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 $95, while the average daily cost in Kaikoura is $129. 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 $108 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 $46. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Kaikoura the cost is $92 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $54
    Kaikoura $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $108
    Kaikoura $92

Food

Wellington food costs typically run travelers around $28 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 $36 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 $28
    Kaikoura $36
Typical Food prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Wellington

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

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141
  • Walking Food Tour Of Wellington: $148
  • Martinborough Wine and Food Tour with Lunch from Wellington: $204
  • Local Delicacies Half-Day Food Tour: $215
  • A Taste Of Wellington Food Tour (half Day): $227
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $279
  • Full Day Wellington Food Tour: $295

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kaikoura

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Kaikoura.

  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner: $47
  • Taste Auckland Group Food Tour: $98
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise: $102
  • Sunset / Night Kayak to Rangitoto Island with BBQ Dinner: $138
  • Queenstown Wine and Food Tour: $141

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 $11 on transportation in Wellington on average per day.

The average price of local transportation around Kaikoura is $17 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 $11
    Kaikoura $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Wellington

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

  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Shared Transfer Between Airport & City CBD: $12
  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $13
  • Arrival Transfer: Wellington Airport to Central Wellington City Centre Hotels: $13
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Entry Ticket and Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer: $40

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kaikoura

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kaikoura:

  • SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared and Private Wellington Airport (WLG) Transfers for Wellington CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Rotorua Airport (ROT) Transfers for Rotorua CBD: $16
  • Shared and Private Nelson Airport (NSN) Transfers for Nelson CBD: $7.09
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Luxury Transfers to The Remarkables: $445

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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Wellington, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $16 per day, per person.

Kaikoura's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $146 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 $16
    Kaikoura $146

Tours and Activities in Wellington

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

  • One-Way or Return Cable Car Ticket: $3.60
  • Time Tripper Queenstown Virtual Journey Through Time Experience: $7.09
  • Te Papa Museum Ticket in Wellington: $11
  • The Great War Exhibition Entry Ticket: $11
  • Museum of Te Papa Tongarewa: Gallipoli Early Entry Ticket: $11
  • Devonport Ferry Tickets in Auckland: $11
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Hamilton Gardens Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Entry Ticket: $14
  • Museum of Te Papa Tongarewa Twilight Express Tour: $14

Tours and Activities in Kaikoura

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

  • 4WD-U Drive Experience: $232
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Day Tour from Auckland: $140
  • Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Tour from Auckland: $211
  • Kaituna Whitewater Rafting Experience : $84
  • Kaituna Whitewater Sledging Experience: $91
  • Milford Sound Vista Day Tour from Queenstown or Te Anau: $127
  • Mt Tarawera Volcanic Crater Hiking Experience: $131
  • Putt and Glow Indoor Mini Golf Experience in Queenstown: $12
  • Queenstown Scenic Cruise - Spirit of Queenstown: $28
  • Queenstown Tiki Tour: $70
  • Rotorua Day Tour from Auckland: $188
  • Ultimate Queenstown Highlights Tour: $77

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Wellington spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $12
    Kaikoura -

Sample the Local Flavors in Wellington

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half-Day Guided Tour with Tastings: $91
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half Day Tour: $95
  • Wellington All-Inclusive Half-Day Brewery Tour: $97
  • Craft Beer Tours NZ Half Day Brewery Experience: $102
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Craft Beer Tours NZ Full Day Brewery Experience: $133

Sample the Local Flavors in Kaikoura

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

  • Sip Marlborough Wine Tour: $69
  • Wine Tours from Queenstown: $71
  • Gibbston Valley Ride and Wine Tours: $88
  • Bubbly Grape Marlborough Wine Tours: $92
  • Afternoon Brewery Tour with Lunch in Queenstown: $117
  • Wine Tasting Sampler Tour from Queenstown: $119
  • Queenstown’s Original Wine Tour: $119
  • Taste Marlborough Wine Tour: $138
  • Queenstown E-Bikes Wine Tour: $147
  • Spa and Wine Tasting Experience in Queenstown: $293
  • Queenstown Private Helicopter and Wine Tour: $672


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.

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Wellington vs. Kaikoura Travel Comparison

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