A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Melbourne vs. Cairns for Nightlife, Beaches, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit Melbourne or Cairns?

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

Should I visit Melbourne or Cairns? 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.

Melbourne

Melbourne is a friendly, cultural, and progressive city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It's also popular because of the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Cairns

Cairns is a idyllic, outdoorsy, and adventure-filled city. Visitors also love the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Melbourne and Cairns: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to the Great Barrier Reef
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Melbourne or Cairns?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Cairns than Melbourne. While Melbourne is larger than Cairns, Cairns has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Cairns is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and hiking, while Melbourne is known for its museums and big city activities. Cairns is more touristy than Melbourne and is known for its stunning beaches, nearby rainforests, and easy access to the world's largest reef system. It is also home to the Great Barrier Reef. Melbourne is popular for its art and cultural scene, its sports history, and its friendly and welcoming population.

How is Melbourne different from Cairns?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Cairns and Melbourne. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Melbourne or Cairns?

Melbourne
Cairns

Melbourne is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Cairns is lacking in options for its museums and landmarks.

Melbourne offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Many of the city's sights center around the art and cultural scene. There's the the National Gallery of Victoria and the Performing Arts Centre Melbourne. There's also Federation Square. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the National Sports Museum and for great views, check out Melbourne Skydeck at Eureka Tower.

Cairns offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most visitors spend their time exploring nature and the outdoors, but there are some interesting cultural sights around town as well. Make sure you check out the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park as well as the Cairns Aquarium.


Is the Food Better in Melbourne or Cairns? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Melbourne
Cairns

Both Melbourne and Cairns offer high quality local cuisine and restaurants.

Melbourne has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There's an eclectic mix of international restaurants that offer everything from Szechuan dishes to Spanish tapas. You'll find bistros and bars that have a fun and relaxed vibe and locals and tourists alike enjoy dining out.

Dining out in Cairns is an experience not to be missed. Waterfront dining with a view is what makes the restaurant scene special. Seafood is everywhere and you can enjoy the catch of the day while you relax on a beachfront terrace. There are also international restaurants that have everything from Spanish tapas to Japanese noodle bowls.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Nightlife?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for nightlife and partying. Also, Melbourne is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Cairns is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. For such as small city, the nightlife scene is incredibly vibrant, particularly during the peak tourist months. Backpackers are at the heart of the action, with many bars and clubs filling up each night with a young crowd. There are dance clubs, all night parties, cocktail bars, and beach side venues that are sure to offer a good time.

Melbourne is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. There are bars and clubs that have a laid back and relaxed atmosphere as well as more party focused nightclubs that stay open late into the night. Whether you're interested in dancing and listening to live music, or chatting with friends at a local brewery, there really is something for everyone.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Resorts?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Melbourne is not a resort destination.

Cairns is known as a popular and fun resort destination. There are many beautiful resorts that offer access to the beach and have impressive pools. There are family-friendly resorts, romantic resorts, and even some budget-friendly options.

Melbourne is not a resort destination.


Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for its diving and snorkeling. However, Melbourne is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

The clear water and abundant marine life make Cairns a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. It's access to the Great Barrier Reef make this one of the world's top scuba diving and snorkeling destinations. The undersea world is filled with colorful coral, diverse tropical fish, graceful sea turtles, and a truly magical setting.

Melbourne is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Beaches?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for the beache. Also, Melbourne is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for the beach.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Cairns. Near town you'll find stunningly beautiful beaches that range from hubs of activity to quiet coves. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is the closest beach to the city center and it has a sandy beach and plenty of amenities. For a quieter setting, head north to Holloways Beach or to the family-friendly Yorkeys Knob Beach. Do take note that if the beach doesn't have a stinger net, then it's recommended you wear a stinger suit (to avoid jellyfish stings).

Melbourne is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are laid back beaches near town that attract locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy coastal trails and great natural beauty. St Kilda Beach and Elwood Beach are among the most popular beaches near the city. Brighton Beach is known for its colorful bathing boxes and Williamstown Beach is very family-friendly.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Hiking?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for its hiking trails. However, Melbourne is not a hiking destination.

People visit Cairns specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Near town you'll find wonderful national parks, lush rainforest, and beautiful mountain ranges. There are countless bush walks and hiking trails in the area. Head into the countryside and you'll get lost in nature and breathtaking views.

Melbourne is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Melbourne or Cairns?

Melbourne
Cairns

Shoppers can find a variety of high quality stores in both Melbourne and Cairns.

