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

Should you visit Alice Springs or Cairns?

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

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.

Cairns

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 city 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 $86, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $85. 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 Alice Springs and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $90 for a double occupancy room in Alice Springs If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $76 in Cairns For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alice Springs $45
    Cairns $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alice Springs $90
    Cairns $76

Food

The average traveler spends about $22 per day in Alice Springs 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 in Cairns costs travelers about $25 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Alice Springs $22
    Cairns $25

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:

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Pizza Paddle Sunset Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay: $66
  • Dinner Cruise at Sydney Harbour with Optional Mast Climb Experience: $72
  • Cairns Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns: $73
  • Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner Show Ticket: $74
  • Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise: $75
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Captain Cook: $77
  • Dumpling Cooking Class in Melbourne: $80
  • Cairns Aquarium Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $88
  • Pinnacles Sunset Dinner and Stargazing Tour: $109
  • Private Cooking School in the Hunter Valley: $114
  • Mexican Cooking Class in Melbourne: $122

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Pizza Paddle Sunset Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay: $66
  • Dinner Cruise at Sydney Harbour with Optional Mast Climb Experience: $72
  • Cairns Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns: $73
  • Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner Show Ticket: $74
  • Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise: $75
  • Spirit of Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Captain Cook: $77
  • Dumpling Cooking Class in Melbourne: $80
  • Cairns Aquarium Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $88
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Pinnacles Sunset Dinner and Stargazing Tour: $109

Local Transportation

Alice Springs's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $18 per person, per day on transportation in Alice Springs.

Cairns's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $11 per person, per day on transportation in Cairns.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alice Springs $18
    Cairns $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Alice Springs

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

  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience with Round-trip Transfers & Vineyard Champagne Breakfast in Gold Coast: $191
  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience in Cairns with Round-trip Transfers: $176
  • Wet'n'Wild Return Shared Shuttle Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18
  • Thredbo Day Trip with Round Trip Transfer from Sydney by Brighton Coach: $81
  • SkyBus Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared Sydney Airport Transfers (SYD) for Sydney: $13
  • Shared Sunshine Coast Airport Transfers (MCY) for Sunshine Coast: $12
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs: $133
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon: $110
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock: $133
  • Shared Perth Airport (PER) Transfers for Perth and Fremantle: $22
  • Shared Gold Coast Airport Transfers (OOL) for Gold Coast: $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Cairns to Mission Beach Private Transfer: $303
  • Cairns to Port Douglas Private Transfer: $252
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $244
  • Hot Air Balloon Experience with Round-trip Transfers & Vineyard Champagne Breakfast in Brisbane: $191
  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience with Round-trip Transfers & Vineyard Champagne Breakfast in Gold Coast: $191
  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience in Cairns with Round-trip Transfers: $176
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $171
  • Corporate Bus, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove: $171
  • Premium, private bus transfer. Cairns City - Cairns Airport.: $135
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs: $133
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock: $133
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $125

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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Alice Springs can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $13 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Cairns can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $34 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alice Springs $13
    Cairns $34

Tours and Activities in Alice Springs

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

  • Abseiling Adventure in Adelaide : $73
  • Half Day Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay + FREE Paddle Pack: $95
  • Hunter Valley Scenic Wine and Cheese Tour from Sydney: $125
  • Nowra Treetop and Zipline Adventure: $32
  • Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon Flight and Winery Tour: $385
  • 'Have a Go' Clay Target Shooting Experience in Brisbane: $110
  • 12 Apostles, Otways & Great Ocean Road Hiking Adventure from Melbourne: $132
  • 1D1N Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour: $514
  • 2D Best of Tasmania Sightseeing Tour: Hobart & Bruny Island : $126
  • 2D Ultimate Marine Adventure from Port Lincoln: $405
  • 2D1N Reefsleep Under the Stars Great Barrier Experience: $416
  • 2D1N at the Wilderness Lodge with Walking Tours of Bungles and Cathedral Gorge: $1,068

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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


  • Scuba Diving
    $40

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • Abseiling Adventure in Adelaide : $73
  • Half Day Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay + FREE Paddle Pack: $95
  • Hunter Valley Scenic Wine and Cheese Tour from Sydney: $125
  • Nowra Treetop and Zipline Adventure: $32
  • Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon Flight and Winery Tour: $385
  • 'Have a Go' Clay Target Shooting Experience in Brisbane: $110
  • 1.5-Hour Segway Tour of Cairns and Botanic Gardens: $72
  • 12 Apostles, Otways & Great Ocean Road Hiking Adventure from Melbourne: $132
  • 14-Day Cape York Camping Tour: $2,350
  • 1D1N Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour: $514
  • 2 Day Liveaboard Yacht Great Barrier Reef Tour: $358
  • 2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure: $619

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Alice Springs, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $15.

Typically, people visiting Cairns spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alice Springs $15
    Cairns $12
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
    $5.15

Sample the Local Flavors in Alice Springs

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

  • Savannah Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tempus Two Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Hanging Tree Wines Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Capercaillie Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Misty Glen Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Hunter’s Dream Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Pokolbin Estate Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Wine Tasting at Horner Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Talits Estate Cellar Door Wine Tasting Experience: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Wine House in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Glandore Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $7.39

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

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

  • Savannah Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tempus Two Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Hanging Tree Wines Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Capercaillie Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Misty Glen Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Hunter’s Dream Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Pokolbin Estate Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Wine Tasting at Horner Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Talits Estate Cellar Door Wine Tasting Experience: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Wine House in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Glandore Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $7.39


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.

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Alice Springs vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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