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

Should you visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Melbourne or Airlie Beach?

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 $143, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $113. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Melbourne and Airlie Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Melbourne $97
    Airlie Beach $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Melbourne $194
    Airlie Beach $94
Compare Hotels in Melbourne and Airlie Beach

Looking for a hotel in Melbourne or Airlie Beach? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Melbourne


Hotels in Airlie Beach


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Melbourne $16
    Airlie Beach $16
Typical Local Transportation prices in Melbourne

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


  • Airport Bus
    $10
  • Tram Ride
    $2.48

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:

  • Whitsunday: Prosperpine Airport to Airlie Beach Transfer: $16
  • 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Melbourne $24
    Airlie Beach $26
Typical Food prices in Melbourne

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


  • Coffee
    $2.61
  • Pizza
    $4.57

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Melbourne

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

  • The Eynesbury Homestead: Dinner and 1.5-Hour Ghost Tour: $54
  • Eynesbury Homestead Dinner and Ghost Tour: $63
  • Traditional Sri Lankan Cooking Class: $72
  • Spice Factory 3-Hour Indian Cooking Class: $90
  • 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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Melbourne $22
    Airlie Beach $129

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 Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Melbourne Sports Walking Tour: $14
  • Green Cabs Melbourne Tours: $16
  • Eureka Skydeck 88 Admission Ticket: $20
  • ArtVo Immersive Gallery Experience: $22
  • Tour guide services: $22
  • Melbourne Ghost Tour: $23
  • Gangsters & Candy Stores (night tour with laser projector): $25

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
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Melbourne $13
    Airlie Beach $7.23
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
    $5.06

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
  • 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 Wine Tour with Local Harvest Tastings from Melbourne: $115
  • 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 Tasting Tour Departing from Melbourne: $118
  • Mornington Peninsula Winery Tour Including Wine Tastings and 2-Course Lunch: $118
  • Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries Food and Wine Tour: $134


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.


When is the best time to visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Melbourne as well as Airlie Beach.

In January, Melbourne is generally cooler than Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Melbourne average around 20°C (68°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 26°C (79°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Melbourne this time of the year. In the summer, Melbourne often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Airlie Beach. Melbourne gets 271 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Airlie Beach receives 285 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Airlie Beach. Melbourne usually gets less rain in January than Airlie Beach. Melbourne gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 331 mm (13 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Melbourne 20°C (68°F) 
    Airlie Beach 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach in the Autumn?

Both Airlie Beach and Melbourne are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities.

Melbourne is cooler than Airlie Beach in the autumn. The temperature in Melbourne is usually 15°C (60°F) in April, and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

It's quite sunny in Airlie Beach. Melbourne usually receives less sunshine than Airlie Beach during autumn. At this time of the year, Melbourne gets 170 hours of sunny skies, while Airlie Beach receives 207 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Airlie Beach. In April, Melbourne usually receives less rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Melbourne gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Melbourne 15°C (60°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach in the Winter?

Both Airlie Beach and Melbourne during the winter are popular places to visit.

In the winter, Melbourne is much colder than Airlie Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Melbourne in July are around 9°C (49°F), and Airlie Beach is about 16°C (62°F).

In Airlie Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the winter, Melbourne often gets less sunshine than Airlie Beach. Melbourne gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Airlie Beach receives 226 hours of full sun.

Melbourne usually gets more rain in July than Airlie Beach. Melbourne gets 43 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Melbourne 9°C (49°F) 
    Airlie Beach 16°C (62°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Airlie Beach in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Melbourne and Airlie Beach.

In October, Melbourne is generally much colder than Airlie Beach. Temperatures in Melbourne average around 14°C (57°F), and Airlie Beach stays around 23°C (73°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Airlie Beach this time of the year. In Melbourne, it's very sunny this time of the year. Melbourne usually receives less sunshine than Airlie Beach during spring. At this time of the year, Melbourne gets 216 hours of sunny skies, while Airlie Beach receives 298 hours of full sun.

In October, Melbourne usually receives more rain than Airlie Beach. At this time of the year, Melbourne gets 62 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Airlie Beach receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Melbourne 14°C (57°F) 
    Airlie Beach 23°C (73°F)

Typical Weather for Airlie Beach and Melbourne

Melbourne Airlie Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 20°C (68°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 26°C (79°F) 331 mm (13 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 26°C (78°F) 377 mm (14.8 in)
Mar 19°C (65°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 25°C (77°F) 312 mm (12.3 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 50 mm (2 in) 23°C (73°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
May 13°C (55°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 20°C (68°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 10°C (50°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 17°C (63°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Jul 9°C (49°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 16°C (62°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Aug 10°C (51°F) 51 mm (2 in) 18°C (65°F) 27 mm (1.1 in)
Sep 12°C (53°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 20°C (68°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 14°C (57°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 16°C (61°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 25°C (77°F) 107 mm (4.2 in)
Dec 18°C (65°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 26°C (78°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)


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.