A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Alice Springs vs. Coffs Harbour for Hiking, Families, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

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 Coffs Harbour 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.

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is a friendly, laid back, and outdoorsy town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and hiking.

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a relaxing, fun, and nature-filled vacation town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Coffs Harbour than Alice Springs, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Coffs Harbour is better known for its food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and shopping, while Alice Springs is more popular for its hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Alice Springs is well known for its desert landscapes, Outback setting, and location between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Coffs Harbour is well known for its popularity as a holiday destination, diverse marine environment, and the iconic "Big Banana". Also, Coffs Harbour is famous for the Solitary Islands Marine Park.

How is Alice Springs different from Coffs Harbour?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

You'll find a number of notable museums and attractions in both Coffs Harbour and Alice Springs.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Alice Springs. There are several wildlife centers in town that let you experience the desert animals first hand. Make sure you check out the Alice Springs Reptile Center, the Alice Springs Desert Park, and the Kangaroo Sanctuary. Another highlight of the town is a visit to the Alice Springs School of the Air.

Coffs Harbour is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The town is home to the infamous Big Banana Fun Park. It's a large amusement park that's become recognized for the "Big Banana" at the entrance - which is the first of the "Big Things" found in Australia. The town also has several other landmarks to check out such as the Forest Sky Pier, the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, and the Butterfly House.


Is the Food Better in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great vacation town for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Alice Springs is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Coffs Harbour has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. It's a popular tourist destination, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants that cater to families, couples, and all types of vacations. There are quaint cafes as well as fine dining restaurants and the cuisine ranges from local seafood to modern Australian favorites, or international treats.

Alice Springs offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There are casual eateries with local food and decent prices. While it's a small town, there are plenty of tourists passing through so you'll find enough places to eat with a decent selection.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Nightlife?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great vacation town for its evening party scene. Also, Alice Springs is not as popular, but is still a nice town for nightlife.

The nightlife in Coffs Harbour has something for everybody. It's a vacation spot that attracts visitors who want to enjoy the evening activities. The Jetty Strip is popular for its nightlife scene, but you'll find no shortage of bars and pubs in other areas as well.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Alice Springs. It's a laid back small town, but there are still places to hang out in evening. Pubs and taverns are popular with locals and tourists alike. You'll also find a couple of casinos and clubs in town.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Resorts?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great vacation town for its luxury resorts. However, Alice Springs is not a resort destination.

In Coffs Harbour, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. There's a huge range of accommodation types in the area with everything from camping to luxury resorts. There are also budget-friendly hostels and family-friendly hotels.

Alice Springs is not a resort destination.


Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great vacation town for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Alice Springs is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Coffs Harbour is an extremely popular place to visit for scuba diving and snorkeling. Scuba diving and snorkeling is popular in the area, as this is where the Solitary Islands Marine Park begins. The area sees a mix of the warm water from the Great Barrier Reef and the cooler waters from around Sydney, so the marine life is diverse. There are sheltered areas that offer snorkeling for all ages and you'll see a great mix of tropical and sub-tropical marine life, as well as both soft and hard corals.

Alice Springs is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Beaches?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a world-class destination for the beach. However, Alice Springs is not a beach destination.

Coffs Harbour is considered to be a world-class beach destination. People come for the beaches, and they won't disappoint. You can enjoy everything from surfing, swimming, fishing, or simply walking and taking in the beauty. Popular beaches in the area include Emerald Beach, Woolgoolga, and the family-friendly Jetty Beach.

Alice Springs is not a beach destination.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Hiking?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Alice Springs is very popular for its hiking trails. Also, Coffs Harbour is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Around Alice Springs visitors will find world-class hiking trails. Just outside of town there are wonderful walking routes and hiking trails. You can visit gorges, waterholes, and wander through the stunning red desert landscapes. One of the most famous trails in the area is the Larapinta Trail.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Coffs Harbour. There are many national parks and natural areas nearby with excellent hiking and bush walks. The Coffs Creek Walk is a walking and biking path that's in town and connects the city center to many of the top sights that are nearby. Out of town, there's the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk, the Gumgali Track, Sherwood Nature Reserve and Ulidarra National Park.


Is the Shopping Better in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great vacation town for its shopping areas. Also, Alice Springs is not as popular, but is still a nice town for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Coffs Harbour. The city has many shopping centers and markets where you can enjoy leisurely shopping or pick up any essentials that you may have forgotten.

Alice Springs is a great destination for shopping. There are many shopping areas around town, particularly at the Yeperenye Shopping Centre, Alice Plaza, and Todd Mall. Prices can be a bit high, so keep that in mind as you're browsing.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Families?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a world-class destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Alice Springs is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Coffs Harbour is an extremely popular vacation town to visit for families. There are great beaches where kids can swim or learn to surf. There are also water parks, including the famous Big Banana Fun Park, as well as amusement parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. Kids and adults alike will enjoy going dolphin or whale watching, or putting on a mask and going snorkeling.

Alice Springs is a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy the beautiful setting as much as adults. There are desert animals that you can see at Alice Springs Desert Park or the Kangaroo Sanctuary. The Earth Sanctuary has telescopes and unbeatable views of the night sky. In the area you'll also be able to take a camel ride or visit the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Couples?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Both Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour are great destinations for a couple's getaway.

