A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Wellington vs. Christchurch for Families, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Wellington or Christchurch?

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

Should I visit Wellington or Christchurch? 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 compact, laid-back, and funky city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Christchurch

Christchurch is a outdoorsy, adventure-filled, and cultural city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Wellington and Christchurch: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Wellington or Christchurch?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Christchurch than Wellington, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Wellington is more touristy than Christchurch and is popular for its waterfront promenade, quirky cafe culture, and relaxing beaches. Christchurch is well known for its outdoor beauty and relaxing, scenic atmosphere. Also, Christchurch is famous for the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

How is Wellington different from Christchurch?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Wellington
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Christchurch offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with street art and local galleries. There's also Canterbury Museum, the International Antarctic Centre, the Arts Centre, and the Riccarton House & Bush.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Wellington. 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.


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

Wellington
Christchurch

Both Wellington and Christchurch offer a number of high quality 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 Christchurch is an experience not to be missed. There's a mix of cozy cafes and casual eateries around town. You'll also find some fine dining restaurants as well as international flavors.

Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Nightlife?

Wellington
Christchurch

The high quality nightlife scene is relatively similar in Wellington and Christchurch.

Wellington has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Christchurch is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city has its share of dance clubs, live music venues, and laid back bars. You'll find a number of popular hangout spots around Oxford Terrace or on the historic New Regent Street.

Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Beaches?

Wellington
Christchurch

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Wellington and Christchurch are high quality choices.

Wellington is considered a top beach destination. 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.

Christchurch is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are sandy beaches in the area with water sports and various amenities. The summer months are the most popular time for hanging out at the beach, and you'll find local families playing in the sun or enjoying a picnic.


Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Hiking?

Wellington
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its hiking trails. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Christchurch. There are many beautiful hikes in the area that take you along the coastline or past local historic sights. The landscape is diverse and you'll find many amazing parks in the area. Hooker Valley Track is one of the best hiking routes nearby.

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 Christchurch?

Wellington
Christchurch

Shoppers can find a variety of high quality stores in both Wellington and Christchurch.

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 Christchurch. There's a mix of boutique shops, outlet malls, and open air markets. Some of the best shopping places include the Tannery and the Colombo.

Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Families?

Wellington
Christchurch

Christchurch is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Christchurch is a very family-friendly destination. The International Antarctic Centre is a thrilling and fun experience. There's also the Orana Wildlife Park or Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. For adrenaline junkies there are the ropes courses at the Adrenalin Forest. There are also many indoor playgrounds and rock climbing facilities.

Wellington is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.


Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Couples?

Wellington
Christchurch

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

Christchurch makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Punting on the Avon River is one of the most romantic activities in the city. There are also botanical gardens, parks, and natural areas that are fun to explore. Nearby, you can do a wine tour, or there are cocktail bars and charming restaurants in town. The city also has a nice theater and many other date night activities.

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 Christchurch Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Wellington
Christchurch

Wellington and Christchurch are both high quality 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.

Christchurch is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of hostels around town, and many backpackers pass through Christchurch on their epic New Zealand adventure.

Is Wellington or Christchurch Better for Students?

Wellington
Christchurch

Christchurch is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for students.

Christchurch is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. It's the largest city on the South Island and there are plenty of activities and nearby trips that you can enjoy.

Wellington is popular with students. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere is a nice setting for students.


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

Wellington
Christchurch

Wellington is well known for its public transit. Also, Christchurch is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Wellington has some very good public transit options. There are city buses, trains, and ferries that are popular with tourists and locals alike.

While Christchurch offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. While it's not a diverse transit system, the buses are well connected and offer the cheapest way to get around town.

Is Wellington or Christchurch a more walkable city?

Wellington
Christchurch

Wellington and Christchurch are high quality when it comes to walkability.

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

Christchurch is a very walkable destination. The city center is relatively flat and easy to explore on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Christchurch or Wellington?

How long in Wellington or Christchurch?

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

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

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

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


  • How many days in Wellington or Christchurch? Ideal Length of Stay
    Wellington 2-3 
    Christchurch 2-4

One day in Wellington or Christchurch?

In Wellington, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this funky city offers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

With museums and nightlife around the cultural city of Christchurch, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Wellington or Christchurch?

Wellington is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Christchurch, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Five days in Wellington or Christchurch?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the laid-back destination of Wellington. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Christchurch, a popular city, 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 Christchurch?

Wellington is a popular place to visit. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Christchurch is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. 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.


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, Christchurch or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $106, while the average daily cost in Christchurch is $98. 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 Christchurch in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $62
    Christchurch $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $124
    Christchurch $102
Compare Hotels in Wellington and Christchurch

Looking for a hotel in Wellington or Christchurch? 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 Christchurch


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 Christchurch Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $12
    Christchurch $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Wellington

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

  • Arrival Transfer: Wellington Airport to Central Wellington City Centre Hotels: $14
  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $14
  • Private Airport Transfer: $81
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Cruise Port to Wellington Hotels: $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington hotels to Wellington Cruise Port: $26
  • Private Transfer with Wellington Dial a Driver: $75
  • Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington - Arrival Private Transfer: $29
  • Wellington Airport Transfer to Wellington Hotels and Vice versa: $78
  • Wētā Workshop Experience with Guided Transfers: $63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Christchurch

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Christchurch:

  • Private Transfer from Lyttelton Port to Christchurch Airport CHC: $30
  • Christchurch to Christchurch Airport(CHC)- Departure Transfer: $32
  • Christchurch Airport: 1-Way Private Transfer to Christchurch: $60
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Luxury Van: $92
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Christchurch to Airport CHC in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport Transfers : Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66
  • Christchurch Airport (CHC): Transfer to Christchurch hotels: $131
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Airport CHC to Christchurch in Business Car: $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Christchurch?

