A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Tauranga vs. Rotorua for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Tauranga or Rotorua?

Should I visit Tauranga or Rotorua? 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.

Tauranga

Tauranga is a city on the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the western side of the Bay of Plenty, which is on the east coast of the island. Its population of 130,000 makes it the fifth largest city in the country. Tauranga is a Maori word translated roughly to 'a sheltered anchorage'. This makes sense as the town is located near a very large harbor and protected by Matakana Island. Mount Maunganui is at the headland of the town and regarded as a suburb of Tauranga. The beach at Mt Maunganui is a surfing hot spot. The climate is mostly warm and dry because of the town's sheltered position.

Rotorua

Located on the banks of Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is famous as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. The area has a variety of geothermal sights, but it is also close to several lakes and has more traditional activities as well, including fishing, boating and white water rafting.

Rotorua is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which is the largest volcano in the area. There are four major volcanic calderas that now have lakes, and several other volcanoes in the area. Rotorua sits on top of a thermal hot spring, and there are many vents and hot pools throughout the area. Many of the hot pools and sights are located within parks, with some of the best being Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Rotorua has a warm, temperate climate. Because of the area's inland location, it has less wind than many places in New Zealand. Temperatures during the winter months can fall to below freezing, but snow is incredibly rare.

Which city is cheaper, Rotorua or Tauranga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tauranga is $97, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $86. 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 Tauranga and Rotorua in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $70. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Tauranga the cost is $140 on average.

Travelers usually pay around $92 for a double occupancy room in Rotorua If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tauranga $70
    Rotorua $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tauranga $140
    Rotorua $92

Food

The average traveler spends about $20 per day in Tauranga 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.

On average, meal and food prices in Rotorua cost around $25 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $10.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Tauranga $20
    Rotorua $25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rotorua

For Rotorua, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance: $100
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $140

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $6.38 per day to get around in Tauranga.

Rotorua's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $4.72 per person, per day on transportation in Rotorua.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tauranga $6.38
    Rotorua $4.72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

Also for Rotorua, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Departure Transfer: Rotorua City Centre Hotels to Rotorua Airport: $18
  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $148

Is it cheaper to fly into Tauranga or Rotorua?

Prices for flights to both Rotorua and Tauranga 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.





Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $9.75 per person, per day in Tauranga. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Rotorua can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $33 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tauranga $9.75
    Rotorua $33

Tours and Activities in Tauranga

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

  • 3hr Tauranga Sun-downer History Tour COMPLIMENTARY Wine or Beer: $43
  • 4hr Shore Excursion - History and Tasting Tour FREE Kiwifruit Ice Cream: $61
  • 6hr Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: $133
  • Best of Rotorua Tour: $118
  • Craft Beer Tour from Tauranga: $122
  • Deluxe small group Cruise Day Tour, Rotorua, Tauranga & Mt Maunganui highlights: $83
  • Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour in Tauranga: $100
  • Exclusive Rotorua Cultural and Geothermal Experience from Tauranga: $729
  • From Half Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour: $108
  • Geo Thermal Rotorua Tours: $128
  • Half-Day Tauranga Guided Tour by Minivan with port Pickup: $104
  • Harley Tour of the Mount 20mins: $30

Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Rotorua's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Lunch Out for Two
    $32

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • Lake Rotorua Paddle Boat Cruise: $14
  • Whaka Geothermal Trails Self-Guided Tour: $19
  • Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour: $19
  • Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour: $26
  • The Farm Tour: $28
  • Rainbow Springs Ticket - Lite Pass: $33
  • Rainbow Springs Ticket - Essentials Pass: $44
  • Nocturnal adventure Glow-worm tour: $51
  • Rotorua Hot Lakes Bike Tour: $55
  • Rotorua Duck Boat Guided City and Lakes Tour: $56
  • Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure: $62
  • Tarawera and Lakes 2-Hour Duck Eco Tour: $63

Alcohol

The average person spends about $9.64 on alcoholic beverages in Tauranga per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting Rotorua spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tauranga $9.64
    Rotorua $11

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $13


When comparing the travel costs between Tauranga and Rotorua, we can see that Tauranga 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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Tauranga vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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