Travel Budget for Cairns Visit Cairns on a Budget or Travel in Style

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

How much does it cost to travel to Cairns?

You should plan to spend around $95 (AU$145) per day on your vacation in Cairns. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $28 (AU$43) on meals
  • $12 (AU$19) on local transportation
  • $86 (AU$131) on hotels

A one week trip to Cairns for two people costs, on average, $1,326 (AU$2,036). This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
  • One Week Per person
  • 2 Weeks Per person
  • One Month Per person
  • One Week For a couple
  • 2 Weeks For a couple
  • One Month For a couple
This data comes from the travel budgets of real travelers - How it works. Put these numbers on your website.

How much does a one week, two week, or one month trip to Cairns cost?

A one week trip to Cairns usually costs around $663 (AU$1,018) for one person and $1,326 (AU$2,036) for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to Cairns on average costs around $1,326 (AU$2,036) for one person and $2,652 (AU$4,072) for two people. This cost includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

Please note, prices can vary based on your travel style, speed, and other variables. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price per person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in Cairns will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to Cairns on average costs around $2,842 (AU$4,363) for one person and $5,683 (AU$8,726) for two people. The more places you visit, the higher the daily price will become due to increased transportation costs.

Independent Travel

Traveling Independently to Cairns has many benefits including affordabilty, freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to control your own experiences.

All of the travel costs below are based on the experiences of other independent travelers.

Is Cairns expensive to visit?

Prices in Cairns are reasonable and comparable to your average travel destination. Hotels, food, and sightseeing are generally within normal price ranges.

Within the Pacific, which is known to be an expensive region, Cairns is a reasonably affordable destination compared to other places. It is in the top 25% of cities in the Pacific for its affordability. You can find more affordable cities such as Paihia, but there are also more expensive cities, such as Sydney.

For more details, and to find out if it's within your travel budget, see Is Cairns Expensive?

How much money do I need for a trip to Cairns?

The average Cairns trip cost is broken down by category here for independent travelers. All of these Cairns travel prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Category Cost
Accommodation 1 (Double Occupancy) AU$131 ($86)
Local Transportation 1 AU$19 ($12)
Food 2 AU$43 ($28)
Entertainment 1 AU$57 ($37)
Alcohol 2 AU$10 - 31 ($7 - 20)
Accommodation Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in Cairns is $43 (AU$66). For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in Cairns is $86 (AU$131). This cost is from the reported spending of actual travelers.

  • Accommodation1 Hotel or hostel for one person
  • Accommodation1 Typical double-occupancy room

Hotel Prices in Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Cairns? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options.

Find the best hotel for your travel style.


Actual Hotel Prices
The average hotel room price in Cairns based on data provided by Kayak for actual hotel rooms is $114. (Prices in U.S. Dollars, before taxes & fees.)

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world.

Recommended Properties

Transportation Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The cost of a taxi ride in Cairns is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $12 (AU$19) per person, per day, on local transportation in Cairns.

  • Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.

Recommended Services

Flights to Cairns
How much does it cost to go to Cairns? Naturally, it depends on the dates. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all airlines.

Rental Cars in Cairns
The price of renting a car in Cairns will depends on dates, the type of car, the location, and your age. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all car rental companies.

Food Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in Cairns can vary, the average cost of food in Cairns is $28 (AU$43) per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Cairns should cost around $11 (AU$17) per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Cairns is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food2 Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in Cairns typically cost an average of $37 (AU$57) per person, per day based on the spending of previous travelers. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.

Recommended Activities

What did other people spend on Entertainment in Cairns?

Typical prices for Entertainment in Cairns are listed below. These actual costs are from real travelers and can give you an idea of the prices in Cairns, but your costs will vary based on your travel style.

  • Scuba Diving

Alcohol Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $13 (AU$21) on alcoholic beverages in Cairns per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day


Water Budget in Cairns
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • On average, people spend $4.07 (AU$6.25) on bottled water in Cairns per day. The public water in Cairns is considered safe to drink.

  • Water2 Bottled water for one day

Cairns On a Budget
Cairns The Great Barrier Reef
Most travelers go to Cairns specifically to visit Great Barrier Reef. The city itself is surprisingly large and cosmopolitan with a population of approximately 140,000. The city's economy is almost exclusively based on tourism, although you will find some jobs centered around agriculture, or more specifically sugar cane, bananas, coffee, tea, wine, and some tropical fruits. The city itself is surrounded by rainforest and makes a great base for exploring Kuranda, with the Barron Gorge National Park and the Daintree offering a quieter tropical getaway than Cairns.

