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

Should you visit Canberra or Airlie Beach?

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

Should I visit Canberra 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.

Where Should I go: Canberra or Airlie Beach?

Canberra

There is something special about the capital city of Australia. Canberra's not just a wonderful spot for outdoor adventures. It's a city completely designed and built up around the coast of an artificial lake. When architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin proposed their plans for Canberra it was met with a lot of criticism. Many people thought it would be a "waste of a good sheep pasture."

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.

Which city is cheaper, Airlie Beach or Canberra?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Canberra is $107, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $113. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Canberra and Airlie Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Canberra $66
    Airlie Beach $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Canberra $132
    Airlie Beach $94
Compare Hotels in Canberra and Airlie Beach

Looking for a hotel in Canberra 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.

Hotels in Canberra


Hotels in Airlie Beach


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Canberra $20
    Airlie Beach $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Canberra

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: from Canberra to Canberra Airport (CBR): $33
  • Canberra - Sydney Private Transfers: $474
  • Canberra -> Sydney -> Jindabyne -> Perisher Ski Resort : Private Transfer: $474

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:

  • Whitsunday: Prosperpine Airport to Airlie Beach Transfer: $16
  • Airport Transfers - Return (round fare) share shuttle service: $28
  • Airport Transfers - One way share shuttle service: $17

Is it cheaper to fly into Canberra or Airlie Beach?

Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Canberra 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
    Canberra $28
    Airlie Beach $26
Typical Food prices in Canberra

For Canberra, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch
    $16

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Canberra $14
    Airlie Beach $129

Tours and Activities in Canberra

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

  • Skip the Line: Telstra Tower Observation Deck Ticket: $5.93
  • Building and Architecture Tour | 10am Daily: $12
  • Ultimate Museum Experience | Tour + Dine + Shop (10am daily): $51
  • Day Tour from Canberra to Batemans Bay - with Oyster Tasting Kayak Tour: $178
  • Day Tour from Canberra to Batemans Bay With Indigenous Experience: $180
  • Capture Canberra Photography Tours: $371
  • Canberra - Southern Highlands Winery Tour: $422
  • Batemans Bay Overnight Kayak Camping Tour from Canberra - All Inclusive: $513
  • Canberra - Murrumbateman Private Group Winery Tours: $522
  • Private Canberra Secrets Highlights Tour: $789

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

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Canberra $13
    Airlie Beach $7.23
Typical Alcohol prices in Canberra

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Canberra from other travelers:


  • Drinks at a Bar
    $9.14

Sample the Local Flavors in Canberra

Also in Canberra, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Capital Brewery Full-Day Tour: $123
  • From Winery, Distillery, & Tasting Tour with Lunch: $144


When comparing the travel costs between Canberra and Airlie Beach, 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.


When is the best time to visit Canberra or Airlie Beach?

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.

Should I visit Canberra or Airlie Beach in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Canberra as well as Airlie Beach.

In January, Canberra is generally cooler than Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Canberra average around 20°C (68°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 26°C (79°F).

It's quite rainy in Airlie Beach. Canberra usually gets less rain in January than Airlie Beach. Canberra gets 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 331 mm (13 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Canberra 20°C (68°F) 
    Airlie Beach 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Canberra or Airlie Beach in the Autumn?

Both Airlie Beach and Canberra are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities.

Canberra is cooler than Airlie Beach in the autumn. The temperature in Canberra is usually 17°C (63°F) in April, and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. It's quite rainy in Canberra. In April, Canberra usually receives less rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Canberra gets 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Canberra 17°C (63°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Canberra or Airlie Beach in the Winter?

Both Airlie Beach and Canberra during the winter are popular places to visit.

In the winter, Canberra is cooler than Airlie Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Canberra in July are around 11°C (52°F), and Airlie Beach is about 16°C (62°F).

Canberra usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Airlie Beach. Canberra gets 43 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Canberra 11°C (52°F) 
    Airlie Beach 16°C (62°F)

Should I visit Canberra or Airlie Beach in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Canberra and Airlie Beach.

In October, Canberra is generally cooler than Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Canberra average around 15°C (60°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

In October, Canberra usually receives more rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Canberra gets 95 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Canberra 15°C (60°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Typical Weather for Airlie Beach and Canberra

Canberra Airlie Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 20°C (68°F) 87 mm (3.4 in) 26°C (79°F) 331 mm (13 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 107 mm (4.2 in) 26°C (78°F) 377 mm (14.8 in)
Mar 19°C (67°F) 131 mm (5.2 in) 25°C (77°F) 312 mm (12.3 in)
Apr 17°C (63°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 23°C (73°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
May 14°C (58°F) 87 mm (3.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 12°C (54°F) 90 mm (3.5 in) 17°C (63°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Jul 11°C (52°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 16°C (62°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Aug 12°C (53°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 18°C (65°F) 27 mm (1.1 in)
Sep 14°C (56°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 20°C (68°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 15°C (60°F) 95 mm (3.7 in) 23°C (73°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 17°C (63°F) 104 mm (4.1 in) 25°C (77°F) 107 mm (4.2 in)
Dec 19°C (66°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 26°C (78°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)


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Canberra vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

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