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 $81, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $84. 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 $40. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Newcastle the cost is $80 on average.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $76 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 $40
    Cairns $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Newcastle $80
    Cairns $76

Food

Food in Newcastle costs travelers about $32 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 $25 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 $32
    Cairns $25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Newcastle

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

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

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

  • 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
  • Spirit of Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise by Captain Cook: $77
  • Dumpling Cooking Class in Melbourne: $80
  • Cairns Aquarium Twilight Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $88
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Pinnacles Sunset Dinner and Stargazing Tour: $109

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $7.47 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 $7.47
    Cairns $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Newcastle

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Newcastle:

  • [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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

Also for Cairns, 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
  • Airport Transfers between Cairns Airport and Cairns City: $14
  • 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

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 $33 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Newcastle $14
    Cairns $33

Tours and Activities in Newcastle

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Newcastle 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
  • 2D Best of Tasmania Sightseeing Tour: Hobart & Bruny Island : $126
  • 2D Ultimate Marine Adventure from Port Lincoln: $405
  • 2D1N Reefsleep Under the Stars Great Barrier Experience: $416
  • 2D1N at the Wilderness Lodge with Walking Tours of Bungles and Cathedral Gorge: $1,068

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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


  • Scuba Diving
    $40

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • North Stradbroke Island Water Taxi Ferry Ticket: $7.95
  • Searoad Ferry Tickets between Queenscliff and Sorrento: $8.85
  • Bridestowe Lavender Estate Tour: $8.85
  • Koala Conservation Reserve Tickets in Phillip Island: $9.95
  • Hunter Valley Wine Theatre Experience: $11
  • Margaret River Region Lighthouse Tours: $11
  • Sydney Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour with Mobile App: $12
  • Kuranda Bird World General Admission Ticket in Cairns: $13
  • Kuranda Koala Gardens General Admission Ticket in Cairns: $13
  • Melbourne Sports Lovers Tours: $13
  • Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Ticket: $13
  • Private Hunter Valley Wine Barrel Rolling Experience: $13

Alcohol

The average person spends about $9.12 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 $9.12
    Cairns $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Newcastle

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

  • 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

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

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

  • 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 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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