Prices for flights to both Christchurch 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 $30
    Christchurch $32
Typical Food Prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $9.18

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
  • A Taste Of Wellington Food Tour (half Day): $192

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $17
    Christchurch $18

Tours and Activities in Wellington

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

  • Return Cable Car Ticket: $6.73
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: Gallipoli Early Entry Ticket: $9.18
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Guided Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Mana Māori Tour: $12
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa Twilight Express Tour: $12
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Mana Māori Tour: $14
  • Skip the Line: Staglands Wildlife Reserve Entry Ticket: $16
  • Return Ferry Ticket from Queens Wharf, Wellington to Days Bay: $18
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Temple: $28
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Spaceship: $28

Tours and Activities in Christchurch

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

  • Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket: $26
  • 6 Day South Island NZ Private Tour from Auckland: $4,438
  • 8 Day Southern Secrets Small Group Tour: $979
  • Akaroa Day Tour From Christchurch: $116
  • Akaroa Full Day Sightseeing Tour from Christchurch: $156
  • Arthur's Pass and TranzAlpine Train Day Tour from Christchurch: $259
  • Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour: $242
  • Arthurs Pass Day Tour With TranzAlpine and Jet Boat Ride : $237
  • Banks Peninsula: Self-guided motorbike tour (Akaroa): $116
  • Christchurch Coastal Hiking Tour: $125
  • Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo: $43
  • Christchurch International Antarctic Centre Entry Tickets: $36

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $13
    Christchurch $11

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: $98
  • 1/2 day Martinborough Chefs Wine Tour with lunch from Wellington: $156
  • Martinborough Full Day Wine Tour: $175
  • Chefs Private Martinborough wine tour with Gourmet Lunch: $367

Sample the Local Flavors in Christchurch

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

  • From Full-Day Wine Tour with Lunch: $103
  • All-Inclusive Waipara Region Wine Tour from Christchurch: $109
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - Waipara Wine Tour With Lunch: $112
  • From Guided Local Wine Tours in Waipara: $122
  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion - City Highlights & Waipara Wine Tour : $137
  • Akaroa Craft Distillery HeliGin Experience: $548


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


Which is Bigger, Wellington or Christchurch?

Wellington has a larger population, and is about 5% larger than the population of Christchurch. When comparing the sizes of Wellington and Christchurch, 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.


When is the best time to visit Wellington or Christchurch?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Wellington or Christchurch in the Summer?

Both Christchurch and Wellington during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Wellington because of the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Christchurch this time of year.

Wellington is around the same temperature as Christchurch in the summer. The daily temperature in Wellington averages around 18°C (64°F) in January, and Christchurch fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

In Christchurch, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Wellington. In the summer, Wellington often gets more sunshine than Christchurch. Wellington gets 242 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Christchurch receives 224 hours of full sun.

Wellington usually gets more rain in January than Christchurch. Wellington gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Christchurch receives 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Wellington 18°C (64°F) 
    Christchurch 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Christchurch in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Wellington and Christchurch. The hiking trails and the shopping scene are the main draw to Wellington this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Christchurch for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Wellington is a little warmer than Christchurch. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Wellington in April average around 15°C (58°F), and Christchurch averages at about 12°C (54°F).

Wellington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Christchurch during autumn. Wellington gets 163 hours of sunny skies, while Christchurch receives 161 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In April, Wellington usually receives more rain than Christchurch. Wellington gets 82 mm (3.2 in) of rain, while Christchurch receives 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Wellington 15°C (58°F) 
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Christchurch in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Wellington as well as Christchurch. Many travelers come to Wellington for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Christchurch in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In July, Wellington is generally much warmer than Christchurch. Daily temperatures in Wellington average around 10°C (49°F), and Christchurch fluctuates around 6°C (43°F).

In the winter, Wellington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Christchurch. Wellington gets 122 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Christchurch receives 122 hours of full sun.

Wellington receives a lot of rain in the winter. Wellington usually gets more rain in July than Christchurch. Wellington gets 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain, while Christchurch receives 68 mm (2.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Wellington 10°C (49°F) 
    Christchurch 6°C (43°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Christchurch in the Spring?

Both Christchurch and Wellington are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Wellington in the spring for the beaches. Also, most visitors come to Christchurch for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

Wellington is around the same temperature as Christchurch in the spring. The daily temperature in Wellington averages around 13°C (55°F) in October, and Christchurch fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

It's quite sunny in Christchurch. Wellington usually receives less sunshine than Christchurch during spring. Wellington gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Christchurch receives 204 hours of full sun in the spring.

In October, Wellington usually receives more rain than Christchurch. Wellington gets 93 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Christchurch receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Wellington 13°C (55°F) 
    Christchurch 12°C (54°F)

Typical Weather for Christchurch and Wellington

Wellington Christchurch
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 18°C (64°F) 51 mm (2 in) 17°C (63°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Mar 17°C (62°F) 75 mm (3 in) 16°C (60°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 12°C (54°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
May 12°C (54°F) 92 mm (3.6 in) 9°C (49°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Jun 10°C (51°F) 113 mm (4.4 in) 6°C (44°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Jul 10°C (49°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 6°C (43°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Aug 10°C (50°F) 98 mm (3.9 in) 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)
Sep 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 10°C (49°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 93 mm (3.7 in) 12°C (54°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Nov 15°C (58°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 14°C (58°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Dec 17°C (62°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 16°C (61°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)