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

Should you visit Wellington or Nelson?

Should I visit Wellington or Nelson? 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.

Nelson

Nelson is a city that sits on Tasman Bay on the South Island of New Zealand. Travelers, especially ones that are heading to explore Abel Tasman National Park, frequently visit this town. Nelson has a population of about 46,000 people and, geographically speaking, it is the center of New Zealand as a whole.

Which city is cheaper, Nelson or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $91, while the average daily cost in Nelson is $86. 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 Nelson in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $104 in Wellington For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Nelson is $74. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $52
    Nelson $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $104
    Nelson $74

Food

Wellington food costs typically run travelers around $27 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 price of a meal in Nelson can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $25 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $10 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Wellington $27
    Nelson $25
Typical Food prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $10

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

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 cost of a taxi ride in Nelson is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Nelson.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $11
    Nelson $26

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nelson

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nelson:

  • Departure Transfer: Nelson City Centre Hotels to Nelson Airport: $43
  • Arrival Transfer: Nelson Airport to Nelson City Centre Hotels: $43

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Nelson?

Prices for flights to both Nelson 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 $15 per day, per person.

Entertainment and activities in Nelson typically cost an average of $22 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $15
    Nelson $22

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 Nelson

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

  • Abel Tasman and Golden Bay Tour: $149
  • Dragon Hunt Archery Experience in Pristine Native Forest: $115
  • Fly Golden Bay & Cruise Abel Tasman Day Tour from Nelson: $341
  • Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise: $354
  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $36
  • Nelson to Mapua: Full-Day Cycling Self-Guided Adventure: $67
  • Skywire Experience: $72
  • SKYWIRE Experience: $78
  • Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure: $75
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure - Option A Via Mapua: $125
  • Tunnel to Town - Day Adventure Option B Nelson City: $100

Alcohol

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

The average person spends about $12 on alcoholic beverages in Nelson per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $11
    Nelson $12

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Nelson

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nelson:

  • Half Day Wine Tour: $114


When comparing the travel costs between Wellington and Nelson, 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.

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. Nelson Travel Comparison

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