Should you visit Darwin or Airlie Beach?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Darwin or Airlie Beach, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
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, 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 $98, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $125. 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 Darwin and Airlie Beach in more detail.
A hotel room in Darwin is about $110 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $104 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.
Food in Darwin costs travelers about $33 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.
While meal prices in Airlie Beach can vary, the average travelers spends about $28 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Airlie Beach should cost around $11 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Airlie Beach is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Airlie Beach $28
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:
The average price of local transportation around Darwin is $10 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
The cost of a taxi ride in Airlie Beach is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in Airlie Beach.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Darwin
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Darwin:
Shuttle to Train Station
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Darwin
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Darwin:
Private Arrival Transfer: Darwin Airport to Hotel:
Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Darwin Airport:
Wildman Fishing Tours - Fishing + Scenic Flight Transfer:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:
Whitsunday: Prosperpine Airport to Airlie Beach Transfer:
Airport Transfers - One way share shuttle service:
Airport Transfers - Return (round fare) share shuttle service:
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.
Darwin's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $14 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $142 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
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:
Royal Flying Doctors Service Entry Ticket:
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour:
Harbor Highlights Cruise:
2.5-Hour Harbour Sunset Cruise:
Discover the City of Half-Day City Coach Tour:
Darwin City Sightseeing Tour with Optional Sunset Cruise:
Bombing of Darwin WW2 Tour with Harbor Cruise:
Jumping Crocs & Nature Adventure Cruise from Darwin:
Darwin City tour - Darwin City and Lifestyle tour:
Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise:
Litchfield Park Tour & Jumping Crocodile Cruise from Darwin:
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:
Cedar Creek Falls and Hydeaway Bay Tours:
Whitsundays Sunset Sailing Cruise:
Airlie Beach Glass Bottom Boat Tour:
Tropical Rainforest and Waterfall Walking Tour:
Whitsundays Jet Ski Tour:
Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruises:
Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour:
Whitsunday Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour:
Whitehaven Beach Day Tour with Snorkel in Whitsundays Island:
Whitsundays Ocean Rafting Tour: Snorkel, Walk & Whitehaven:
The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Darwin per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
The average person spends about $7.99 on alcoholic beverages in Airlie Beach per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
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
Glass of Wine
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:
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.
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