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

Should you visit Darwin or Airlie Beach?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Darwin or Airlie Beach, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: Darwin or Airlie Beach?

Darwin

Darwin is a tropical city set against the Timor Sea in north central Australia. It is also the capital city of the Northern Territory. Despite being a relatively small city, Darwin is very diverse with residents from all over the world. The city itself has a very relaxed vibe with plenty to do. Visitors can enjoy everything from traditionally Asian style markets to culturally diverse events such as concerts, festivals or art shows.

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 Darwin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Darwin is $89, 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 Darwin and Airlie Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Darwin $50
    Airlie Beach $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Darwin $100
    Airlie Beach $94
Compare Hotels in Darwin and Airlie Beach

Looking for a hotel in Darwin 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 Darwin


Hotels in Airlie Beach


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Darwin $9.48
    Airlie Beach $16
Typical Local Transportation prices in Darwin

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Darwin:


  • Shuttle to Train Station
    $9.79

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Darwin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Darwin:

  • Private Arrival Transfer: Darwin Airport to Hotel: $142
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Darwin Airport: $142
  • Wildman Fishing Tours - Fishing + Scenic Flight Transfer: $1,146

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 - One way share shuttle service: $17
  • Airport Transfers - Return (round fare) share shuttle service: $28

Is it cheaper to fly into Darwin or Airlie Beach?

Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Darwin 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
    Darwin $30
    Airlie Beach $26

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.
    Darwin $12
    Airlie Beach $129

Tours and Activities in Darwin

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Darwin are as follows:

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility: Two Iconic Territory Stories: $20
  • Royal Flying Doctors Service Entry Ticket: $20
  • Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour: $30
  • Harbor Highlights Cruise: $32
  • 2.5-Hour Harbour Sunset Cruise: $46
  • Discover the City of Half-Day City Coach Tour: $51
  • Darwin City Sightseeing Tour with Optional Sunset Cruise: $52
  • Bombing of Darwin WW2 Tour with Harbor Cruise: $93
  • Jumping Crocs & Nature Adventure Cruise from Darwin: $94
  • Darwin City tour - Darwin City and Lifestyle tour: $100
  • Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise: $100
  • Litchfield Park Tour & Jumping Crocodile Cruise from Darwin: $126

Tours and Activities in Airlie Beach

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Airlie Beach are as follows:

  • Private Airlie Beach Tuk-Tuk Tours: $24
  • Cedar Creek Falls and Hydeaway Bay Tours: $43
  • Whitsundays Sunset Sailing Cruise: $62
  • Airlie Beach Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $62
  • Bowen Tour: $86
  • Whitsundays Jet Ski Tour: $87
  • Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruises: $95
  • Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour: $99
  • Whitsundays Ocean Rafting Tour: Snorkel, Walk & Whitehaven: $102
  • Whitsunday Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour: $117
  • Kangaroos at Beach Sunrise & Wildlife Tour: $121
  • Whitehaven Beach Day Tour with Snorkel in Whitsundays Island: $121

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Darwin $10
    Airlie Beach $7.23
Typical Alcohol prices in Darwin

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


  • Evening at a Bar
    $16
  • Glass of Wine
    $4.57

Sample the Local Flavors in Darwin

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

  • Heli Pub Crawl – 4 Pubs: $782


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Darwin and Airlie Beach, we can see that Airlie Beach is more expensive. And not only is Darwin much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Darwin would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Darwin 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 Darwin.


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

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 Darwin or Airlie Beach in the Summer?

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

In January, Darwin is generally around the same temperature as Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Darwin average around 29°C (83°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 26°C (79°F).

It's quite sunny in Airlie Beach. Darwin usually receives less sunshine than Airlie Beach during summer. At this time of the year, Darwin gets 173 hours of sunny skies, while Airlie Beach receives 285 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. It's quite rainy in Darwin. In January, Darwin usually receives more rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Darwin gets 437 mm (17.2 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 331 mm (13 in) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Darwin 29°C (83°F) 
    Airlie Beach 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Darwin or Airlie Beach in the Autumn?

Both Airlie Beach and Darwin during the autumn are popular places to visit.

Darwin is a little warmer than Airlie Beach in the autumn. The temperature in Darwin is usually 29°C (84°F) in April, and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

In Airlie Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Darwin. In the autumn, Darwin often gets more sunshine than Airlie Beach. Darwin gets 267 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Airlie Beach receives 207 hours of full sun.

Airlie Beach gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Darwin usually gets less rain in April than Airlie Beach. Darwin gets 85 mm (3.3 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Darwin 29°C (84°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Darwin or Airlie Beach in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Darwin and Airlie Beach.

In the winter, Darwin is much warmer than Airlie Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Darwin in July are around 25°C (77°F), and Airlie Beach is about 16°C (62°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Airlie Beach this time of the year. In Darwin, it's very sunny this time of the year. Darwin usually receives more sunshine than Airlie Beach during winter. At this time of the year, Darwin gets 312 hours of sunny skies, while Airlie Beach receives 226 hours of full sun.

In July, Darwin usually receives less rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Darwin gets 1 mm (0 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Darwin 25°C (77°F) 
    Airlie Beach 16°C (62°F)

Should I visit Darwin or Airlie Beach in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Darwin as well as Airlie Beach.

In October, Darwin is generally a little warmer than Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Darwin average around 29°C (85°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Darwin this time of the year. In the spring, Darwin often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Airlie Beach. Darwin gets 291 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Airlie Beach receives 298 hours of full sun.

Darwin usually gets more rain in October than Airlie Beach. Darwin gets 76 mm (3 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Darwin 29°C (85°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Typical Weather for Airlie Beach and Darwin

Darwin Airlie Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 29°C (83°F) 437 mm (17.2 in) 26°C (79°F) 331 mm (13 in)
Feb 28°C (83°F) 343 mm (13.5 in) 26°C (78°F) 377 mm (14.8 in)
Mar 28°C (83°F) 342 mm (13.5 in) 25°C (77°F) 312 mm (12.3 in)
Apr 29°C (84°F) 85 mm (3.3 in) 23°C (73°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
May 27°C (81°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 20°C (68°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 26°C (78°F) 2 mm (0.1 in) 17°C (63°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Jul 25°C (77°F) 1 mm (0 in) 16°C (62°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Aug 26°C (79°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 18°C (65°F) 27 mm (1.1 in)
Sep 28°C (83°F) 19 mm (0.7 in) 20°C (68°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 29°C (85°F) 76 mm (3 in) 23°C (73°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 30°C (85°F) 131 mm (5.2 in) 25°C (77°F) 107 mm (4.2 in)
Dec 29°C (85°F) 234 mm (9.2 in) 26°C (78°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)


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Darwin vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

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