A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Coffs Harbour vs. Cairns for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Coffs Harbour 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 Coffs Harbour 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: Coffs Harbour or Cairns?

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is in New South Wales between Brisbane and Sydney. Historically, Coffs Harbour has been a popular vacation destination among families, particularly Australian families. Most visitors today are families that are carrying on a longstanding tradition and bringing their children to the holiday destination of their childhood. You'll also find backpackers who spend up to a week here, dividing the trip between Sydney and Brisbane. The area has a well established tourist infrastructure that is not as trendy as that in Byron Bay, but it remains a wonderful community to visit if you're not looking for the party atmosphere.

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 Coffs Harbour?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Coffs Harbour is $109, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $76. 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 Coffs Harbour and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Coffs Harbour $50
    Cairns $34
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Coffs Harbour $100
    Cairns $68
Compare Hotels in Coffs Harbour and Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Coffs Harbour 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 Coffs Harbour


Hotels in Cairns


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Coffs Harbour $18
    Cairns $9.69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Premium, private bus transfer. Cairns City - Cairns Airport.: $135
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $89
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach: $107
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $244
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $125
  • Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur): $118
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $62
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.: $71
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $171
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $89
  • From Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer: $60
  • Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City: $22

Is it cheaper to fly into Coffs Harbour or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns and Coffs Harbour 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
    Coffs Harbour $41
    Cairns $22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Guided Twilight Tour of the Aquarium with Dinner: $90
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Afternoon Tour with Evening Dinner Cruise: $134
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $154

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Coffs Harbour $33
    Cairns $30
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)
    $7.18

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: $116
  • Coffs Harbour - Jetty by Bike Tour: $43
  • 1-Hour All Terrain Segway Tour: $57
  • Rainforest & Waterfall Experience: $116

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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


  • Scuba Diving
    $36

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • 14-Day Cape York Camping Tour: $2,350
  • 2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure: $619
  • 2-Day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns /Port Douglas: $221
  • 2-Day Green Island Cruise and Kuranda Day Trip: $316
  • Aboriginal Cultural Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas: $210
  • Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls and Rainforest Day Tour Departing Cairns: $95
  • Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns: $124
  • Cairns 4WD Waterfall and Rainforest Tour Including Kuranda Scenic Railway or Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: $166
  • Cairns Adventure Package- 4 tours in 3 days!: $325
  • Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket: $35
  • Cairns Aquarium Family Tickets: $104
  • Cairns Aquarium General Admission Ticket: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Coffs Harbour $6.71
    Cairns $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Coffs Harbour

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Coffs Harbour:

  • Dangar Falls and Dorrigo National Park Day Trip with Wine Tasting and Lunch: $242

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

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

  • Tablelands Food & Wine Tour: $233


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Coffs Harbour and Cairns, we can see that Coffs Harbour 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 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 Cairns.


When is the best time to visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns in the Summer?

Both Cairns and Coffs Harbour are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

In January, Coffs Harbour is generally cooler than Cairns. Temperatures in Coffs Harbour average around 23°C (74°F), and Cairns stays around 29°C (84°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cairns. It's quite rainy in Coffs Harbour. In January, Coffs Harbour usually receives less rain than Cairns. At this time of the year, Coffs Harbour gets 187 mm (7.4 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 429 mm (16.9 in) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Coffs Harbour 23°C (74°F) 
    Cairns 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns in the Autumn?

Both Cairns and Coffs Harbour during the autumn are popular places to visit.

Coffs Harbour is cooler than Cairns in the autumn. The temperature in Coffs Harbour is usually 20°C (67°F) in April, and Cairns stays around 27°C (80°F).

Cairns gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Coffs Harbour. Coffs Harbour usually gets less rain in April than Cairns. Coffs Harbour gets 215 mm (8.5 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 273 mm (10.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Coffs Harbour 20°C (67°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Coffs Harbour and Cairns.

In the winter, Coffs Harbour is much colder than Cairns. Typically, the winter temperatures in Coffs Harbour in July are around 13°C (55°F), and Cairns is about 23°C (73°F).

In July, Coffs Harbour usually receives more rain than Cairns. At this time of the year, Coffs Harbour gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Coffs Harbour 13°C (55°F) 
    Cairns 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Coffs Harbour as well as Cairns.

In October, Coffs Harbour is generally cooler than Cairns. Temperatures in Coffs Harbour average around 19°C (66°F), and Cairns stays around 27°C (80°F).

Coffs Harbour receives a lot of rain in the spring. Coffs Harbour usually gets more rain in October than Cairns. Coffs Harbour gets 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Coffs Harbour 19°C (66°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Typical Weather for Cairns and Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Cairns
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 23°C (74°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 29°C (84°F) 429 mm (16.9 in)
Feb 23°C (73°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 29°C (83°F) 469 mm (18.5 in)
Mar 22°C (72°F) 241 mm (9.5 in) 28°C (82°F) 471 mm (18.5 in)
Apr 20°C (67°F) 215 mm (8.5 in) 27°C (80°F) 273 mm (10.8 in)
May 17°C (62°F) 177 mm (7 in) 25°C (78°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
Jun 14°C (58°F) 125 mm (4.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Jul 13°C (55°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 23°C (73°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Aug 14°C (57°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 24°C (75°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Sep 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 25°C (77°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 19°C (66°F) 103 mm (4.1 in) 27°C (80°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Nov 20°C (69°F) 136 mm (5.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Dec 22°C (72°F) 143 mm (5.6 in) 29°C (83°F) 211 mm (8.3 in)


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Coffs Harbour vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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