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

Should you visit Te Anau or Picton?

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 Picton 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. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include food and hiking.


Picton is a quaint, relaxing, and picturesque town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Te Anau and Picton: Pros and Cons

  • 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
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife

Is there more to do in Te Anau or Picton?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Picton. Although Te Anau and Picton are both popular with visitors, Picton has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Picton is more popular for its museums, beaches, and shopping, while Te Anau is known for its hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Te Anau is popular for being the gateway to Fiordland National Park. Picton is popular for its picturesque scenery, laid back setting, and beautiful walking trails. It is also home to the Queen Charlotte Track.

How is Te Anau different from Picton?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Te Anau

Picton is a town with good options for its museums and history. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

Picton offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a few local museums around town that are fun to visit with the weather isn't cooperating. Edwin Fox Ship is the world's oldest merchant ship. You can also learn about the town's whaling past at the Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum.

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.

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

Te Anau

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at very good restaurants in both Te Anau and Picton.

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 Picton is an experience not to be missed. The town is filled with restaurants that stay true to New Zealand's culinary traditions. Mussels and salmon are common on menus, and there are many bakeries and waterfront cafes to try.

Is Te Anau or Picton Better for Nightlife?

Te Anau

The decent nightlife scene is relatively similar in Te Anau and Picton.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Te Anau. 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.

Picton is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. It's a small town with a quiet and calm atmosphere.

Is Te Anau or Picton Better for Beaches?

Te Anau

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

The beaches at Picton attract visitors from all over. There are four beaches in the area. Picton Beach is by the town center and near many restaurants and cafes. About a ten minute walk from town is Shelley Beach and if you're up for more walking, Bob's Bay is secluded and nice. If you have a car you can make it to Governer's Bay.

Te Anau is not a beach destination.

Is Te Anau or Picton Better for Hiking?

Te Anau

Te Anau is very popular for the nearby hiking options. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its hiking trails.

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 explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Picton. There are many nice walking paths in the area and this is a great way to explore, reach beaches, and see the surrounding landscapes. If you're up for a longer trip, Queen Charlotte Track is a popular trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Te Anau or Picton?

Te Anau

Picton 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 Picton. There are a few galleries and local shops around town.

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 Picton Better for Families?

Te Anau

Te Anau is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit 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.

Picton is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy taking a boat cruise to Motuara Island. You can see dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. There are also wildlife centers in the area, family-friendly walking trails, museums, aquariums, and kayaking opportunities.

Is Te Anau or Picton Better for Couples?

Te Anau

Te Anau is very popular for couples. Also, Picton is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit 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.

Picton makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are romantic and quaint bed and breakfasts, beautiful walking paths, wildlife encounters, and many more fun activities for couples. Kayak trips, vineyard tours, and local spas make this a great couple's getaway destination.

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

Te Anau

Te Anau and Picton are both very good 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.

Picton is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. There are plenty of hostels in the area as well as great transportation links, making this a great spot for backpackers.

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

Te Anau

Picton is a town with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Picton has some public transit options. There are water taxis but no buses around town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant 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.

Is Te Anau or Picton a more walkable city?

Te Anau

Picton is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Te Anau is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

Picton is a very walkable town. It's a quaint and compact town that's easy to explore 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 Picton Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Picton or Te Anau?

How long in Te Anau or Picton?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Te Anau or Picton to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Te Anau than Picton 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 Picton.

Families should spend more time in Te Anau than Picton. 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.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Picton 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 Picton.

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

One day in Te Anau or Picton?

Te Anau might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

In Picton, you'll find museums and food. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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 Picton?

Te Anau is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the hiking, 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.

In Picton, you'll find food and shopping. 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 Picton has to offer.

Five days in Te Anau or Picton?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Te Anau. Don't miss the hiking, 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.

Picton 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 Picton?

Te Anau is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Picton. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Picton. 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, Picton 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 Picton is $89. 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 Picton in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Te Anau $45
    Picton $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Te Anau $90
    Picton $76
Compare Hotels in Te Anau and Picton

Looking for a hotel in Te Anau or Picton? 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 Picton

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 Picton Hotel Prices.

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

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Picton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Picton:

  • Private Transfer from Picton Port to Blenheim Airport (BHE): $46
  • Private Transfer from Picton Cruise Port to Blenheim City Hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Blenheim Airport (BHE) to Picton Port: $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Te Anau or Picton?

Prices for flights to both Picton 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 Meals for one day
    Te Anau $28
    Picton $20

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Te Anau $49
    Picton $113

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: $74
  • 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 Picton

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

  • 1-Day Cruise in Queen Charlotte Track & Kupes Trail Walk: $122
  • 2 hour Dolphin Viewing Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • 3.5 Hour Marlborough Sounds Delivery Cruise: $69
  • Bays and Bush Scenic Tour: $99
  • Bird Watching and Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton: $93
  • CRUISE SHIP DAY Hop on Hop off Yealands & Marlborough tour: $125
  • Captain Cook and Dolphin Cruise: $93
  • Cruise Excursion - Wines of Marlborough Tour: $106
  • Cruise Ship Day - Marlborough: $62
  • Cruise and Lunch at Furneaux Lodge: $84
  • Day Cruise & Lunch at Punga Cove Resort: $84
  • Early Bird Eco Cruise: $75

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Te Anau $14
    Picton $36

Sample the Local Flavors in Picton

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Picton:

  • Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour (full day) in the Marlborough Region.: $37
  • Self-Guided Wine Tours by Bike with Steve & Jo in Marlborough : $41
  • Marlborough: Hop On Hop Off Wine, Brewery, and Wonders Tour: $55
  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Marlborough: $56
  • Marlborough Afternoon Wine Tour with Tastings: $72
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim: $91
  • Half-Day Wine Tour from Picton: $91
  • Morning Guided with Afternoon Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour: $94
  • Discover Marlborough Wine - Afternoon Marlborough Wine Tour : $97
  • Marlborough Discovery Sampler Wine Tour - 1/2Day Blenheim: $100
  • Taste the Valley Wine Tour in Marlborough with Wine Tasting: $103
  • Half-Day Marlborough Wine Tour & Beer Tour : $112

When comparing the travel costs between Te Anau and Picton, we can see that Te Anau 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.

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 Picton Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Te Anau or Picton?

Picton has a larger population, and is about 45% larger than the population of Te Anau. When comparing the sizes of Te Anau and Picton, 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.