $14
    Napier $17
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

Typical Alcohol Prices in Napier

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Napier are as follows:


  • Wine
    $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Napier

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Napier:

  • Half Day Small-Group Hawkes Bay Wine Tour: $98
  • Wine Tour and Tastings in Hawkes Bay: $174
  • Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting: $536


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

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


Which is Bigger, Taupo or Napier?

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