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

Should you visit Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

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 Lake Tekapo 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 stunning, pristine, and breathtaking town. Because it offers so much small town charm with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. Other popular activities here include food and hiking.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a small, remote, and basic town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the hiking.

Te Anau and Lake Tekapo: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Te Anau. Although Te Anau and Lake Tekapo are both popular with visitors, Te Anau has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Te Anau is more touristy than Lake Tekapo and is popular for being the gateway to Fiordland National Park. It is also home to Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Lake Tekapo is popular for its hot springs, remote location, and beautiful night sky.

How is Te Anau different from Lake Tekapo?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Lake Tekapo 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 Lake Tekapo?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is a town with a few options for its museums and landmarks. However, Lake Tekapo does not have museums and landmarks.

Te Anau offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. 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.

Lake Tekapo does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is a great destination for its restaurant scene. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Te Anau is an experience not to be missed. 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.

Lake Tekapo offers some easy restaurants to choose from. The town is very small with just a couple of restaurants and fast food joints.

Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo Better for Nightlife?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is a town with a few options for its evening party scene. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for nightlife.

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.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Lake Tekapo This is a very small town and there isn't a real nightlife scene. The night sky is incredible though, and you should absolutely do some stargazing.

Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo Better for Hiking?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is terrific for its hiking experiences. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

Te Anau is well-known for its hiking and trekking. 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 go to Lake Tekapo for the hiking trails. There are many beautiful hikes in the area with some of the most popular being the Mount John Summit Track, the Richmond Trail, and Cowan's Hill Walkway.


Is the Shopping Better in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is a town with a few options for its shopping areas. However, Lake Tekapo is a town with minimal options for shopping.

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.

Shopping in Lake Tekapo can be found for those interested. There are a couple of shops where you can pick up basic necessities.

Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo Better for Families?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is terrific for its family-friendly activities. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Te Anau is very family-friendly. 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.

Lake Tekapo is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy a visit to Tekapo Springs, which is particularly fun in the winter months. There's snow tubing, ice skating, and, of course, the hot pools. There are also short hikes in the area like the Mount John Summit Walk. Biking, paddleboarding, and kayaking are also popular in the area.

Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo Better for Couples?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is terrific for couples. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Te Anau is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. 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.

Lake Tekapo is a nice destination for couples. Couples will enjoy the stunning scenery, beautiful hikes, and the romantic hot springs. Stargazing is another popular activity in the area.


Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Te Anau is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Lake Tekapo is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Te Anau is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. 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.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Lake Tekapo. It's a small town with a couple of cheap places to stay that backpackers will appreciate.

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

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Neither Te Anau or Lake Tekapo 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 Lake Tekapo. Public transportation in the area is very limited. If you don't have a car, you'll want to arrange tours to get out and about.

Is Te Anau or Lake Tekapo a more walkable city?

Te Anau
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo 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.

Lake Tekapo is a somewhat walkable place. The town is small enough to get around on foot, and you can hire a tour to get out into the region.

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 Lake Tekapo Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Lake Tekapo or Te Anau?

How long in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Te Anau than Lake Tekapo because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Te Anau, and 1-2 days is enough time in Lake Tekapo.

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

Couples should spend more time in Te Anau than Lake Tekapo. 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 Te Anau than Lake Tekapo 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 Te Anau.


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

One day in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Te Anau is a small town with plenty to do. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Most people visit for the hiking. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Lake Tekapo, you'll find . Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Te Anau might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In Lake Tekapo, you'll find . 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 Lake Tekapo has to offer.

Five days in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Because Te Anau is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. 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. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Lake Tekapo is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this 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 Lake Tekapo?

Since Te Anau is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people visit for the hiking. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lake Tekapo. Many people enjoy the when visiting Lake Tekapo. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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, Lake Tekapo or Te Anau?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Te Anau is $101, while the average daily cost in Lake Tekapo is $77. 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 Lake Tekapo in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Te Anau $45
    Lake Tekapo $61
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Te Anau $90
    Lake Tekapo $122
Compare Hotels in Te Anau and Lake Tekapo

Looking for a hotel in Te Anau or Lake Tekapo? 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 Lake Tekapo


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 Lake Tekapo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Te Anau $28
    Lake Tekapo -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Te Anau

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

  • Kepler Water Taxi Transfer across Lake Te Anau: $18

Is it cheaper to fly into Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Prices for flights to both Lake Tekapo 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 $28
    Lake Tekapo $13

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Te Anau $49
    Lake Tekapo -

Tours and Activities in Te Anau

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

  • Glowworm Caves Guided Tour: $73
  • Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Tour: $75
  • Lake 3-Hour Boat Cruise with Guided Walk: $89
  • Evening Scenic Cruise: $89
  • 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
  • Fiordland: Jet Boat & Nature Walk Experience from Te Anau: $110
  • From Milford Sound Coach Tour and Cruise: $113
  • Full-Day National Park Tour with Cruise and Lunch: $113
  • Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour: $122
  • Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Tour from Te Anau : $122

Tours and Activities in Lake Tekapo

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

  • Lake Tekapo Tour Scenic 4WD Mountains & Glaciers: $188
  • 45 Minutes Virtual Stargazing Experience in Lake Tekapo: $45
  • Chameleon Stargazing Shared Tour: $62
  • Crater Experience at Cowan's Observatory: $88
  • Dark Sky Indoor Cultural Astronomy Experience: $32
  • High Country Farm Tour - Lake Tekapo: $61
  • Lake Tekapo Fishing Tour: $183
  • Lake Tekapo Guided 4WD Tours: $183
  • Lake Tekapo Scenic 4WD Cass Valley Wilderness Tour: $183
  • Alpine Stargazing Experience with a Guide: $61
  • Dark Sky Virtual Stargazing Experience: $42
  • Indoor Māori Cultural Astronomy Experience: $31

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Te Anau $14
    Lake Tekapo -


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

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 Lake Tekapo Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Te Anau or Lake Tekapo?

Te Anau has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Lake Tekapo. When comparing the sizes of Te Anau and Lake Tekapo, 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.

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