Cairns has a tropical monsoon climate with a wet season between November and May. The dry season may still experience some rain and is between June and October. The city receives a decent amount of rain and has hot and humid summers with milder temperatures during the winter months. High temperatures are typically in the high 70s Fahrenheit in July and the high 80s in January. Flooding is not uncommon during the wet season.
There is no shortage of natural beauty around Cairns. The Botanic Gardens have tropical vegetation and the fascinating Gondwana Evolution trail. The Centenary Lakes are across from the Botanic Gardens and have a Rainforest boardwalk through the forest to the lakes. There's also a picnic area where you can enjoy a meal. Lake Placid is in Barron Gorge National Park. It's a beautiful lake that is surrounded by rainforest. Other natural areas worth visiting include Mount Whitfield Conservation Park, Smithfield Conservation Park, Copperlode Dam, Atherton Tableland, and Daintree Rainforest.

Of course, the greatest attraction in the area is the Great Barrier Reef. There are a decent number of operators that run both day and liveaboard scuba diving trips from Cairns. It's best to choose a smaller dive boat where you'll receive more personalized attention. They also travel to areas that are less frequently visited than the larger boats and therefore in better condition.

Museums around town include the Cairns Regional Gallery and Cairns Museum.
Cairns runs from Edmonton in the south to Ellis Beach in the north. It's approximately 52 kilometers long from north to south and the city has experienced a significant amount of sprawling development. The Northern Beaches are made up of a good number of communities including Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Park, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach, Clifton Beach, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach. Smithfield is an inland suburb between Yorkeys Knob and Trinity Park and is a hub for these northern beaches. South of Smithfield is Freshwater Valley, which includes the suburbs of Caravonica, Kamerunga, Freshwater, and Stratford. Cairns's city center is near the suburbs of Cairns North, Parramatta Park, Bungalow, and Portsmith.

Cairns's is an energetic travel destination with plenty of backpacker havens and parties. A quieter alternative is to stay outside of Cairns at a beachside resort, of which there is no shortage. It is just as easy to book a snorkeling or scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef from these resorts, and you will avoid some of the crowd and chaos of the city. These resorts may actually be more expensive, but they often include many amenities and offer a wonderful spa style vacation.

Because Cairns is such a popular destination for all travel types, you will find no shortage of facilities in the form of hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars and clubs. If you're looking for a great nightlife, there is always a place open where you can grab a drink or join in some festivities. It is important to realize there is no swimming beach in the central Cairns area. The ocean is actually more of a mud flat. There is a large lagoon style pool in the middle of the city that is quite popular year around. When you head either north or south of the city, there is a much wider selection of swimming beaches.

People head to Cairns not only for the parties but for the adventure sports as well. While you're in the area definitely try your hand at skydiving or scuba diving. If you're flexible with time, the best way to save some money is to go standby. Wait for a cancellation and you could save yourself upwards of $150 on the more expensive activities.
Food and Dining
The Esplanade has a high concentration of bars and restaurants that offer guests good food, seafood, and beer. Most places don't open until 11 am so you'll be hard pressed to find a good breakfast option. On the north side of the Esplanade you'll find some more expensive restaurants. If you arrive before 6:30 you might receive an early bird discount of between 20% and 30%. It is best to confirm this in advance.

Away from the Esplanade you'll find small cafes and milkbars that are popular with locals. There's also a decent number of Japanese restaurants around town, but prices are not cheap.

The city center is relatively small and you can easily walk around. There are also frequent buses from the center of town that travel to the suburbs and the Northern Beaches. It's possible to buy a daily bus ticket if you plan to travel frequently by bus. If you're planning to head out of the town center then it's beneficial to have a car. There are a good number of car rental agencies at the airport. Another alternative is to book a tour that will take you to a number of destinations in the area.


Looking for a party? Find a hostel in Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, or along the Gold Coast.

We've been gathering travel cost data from tens of thousands of actual travelers since 2010. We also systematically analyze the prices of hotels, hostels, and tours from travel providers such as Kayak, HostelWorld, TourRadar, Viator, and others. This combination of expenses from actual travelers, combined with pricing data from major travel companies, gives us a uniqe insight into the overall cost of travel for thousands of destinations around the world.

1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase. Thus, the overall daily average cost is not a summation of the individual categories.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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