A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Wellington vs. Dunedin for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Beaches

Should you visit Wellington or Dunedin?

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

Should I visit Wellington or Dunedin? 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 laid-back, funky, and compact city. Other popular activities here include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Dunedin

Dunedin is a vibrant, small, and hilly city. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Wellington and Dunedin: 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 Dunedin?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Wellington than Dunedin, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Wellington is more popular for its food and beaches, while Dunedin is known for its museums. Wellington is more touristy than Dunedin and is popular for its waterfront promenade, quirky cafe culture, and relaxing beaches. It is also home to Zealandia Ecosanctuary. Dunedin is popular for its wildlife and proximity to the Otago Peninsula.

How is Wellington different from Dunedin?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Wellington
Dunedin

Dunedin 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.

Dunedin offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city has cultural scene that is centered around both Scottish and Maori heritage. Top sights around town include the Larnach Castle, the Dunedin Railway Station, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and the Otago Museum.

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 Dunedin? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Wellington
Dunedin

Wellington is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Wellington is an experience not to be missed. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Dunedin. The culinary scene in town continues to grow and improve. There are local eateries that have charm and character and serve interesting and local dishes.

Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Nightlife?

Wellington
Dunedin

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

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.

Dunedin is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The town has eclectic bars and a diverse club scene that is fun to experience. It has a lively nightlife scene that is driven, in part, by the large student population.

Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Beaches?

Wellington
Dunedin

Wellington is well known for the beach. Also, Dunedin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its beaches.

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.

Many people head to Dunedin to enjoy the beach. Many of the beaches are just a short drive from the city center. The surf is surprisingly good and the beaches are fun during the warmer summer months.


Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Hiking?

Wellington
Dunedin

If you're looking to go hiking, Wellington and Dunedin both have good trails.

Wellington is a good destination for hiking. 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.

Many people include a hike when visiting Dunedin. There are biking and hiking trails that travel around town and through the surrounding landscapes.

Is the Shopping Better in Wellington or Dunedin?

Wellington
Dunedin

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

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 Dunedin. The shopping scene is diverse and eclectic with everything from vintage shops to fashion boutiques. Some of the most popular shopping areas are Edinburgh Way, Octagon Entertainment Precinct, Moray Place, and the Warehouse Precinct.

Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Families?

Wellington
Dunedin

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Wellington or Dunedin.

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.

Dunedin is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It's one of the largest cities on the South Island, and there are many educational opportunities and unique experiences available to kids. You can visit the Otago Museum or the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, take a wildlife cruise, or visit the Larnach Castle. You can also take a ride on the Inlander or simply hang out at a playground.


Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Couples?

Wellington
Dunedin

With fun activities for couples, both Wellington and Dunedin make for a good place to visit.

Wellington makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Dunedin is a good city for couples to visit. You can wander through the castle or explore one of the city's markets. There are also romantic restaurants and many opportunities to see wildlife.

Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Wellington
Dunedin

Wellington and Dunedin 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.

Dunedin is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. There are many hostels around town and plenty of activities that keep backpackers entertained.

Is Wellington or Dunedin Better for Students?

Wellington
Dunedin

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

Dunedin is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. This is a large student city that is welcoming to international students and a popular place to study.

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


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

Wellington
Dunedin

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

The public transit in Wellington can get you to most places easily. There are city buses, trains, and ferries that are popular with tourists and locals alike.

While Dunedin offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There a relatively decent bus system that travels through town.

Is Wellington or Dunedin a more walkable city?

Wellington
Dunedin

Wellington and Dunedin 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.

Dunedin is a very walkable destination. Parts of the town are easy to explore on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Dunedin or Wellington?

How long in Wellington or Dunedin?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Wellington and Dunedin. In our opinion, Wellington has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Wellington than Dunedin. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Wellington, and 1-3 days is enough time in Dunedin.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Wellington than Dunedin 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 Dunedin? Ideal Length of Stay
    Wellington 2-3 
    Dunedin 1-3

One day in Wellington or Dunedin?

