A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Airlie Beach vs. Whitsundays

Should you visit Airlie Beach or Whitsundays?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Airlie Beach and Whitsundays. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach, in Queensland, offers the closest port to the Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef. It's a small town of only 25,000 and has grown out of the area's popularity as a tourist destination. It's main industry remains tourism and, as such, there are many venues set up to accommodate travelers hoping to make trips to the Whitsunday Islands and the Outer Great Barrier Reef. The town has the feel of a vacation destination. While in the past Airlie Beach appealed specifically to the backpacker crowd, it's popularity has spread and now there are facilities catering to all travel types. The area has become more commercialized and there are plenty of large resorts to choose from. Even so, you'll still find no shortage of affordable accommodation around town.

Whitsundays

Just off the coast of Queensland, Australia is a cluster of 74 different islands. These islands, the Whitsunday Islands, welcome over a half a million visitors every year to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Barrier Reef.

As one of the most famous destinations in the world, it's not uncommon to see expensive yachts sailing around among the private ferries. Most of the islands are designated as national parks with access to snorkeling and diving in the coral reefs, or just to lay in the sand on the famous Whitehaven Beach.

Which city is cheaper, Whitsundays or Airlie Beach?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Airlie Beach is $134, while the average daily cost in Whitsundays is $125. 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 Airlie Beach and Whitsundays in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $110 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $130 in Whitsundays For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Airlie Beach $55
    Whitsundays $65
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Airlie Beach $110
    Whitsundays $130

Food

While meal prices in Airlie Beach can vary, the average travelers spends about $30 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Airlie Beach should cost around $12 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Airlie Beach is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

The average traveler spends about $28 per day in Whitsundays 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
    Airlie Beach $30
    Whitsundays $28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Airlie Beach

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

  • Whitsundays Segway Sunset and Boardwalk Tour with Dinner: $93

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Airlie Beach is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $18 per person, per day, on local transportation in Airlie Beach.

To get around in Whitsundays, the average visitor spends $52 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Airlie Beach $18
    Whitsundays $52

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:

  • Airport Transfers - Return (round fare) share shuttle service: $28
  • Airport Transfers - One way share shuttle service: $17

Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $152 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

In Whitsundays, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Airlie Beach $152
    Whitsundays $24

Tours and Activities in Airlie Beach

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

  • 2 Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsuites" Experience: $631
  • 2 Night Small Group Whitsundays Sailing Adventure Aboard Mandrake: $375
  • 2 night Whitsunday Islands Cruise on Atlantic Clipper from Airlie Beach: $394
  • 2-Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsleep" Experience: $470
  • 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: SV Whitehaven: $315
  • 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: Summertime: $315
  • 2-Night Whitsunday Islands All-Inclusive Sailing Tour from Airlie Beach: $315
  • 2-Night Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure on Trimaran 'Avatar': $422
  • 2-Night Whitsundays Sailing Cruise Aboard 'Spank Me' Including Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef: $375
  • 2Day 2Night Sail, Snorkel & SUP Adventure Whitsundays double: $439
  • 3 Day Whitsundays Sailing and Diving Adventure: Kiana: $592
  • 3 Day and 2 Night Whitsundays Maxi Sailing Adventure on Hammer: $514

Tours and Activities in Whitsundays

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Whitsundays.

  • Great Barrier Reef Luxury Expedition Cruise cabin booking 7 days 6 night: $3,536
  • Great Barrier Reef Private Expedition Cruise (min 4 day max 8 guests): $9,727

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.55 on alcoholic beverages in Airlie Beach per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Whitsundays, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $11.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Airlie Beach $8.55
    Whitsundays $11


When comparing the travel costs between Airlie Beach and Whitsundays, we can see that Airlie Beach 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

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Airlie Beach vs. Whitsundays Travel Comparison

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