Melbourne is well-known for its shopping. The city has tons of retail options that range from trendy fashion boutiques to outdoor markets. There are local venders that highlight the city's art and cultural scene, but there are also suburban malls with all of the major brands.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Cairns. There's plenty of shopping around town in the form of shopping centers, markets, and boutique shops. Whether you're looking for trendy fashion or a fun souvenir, there are many places to explore.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Families?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Melbourne is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Cairns is a very family-friendly destination. With the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest nearby, this is a playground for kids and adults alike. There are sandy beaches, rainforest walks, turtle rehabilitation centers, scenic railways, adventure sports, and so much more.

Melbourne is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has kids museums like the Museum of Play and Art or the Polly Woodside Tall Ship and Museum. There's also the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium and the Scienceworks Museums. If you like quirky, check out the ArtVo 3D Immersive Art Gallery. There's also Legoland, which has a lot for younger children.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Couples?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is a very popular place for its romantic activities. Also, Melbourne is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Cairns makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a beautiful tropical setting with world class beaches and diverse marine life. Couples who enjoy the outdoors and adventure will love this amazing destination. You can experience the area's wildlife, relax on sandy beaches, or pamper yourself with a spa treatment. There is plenty of luxury, but also adventure-filled activities to choose from.

Melbourne is a good city for couples to visit. It's a very livable city with romantic viewpoints like SkyHigh Mount Dandenong. There are also nice gardens to explore such as the Carlton Gardens and the Rippon Lea House and Gardens. Or you could go for a ride on the Melbourne Star or dine at one of the many great restaurants.


Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Melbourne
Cairns

Cairns is very popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Melbourne is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Cairns is extremely popular for backpackers. Backpackers flock to this coastal town for its easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and its many activities and vibrant energy. There are adventure sports, wild nightclubs, and no shortage of places to hang out with other backpackers.

Melbourne is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Many backpackers breeze through the city, but there is a great music and art scene as well as a number of good restaurants. You'll also find a couple of good hostels in town.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Students?

Melbourne
Cairns

Melbourne is terrific for its student-friendly activities. However, Cairns is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Melbourne. Many students think this is among the best student cities in Australia. There's a great creative culture with a good music and art scene. The population is diverse and the restaurants a great.

Cairns is not popular with students.

Is Melbourne or Cairns Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Melbourne
Cairns

Melbourne is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. Also, Cairns is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its public transit.

The public transit in Melbourne can get you to most places easily. The public transit system is among the best in Australia. There are public buses, trains, and trams (also called trolleys or streetcars).

You'll find some public transit in Cairns, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. Sunbus operates a public bus service that travels through the city center and to many beaches. Most routes start at Cairns City Mall.


Is Melbourne or Cairns a more walkable city?

Melbourne
Cairns

Melbourne is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Cairns is lacking in options for its walkability.

Melbourne is a very walkable destination. The city center is very walkable with a compact and grid-like layout.

Cairns is generally not very walkable. While you can walk around many parts of the city center, most visitors want to head into the rainforest or experience the nearby day trips, which require a vehicle.

For even more information, also check out Is Melbourne Worth Visiting? and Is Cairns Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cairns or Melbourne?

How long in Melbourne or Cairns?

In either Melbourne or Cairns, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Cairns has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cairns than Melbourne. In general, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Melbourne, and 3-5 days is enough time in Cairns.

Families should spend more time in Cairns than Melbourne. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cairns, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cairns than Melbourne. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cairns that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cairns than Melbourne if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cairns.


  • How many days in Melbourne or Cairns? Ideal Length of Stay
    Melbourne 2-5 
    Cairns 3-5

One day in Melbourne or Cairns?

Melbourne is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping around the city of Cairns. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Melbourne or Cairns?

Melbourne is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find shopping and nightlife around the adventure-filled destination of Cairns. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Melbourne or Cairns?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Melbourne. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find nightlife and food around the adventure-filled city of Cairns. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

A week in Melbourne or Cairns?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the friendly big city of Melbourne. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Cairns is a popular choice for travelers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Eco Tours in Australia, The Best Coach Bus Tours in Australia, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Australia, and The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Australia.


