A Travel Price Comparison for New Zealand Wellington vs. Taupo for Families, Couples, Backpackers, and Food

Should you visit Wellington or Taupo?

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

Should I visit Wellington or Taupo? 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.

Wellington

Wellington is a compact, laid-back, and funky city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Taupo

Taupo is a stunning, otherworldly, and striking town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, hiking, and shopping.

Wellington and Taupo: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Wellington or Taupo?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Wellington than Taupo, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Wellington is better known for its museums, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Taupo is more popular for its skiing, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Wellington is well known for its waterfront promenade, quirky cafe culture, and relaxing beaches. Also, Wellington is famous for Zealandia Ecosanctuary. Taupo is well known for its thermal hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and world class hikes.

How is Wellington different from Taupo?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Taupo and Wellington. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Skiing?

Wellington
Taupo

Taupo is a must-visit destination for skiing and snowboarding. However, Wellington is not a skiing destination.

If you're an avid snow skiier, Taupo should be on your list. Nearby Mount Ruapehu offers access to the longest running ski season in both Australia and New Zealand. From June until October you can enjoy the largest commercial ski areas around. There are options for everyone from young beginners to experts. The two main ski resorts in the area are Whakapapa Ski Area and Tūroa Ski Area.

Wellington is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Wellington or Taupo?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a popular place for its museums and landmarks. However, Taupo is a town with minimal options for its historical sights.

Wellington offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. As the capital city, you'll find a number of museums and sights around town. Check out the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Beehive, the Wellington Museum, and the City Gallery.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Taupo. Stunning natural beauty and adventure-filled activities are what Taupo is all about, but you won't find much in the form of museums.

Is the Food Better in Wellington or Taupo? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Wellington
Taupo

Both Wellington and Taupo offer a number of high quality restaurants to choose from.

Wellington has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There are waterfront restaurants and a vibrant cafe scene around town. You'll also find local markets and many diverse eateries that you can explore.

Dining out in Taupo is an experience not to be missed. The town is filled with local restaurants that make use of local ingredients such as fresh caught trout, local produce, and wild game. The town also has many farmers markets and a strong cafe culture.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Nightlife?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a great destination for nightlife and partying. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

The people in Wellington know how to have a good time. The best nightlife scene is found along Courtenay Place. There you'll find nightclubs, pubs, and cocktail bars. Cuba Street is another fun area with a bit more of a local vibe, and the waterfront is another great nightlife district in the city.

If you're looking for night time activities Taupo has a few options to choose from. It's a small resort town that is active during the day and night. There are low key activities in the evening like soaking in the thermal hot pools or grabbing a drink at a bar.


Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Beaches?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a great destination for the beache. However, Taupo is not a beach destination.

Wellington is considered a top beach destination. There are nice beaches within walking distance of the city center. There are also beaches that are well worth the drive if you're looking to get a bit out of town. In the summer months, there are swimming beaches, and year around they have nice views and a good atmosphere.

Taupo is not a beach destination.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Hiking?

Wellington
Taupo

Taupo is a very popular place for its hiking trails. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Taupo. The area is filled with beautiful hikes that take you through the natural beauty. During the fall season you can enjoy the fall foliage and during the summer months the wildlife and waterfront setting is at a peak.

Many people include a hike when visiting Wellington. The area has rolling hills and beautiful coastlines that are filled with walking trails and scenic views. Some of the more popular trails in the area are the Red Rocks walk and the City-to-Sea walk.

Is the Shopping Better in Wellington or Taupo?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Wellington is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. For the city's best shopping, head to the "Golden Mile". This is the area defined by Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place. There are boutique designers and high end fashion outlets throughout the area. The city also has many great markets and local shopping areas.

Taupo has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The lakefront town has a nice, pedestrian-friendly stretch with boutique shops, fashion outlets, and souvenir vendors.


Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Families?

Wellington
Taupo

Taupo is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Taupo is a very family-friendly destination. Set on the edge of Lake Taupo, there are many family-friendly activities in the area like swimming, boating, and hiking. There are also thermal hot springs and in the winter months skiing. Families who enjoy outdoor adventures will find no shortage of options year round.

Wellington is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. There's the Wellington Zoo as well as Island Bay Marine Education Centre, both of which are great for animal-lovers. Waitangi Park is a nice park where kids can run around and play, and if you're looking for something indoors, head to the Space Place at Carter Observatory. If everyone needs some down time, there's always the beach with is fun to hang out at.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Couples?

Wellington
Taupo

Taupo is a must-visit destination for its romantic activities. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Taupo makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Honeymooners and couples who enjoy romantic scenery, beautiful sunsets, and outdoor adventure will fall in love with this area. You can soak in thermal hot springs and picnic next to beautiful waterfalls. There are also breathtaking hikes and great water activities.

Wellington is a good city for couples to visit. The botanical gardens are beautiful to explore, and there is also a bird sanctuary in the area as well. Couple's will also enjoy the many nice restaurants and beautiful outdoor space around town.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Wellington
Taupo

Taupo is a must-visit destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Wellington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Taupo is extremely popular for backpackers. There's plenty of backpacker and hostel accommodation in the area. There are also free outdoor activities and adrenaline-filled adventures that backpackers will enjoy.

