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

Should you visit Wellington or Queenstown?

Should I visit Wellington or Queenstown? 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.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a popular tourist destination on New Zealand's South Island. It is beautifully surrounded by the Southern Alps and sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Across the lake you will find a stunning view of the Remarkables, a dramatic mountain range. The town itself is quite touristy, but prices still remain reasonable. There are options for all travel budgets, whether you're a backpacker hoping to save a few dollars or a family looking for some luxury accommodation. Despite its natural and tranquil setting, Queenstown is actually very much a party town, particularly during the peak seasons. Don't be surprised to find people out enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning. If you're not into the party scene and are hoping to get a decent night's sleep, consider staying a little outside of town. About an hour outside of Queenstown you'll find Wanaka, which is a much smaller and peaceful town without the party scene.

Which city is cheaper, Queenstown 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 Queenstown is $91. 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 Queenstown 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.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $96 for a double occupancy room in Queenstown.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $49
    Queenstown $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $98
    Queenstown $96

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 cost of a taxi ride in Queenstown is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $8.87 per person, per day, on local transportation in Queenstown.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $10
    Queenstown $8.87

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 Queenstown

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Queenstown:

  • Ski Transfer To Remarkables Ski Area (Round Trip): $27
  • Ski Transfer To Coronet Peak (Round Trip): $27
  • Private Ski Transfer to The Remarkables Ski Field: $370
  • Private Ski Transfer to Coronet Peak Ski Field: $333
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Hotel by Jet Boat: $342
  • Private & Exclusive One-Way Transfer Queenstown to Christchurch: $1,264
  • Departure Transfer: Queenstown Central City Centre Hotels to Queenstown Airport: $13
  • Arrival Transfer: Queenstown Airport to Central Queenstown City Centre: $13

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Queenstown?

Prices for flights to both Queenstown 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 $31 per day in Queenstown 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
    Queenstown $31
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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Queenstown

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

  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown: $110
  • Queenstown Progressive Dinner & Wine Tour - 3 iconic locations: $207

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.

Entertainment and activities in Queenstown typically cost an average of $19 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 $14
    Queenstown $19

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

Typical Entertainment prices in Queenstown

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Queenstown are as follows:


  • Skyline Gondola (for 2)
    $33

Tours and Activities in Queenstown

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

  • 10 Day Explorer tour: Ziplines, Hikes, Canyoning, Kayaking, Rafting & Glaciers.: $4,219
  • 12-Day Snow Odyssey Tour: $2,444
  • 20-Minute Remarkables Helicopter Tour from Queenstown: $166
  • 3 Day Queenstown Adventure: Jet Boat, Helicopter, Bungy and Milford Sound Cruise: $1,241
  • 3 day Private Wanaka and Otago Photography Tour: $2,888
  • 4 Day Southern Circuit: Glaciers, Christchurch and Mt Cook Tour from Queenstown: $1,140
  • 5-Day The Great Walks of New Zealand Tour from Queenstown: $4,150
  • Alpine Adventure Helicopter Flight from Queenstown: $267
  • Arrowtown and Wanaka Premium Tour from Queenstown: $178
  • Arrowtown and Wanaka Tour from Queenstown: $133
  • AuthenticAs Discover Queenstown - Professional Photography & Exclusive 4WD Tour: $501
  • AuthenticAs Paradise - Professional Photography & Exclusive Guided 4WD Tour: $1,373

Alcohol

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

The average person spends about $7.75 on alcoholic beverages in Queenstown 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
    Queenstown $7.75

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 Queenstown

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Queenstown:

  • Hop on Hop off Wine Tours Queenstown: $40
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour: $52
  • Wine Tour from Full Day: $103
  • Queenstown Classic Wine Tour - 3 Vineyards, Cave Tour and Cheeseboard: $116
  • Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour: $122
  • Original Wine Tour: $125
  • Vine Hopper: Queenstown's Ultimate Wine & Microbrewery Adventure: $133
  • Valley of the Vines Afternoon Wine Tour includes a Winery Tour: $133
  • Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & Wine: $136
  • Valley of the Vines Lunch & Wine Tour with a Wine Cave Adult Tour: $147
  • Wine Tour & Maori Culture Queenstown: $159
  • Boutique Wine Tour in Central Otago Wine Region: $161


When comparing the travel costs between Wellington and Queenstown, we can see that Queenstown 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.

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Wellington vs. Queenstown Travel Comparison

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