Which place is cheaper, Cairns or Melbourne?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Melbourne is $180, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $96. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Melbourne and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Melbourne $121
    Cairns $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Melbourne $242
    Cairns $88
Compare Hotels in Melbourne and Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Melbourne or Cairns? 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 Cairns


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Melbourne Hotel Prices and Cairns Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Melbourne $20
    Cairns $12
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Melbourne

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


  • Airport Bus
    $11
  • Tram Ride
    $2.52

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Melbourne

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

  • Yarra Valley: Hot Air Balloon with Breakfast & CBD Transfers: $375
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service Melbourne HTL-APT (MEL): $99
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service Melbourne APT-HTL (MEL): $99
  • Private Transfer from Melbourne hotels to Melbourne Cruise Port: $39
  • Private Transfer from Melbourne Port to Melbourne Airport (MEL): $53
  • Private Transfer from Melbourne Cruise Port to Melbourne hotels: $39
  • Private Transfer from Melbourne Airport (MEL) to Melbourne Port: $53
  • Private Transfer Melbourne International Airport to from Melbourne: $40
  • Private Transfer Melbourne Airport: $101
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Melbourne Airports: $88
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Melbourne Airports to Hotel: $88
  • Private Airport Transfers to Melbourne Hotels: $63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Shuttle Bus Shared Transfer Cairns Airport to Port Douglas: $50
  • Shared Shuttle Transfer - Cairns Airport to Port Douglas: $54
  • Shared Shuttle Return Transfers (ex Cairns) Transfers Only: $65
  • Private Transfers - Cairns Airport to Palm Cove: $80
  • Private Transfers - Cairns Airport to Cairns City: $57
  • Private Transfer from Cairns hotels to Port Douglas Cruise Port: $135
  • Private Transfer from Cairns Cruise Port to Port Douglas hotels: $145
  • Private Transfer from Cairns Cruise Port to Cairns Airport (CNS): $45
  • Private Transfer from Cairns City Hotels to Cairns Cruise Port: $21
  • Private Transfer from Cairns Airport (CNS) to Port Douglas Port: $135
  • Private Transfer from Cairns Airport (CNS) to Cairns Cruise Port: $45
  • Private Transfer From Cairns Cruise Port to Cairns City Hotels: $21

Is it cheaper to fly into Melbourne or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns 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 $31
    Cairns $28
Typical Food Prices in Melbourne

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


  • Coffee
    $2.65
  • Pizza
    $4.64

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Melbourne

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

  • Queen Victoria Market: 'Flavours of Australia' Food Tour: $52
  • Eynesbury Homestead Dinner and Ghost Tour: $54
  • Multicultural Food Tour in Melbourne Markets: $61
  • Sunset Kayak Tour with Dinner: $79
  • Melbourne Private Multicultural Markets Food Tour: $88
  • Chinese Dumpling Cooking Class with a Drink: $98
  • Pizza Making Party: $101
  • Secret Food Tours Melbourne: $108
  • Secret Food Tour: $111
  • Chinese Cooking Class Master: $121
  • Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise: $125
  • Choose Your Asian Cuisine Cooking Masterclass: $130

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Cairns Luxury Catamaran Harbor and Dinner Cruise: $87
  • Night at the Aquarium Guided Tour & 2 Course Dinner: $91
  • Guided Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $118
  • City Sights Tour with Evening Dinner Cruise: $150
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $159

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Melbourne $28
    Cairns $38

Tours and Activities in Melbourne

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

  • Experience Yarra Valley: A Tailored private Wine Journey: $220
  • Mandarin Melbourne Walking Tour: $17
  • 1 Day Penguin Island Tour from Melbourne Penguins express: $80
  • 1 day Lake mountain snow tour : $115
  • 1 day Puffing Billy Steam Train and Wildlife Tour from Melbourne: $128
  • 1-hour Yarra River Historical Cruise Tour: $26
  • 1.5Hr Yarra River Crown Flames and City Lights Cruise: $253
  • 12 Apostles Great Ocean Road Eco Tour with lunch from Melbourne: $112
  • 2 Day Great Ocean Road Small Group Tour: $806
  • 2-Hour Farm Experience in Gateway Yarra Valley: $68
  • 2024 Mt Buller, Melbourne Snow and Sightseeing Day Tour: $94
  • 3 Hour Rainforest Walking Tour in Badger Creek: $41

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cairns

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cairns's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Scuba Diving
    $36