Wellington is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. Located on the south side of the North Island, many backpackers use this city as a gateway to the South Island. There are many hostels around town and other fellow backpackers to hang out with.


Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Students?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a popular place for students. However, Taupo is not popular with students.

Wellington is popular with students. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere is a nice setting for students.

Taupo is not popular with students.

Is Wellington or Taupo Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a great destination for its public transit. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Wellington has some very good public transit options. There are city buses, trains, and ferries that are popular with tourists and locals alike.

While Taupo offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are local bus service, the Taupo Connector, that travels around the town center. If you want to get outside of town, you'll need to have a car.

Is Wellington or Taupo a more walkable city?

Wellington
Taupo

Wellington is a great destination for its high level of walkability. Also, Taupo is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Wellington is a very walkable city. This is one of New Zealand's most walkable cities and it has a compact city center.

Taupo is a somewhat walkable city. The town is fairly compact, but if you want to efficiently get around and experience everything that the area has to offer, you'll want to have a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Wellington Worth Visiting? and Is Taupo Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Taupo or Wellington?

How long in Wellington or Taupo?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Wellington and Taupo. In our opinion, Wellington has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Wellington than Taupo. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Taupo than Wellington. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Taupo, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Wellington than Taupo if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Wellington.


  • How many days in Wellington or Taupo? Ideal Length of Stay
    Wellington 2-3 
    Taupo 2-3

One day in Wellington or Taupo?

In Wellington, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this compact destination offers. It's also a great beach destination, too. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

With shopping and skiing around the striking town of Taupo, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the skiing. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Wellington or Taupo?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Wellington. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

With skiing and nightlife around the destination of Taupo, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the skiing. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

Five days in Wellington or Taupo?

Wellington is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Wellington. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Taupo, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Wellington or Taupo?

You'll find food and shopping around the funky destination of Wellington. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Taupo is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the skiing. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in New Zealand, The Best Adventure Tours to New Zealand, The Best Eco Tours in New Zealand, and The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in New Zealand.


Which place is cheaper, Taupo or Wellington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wellington is $104, while the average daily cost in Taupo is $112. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Wellington and Taupo in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wellington $61
    Taupo $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wellington $122
    Taupo $126
Compare Hotels in Wellington and Taupo

Looking for a hotel in Wellington or Taupo? 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 Taupo


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 Taupo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wellington $12
    Taupo $25

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
  • Private Airport Transfer: $64
  • Private Transfer from Wellington Cruise Port to Wellington Hotels: $26
  • Private Transfer from Wellington hotels to Wellington Cruise Port: $26
  • Private Transfer with Wellington Dial a Driver: $74
  • Wellington Airport (WLG) to Wellington - Arrival Private Transfer: $28
  • Wellington Airport Transfer to Wellington Hotels and Vice versa: $77
  • Wētā Workshop Experience with Guided Transfers: $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Wellington or Taupo?

Prices for flights to both Taupo 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 $30
    Taupo $24
Typical Food Prices in Wellington

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


  • Dinner
    $8.99

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: $153
  • A Taste Of Wellington Food Tour (half Day): $188

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wellington $16
    Taupo $35

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: $6.61
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: Gallipoli Early Entry Ticket: $9.02
  • Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa Twilight Express Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Mana Māori Tour: $12
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Guided Tour: $12
  • Wellington Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Skip the Line: Staglands Wildlife Reserve Entry Ticket: $16
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Spaceship: $28
  • Private Group Puzzle-Solving Adventure Game: Temple: $28
  • Wētā Workshop Experience in Wellington: $35
  • Wētā Workshop Experience and Guided Tour: $35
  • Zealandia by Day Tour: $36

Typical Entertainment Prices in Taupo

Here are a few typical costs in Taupo for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Bungy Jumping
    $153
  • Jet Boating
    $57

Tours and Activities in Taupo

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

  • Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo: $30
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - Cabin in the Woods: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Candy Cottage: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Hunting Lodge: $23
  • Escape Room Experience Taupo - The Marvelous Circus: $23
  • Great Lake Trail Lake Taupo 2-Day Mountain Biking Tour: $98
  • Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience: $84
  • Lake 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise: $27
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $29
  • Lake Maori Rock Carvings 8.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise: $29
  • Lake Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise: $29
  • Maori Rock Carvings - Taupo Sailing Adventures - Kindred Spirit: $36

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wellington $12
    Taupo $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Wellington

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

  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half Day Tour: $94
  • Wellington Craft Brewery Half-Day Guided Tour with Tastings: $96
  • 5 hour Martinborough shared Chefs Wine Tour with Gourmet lunch: $141
  • Martinborough Full Day Wine Tour: $171
  • Chefs Private Martinborough wine tour with Gourmet Lunch: $361

Typical Alcohol Prices in Taupo

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Taupo from other travelers:


  • Wine
    $5.10


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Wellington Expensive? and Is Taupo Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Wellington or Taupo?

Wellington has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Taupo. When comparing the sizes of Wellington and Taupo, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.