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

With museums and nightlife around the hilly city of Dunedin, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Dunedin, one day is sufficent for most.


A weekend in Wellington or Dunedin?

In Wellington, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Most people come for the beaches. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Wellington has to offer.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Dunedin, there's plenty to do. 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 Dunedin?

Wellington 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.

Dunedin, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. 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 Dunedin?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Wellington. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Wellington. 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.

Dunedin 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.


Which place is cheaper, Dunedin 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 Dunedin is $106. 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 Dunedin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $63
    Dunedin $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $126
    Dunedin $108
Compare Hotels in Wellington and Dunedin

Looking for a hotel in Wellington or Dunedin? 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 Dunedin


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 Dunedin Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $12
    Dunedin $29

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 Transfer from Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington Port: $11
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Cruise Port to Wellington Hotels: $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Port to Wellington Airport (WLG): $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington hotels to Wellington Cruise Port: $26
  • Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington - Arrival Private Transfer: $29
  • Wellington Airport(WLG) to Wellington-Round-Trip Private Transfer: $57
  • Wellington to Wellington Airport(WLG)-Departure Private Transfer: $29
  • Wētā Workshop Experience with Guided Transfers: $58

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dunedin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dunedin:

  • Private Transfer from Dunedin Airport (DUD) to Chalmers Port: $44
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Port to Dunedin Airport (DUD): $44
  • Private Transfer from Chalmers Cruise Port to Dunedin City Hotels: $44
  • ONE WAY MOMONA: Transfer from /to Dunedin Airport: $125
  • Momona Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Momona: $88
  • Dunedin to Dunedin Int Airport (DUD) - Departure Private Transfer: $36
  • Dunedin Int Airport(DUD) to Dunedin - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $73
  • Arrival Private Transfer in Dunedin Intl Airport to Dunedin : $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Dunedin?

Prices for flights to both Dunedin 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
    Dunedin $30
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: $158
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $252

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $17
    Dunedin $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: $6.82
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: Gallipoli Early Entry Ticket: $9.30
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa Twilight Express Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Guided Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Mana Māori Tour: $12
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Mana Māori Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour: $14
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Spaceship: $29
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Atlantis: $29
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Temple: $29

Tours and Activities in Dunedin

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

  • Half-Day Guided Tour: City, Sights, & Larnach Castle: $126
  • Shore Excursion: V8 Trike, Peninsula and City Tour: $51
  • A 2 hour Small Group Dunedin City Highlights Tour: $60
  • Albatross, Wildlife and Harbour Cruise: $101
  • All in Dunedin - Nature & City Tour: $542
  • Brews and Views: Private Tour of Dunedin’s Craft Beer Scene: $1,048
  • Captivating Side of Dunedin Walking Tour for Couples: $234
  • Cruise Dunedin City and Castle Tour: $117
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $343
  • Dunedin Adventure: Family Heritage & Nature Walk: $175
  • Dunedin City Highlights, Otago Peninsula Scenery & Albatross Guided Tour: $168
  • Dunedin City Highlights, Otago Peninsula Scenery & a Guided Penguin Reserve Tour: $168

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $13
    Dunedin $15

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: $97
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half-Day Guided Tour with Tastings: $99
  • 5 hour Martinborough shared Chefs Wine Tour with Gourmet lunch: $146
  • Martinborough Full Day Wine Tour: $177
  • Full Day Martinborough Wine Tour: $177
  • Martinborough High Tea and Wine Tour in Tesla SUVs: $222
  • Private Martinborough Wine Tour in an Electric Vehicle - Tesla Model Y: $295
  • Chefs Private Martinborough wine tour with Gourmet Lunch: $837

Sample the Local Flavors in Dunedin

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

  • Speight Brewery Small Group Guided Tour from Dunedin: $22
  • Emerson's Brewery Tour: $25
  • Emerson's Brewery Tour: $25


When comparing the travel costs between Wellington and Dunedin, 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 Dunedin Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Wellington or Dunedin?

Wellington has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Dunedin. When comparing the sizes of Wellington and Dunedin, 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.