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 $159, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $126. 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 $214 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 $104 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Melbourne $107
    Airlie Beach $52
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Melbourne $214
    Airlie Beach $104

Food

While meal prices in Melbourne can vary, the average travelers spends about $27 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 $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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Melbourne $27
    Airlie Beach $28
Typical Food prices in Melbourne

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


  • Coffee
    $2.90
  • Pizza
    $5.08

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Melbourne

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

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Eynesbury Homestead Dinner and Ghost Tour: $63
  • Pizza Paddle Sunset Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay: $66
  • Dinner Cruise at Sydney Harbour with Optional Mast Climb Experience: $72
  • Cairns Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns: $73
  • Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner Show Ticket: $74
  • Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise: $75
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Captain Cook: $77
  • Dumpling Cooking Class in Melbourne: $80
  • Cairns Aquarium Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $88
  • Pinnacles Sunset Dinner and Stargazing Tour: $109
  • Private Cooking School in the Hunter Valley: $114

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Airlie Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Airlie Beach.

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Pizza Paddle Sunset Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay: $66
  • Dinner Cruise at Sydney Harbour with Optional Mast Climb Experience: $72
  • Cairns Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns: $73
  • Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner Show Ticket: $74
  • Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise: $75
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Captain Cook: $77
  • Dumpling Cooking Class in Melbourne: $80
  • Cairns Aquarium Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $88
  • Whitsundays Segway Sunset and Boardwalk Tour with Dinner: $93
  • Pinnacles Sunset Dinner and Stargazing Tour: $109
  • Private Cooking School in the Hunter Valley: $114

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 $17 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 $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in Airlie Beach.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Melbourne $17
    Airlie Beach $17
Typical Local Transportation prices in Melbourne

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


  • Airport Bus
    $12
  • Tram Ride
    $2.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Melbourne

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

  • Shared City Transfers from Darwin to Stokes Hill Wharf: $6.65
  • SkyBus Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared Sunshine Coast Airport Transfers (MCY) for Sunshine Coast: $12
  • Shared Cairns Airport Transfer (CNS) from and to Cairns, Port Douglas, Palm Cove: $13
  • Shared Sydney Airport Transfers (SYD) for Sydney: $13
  • Hobart International Airport (HBA) Express Bus Transfers by SkyBus: $14
  • Sea World Shared Shuttle Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $15
  • Shared Brisbane Airport Transfers (BNE) for Brisbane : $15
  • Avalon Airport (AVV) Express Transfer by SkyBus for Melbourne City: $15
  • Shared Gold Coast Airport Transfers (OOL) for Gold Coast: $17
  • Paradise Country Shared Shuttle Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18
  • Harbour Town Premium Outlets Shared Shuttle Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:

  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience with Round-trip Transfers & Vineyard Champagne Breakfast in Gold Coast: $191
  • [Promotion: Adult at Kids Price] Hot Air Balloon Experience in Cairns with Round-trip Transfers: $176
  • Wet'n'Wild Return Shared Shuttle Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18
  • Thredbo Day Trip with Round Trip Transfer from Sydney by Brighton Coach: $81
  • SkyBus Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) Express Transfer Ticket: $11
  • Shared Sydney Airport Transfers (SYD) for Sydney: $13
  • Shared Sunshine Coast Airport Transfers (MCY) for Sunshine Coast: $12
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs: $133
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon: $110
  • Shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock: $133
  • Shared Perth Airport (PER) Transfers for Perth and Fremantle: $22
  • Shared Gold Coast Airport Transfers (OOL) for Gold Coast: $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 $24 per day, per person.

Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $143 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 $24
    Airlie Beach $143

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
  • North Stradbroke Island Water Taxi Ferry Ticket: $7.95
  • Bridestowe Lavender Estate Tour: $8.85
  • Searoad Ferry Tickets between Queenscliff and Sorrento: $8.85
  • Koala Conservation Reserve Tickets in Phillip Island: $9.95
  • Margaret River Region Lighthouse Tours: $11
  • Hunter Valley Wine Theatre Experience: $11
  • Questo Self-guided Haunted Melbourne Walking Tour: $12
  • Sydney Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour with Mobile App: $12
  • Melbourne Self-Guided Audio Tour: $13
  • Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Ticket: $13

Tours and Activities in Airlie Beach

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

  • Abseiling Adventure in Adelaide : $73
  • Half Day Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay + FREE Paddle Pack: $95
  • Hunter Valley Scenic Wine and Cheese Tour from Sydney: $125
  • Nowra Treetop and Zipline Adventure: $32
  • Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon Flight and Winery Tour: $385
  • 'Have a Go' Clay Target Shooting Experience in Brisbane: $110
  • 12 Apostles, Otways & Great Ocean Road Hiking Adventure from Melbourne: $132
  • 1D1N Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour: $514
  • 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

Alcohol

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

The average person spends about $8.04 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 $8.04
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
    $5.62

Sample the Local Flavors in Melbourne

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

  • Savannah Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tempus Two Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Hanging Tree Wines Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Capercaillie Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Pokolbin Estate Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Misty Glen Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Hunter’s Dream Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Wine Tasting at Horner Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Thomas Wines: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Wine House in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Glandore Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $7.39

Sample the Local Flavors in Airlie Beach

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Airlie Beach:

  • Savannah Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tempus Two Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Hanging Tree Wines Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Capercaillie Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Misty Glen Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Hunter’s Dream Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Pokolbin Estate Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Wine Tasting at Horner Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Talits Estate Cellar Door Wine Tasting Experience: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Wine House in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Glandore Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $7.39


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.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Melbourne vs. Airlie Beach Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.