Which place is cheaper, Airlie Beach or Cairns?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Should I visit Cairns or Airlie Beach? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
Cairns is a tropical, idyllic, and outdoorsy city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.
Airlie Beach is a paradise, laid back, and slow-paced town. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the shopping, nightlife, and food.
Visitors will usually find more to do in Cairns than Airlie Beach, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Cairns is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping, while Airlie Beach is more popular for its resorts and impressive beauty. Cairns is more touristy than Airlie Beach and is popular for its stunning beaches, nearby rainforests, and easy access to the world's largest reef system. Also, Cairns is famous for the Great Barrier Reef. Airlie Beach is well known for its tours and transportation that visit the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Airlie Beach and Cairns. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Cairns is a moderate city for its sights and museums. However, Airlie Beach is not a good town for its museums and history.
Cairns offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most visitors spend their time exploring nature and the outdoors, but there are some interesting cultural sights around town as well. Make sure you check out the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park as well as the Cairns Aquarium.
If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Airlie Beach. Oceanfront beauty is what this town is all about, so you won't find much is the form of museums and manmade landmarks.
Cairns is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Airlie Beach is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.
With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Cairns makes for a great culinary experience. Waterfront dining with a view is what makes the restaurant scene special. Seafood is everywhere and you can enjoy the catch of the day while you relax on a beachfront terrace. There are also international restaurants that have everything from Spanish tapas to Japanese noodle bowls.
Airlie Beach has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There's a good selection of restaurants in town that offer everything from freshly caught local seafood to fine dining or casual. Try to pick a place with a view.
Cairns is very popular for nightlife. Also, Airlie Beach is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for nightlife and partying.
Cairns is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. For such as small city, the nightlife scene is incredibly vibrant, particularly during the peak tourist months. Backpackers are at the heart of the action, with many bars and clubs filling up each night with a young crowd. There are dance clubs, all night parties, cocktail bars, and beach side venues that are sure to offer a good time.
With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Airlie Beach. The town has a number of nightlife venues that include DJ hosted parties, beachfront cocktail lounges, and mellow local bars.
Airlie Beach is terrific for its luxury resorts. Also, Cairns is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its resorts.
For the ultimate resort vacation, Airlie Beach is a great choice. There's everything from posh resorts and luxury hotels to family-friendly campgrounds. There are also hostels that cater to the budget crowd.
Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Cairns. There are many beautiful resorts that offer access to the beach and have impressive pools. There are family-friendly resorts, romantic resorts, and even some budget-friendly options.
There's amazing scuba diving or snorkeling available in both Cairns and Airlie Beach.
The clear water and abundant marine life make Cairns a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. It's access to the Great Barrier Reef make this one of the world's top scuba diving and snorkeling destinations. The undersea world is filled with colorful coral, diverse tropical fish, graceful sea turtles, and a truly magical setting.
The scuba diving and snorkeling in Airlie Beach is not to be missed. You can't snorkel right off the shore because the water is murky and mucky, but there are excursions that will take you to the Great Barrier Reef. There are many day cruises that will take you out on the reef to several sights where you may see beautiful coral, sea turtles, or even reef sharks.
For a relaxing beach holiday, both Cairns and Airlie Beach are amazing choices.
Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Cairns. Near town you'll find stunningly beautiful beaches that range from hubs of activity to quiet coves. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is the closest beach to the city center and it has a sandy beach and plenty of amenities. For a quieter setting, head north to Holloways Beach or to the family-friendly Yorkeys Knob Beach. Do take note that if the beach doesn't have a stinger net, then it's recommended you wear a stinger suit (to avoid jellyfish stings).
With world-famous beaches, Airlie Beach is a very popular vacation destination. Near town there are world class beaches that range from secluded and idyllic to those lined with luxury resorts. For an escape, head to Hideaway Bay or Dingo Beach. If you don't want to leave town, there's also Airlie Beach, which is right off the Main Street. You likely won't want to swim here, but you can enjoy a picnic. Whatever beach you chose, do confirm that there's a stinger net.
If you're looking to go hiking, Cairns and Airlie Beach both have amazing trails.
People visit Cairns specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Near town you'll find wonderful national parks, lush rainforest, and beautiful mountain ranges. There are countless bush walks and hiking trails in the area. Head into the countryside and you'll get lost in nature and breathtaking views.
Many people visit Airlie Beach specifically for its hiking. You'll find many incredible hiking trails in the area. Conway National Park is a great place to hike through the rainforest and Conway State Forest is another nice spot.
Cairns is a well-known place for shopping. Also, Airlie Beach is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its shopping opportunities.
Cairns is an extremely popular place for shoppers. There's plenty of shopping around town in the form of shopping centers, markets, and boutique shops. Whether you're looking for trendy fashion or a fun souvenir, there are many places to explore.
Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Airlie Beach. Head to the town's main street for your typical souvenir shops and holiday stores.
Cairns is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Airlie Beach is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.
With a huge array of activities for kids, Cairns is very family-friendly. With the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest nearby, this is a playground for kids and adults alike. There are sandy beaches, rainforest walks, turtle rehabilitation centers, scenic railways, adventure sports, and so much more.
Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Airlie Beach is very family-friendly. Kids will enjoy playing in the Airlie Beach Lagoon, visiting the markets, or hanging out at the local beaches or playgrounds. If you're hoping to swim in the ocean, be very aware of the season and the conditions.
Airlie Beach is terrific for couples. Also, Cairns is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.
