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

Should you visit Katoomba or Airlie Beach?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Katoomba and Airlie Beach. 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.

Katoomba

Designated an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000, the Blue Mountains are located just west of Sydney in the highlands of New South Wales, Australia.

This area can be generally expensive, but is on par with other destinations in Australia and around Sydney. Plenty of luxury places can be found here that cost more than average, but plenty of cheaper places to stay can be found here, too. Expect to pay for various activities such as tours and entrance fees, too.

The landscape is sprawling with majestic scenery over a rugged terrain of steep cliffs, forests, waterfalls, and villages. Whether you come to hike, climb, bike, or drive to the scenic viewpoints, a curtain of tranquility falls upon the mountains in a blue haze from which they get their name.

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 Katoomba?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Katoomba is $124, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $130. 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 Katoomba and Airlie Beach in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $142 for a double occupancy room in Katoomba.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $108 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Katoomba $71
    Airlie Beach $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Katoomba $142
    Airlie Beach $108

Food

The average traveler spends about $16 per day in Katoomba 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 $29 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
    Katoomba $16
    Airlie Beach $29

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

The cost of a taxi ride in Katoomba is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $46 per person, per day, on local transportation in Katoomba.

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.
    Katoomba $46
    Airlie Beach $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Katoomba or Airlie Beach?

Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Katoomba 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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Katoomba typically cost an average of $49 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $147 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.
    Katoomba $49
    Airlie Beach $147

Tours and Activities in Katoomba

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

  • Blue Mountains Hop-on Hop-off Tour with Optional Scenic World Rides: $43
  • Ninety Minute Wombat Adventures Guided Tour: $67
  • Small-Group Half-Day Abseiling Adventure from Katoomba: $99
  • Blue Mountains 1-Hour Trike Tour of Three Sisters: $111
  • Blue Mountains Secret Places Adventure: $118
  • Half-Day Abseiling Adventure in Blue Mountains National Park: $119
  • Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and Bilpin Tour from Katoomba with Cider Tasting: $167
  • Small-Group Full-Day Rock Climbing Adventure from Katoomba: $174
  • Small-Group Full-Day Canyoning and Abseiling Adventure from Katoomba: $174
  • Blue Mountains: 4WD Adventure Tour with Local Guide: $197
  • Amazing Full Day Abseiling Adventure in the Blue Mountains: $198
  • Juggler Canyon and Abseiling Adventure Blue Mountains: $198

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
  • Airlie Beach Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $62
  • Whitsundays Sunset Sailing Cruise: $62
  • Tropical Rainforest and Waterfall Walking Tour: $80
  • Bowen Tour: $86
  • Whitsundays Jet Ski Tour: $87
  • Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruises: $95
  • Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour: $101
  • Whitsunday Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour: $117
  • Whitehaven Beach Day Tour with Snorkel in Whitsundays Island: $121
  • Chasing Waterfalls in the Whitsunday's Full Day Tour: $130

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.30 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
    Katoomba -
    Airlie Beach $8.30


When comparing the travel costs between Katoomba and Airlie Beach, we can see that Airlie Beach is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Pacific, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Katoomba vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

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