A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Gold Coast vs. Airlie Beach

Should you visit Gold Coast or Airlie Beach?

Should I visit Gold Coast or Airlie Beach? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is one of Australia's premier destinations. Famous for gorgeous beaches, warm weather, watersports, and plenty of activities for all ages, millions of tourists from Australia as well as everywhere in the world flock to this region every year. With beaches, national parks, theme parks, shopping and dining, nice resorts, boating, fishing, diving, theme parks and more, the Gold Coast offers something for everyone.

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 Gold Coast?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gold Coast is $93, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $134. 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 Gold Coast and Airlie Beach in more detail.


An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $104 in Gold Coast For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $110 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gold Coast $52
    Airlie Beach $55
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gold Coast $104
    Airlie Beach $110


The average traveler spends about $26 per day in Gold Coast for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

While meal prices in Airlie Beach can vary, the average travelers spends about $30 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Airlie Beach should cost around $12 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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Gold Coast $26
    Airlie Beach $30

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

Local Transportation

Gold Coast'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 $22 per person, per day on transportation in Gold Coast.

The cost of a taxi ride in Airlie Beach is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $18 per person, per day, on local transportation in Airlie Beach.

  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gold Coast $22
    Airlie Beach $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Gold Coast

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

  • Gold Coast Airport Arrival Shared Transfer: $17
  • Gold Coast Airport Departure Transfer: $18
  • Brisbane Airport Departure transfer From the Gold Coast shared shuttle: $43
  • Private Airport Transfer to Gold Coast Airport (OOL) from South Gold Coast 1-6px: $47
  • Private Airport Transfer to Gold Coast Airport (OOL) from North Gold Coast 1-6px: $67
  • Private Gold Coast Airport Departure Transfer: $89
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfers : Gold Coast City to Airport OOL in Business Car: $92
  • Departure Private Transfers from Gold Coast City to Gold Coast Airport OOL: $92
  • Private Airport Transfer to Brisbane Airport (BNE) from North Gold Coast 1-6 pax: $107
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfers : Gold Coast City to Airport OOL in Luxury Van: $118
  • Departure Private Transfers from Gold Coast City to Gold Coast Airport OOL: $124
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfers : Gold Coast City to Airport OOL in Luxury Car: $128

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:

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


Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Gold Coast can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $18 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $152 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gold Coast $18
    Airlie Beach $152

Tours and Activities in Gold Coast

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Gold Coast.

  • Surfers Paradise and Midday River Cruise: $18
  • SkyPoint Observation Deck 1 Day Ticket: $20
  • Tickets to Aida Opera on the Beach at Gold Coast: $28
  • Southport Cemetery Paranormal Activity Tour QUEENSLAND: $29
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Ticket: $29
  • Aquaduck Gold Coast Tour: $29
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Ticket & Koala Photo: $50
  • Gold Coast Sailing Cruise with sparkling wine & nibbles platter: $62
  • Glow Worm Evening Eco-Adventure from the Gold Coast: $76
  • Full-day Springbrook National Park Tour from the Gold Coast: $84
  • Springbrook - Mount Tamborine National Park Small Group Tour: $109
  • World Heritage Rain Forest and Wilderness Tour: $115

Tours and Activities in Airlie Beach

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

  • 2 Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsuites" Experience: $631
  • 2 Night Small Group Whitsundays Sailing Adventure Aboard Mandrake: $375
  • 2 night Whitsunday Islands Cruise on Atlantic Clipper from Airlie Beach: $394
  • 2-Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsleep" Experience: $470
  • 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: SV Whitehaven: $315
  • 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: Summertime: $315
  • 2-Night Whitsunday Islands All-Inclusive Sailing Tour from Airlie Beach: $315
  • 2-Night Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure on Trimaran 'Avatar': $422
  • 2-Night Whitsundays Sailing Cruise Aboard 'Spank Me' Including Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef: $375
  • 2Day 2Night Sail, Snorkel & SUP Adventure Whitsundays double: $439
  • 3 Day Whitsundays Sailing and Diving Adventure: Kiana: $592
  • 3 Day and 2 Night Whitsundays Maxi Sailing Adventure on Hammer: $514


Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Gold Coast, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.94.

The average person spends about $8.55 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.

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gold Coast $4.94
    Airlie Beach $8.55

Sample the Local Flavors in Gold Coast

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

  • Mt Tamborine Winery & Distillery Tour + 2 Course Lunch: $117

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

Budget Your Trip

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Gold Coast vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

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