A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Wellington vs. Arrowtown for Hiking, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Wellington or Arrowtown?

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

Should I visit Wellington or Arrowtown? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Wellington

Wellington is a funky, compact, and laid-back city. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a charming, quaint, and quirky town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and hiking.

Wellington and Arrowtown: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm


Is there more to do in Wellington or Arrowtown?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Arrowtown. Although Wellington and Arrowtown are popular destinations, Arrowtown has more sights and attractions for tourists. Arrowtown is very popular for its skiing, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Wellington attracts visitors for its nightlife and beaches. Wellington is famous for its waterfront promenade, quirky cafe culture, and relaxing beaches. Arrowtown is famous for its gold rush history, impressive ski slopes, and famous hikes. It is also well known for the Chinese Settlement.

How is Wellington different from Arrowtown?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Skiing?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a very popular place for skiing and snowboarding. However, Wellington is not a skiing destination.

Visitors travel far to experience snow skiing in Arrowtown. In the area you'll find amazing skiing that ranges from professional level to family-friendly.

Wellington is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Wellington or Arrowtown?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Wellington and Arrowtown.

Wellington offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. As the capital city, you'll find a number of museums and sights around town. Check out the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Beehive, the Wellington Museum, and the City Gallery.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Arrowtown. The town feels likes a living museum with its historic sights. There's also the Lakes District Museum in town that you can visit.

Is the Food Better in Wellington or Arrowtown? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Both Wellington and Arrowtown offer a number of great restaurants to choose from.

Wellington has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There are waterfront restaurants and a vibrant cafe scene around town. You'll also find local markets and many diverse eateries that you can explore.

Dining out in Arrowtown is an experience not to be missed. For such a small town, there's a surprising number of great restaurants with award winning chefs. You'll find quaint cafes, traditional eateries, and casual restaurants where you can sample the local dishes.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Nightlife?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington is an excellent place to visit for nightlife. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Wellington has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The best nightlife scene is found along Courtenay Place. There you'll find nightclubs, pubs, and cocktail bars. Cuba Street is another fun area with a bit more of a local vibe, and the waterfront is another great nightlife district in the city.

Arrowtown has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. For such a small town, there's a surprisingly bustling nightlife scene with casual pubs and waterfront bars.


Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Beaches?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington is an excellent place to visit for its beaches. However, Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Wellington is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are nice beaches within walking distance of the city center. There are also beaches that are well worth the drive if you're looking to get a bit out of town. In the summer months, there are swimming beaches, and year around they have nice views and a good atmosphere.

Arrowtown is not a beach destination.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for its Old Town?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a very popular place for its old town. However, Wellington does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Arrowtown. This is a quirky and charming historic mining town that has many cottages and historic buildings. Many places have been restored to maintain their original character.

Wellington does not have a historic old town.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Hiking?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a must-visit destination for its hiking trails. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

People visit Arrowtown specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Many people use this town as a jumping off point for some of the world's most iconic hikes. You can explore Lord of the Rings country or do one of fifteen different listed walks in the area.

Many people include a hike when visiting Wellington. The area has rolling hills and beautiful coastlines that are filled with walking trails and scenic views. Some of the more popular trails in the area are the Red Rocks walk and the City-to-Sea walk.


Is the Shopping Better in Wellington or Arrowtown?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Shoppers can find a variety of great stores in both Wellington and Arrowtown.

Wellington is well-known for its shopping. For the city's best shopping, head to the "Golden Mile". This is the area defined by Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place. There are boutique designers and high end fashion outlets throughout the area. The city also has many great markets and local shopping areas.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Arrowtown. Shopping is an experience in town. Head to Buckingham Street, which is the main street in town. You can wander through a wild west setting with local vendors and quirky galleries.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Families?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Wellington or Arrowtown.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Wellington is very family-friendly. There's the Wellington Zoo as well as Island Bay Marine Education Centre, both of which are great for animal-lovers. Waitangi Park is a nice park where kids can run around and play, and if you're looking for something indoors, head to the Space Place at Carter Observatory. If everyone needs some down time, there's always the beach with is fun to hang out at.

Arrowtown is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy the old world charm as much as adults. There's gold panning, bike trails, and even a historic Chinese village. During the winter there are snow sports and during the summer there are outdoor activities that take advantage of the nice weather.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Couples?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a very popular place for its romantic activities. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Arrowtown makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The charming atmosphere and beautiful walks make this a great weekend destination for couples. You can take a stroll on the Arrow River Walkway or grab a meal at a quaint cafe followed by ice cream at a classic ice cream parlor.

Wellington is a good city for couples to visit. The botanical gardens are beautiful to explore, and there is also a bird sanctuary in the area as well. Couple's will also enjoy the many nice restaurants and beautiful outdoor space around town.


Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington and Arrowtown are both great destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Wellington. Located on the south side of the North Island, many backpackers use this city as a gateway to the South Island. There are many hostels around town and other fellow backpackers to hang out with.