Alice Springs is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. The red desert and stunning landscapes make for a truly one-of-a-kind romantic getaway. In addition to the area's natural beauty, there are hot air balloon rides and camel treks. Hiking and exploring is also at the top of many visitor's lists.

Coffs Harbour is a very popular place to visit for couples. It's a beautiful city and a popular honeymoon destination. Couples will enjoy the impressive beaches and fun activities. There are places to explore nature as well as restaurants and fun evening activities. There's also great scuba diving and snorkeling at the Solitary Islands Marine Park.


Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

For backpackers, both Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour are great places to visit.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Alice Springs. Many backpackers stop off here during their Australian adventure. There a few hostels in town as well as a laid back and friendly environment that is perfect for backpacking.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Coffs Harbour. There are a number of hostels around town as well as great water activities and a lively atmosphere, making this a nice stop off for backpackers.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour both offer respectable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Alice Springs. Public transit options are limited but you will find buses that leave from the Yeperenye Shopping Center on Hartley Street. There are also taxis in town.

Public transit is generally limited in Coffs Harbour. This is a very car dependent area and public transit is very limit. While there are buses, the area is spread out and you need the freedom of having your own vehicle to explore.

Is Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour a more walkable city?

Alice Springs
Coffs Harbour

Alice Springs is a town with good options for its walkability. However, Coffs Harbour is lacking in options for its high level of walkability.

Alice Springs is somewhat walkable. The downtown area can be explored on foot.

Coffs Harbour is not a walkable town. Most visitors arrive with a car and you'll struggle to fully experience the area if you don't have your own form of transportation.


For even more information, also check out Is Alice Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Coffs Harbour Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Coffs Harbour or Alice Springs?

How long in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Both Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Coffs Harbour than in Alice Springs. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Alice Springs, and 3-7 days is enough time in Coffs Harbour.

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

Couples should spend more time in Coffs Harbour than Alice Springs. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Coffs Harbour that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Coffs Harbour than Alice Springs 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 Coffs Harbour.


  • How many days in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour? Ideal Length of Stay
    Alice Springs 2-4 
    Coffs Harbour 3-7

One day in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Even though Alice Springs is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the fun destination of Coffs Harbour. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Alice Springs. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Coffs Harbour. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Five days in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Alice Springs is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the relaxing destination of Coffs Harbour. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This vacation town offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A week in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Alice Springs is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the vacation town of Coffs Harbour. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to Australia, The Best Luxury Tours to Australia, The Best Adventure Tours to Australia, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Australia.


Which place is cheaper, Coffs Harbour or Alice Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Alice Springs is $96, while the average daily cost in Coffs Harbour is $137. 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 Coffs Harbour in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alice Springs $51
    Coffs Harbour $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alice Springs $102
    Coffs Harbour $128
Compare Hotels in Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour

Looking for a hotel in Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour? 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 Coffs Harbour


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 Coffs Harbour Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alice Springs $20
    Coffs Harbour $23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Alice Springs

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

  • Uluru to Alice Springs or Alice to Uluru 1-Way Luxe Transfer: $130

Is it cheaper to fly into Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Prices for flights to both Coffs Harbour 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Alice Springs $24
    Coffs Harbour $52

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: $225
  • Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including BBQ Dinner: $239

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alice Springs $14
    Coffs Harbour $42

Tours and Activities in Alice Springs

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

  • A Town Like Alice: Half-Day Tour of Alice Springs: $97
  • Alice Springs Camel Tour: $61
  • Alice Springs Desert Park General Entry Ticket: $27
  • Alice Springs Desert Park Nocturnal Tour: $28
  • Alice Springs Highlights Tour : $112
  • West MacDonnell Ranges & Standley Chasm Tour: $124
  • Alice Town And Country Half Day Sunset Tour - Small Group: $128
  • Alice Town and Country Half Day Sunset Tour -Small Group: $126
  • Australia’s Red Centre: A Self-Guided West Macs Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Best of Alice Springs Full Day Tour: $166
  • East Mac's Adventure Day Tour Mondays and Fridays: $129
  • East MacDonnell Ranges 1 Day 4WD Tour: $244

Typical Entertainment Prices in Coffs Harbour

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


  • Surfing Museum (for 2)
    $7.27

Tours and Activities in Coffs Harbour

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

  • Coastal Adventure: $129
  • Coffs Harbour Whale Watch Experience: $65
  • Daytime Kayak Eco Tour of New South Wales: $41
  • Rainforest & Waterfall Experience: $129
  • Sunset Experience: $79
  • Sunset Kayak Eco Tour with Marine Scientist: $41

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alice Springs $17
    Coffs Harbour $8.49
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
    $4.62


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour, we can see that Coffs Harbour is more expensive. And not only is Alice Springs much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Alice Springs would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Alice Springs and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Coffs Harbour would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Coffs Harbour than you might in Alice Springs.

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


Which is Bigger, Alice Springs or Coffs Harbour?

Coffs Harbour has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Alice Springs. When comparing the sizes of Alice Springs and Coffs Harbour, 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.