A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Taupo vs. Queenstown for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Taupo or Queenstown?

Should I visit Taupo or Queenstown? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Taupo

Taupo is a town located in the center of the North Island, situated on the shores of Lake Taupo, which is New Zealand's largest lake. It is also the caldera of the Taupo Volcano. It has a population of 23,700 people and is visited by many people interested in fishing, boating, and other water activities. There are many hiking and biking trails that take you around the water as well.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a popular tourist destination on New Zealand's South Island. It is beautifully surrounded by the Southern Alps and sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Across the lake you will find a stunning view of the Remarkables, a dramatic mountain range. The town itself is quite touristy, but prices still remain reasonable. There are options for all travel budgets, whether you're a backpacker hoping to save a few dollars or a family looking for some luxury accommodation. Despite its natural and tranquil setting, Queenstown is actually very much a party town, particularly during the peak seasons. Don't be surprised to find people out enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning. If you're not into the party scene and are hoping to get a decent night's sleep, consider staying a little outside of town. About an hour outside of Queenstown you'll find Wanaka, which is a much smaller and peaceful town without the party scene.

Which city is cheaper, Queenstown or Taupo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Taupo is $97, while the average daily cost in Queenstown is $91. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Taupo and Queenstown in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $55. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Taupo the cost is $110 on average.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $96 for a double occupancy room in Queenstown.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Taupo $55
    Queenstown $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Taupo $110
    Queenstown $96

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Taupo is $22 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

The cost of a taxi ride in Queenstown is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $8.87 per person, per day, on local transportation in Queenstown.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Taupo $22
    Queenstown $8.87

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Central Queenstown City Centre: $13
  • Departure Transfer: Queenstown Central City Centre Hotels to Queenstown Airport: $13
  • Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Queenstown to Christchurch: $1,264
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Hotel by Jet Boat: $342
  • Private Ski Transfer to Coronet Peak Ski Field: $333
  • Private Ski Transfer to The Remarkables Ski Field: $370
  • Ski Transfer To Coronet Peak (Round Trip): $27
  • Ski Transfer To Remarkables Ski Area (Round Trip): $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Taupo or Queenstown?

Prices for flights to both Queenstown 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

Taupo food costs typically run travelers around $20 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

The average traveler spends about $31 per day in Queenstown for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Taupo $20
    Queenstown $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Queenstown.

  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown: $110
  • Queenstown Progressive Dinner & Wine Tour - 3 iconic locations: $207

Entertainment

Taupo's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $30 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Entertainment and activities in Queenstown typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Taupo $30
    Queenstown $19
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
    $165
  • Jet Boating
    $61

Tours and Activities in Taupo

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

  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise: $23
  • Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo: $26
  • Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise: $26
  • Cruise Kakariki to the Maori Rock Carvings: $30
  • Self-Guided Geothermal Tour in Orakei Korako: $30
  • Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carving 2.5-Hour Sailing Cruise: $33
  • Great Lake Trail Lake Taupo 2-Day Mountain Biking Tour: $175
  • Taupo Highlights Tour - Go Explore Scenic: $182

Typical Entertainment prices in Queenstown

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:


  • Skyline Gondola (for 2)
    $33

Tours and Activities in Queenstown

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Queenstown are as follows:

  • Time Tripper Underwater Experience: $6.58
  • Full & Half Day Hardtail Cruiser Bike Hire (Giant Talon 3 - 2020 model): $11
  • Escape Adventure AR Experience in Queenstown: $19
  • Skip the Line: Odyssey Sensory Maze Entry Queenstown Ticket: $24
  • Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown: $29
  • Glenorchy Kiwi Special Tour: $29
  • Million Dollar Cruise in Queenstown: $36
  • Gibbston Valley Cave Guided Tour from Queenstown: $37
  • Queenstown Hop-on Hop-off Evening Beer Tour: $40
  • Queenstown VIP Wine Drop and Hop Tour: $40
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise from Queenstown: $52
  • Self Guided Bike Experience - Frankton/Kelvin Heights/Jack’s Point to Queenstown: $61

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Taupo may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $7.75 on alcoholic beverages in Queenstown per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Taupo $11
    Queenstown $7.75
Typical Alcohol prices in Taupo

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


  • Wine
    $5.49

Sample the Local Flavors in Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown: $40
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour: $52
  • Wine Tour from Full Day: $103
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard: $116
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $122
  • Original Wine Tour: $125
  • Vine Hopper: Queenstown's Ultimate Wine & Microbrewery Adventure: $133
  • Valley of the Vines Afternoon Wine Tour includes a Winery Tour: $133
  • Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & Wine: $136
  • Valley of the Vines Lunch & Wine Tour with a Wine Cave Adult Tour: $147
  • Wine Tour & Maori Culture Queenstown: $159
  • Boutique Wine Tour in Central Otago Wine Region: $161


When comparing the travel costs between Taupo and Queenstown, 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.

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Taupo vs. Queenstown Travel Comparison

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