Arrowtown is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels in town and backpackers love the frequent festivals and activities that the town hosts.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Students?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Wellington. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere is a nice setting for students.

Arrowtown is not popular with students.

Is Wellington or Arrowtown Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its public transit.

Public transit in Wellington is fairly effecient and thorough. There are city buses, trains, and ferries that are popular with tourists and locals alike.

You'll find some public transit in Arrowtown, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are public buses throughout the region.


Is Wellington or Arrowtown a more walkable city?

Wellington
Arrowtown

Wellington is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. Also, Arrowtown is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Wellington is very walkable. This is one of New Zealand's most walkable cities and it has a compact city center.

Arrowtown is a somewhat walkable place. Parts of the town are fun to explore on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Wellington Worth Visiting? and Is Arrowtown Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arrowtown or Wellington?

How long in Wellington or Arrowtown?

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Wellington than Arrowtown 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 Wellington.


  • How many days in Wellington or Arrowtown? Ideal Length of Stay
    Wellington 2-3 
    Arrowtown 1-2

One day in Wellington or Arrowtown?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Wellington. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Arrowtown might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Arrowtown, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Wellington or Arrowtown?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the funky destination of Wellington. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Even though Arrowtown is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.


Five days in Wellington or Arrowtown?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the compact city of Wellington. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Arrowtown, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Wellington or Arrowtown?

Wellington is a popular choice for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Arrowtown is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Which place is cheaper, Arrowtown or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $107, while the average daily cost in Arrowtown is $119. 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 Wellington and Arrowtown in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $63
    Arrowtown $70
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $126
    Arrowtown $140
Compare Hotels in Wellington and Arrowtown

Looking for a hotel in Wellington or Arrowtown? 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 Wellington


Hotels in Arrowtown


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: Wellington Hotel Prices and Arrowtown Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $12
    Arrowtown $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Wellington

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

  • Wētā Workshop Experience with Guided Transfers: $57
  • Wellington to Wellington Airport(WLG)-Departure Private Transfer: $29
  • Wellington Airport(WLG) to Wellington-Round-Trip Private Transfer: $57
  • Wellington Airport Transfer to Wellington Hotels and Vice versa: $78
  • Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington - Arrival Private Transfer: $29
  • Private Transfer from Wellington hotels to Wellington Cruise Port: $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Port to Wellington Airport (WLG): $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Cruise Port to Wellington Hotels: $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington Port: $11
  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $13
  • Arrival Transfer: Wellington Airport to Central Wellington City Centre Hotels: $13

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Arrowtown?

Prices for flights to both Arrowtown and Wellington 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
    Wellington $31
    Arrowtown $31
Typical Food Prices in Wellington

For Wellington, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dinner
    $9.28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Wellington

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

  • Walking Food Tour Of Wellington: $156
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $248

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $17
    Arrowtown $15

Tours and Activities in Wellington

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

  • 30 Mins Lamborghini Supercar Passenger Experience: $99
  • 5 hour Martinborough Bespoke Food & Wine shared tour with lunch: $143
  • 5 hour Wellington City Heights Shared tour: $75
  • 7-Hour Private Scenic Kapiti Coast Tour from Wellington: $247
  • A Taste of Kapiti - Kapiti Foodie Delights Tour: $297
  • From Cave to Coast Wellington Highlights Tour: $115
  • From Source to Sea Mountain Bike Remutaka Cycle Tour: $106
  • From Source to Sea Remutaka Mountain Bike Cycle Tour: $106
  • From Source to Sea Remutaka eBike Cycle Tour: $125
  • From Source to Sea eBike Remutaka Cycle Tour: $125
  • From Half-Day Foodie Tour of the Wairarapa: $99
  • From Taste Buds Tour of Petone: $139

Tours and Activities in Arrowtown

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

  • Queenstown: Arrowtown Mountain Biking Adventure: $56

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $13
    Arrowtown $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Wellington

Also in Wellington, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half Day Tour: $96
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half-Day Guided Tour with Tastings: $99
  • 5 hour Martinborough shared Chefs Wine Tour with Gourmet lunch: $143
  • Martinborough Full Day Wine Tour: $174
  • Full Day Martinborough Wine Tour: $174
  • Martinborough High Tea and Wine Tour in Tesla SUVs: $218
  • Private Martinborough Wine Tour in an Electric Vehicle - Tesla Model Y: $290
  • Chefs Private Martinborough wine tour with Gourmet Lunch: $837

Sample the Local Flavors in Arrowtown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arrowtown:

  • From Scenic Valley of the Vines Bike & Wine Tour: $93


When comparing the travel costs between Wellington and Arrowtown, we can see that Arrowtown 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 Wellington Expensive? and Is Arrowtown Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Wellington or Arrowtown?

Wellington has a larger population, and is about 180 times larger than the population of Arrowtown. When comparing the sizes of Wellington and Arrowtown, 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.