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

Should you visit Wellington or Lake Tekapo?

Should I visit Wellington or Lake Tekapo? 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.

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo is a lakeside town on the South Island of New Zealand, and it is part of the Mackenzie District of Canterbury. This is one of the bluest lakes in the country and is surrounded by the mighty mountains of the Southern Alps.

Which city is cheaper, Lake Tekapo 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 Lake Tekapo is $72. 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 Lake Tekapo 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.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $114 for a double occupancy room in Lake Tekapo.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $54
    Lake Tekapo $57
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $108
    Lake Tekapo $114

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.

Food in Lake Tekapo costs travelers about $12 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Wellington $28
    Lake Tekapo $12
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 Lake Tekapo

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

  • 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $11
    Lake Tekapo -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Wellington

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

  • SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Entry Ticket and Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer: $40
  • Arrival Transfer: Wellington Airport to Central Wellington City Centre Hotels: $13
  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $13
  • Private Luxury Transfers to Coronet Peak: $375
  • Private Luxury Transfers to The Remarkables: $445
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to Coronet Peak: $389
  • Private Return Transfers from Queenstown to The Remarkables: $431
  • Private Transfers to Cardrona Ski Field or Treble Cone Ski Field: $629
  • Shared Queenstown Airport (ZQN) Transfers for Queenstown CBD: $11
  • Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD: $18
  • Shared and Private Christchurch Airport (CHC) Transfers for Christchurch CBD: $13
  • Shared and Private Dunedin Airport (DUD) Transfers for Dunedin CBD: $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lake Tekapo

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lake Tekapo:

  • 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 Lake Tekapo?

Prices for flights to both Lake Tekapo 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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $16
    Lake Tekapo -

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 Lake Tekapo

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

  • 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
    Lake Tekapo -

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 Lake Tekapo

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

  • 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 Lake Tekapo, we can see that Wellington is more expensive. And not only is Lake Tekapo much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lake Tekapo would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lake Tekapo 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 Wellington would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Wellington than you might in Lake Tekapo.

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Wellington vs. Lake Tekapo Travel Comparison

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