Airlie Beach makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Couples often use this as a gateway to the stunning Whitsunday Islands. The dining scene is good and there are countless outdoor activities that you can enjoy together. There are also many different resorts in the area.
Couples visit Cairns frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. It's a beautiful tropical setting with world class beaches and diverse marine life. Couples who enjoy the outdoors and adventure will love this amazing destination. You can experience the area's wildlife, relax on sandy beaches, or pamper yourself with a spa treatment. There is plenty of luxury, but also adventure-filled activities to choose from.
Cairns is very popular for backpackers. Also, Airlie Beach is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.
Cairns is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. Backpackers flock to this coastal town for its easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and its many activities and vibrant energy. There are adventure sports, wild nightclubs, and no shortage of places to hang out with other backpackers.
Many backpackers visit Airlie Beach. If you're hoping to visit the Whitsunday Islands, then is a good place to base yourself as a backpacker. It has a decent selection of hostels and there are a number of restaurants and other dining options.
Visitors will find notable public transit in both Cairns and Airlie Beach.
Cairns has some public transit options. Sunbus operates a public bus service that travels through the city center and to many beaches. Most routes start at Cairns City Mall.
You'll find some public transit in Airlie Beach, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There's a public bus that runs from Proserpine to Shute Harbour. The main bus station is near the city center and the main beach.
Airlie Beach is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Cairns is lacking in options for its walkability.
Airlie Beach is a very walkable destination. The town itself is walkable, but the surrounding area is hilly and requires a car.
Cairns is generally not very walkable. While you can walk around many parts of the city center, most visitors want to head into the rainforest or experience the nearby day trips, which require a vehicle.
Both Cairns and Airlie Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Airlie Beach than in Cairns. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Cairns, and 4-7 days is enough time in Airlie Beach.
Families should spend more time in Cairns than Airlie Beach. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cairns, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.
Couples should spend more time in Airlie Beach than Cairns. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Airlie Beach that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.
Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cairns than Airlie Beach 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 Cairns.
In Cairns, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this idyllic city offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.
Many travelers enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the destination of Airlie Beach. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.
Cairns is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.
Airlie Beach is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.
In Cairns, many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife that this adventure-filled destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Airlie Beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.
Cairns is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.
Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the paradise destination of Airlie Beach. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Cairns is $95, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $141. 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 Cairns and Airlie Beach in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Cairns or Airlie Beach? 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.
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.
Also for Cairns, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:
Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Cairns 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.
For Cairns, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Airlie Beach.
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cairns's activities, tours, and tickets:
For Cairns, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Airlie Beach are as follows:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cairns:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cairns and Airlie Beach, we can see that Airlie Beach is more expensive. And not only is Cairns much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cairns would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cairns 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 Airlie Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Airlie Beach than you might in Cairns.
Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.
The summer brings many poeple to Cairns as well as Airlie Beach. Most visitors come to Cairns for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Airlie Beach because of the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.
In the summer, Cairns is a little warmer than Airlie Beach. Typically, the summer temperatures in Cairns in January average around 29°C (84°F), and Airlie Beach averages at about 26°C (79°F).
It's quite rainy in Airlie Beach. Cairns receives a lot of rain in the summer. Cairns usually gets more rain in January than Airlie Beach. Cairns gets 429 mm (16.9 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 331 mm (13 in) of rain this time of the year. November to March in Cairns is the rainy season.
Both Airlie Beach and Cairns are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Cairns because of the hiking trails and the shopping scene. Also, the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Airlie Beach this time of year.
In April, Cairns is generally a little warmer than Airlie Beach. Daily temperatures in Cairns average around 27°C (80°F), and Airlie Beach fluctuates around 23°C (73°F).
It rains a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. It's quite rainy in Cairns. In April, Cairns usually receives more rain than Airlie Beach. Cairns gets 273 mm (10.8 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain each month for the autumn. The dry season in Cairns is April to October.
Both Airlie Beach and Cairns during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Cairns this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Airlie Beach for the shopping scene and the cuisine.
Cairns is a little warmer than Airlie Beach in the winter. The daily temperature in Cairns averages around 23°C (73°F) in July, and Airlie Beach fluctuates around 16°C (62°F).
Cairns usually gets less rain in July than Airlie Beach. Cairns gets 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.
The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Cairns and Airlie Beach. Many travelers come to Cairns for the beaches. Furthermore, many visitors come to Airlie Beach in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.
In the spring, Cairns is a little warmer than Airlie Beach. Typically, the spring temperatures in Cairns in October average around 27°C (80°F), and Airlie Beach averages at about 23°C (73°F).
In October, Cairns usually receives around the same amount of rain as Airlie Beach. Cairns gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring. April to October in Cairns is the dry season. Also, November to March is the rainy season in Cairns.
|429 mm (16.9 in)
|331 mm (13 in)
|469 mm (18.5 in)
|377 mm (14.8 in)
|471 mm (18.5 in)
|312 mm (12.3 in)
|273 mm (10.8 in)
|143 mm (5.6 in)
|118 mm (4.6 in)
|67 mm (2.6 in)
|62 mm (2.5 in)
|57 mm (2.2 in)
|35 mm (1.4 in)
|40 mm (1.6 in)
|34 mm (1.3 in)
|27 mm (1.1 in)
|40 mm (1.6 in)
|15 mm (0.6 in)
|44 mm (1.7 in)
|48 mm (1.9 in)
|104 mm (4.1 in)
|107 mm (4.2 in)
|211 mm (8.3 in)
|191 mm (7.5 in)