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

Should you visit Wellington or Rotorua?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Wellington or Rotorua? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Wellington or Rotorua?

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.

Rotorua

Located on the banks of Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is famous as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. The area has a variety of geothermal sights, but it is also close to several lakes and has more traditional activities as well, including fishing, boating and white water rafting.

Rotorua is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which is the largest volcano in the area. There are four major volcanic calderas that now have lakes, and several other volcanoes in the area. Rotorua sits on top of a thermal hot spring, and there are many vents and hot pools throughout the area. Many of the hot pools and sights are located within parks, with some of the best being Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Rotorua has a warm, temperate climate. Because of the area's inland location, it has less wind than many places in New Zealand. Temperatures during the winter months can fall to below freezing, but snow is incredibly rare.

Which city is cheaper, Rotorua or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $84, while the average daily cost in Rotorua is $77. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Wellington and Rotorua in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $47
    Rotorua $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $94
    Rotorua $82
Compare Hotels in Wellington and Rotorua

Looking for a hotel in Wellington or Rotorua? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Wellington


Hotels in Rotorua


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Wellington Hotel Prices and Rotorua Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $9.84
    Rotorua $4.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Wellington

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

  • Departure Transfer: Wellington Central City Centre Hotels to Wellington Airport: $13
  • Arrival Transfer: Wellington Airport to Central Wellington City Centre Hotels: $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rotorua

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

  • Rotorua to Auckland Afternoon Transfer with Waitomo Glow Worms: $148
  • Departure Transfer: Rotorua City Centre Hotels to Rotorua Airport: $18

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Rotorua?

Prices for flights to both Rotorua 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Wellington $25
    Rotorua $22
Typical Food prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $9.37

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 Rotorua

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

  • Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance: $100
  • Lake Rotoiti Evening Kayak Tour including Hot Springs, Glowworm Caves and BBQ Dinner: $140

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $14
    Rotorua $29

Tours and Activities in Wellington

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

  • 10 day - South Island Tour (All inclusive): $1,370
  • 2 Hour Comfort Cruiser Bike Hire: $22
  • 3-Day Wellington to Auckland Tour: $666
  • 30 Mins Lamborghini Supercar Experience: $133
  • 30-Minute Romantic Helicopter Tour from Wellington: $682
  • 4-Day Wellington to Auckland via Rotorua Tour: $814
  • 7 Day - South Island Tour (All inclusive): $1,029
  • Bay of Many Coves Helicopter Tour with 3-Course Lunch from Wellington: $622
  • Beer tours in a Bubble for 10 people: $996
  • Beer tours in a Bubble for 2 people: $319
  • Beer tours in a Bubble for 4 people: $515
  • Beer tours in a Bubble for 6 people: $719

Typical Entertainment prices in Rotorua

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Rotorua's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Lunch Out for Two
    $29

Tours and Activities in Rotorua

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

  • Auckland to Rotorua Private Tour: $488
  • Buried Village of Te Wairoa Tour: $19
  • Combo Day Tour Wai-O-Tapu, Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Lake, Polynesian: $138
  • Hells Gate Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa Experience: $52
  • Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Small-Group Day Tour From Rotorua: $204
  • Kahukiwi Experiences Luxury 4WD 3hour Guided Maori Tour: $118
  • Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour White Water Sledging Experience: $80
  • Kaituna River: 3.5-Hour Whitewater Rafting Experience: $72
  • Kaituna White-Water Rafting Adventure: $62
  • Katoa Jet Boat & guided tour of the sacred Mokoia Island: $73
  • Katoa Jet Boat tour on Lake Rotorua: $63
  • Lake Rotorua Paddle Boat Cruise: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $10
    Rotorua $9.74

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

Typical Alcohol prices in Rotorua

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Rotorua:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $12


When comparing the travel costs between Wellington and Rotorua, 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.


When is the best time to visit Wellington or Rotorua?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Wellington or Rotorua in the Summer?

Both Rotorua and Wellington are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

In the summer, Wellington is a little warmer than Rotorua. Typically, the summer temperatures in Wellington in January are around 18°C (64°F), and Rotorua is about 12°C (54°F).

In January, Wellington usually receives more rain than Rotorua. Wellington gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Wellington 18°C (64°F) 
    Rotorua 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Rotorua in the Autumn?

Both Rotorua and Wellington during the autumn are popular places to visit.

In April, Wellington is generally around the same temperature as Rotorua. Temperatures in Wellington average around 15°C (58°F), and Rotorua stays around 16°C (61°F).

Wellington usually gets more rain in April than Rotorua. Wellington gets 82 mm (3.2 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Wellington 15°C (58°F) 
    Rotorua 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Rotorua in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Wellington and Rotorua.

Wellington is much colder than Rotorua in the winter. The temperature in Wellington is usually 10°C (49°F) in July, and Rotorua stays around 26°C (79°F).

Wellington gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Wellington usually receives more rain than Rotorua. Wellington gets 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Wellington 10°C (49°F) 
    Rotorua 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Wellington or Rotorua in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Wellington as well as Rotorua.

In the spring, Wellington is cooler than Rotorua. Typically, the spring temperatures in Wellington in October are around 13°C (55°F), and Rotorua is about 19°C (66°F).

Wellington usually gets more rain in October than Rotorua. Wellington gets 93 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Rotorua receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Wellington 13°C (55°F) 
    Rotorua 19°C (66°F)

Typical Weather for Rotorua and Wellington

Wellington Rotorua
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 18°C (64°F) 51 mm (2 in) 13°C (55°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Mar 17°C (62°F) 75 mm (3 in) 15°C (59°F) 32 mm (1.3 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 16°C (61°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
May 12°C (54°F) 92 mm (3.6 in) 19°C (66°F) 16 mm (0.6 in)
Jun 10°C (51°F) 113 mm (4.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Jul 10°C (49°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 26°C (79°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 10°C (50°F) 98 mm (3.9 in) 26°C (79°F) 1 mm (0 in)
Sep 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 93 mm (3.7 in) 19°C (66°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Nov 15°C (58°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 16°C (61°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Dec 17°C (62°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)


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Wellington vs. Rotorua Travel Comparison

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