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

Should you visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach?

Should I visit Melbourne 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.

Melbourne

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, after Sydney. It is also the capital city of the state of Victoria, in southeastern Australia. Melbourne is arguably the best city to experience culture and the arts in Australia. There is a friendly rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney over livability and popularity and Melbourne is definitely the city to visit for its parks, shopping, restaurants, galleries and theaters. Like Sydney, it is situated on the water, at the head of Port Phillip Bay. It's a beautiful city, and although it lacks the major sights that you'll find in Sydney such as the Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge, you will never find yourself lacking for entertainment. It is also a wonderful base for exploring many of the nearby highlights, including Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island where you can view the penguin parade.

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 Melbourne?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Melbourne is $164, 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 Melbourne and Airlie Beach in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $222 in Melbourne 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 $108 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Melbourne $111
    Airlie Beach $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Melbourne $222
    Airlie Beach $108

Food

While meal prices in Melbourne 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 Melbourne 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 Melbourne is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

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
    Melbourne $28
    Airlie Beach $29
Typical Food prices in Melbourne

For Melbourne, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Coffee
    $2.99
  • Pizza
    $5.24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Melbourne

For Melbourne, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Eynesbury Homestead Dinner and Ghost Tour: $63
  • Private Australian Cooking Class in Melbourne using Native Produce: $125
  • Withlocals The 10 Tastings: Melbourne Private Food Tour: $131
  • Vegan Cooking Class: $146
  • Private Modern Australian Cooking Class with a Professional Chef in Melbourne: $166
  • Private Market Tour and Australian Cooking Class with a Local Chef in her Home: $203
  • [PRIVATE TOUR] Best Of Melbourne Food Tours: $462

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

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Melbourne than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $18 on transportation in Melbourne on average per day.

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.
    Melbourne $18
    Airlie Beach $18
Typical Local Transportation prices in Melbourne

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


  • Airport Bus
    $12
  • Tram Ride
    $2.84

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Melbourne

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

  • Melbourne Airport Departure Transfer from Melbourne CBD Hotels: $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: Melbourne Essendon Airport (MEB) to Melbourne: $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Melbourne to Melbourne Essendon Airport (MEB): $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Melbourne to Tullamarine Airport (MEL): $39
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Melbourne Airports: $45
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Melbourne Downtown City to Airport: $53
  • Transfer in private Minivan from Melbourne City Downtown to Airport: $65
  • Departure Private Transfer Melbourne City to Melbourne Airport MEL by Sedan Car: $73
  • Private Car Transfer Melbourne Airport To CBD: $78
  • Melbourne Airport To CBD Transfers Sedan (Audi A8, BMW 7 & Mercedes S-Class): $78
  • Melbourne AIRPORT TRANSFER: $79
  • Private Transfer: Melbourne to Melbourne Airport (MEL): $80

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Melbourne or Airlie Beach?

Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Melbourne 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

Sightseeing expenses in Melbourne, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $25 per day, per person.

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.
    Melbourne $25
    Airlie Beach $147

Tours and Activities in Melbourne

For Melbourne, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Live like a Local: Explore some favourite spots on a playful audio walking tour: $5.40
  • Melbourne Audio Tour: A Self-Guided Walk Through the City: $6.99
  • Questo Self-guided Haunted Melbourne Walking Tour: $12
  • Melbourne Self-Guided Audio Tour: $13
  • Melbourne Sports Walking Tour: $14
  • Green Cabs Melbourne Tours: $16
  • Melbourne Eureka Skydeck Entry Tickets: $16
  • Melbourne City and Williamstown Ferry Cruise: $18
  • Eureka Skydeck 88 Admission Ticket: $20
  • ArtVo Immersive Gallery Experience: $22
  • Tour guide services: $22
  • Melbourne Ghost Tour: $23

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

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Melbourne spend on average $15 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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
    Melbourne $15
    Airlie Beach $8.30
Typical Alcohol prices in Melbourne

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $5.80

Sample the Local Flavors in Melbourne

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

  • Melbourne Bar Hunt: Melbourne Breakout Bar Crawl: $12
  • Melbourne CBD Pub Crawl: $16
  • Carlton Brewhouse Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting: $24
  • The Melbourne Un-Pub Crawl: $40
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Day Tour from Melbourne: $78
  • Hops and Barrels- Hop on Hop off Wine Tour Mornington Peninsula.: $83
  • Small-Group Guided Yarra Valley Winery Tour with Wine Tasting: $104
  • Yarra Valley Local Produce and Wine Tasting Tour: $115
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour inc lunch with a glass of wine, tastings and chocolate: $115
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour with Local Harvest Tastings from Melbourne: $115
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tour Departing from Melbourne: $118
  • Mornington Peninsula Winery Tour Including Wine Tastings and 2-Course Lunch: $118


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Melbourne and Airlie Beach, we can see that Melbourne is more expensive. And not only is Airlie Beach much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Airlie Beach would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Airlie Beach 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 Melbourne would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Melbourne than you might in Airlie Beach.

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Melbourne vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

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