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park Ticket (BNP): $44
  • 1: Chasing Waterfalls & Aboriginal Culture Full Day Tour: $181
  • 2 Day Daintree Rainforest and Chillagoe Outback Tour: $267
  • 3 Days 2 Nights Cairns Great Barrier Reef Live Abroad Cruise: $122
  • 4 Days 3 Nights Liveaboard on Cruise Great Barrier Reef Cairns: $122
  • Aboriginal Fishing & Beach Day Tour+ Daintree Crocodile Cruise: $247
  • Atherton Tablelands, Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour from Cairns: $101
  • Atherton Tablelands: Lakes, Waterfalls, Rainforest Day Tour: $98
  • Authentic Indigenous Cultural Tour Including Scenic River Cruise: $94
  • Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns: $123
  • Cairns 4WD Rainforest Waterfall Tour Including a GBR Island Tour: $245
  • Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket: $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Melbourne $17
    Cairns $14
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
    $5.14

Sample the Local Flavors in Melbourne

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

  • Weekly Bar Crawl: 5 Free shots, Club Entry: $19
  • Spirits and Ales Haunted Pub Walking Tour: $26
  • MELBOURNE Spirits and Ales Haunted Pub Tour: $26
  • Epic Melbourne Brewery Tour Northside Edition: $74
  • Laid back,Small-Group Yarra Valley Wine Tour: Wine, Gin and Cider: $84
  • Yarra Valley Day Trip with Local Wine Tastings from Melbourne: $105
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Day Tour from Melbourne: $108
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour inc lunch with a glass of wine, tastings and chocolate: $118
  • Yarra Valley Gourmet Food & Wine Tasting Tour: $128
  • Southern Gippsland boutique Wine Tour with Tapas from Melbourne : $142
  • Mornington Peninsula Winery Tour Including Wine Tastings and 2-Course Lunch: $161
  • Wine Tour Yarra Valley, Vic - inc. 2 course lunch + glass of wine: $176

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

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

  • Cairns Brewery Tours: $142
  • From Atherton Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting Tour: $161


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Melbourne Expensive? and Is Cairns Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Melbourne or Cairns?

Melbourne has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Cairns. When comparing the sizes of Melbourne and Cairns, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Melbourne or Cairns?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Melbourne or Cairns in the Summer?

Both Cairns and Melbourne are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Melbourne because of the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Cairns this time of year.

In the summer, Melbourne is cooler than Cairns. Typically, the summer temperatures in Melbourne in January average around 20°C (68°F), and Cairns averages at about 29°C (84°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cairns. In January, Melbourne usually receives less rain than Cairns. Melbourne gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 429 mm (16.9 in) of rain each month for the summer. The rainy season in Cairns is November to March.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Melbourne 20°C (68°F) 
    Cairns 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Cairns in the Autumn?

Both Cairns and Melbourne during the autumn are popular places to visit. The city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Melbourne this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Cairns for the hiking trails and the shopping scene.

In April, Melbourne is generally much colder than Cairns. Daily temperatures in Melbourne average around 15°C (60°F), and Cairns fluctuates around 27°C (80°F).

Cairns gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Melbourne usually gets less rain in April than Cairns. Melbourne gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 273 mm (10.8 in) of rain this time of the year. April to October is the dry season in Cairns.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Melbourne 15°C (60°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Cairns in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Melbourne and Cairns. Many travelers come to Melbourne for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to Cairns in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Melbourne is much colder than Cairns in the winter. The daily temperature in Melbourne averages around 9°C (49°F) in July, and Cairns fluctuates around 23°C (73°F).

In July, Melbourne usually receives more rain than Cairns. Melbourne gets 43 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Melbourne 9°C (49°F) 
    Cairns 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Melbourne or Cairns in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Melbourne as well as Cairns. Many visitors come to Melbourne in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city. Additionally, most visitors come to Cairns for the beaches during these months.

In the spring, Melbourne is much colder than Cairns. Typically, the spring temperatures in Melbourne in October average around 14°C (57°F), and Cairns averages at about 27°C (80°F).

Melbourne usually gets more rain in October than Cairns. Melbourne gets 62 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year. Also, April to October in Cairns is the dry season. November to March in Cairns is the rainy season.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Melbourne 14°C (57°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Typical Weather for Cairns and Melbourne

Melbourne Cairns
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 20°C (68°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 29°C (84°F) 429 mm (16.9 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 29°C (83°F) 469 mm (18.5 in)
Mar 19°C (65°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 471 mm (18.5 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 50 mm (2 in) 27°C (80°F) 273 mm (10.8 in)
May 13°C (55°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
Jun 10°C (50°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 23°C (74°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Jul 9°C (49°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 23°C (73°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Aug 10°C (51°F) 51 mm (2 in) 24°C (75°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Sep 12°C (53°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 25°C (77°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 14°C (57°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 27°C (80°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Nov 16°C (61°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Dec 18°C (65°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 29°C (83°F) 211 mm (8.3 in)