Should you visit Coffs Harbour or Cairns?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Coffs Harbour and Cairns can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
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.
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 $125, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $79. 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 Coffs Harbour and Cairns in more detail.
Travelers usually pay around $116 for a double occupancy room in Coffs Harbour 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 $78 in Cairns For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
While meal prices in Coffs Harbour can vary, the average travelers spends about $47 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Coffs Harbour should cost around $19 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Coffs Harbour is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Food in Cairns costs travelers about $26 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.
Meals for one day
Coffs Harbour $47
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns
For Cairns, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Spirit of Dinner Cruise:
Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner:
Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise:
To get around in Coffs Harbour, the average visitor spends $21 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
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.
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.:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.:
Port Douglas Transfers from Cairns:
Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur):
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.:
Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City:
In Coffs Harbour, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $38 per person, per day.
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.
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)
Tours and Activities in Coffs Harbour
For Coffs Harbour, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Coffs Harbour - Jetty by Bike Tour:
Australian Wildlife and Coastal Adventure:
Rainforest & Waterfall Experience:
Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cairns's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Cairns
For Cairns, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
1.5-Hour Segway Tour of Cairns and Botanic Gardens:
14-Day Cape York Camping Tour:
2 Day Liveaboard Yacht Great Barrier Reef Tour:
2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure:
2-Day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns /Port Douglas:
2-Day Green Island Cruise and Kuranda Day Trip:
ATV Buggy Adventure & Rainforest experience Half-Day Tour:
Aboriginal Cultural Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas:
Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls and Rainforest Day Tour Departing Cairns:
Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns:
Barron River Half-Day Rafting Tour from Cairns:
Best of the Kuranda Rainforest Full-Day Tour:
Typically, people visiting Coffs Harbour spend on average $7.69 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting Cairns spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
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:
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:
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.
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