A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Wellington vs. Kaikoura for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Wellington or Kaikoura?

Should I visit Wellington or Kaikoura? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Wellington

Wellington is the capital and second largest city in New Zealand. It sits on the southwestern edge of the North Island between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It's a beautiful setting that is encircled by mountains giving it a beautiful backdrop. There are also many cultural sights and attractions around town. Wellington really is the perfect mix of New Zealand's natural beauty and a vibrant urban core. The film industry is also prevelant in the city. The city's production centers have helped create Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogies, Avatar, Tin Tin, and District 9.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a town on the east coast of the South Island, situated between Christchurch and Belnheim. It has a permanent resident population of 1,971. The Seaward Kaikoura Mountains that surround this town collide with the Pacific Ocean, and the continental shelf edge is just offshore. The ocean in Kaikoura is very rich in marine life, especially seals and whales.

Which city is cheaper, Kaikoura or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $86, while the average daily cost in Kaikoura is $118. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Wellington and Kaikoura in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $98 in Wellington For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $42. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Kaikoura the cost is $84 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $49
    Kaikoura $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $98
    Kaikoura $84

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Wellington than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $10 on transportation in Wellington on average per day.

The average price of local transportation around Kaikoura is $15 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $10
    Kaikoura $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: $13
  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $13

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Kaikoura?

Prices for flights to both Kaikoura 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

Wellington food costs typically run travelers around $26 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

The average traveler spends about $33 per day in Kaikoura for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Wellington $26
    Kaikoura $33
Typical Food prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $9.70

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: $148
  • Martinborough Wine and Food Tour with Lunch from Wellington: $203
  • Local Delicacies Half-Day Food Tour: $204
  • A Taste Of Wellington Food Tour (half Day): $227
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $264
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $295

Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Wellington, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $14 per day, per person.

Kaikoura's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $132 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $14
    Kaikoura $132

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: $6.13
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: Gallipoli Early Entry Ticket: $10
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Guided Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Mana Māori Tour: $14
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa Twilight Express Tour: $14
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour: $15
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Mana Māori Tour: $15
  • Skip the Line: Staglands Wildlife Reserve Entry Ticket: $18
  • 2 Hour Comfort Cruiser Bike Hire: $22
  • Fear Factory Haunted House Admission Ticket: $24

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

  • 30-Minute Whale Watching Helicopter Tour: $269
  • Guided Family Kayaking Adventure: $89
  • Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour: $85
  • Sunset Kayaking Tour: $89
  • Kayaking Adventure in Kaikoura: $70
  • Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $178
  • Seal Swimming Tour from Kaikoura: $89
  • Wildlife Sea Kayaking Tour - Kaikoura: $89

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Wellington spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $11
    Kaikoura -

Sample the Local Flavors in Wellington

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

  • Wellington All-Inclusive Half-Day Brewery Tour: $92
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half-Day Guided Tour with Tastings: $94
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half Day Tour: $95
  • Craft Beer Tours NZ Half Day Brewery Experience: $102
  • Craft Beer Tours NZ Full Day Brewery Experience: $133
  • Martinborough Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch from Wellington: $189
  • Martinborough Wine Tour: $369


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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Wellington vs. Kaikoura Travel Comparison

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