A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Te Anau vs. Kaikoura for Hiking, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Te Anau or Kaikoura?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Te Anau and Kaikoura can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Te Anau

Te Anau is a breathtaking, stunning, and pristine town. It also offers plenty of small town charm and also has plenty of sights and activities. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the food and hiking.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a unique, nature-oriented, and biologically diverse town. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and beaches.

Te Anau and Kaikoura: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Kaikoura than Te Anau, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Kaikoura is better known for its nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Te Anau is more popular for its hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Te Anau is well known for being the gateway to Fiordland National Park. Kaikoura is well known for its local Sperm Whale population, abundance of marine life, and local crayfish (lobster) recipes. Also, Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching trips.

How is Te Anau different from Kaikoura?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Te Anau and Kaikoura.

While most people don't head to Te Anau specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The town is about the surrounding outdoor activities but you will find the Te Anau Vintage Machinery Museum and the Te Anau Trout Observatory in town.

Kaikoura offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. There aren't many museums in the area, but it's worth learning more about the region's history with a visit to Kaikoura Museum.


Is the Food Better in Te Anau or Kaikoura? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at excellent restaurants in both Te Anau and Kaikoura.

Te Anau has a huge number of terrific restaurants. The town makes a great spot to refuel after all of your hiking and outdoor adventures. There are plenty of cafes and food trucks around town where you can enjoy local dishes and a friendly atmosphere.

Dining out in Kaikoura is an experience not to be missed. Seafood lovers will be in heaven in this town! There are many local, freshly caught favorites such as cod, mussels, and crayfish (which is actually lobster). You'll find plenty of casual eateries, including an authentic American diner.

Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Nightlife?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a town with good options for nightlife and partying. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Kaikoura. This is a small town so the nightlife scene is limited, but there are a few restaurants with bars around town.

Te Anau is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. This is a small town that's focused on outdoor activities, but it does receive a number of tourists, so you'll find a few bars around town where you can hang out.

Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Beaches?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a very popular place for the beache. However, Te Anau is not a beach destination.

The beaches at Kaikoura attract visitors from all over. There are many black pebble beaches in the area, which are great for wildlife spotting, but not so good for swimming. Gooch's Beach is one of the most popular, and it's sandier than many of the other beaches. South Bay is another popular area to visit.

Te Anau is not a beach destination.


Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Hiking?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Te Anau is a world-class destination for the nearby hiking options. Also, Kaikoura is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its hiking trails.

People visit Te Anau specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. The town serves as basecamp for Fiordland National Park so there are many amazing hikes and walks in the area. Many of the hikes begin at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre and range in length and the required skill level.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Kaikoura. There are many coastal walks in the area that will take you through a variety of landscapes. This is also a great way to see the many diverse types of wildlife throughout the peninsula.

Is the Shopping Better in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a town with good options for its shopping opportunities. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its shopping areas.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Kaikoura. There are local shops where you can pick up some interesting products that are unique to the area.

Te Anau has some good spots for those that want to go shopping. There are shops where you can pick up any outdoor supplies and food items that you may need.

Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Families?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Both Te Anau and Kaikoura are terrific to visit with kids.

Te Anau is an extremely popular town to visit for families. The town's proximity to the Milford Sound make it a nice base for families who enjoy spending time outdoors. Kayaking or exploring the Te Anau Glowworm Caves are favorite activities in the area. There's also the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary and many hikes nearby.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Kaikoura is very family-friendly. Kids who love animals will appreciate all of the wildlife in the area. This is one of the best places in the country to see dolphins, whales, and seals. There are world class whale watching trips as well as opportunities to swim with the dolphins and get close to the seals. There is also kayaking, a coastal train, and even sheep shearing. Minigolf is also a fun activity in the area.


Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Couples?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Te Anau is a world-class destination for its romantic activities. Also, Kaikoura is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for couples.

Te Anau makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. The stunning scenery in the area, combined with small town charm, make this is a top couple's destination and a wonderful honeymoon spot. Couples who appreciate nature and outdoor adventure will fall in love with this amazing area.

Kaikoura makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The town is all about wildlife, so if whale watching trips, dolphin spotting, and experiencing amazing local wildlife is your thing, then this is your spot! There are also beautiful coastal sights with a dramatic mountain backdrop.

Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Te Anau and Kaikoura are both excellent destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Te Anau. For such a small town, there are a decent number of hostels and budget accommodation options in the area. The town makes a good base for exploring the region's stunning scenery.

Kaikoura is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a decent number of hostels in the area and plenty of fun activities that backpackers will enjoy.

Is Te Anau or Kaikoura Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Neither Te Anau or Kaikoura offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited in Te Anau. Public transit in the area is limited and most visitors have their own car or join one of the many tours in the area.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Kaikoura. The town is very small and there is no real public transit in the area.


Is Te Anau or Kaikoura a more walkable city?

Te Anau
Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a town with good options for its high level of walkability. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

Kaikoura is a somewhat walkable place. There are many coastal walks in the area, which is a great way to soak up the beauty and see the wildlife. The town itself is small and most of the accommodation is along Beach Road, so it's relatively easy to reach places on foot.

Te Anau is generally not very walkable. Exploring the area requires a vehicle and, while there are many hikes in the area, it's not easy to walk to many places. There are tours available for those that don't have a vehicle.

For even more information, also check out Is Te Anau Worth Visiting? and Is Kaikoura Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Kaikoura or Te Anau?

How long in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

It's fun to spend time in either Te Anau or Kaikoura. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Kaikoura due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Te Anau, and 2-4 days is enough time in Kaikoura.

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

Couples should spend more time in Te Anau than Kaikoura. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Te Anau that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Kaikoura than Te Anau 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 Kaikoura.


  • How many days in Te Anau or Kaikoura? Ideal Length of Stay
    Te Anau 1-3 
    Kaikoura 2-4

One day in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau is a small town where visitors enjoy the food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Kaikoura, you'll find shopping and nightlife. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau 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 Te Anau, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

In Kaikoura, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Kaikoura has to offer.


Five days in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that hiking 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.

Kaikoura is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Kaikoura. Many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting Kaikoura. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in New Zealand, The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand, and The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Kaikoura or Te Anau?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Te Anau is $100, while the average daily cost in Kaikoura is $137. 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 Te Anau and Kaikoura in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Te Anau $44
    Kaikoura $49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Te Anau $88
    Kaikoura $98
Compare Hotels in Te Anau and Kaikoura

Looking for a hotel in Te Anau or Kaikoura? 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 Te Anau


Hotels in Kaikoura


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: Te Anau Hotel Prices and Kaikoura Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Te Anau $27
    Kaikoura $17

Is it cheaper to fly into Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Prices for flights to both Kaikoura and Te Anau 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
    Te Anau $27
    Kaikoura $38

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Te Anau $48
    Kaikoura $154

Tours and Activities in Te Anau

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

  • Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Tour: $74
  • Afternoon Te Anau Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht: $91
  • Morning Tea Cruise on Historic Motor Yacht from Te Anau: $91
  • Champagne Sightseeing Cruise on Lake Te Anau: $91
  • Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Tour from Te Anau : $122
  • Te Anau Highlights & Lord of the Rings Small Group Tour from Te Anau : $125
  • Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Te Anau: $131
  • Milford Sound Full Day Tour from Te Anau with Cruise: $140
  • Full-Day Milford Sound Tour with Cruise and Walks from Te Anau: $153
  • Full-Day Milford Sound Extraordinaire Tour from Te Anau: $156
  • Milford Sound Coach and Nature Cruise with Buffet Lunch from Te Anau: $166
  • Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Underwater Observatory with lunch ex Te Anau: $168

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

  • Llama Trek (Taster) - Kowhai River Valley and Native Woodland Tour: $84
  • 1-Hour Private Heli-Picnic Mountain top tour in Kaikoura : $245
  • 40-minute Mt Fyffe Summit Heli Tour in Kaikoura : $229
  • Half Day Zipline Adventure in Kaikoura: $100
  • Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch: $248
  • Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch: $220
  • Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $188
  • Seal Kayaking Adventure in Kaikoura: $85
  • Sunset Evening Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $94
  • Sunset Kayak tour in Kaikoura: $85
  • Wildlife Sea Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $94

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Te Anau $14
    Kaikoura -


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

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


Which is Bigger, Te Anau or Kaikoura?

Te Anau has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Kaikoura. When comparing the sizes of Te Anau and Kaikoura, 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.