A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Newcastle vs. Cairns for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Newcastle or Cairns?

Should I visit Newcastle or Cairns? 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.

Newcastle

Newcastle is 150 kilometers north of Sydney in New South Wales. It is also the second largest city in the state, and serves as a central point to explore the area's beaches, wineries, and beautiful natural landscape. North of the city is Stockton beach, which has many miles of isolated, beautiful beaches, stretching all the way up to Nelson Bay. The wineries are inland to the west and have some of Australia's finest wine which you can taste. If you want to see rainforests, you can head northwest to Barrington Tops National Park, which has great rainforests and freshwater streams. You may even get to see a platypus. The city also has the country's oldest sea port. In the past the city's economy was centered around the steel industry, but today the University of Newcastle is one of the area's most important employers.

Cairns

Most travelers go to Cairns specifically to visit Great Barrier Reef. The city itself is surprisingly large and cosmopolitan with a population of approximately 140,000. The city's economy is almost exclusively based on tourism, although you will find some jobs centered around agriculture, or more specifically sugar cane, bananas, coffee, tea, wine, and some tropical fruits. The city itself is surrounded by rainforest and makes a great base for exploring Kuranda, with the Barron Gorge National Park and the Daintree offering a quieter tropical getaway than Cairns.

Which city is cheaper, Cairns or Newcastle?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Newcastle is $84, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $87. 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 Newcastle and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $41. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Newcastle the cost is $82 on average.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $78 in Cairns For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Newcastle $41
    Cairns $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Newcastle $82
    Cairns $78

Food

Food in Newcastle costs travelers about $33 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

Food in Cairns costs travelers about $26 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Newcastle $33
    Cairns $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Newcastle

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

  • Looking for a fun experience, hit the sweet spot with beer and pizza at Slice!: $73

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Spirit of Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $154

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $7.70 per day to get around in Newcastle.

Cairns's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $11 per person, per day on transportation in Cairns.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Newcastle $7.70
    Cairns $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Newcastle

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Newcastle:

  • Private Transfer from Newcastle to Belfast City Airport (BHD): $128
  • Private Transfer from Newcastle to Belfast Airport (BFS): $148
  • Newcastle Airport (NCL) Departure Private Transfer from Hotels: $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Airport Transfers between Cairns Airport and Cairns City: $14
  • Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City: $22
  • Port Douglas Transfers from Cairns: $49
  • Airport Transfer - Cairns City To Airport: $53
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $62
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.: $71
  • Cairns Airport transfer to Cairns City: $76
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $89
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $89
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach: $107
  • Cairns Airport (CNS) Departure Transfer (Cairns Hotels to Cairns CNS Airport): $112
  • Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur): $118

Is it cheaper to fly into Newcastle or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns and Newcastle 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

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $14 per person, per day in Newcastle. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Cairns can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $34 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Newcastle $14
    Cairns $34

Tours and Activities in Newcastle

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

  • Humpback Whale Encounter Tour from Newcastle: $78
  • Hunter Coastal Adventure Tour by Boat from Newcastle: $78
  • Newcastle Dark Stories True Crime Tour: $27

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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


  • Scuba Diving
    $41

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome Entry Ticket: $20
  • Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour: $20
  • Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket: $35
  • Paronella Park Ticket: $36
  • Cairns 90-Minute Sunset Cruise with Welcome Drink: $37
  • Cairns 2-Hour Harbor Cruise with Afternoon Tea: $37
  • From Kuranda Scenic Railway Train Tickets: $41
  • Paronella Park and Mamu Tropical Skywalk Ticket Combo: $50
  • Half-Day Rainforest River Tubing Adventure: $56
  • City Sunset Bike Tour: $56
  • Kuranda: 1-Hour Rainforest ATV Tour: $58
  • Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour from Cairns: $62

Alcohol

The average person spends about $9.41 on alcoholic beverages in Newcastle per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting Cairns spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Newcastle $9.41
    Cairns $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

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

  • Tablelands Food & Wine Tour: $233


When comparing the travel costs between Newcastle and Cairns, we can see that Cairns 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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Newcastle vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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