A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Alice Springs vs. Cairns for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Alice Springs or Cairns?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Alice Springs and Cairns can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Alice Springs or Cairns?

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is in the middle of Central Australia and is most famous as a base for exploring the famous rock, Uluru. Alice Springs itself has grown dramatically from what was once a small outpost. The tourist boom began in the early 1980s and the population is now somewhere around 28,000. The city now has all of the necessary facilities to cater to the influx of tourists who swing through to see Uluru. The town is 1500km from Darwin, which is the closest major city. Adelaide is just as far to the south. It's remote location means that costs can be higher than they are elsewhere in Australia. Expect to pay more for anything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. When making a reservation for a hotel, do note that the rating scale differs from elsewhere in Australia or in most western countries. The ratings come from the amenities available and have little to do with the actual room quality.


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.

Which place is cheaper, Cairns or Alice Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Alice Springs is $94, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $94. 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 Alice Springs and Cairns in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alice Springs $50
    Cairns $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alice Springs $100
    Cairns $84
Compare Hotels in Alice Springs and Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Alice Springs or Cairns? 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 Alice Springs

Hotels in Cairns

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: Alice Springs Hotel Prices and Cairns Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alice Springs $20
    Cairns $12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Alice Springs

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

  • West MacDonnell Private Tour with Transfer: $555
  • Uluru to Alice Springs or Alice to Uluru 1-Way Luxe Transfer: $118
  • Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Coach Transfer: $119

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Caprice Limousine Luxury Transfer Cairns Airport to Mission Beach: $424
  • Cairns Airport (CNS) Arrival Transfer (Airport to Port Douglas Hotel or Address): $417
  • Corporate Bus, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $329
  • Mercedes-Benz S Class Private Transfers Cairns - Mission Beach : $323
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight with Transfers: $318
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $251
  • Mercedes-Benz S Class Transfers Cairns Airport - Port Douglas : $245
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $227
  • IMAX Private Transfer 7 Guests Cairns Airport to Hotels in Port Douglas : $222
  • Airport Transfers Cairns Airport - Port Douglas or Vice Versa: $193
  • Cairns Airport Luxary Private Transfer Cairns to Port Douglas: $183
  • Cairns Airport Private Transfers: $182

Is it cheaper to fly into Alice Springs or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns and Alice Springs 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 Meals for one day
    Alice Springs $24
    Cairns $28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Alice Springs

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

  • From Day Trip to Uluru with BBQ Dinner: $216
  • Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Sunset BBQ Dinner: $219

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Cairns Luxury Catamaran Harbor and Dinner Cruise: $78
  • Guided Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $115
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight Tour and 3-Course Dinner: $117
  • City Sights Tour with Evening Dinner Cruise: $138
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $147

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alice Springs $14
    Cairns $37

Tours and Activities in Alice Springs

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

  • 4-Day Outback Escape Tour in Australia: $3,395
  • 7-Day Guided Tour of Alice Springs with Accommodation Included : $1,305
  • A Town Like Alice: Half-Day Tour of Alice Springs: $93
  • Alice Springs Camel Tour: $55
  • Alice Springs Desert Park General Entry Ticket: $26
  • Alice Springs Desert Park Nocturnal Tour: $21
  • Alice Springs Highlights Tour : $95
  • Alice Springs, Uluru Ayers Rock & Kings Canyon 8 Days Touring Package: $2,414
  • West MacDonnell Ranges & Standley Chasm Tour: $113
  • Alice Town And Country Half Day Sunset Tour - Small Group: $123
  • Alice Town and Country Half Day Sunset Tour -Small Group: $122
  • Best of Alice Springs Full Day Tour: $153

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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

  • Scuba Diving

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • Birdworld Kuranda Entry Ticket: $14
  • Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park Ticket (BNP): $40
  • 17-Day Cairns to Darwin Tour: $3,896
  • 2-Day Atherton Tablelands, Mossman Gorge and Daintree Tour: $194
  • 2-Day Great Barrier Reef Combo: Green Island Sailing and Outer Reef Snorkel Cruise: $325
  • 2-Day Snorkeling Experience in Great Barrier Reef (Twin Share Cabin): $388
  • 3 Day Cape Tribulation & Cooktown Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas: $1,219
  • 3 Day Reef, Rainforest and Outback Tour: $359
  • 3-Day Small-Group Tour of North Queensland with Pick Up: $1,403
  • 4 'Behind the Scenes' Wildlife Tour & River Boat Cruise: $296
  • 8-Day Cairns Tour: Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda, Daintree Rainforest: $1,464
  • 9-Day Small Group Fully Accommodated Cape York 4WD Tour from Cairns: $5,828

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alice Springs $17
    Cairns $13
Typical Alcohol prices in Alice Springs

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

  • Glass of Wine in Alice Springs

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cairns:

  • Cairns Brewery Tours: $127
  • From Atherton Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting Tour: $151
  • Boutique Atherton Tablelands Small-Group Food and Wine Tasting Tour from Cairns: $160
  • Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting Tour from Cairns: $258

When comparing the travel costs between Alice Springs and Cairns, we can see that Alice Springs 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.

Which is Bigger, Alice Springs or Cairns?

Cairns is bigger, and its population is about 5.9 times larger than the population of Alice Springs. When comparing the population of Alice Springs vs. Cairns, 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 and the activities that interest you.

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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Alice Springs vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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