Should you visit Fraser Island or Cairns?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Fraser Island and Cairns. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.
Fraser Island, located off Australia's eastern Queensland coast, is the world's largest sand island. It is best known as a camping and ecotourism destination, with a number of panoramic viewpoints, beaches, lakes, and freshwater pools. Hervey Bay, a beachside city on the nearby mainland, is a primary gateway to the island.
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 Fraser Island?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Fraser Island is $244, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $77. 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 Fraser Island and Cairns in more detail.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $214 for a double occupancy room in Fraser Island.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $62 in Cairns For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
While meal prices in Fraser Island can vary, the average travelers spends about $56 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Fraser Island should cost around $22 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Fraser Island is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Food in Cairns costs travelers about $24 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
Fraser Island $56
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:
The average price of local transportation around Fraser Island is $129 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.
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 $8.34 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:
Airport Transfers between Cairns Airport and Cairns City:
Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City:
Port Douglas Transfers from Cairns:
Airport Transfer - Cairns City To Airport:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.:
Cairns Airport transfer to Cairns City:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach:
Cairns Airport (CNS) Departure Transfer (Cairns Hotels to Cairns CNS Airport):
Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur):
Fraser Island's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $65 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Cairns can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $37 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
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:
Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome Entry Ticket:
Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour:
Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket:
Paronella Park Ticket:
Cairns 90-Minute Sunset Cruise with Welcome Drink:
Cairns 2-Hour Harbor Cruise with Afternoon Tea:
From Kuranda Scenic Railway Train Tickets:
Paronella Park and Mamu Tropical Skywalk Ticket Combo:
Half-Day Rainforest River Tubing Adventure:
City Sunset Bike Tour:
Kuranda: 1-Hour Rainforest ATV Tour:
Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour from Cairns:
The average person spends about $15 on alcoholic beverages in Fraser Island per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Typically, people visiting Cairns spend on average $8.24 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
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 Fraser Island and Cairns, we can see that Fraser Island 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 Fraser Island would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Fraser Island than you might in Cairns.
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