A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Newcastle vs. Canberra for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Newcastle or Canberra?

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

Should I visit Newcastle or Canberra? 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.

Newcastle

Newcastle is a coastal, vibrant, and high energy city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and hiking.

Canberra

Canberra is a diverse, under-rated, and cultural city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Newcastle and Canberra: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Newcastle or Canberra?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Newcastle than Canberra, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Newcastle is more touristy than Canberra and is popular for its bustling harbor, sandy beaches, and coastal walks. It is also home to the Bathers Way. Canberra is popular for its educational museums and the nearby nature reserves.

How is Newcastle different from Canberra?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle
Canberra

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Newcastle or Canberra.

Newcastle offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. There are some interesting sights around town such as Nobbys Lighthouse. There's also the popular Ocean Baths. These pools offer a nice break from the surf. You can also check out the sights along the Newcastle Memorial Walk. For a history lesson, head to Fort Scratchley.

Many visitors head to Canberra specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. As Australia's capital, there are a large number of museums around town that focus on everything from history and culture to science and nature. Some of the most interesting are the Australian War Memorial, the New Parliament House, the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Science and Technology Centre, but there are many more.


Is the Food Better in Newcastle or Canberra? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Newcastle
Canberra

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Newcastle and Canberra.

Dining out in Newcastle is an experience not to be missed. It's a moderately sized city, so you'll find a good mix of restaurants. Head to the beachfront if you want fine dining and good seafood. There are also some good breweries and cafes, as well as brunch places and international flavors around town.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Canberra. There's a trendy culinary scene as well as nearby vineyards that provide great wine. You'll find everything from family-friendly and casual to upscale and fine dining.

Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Nightlife?

Newcastle
Canberra

Newcastle is an excellent place to visit for nightlife and partying. Also, Canberra is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Newcastle has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. It's a vibrant city, and the best nightlife can be found in the Honeysuckle Precinct. This is where you'll find the largest number of bars and pubs. Hunter Street is also a cool hangout area where you'll find the hidden gems where the locals hang out. Civic Theatre is the place to see a show.

Canberra has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There are local pubs and music venues that offer fun entertainment in the evening. You can sip wine or practice your dance moves at one of the city's clubs.

Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Beaches?

Newcastle
Canberra

Newcastle is an excellent place to visit for the beache. However, Canberra is not a beach destination.

Newcastle is considered a top beach destination. There are a number of beaches in and near the city. Nobbys Beach is the most popular and you'll find families, surfers, and locals hanging out here. Newcastle Beach is also popular with its many restaurants and cafes.

Canberra is not a beach destination.


Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Hiking?

Newcastle
Canberra

If you're looking to go hiking, Newcastle and Canberra both have good trails.

Newcastle is a good destination for hiking. There are many places to enjoy a stroll or hike near town. The most famous walk is the Bathers Way Walk, which runs along the coastline and offers spectacular views. It's particularly nice during the winter whale watching season.

Many people include a hike when visiting Canberra. There's one national park - Namadgi, as well as green space, rolling hills, and hiking trails just outside of town.

Is the Shopping Better in Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle
Canberra

Newcastle is an excellent place to visit for its shopping opportunities. Also, Canberra is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Newcastle is well-known for its shopping. It's gained popularity for its trendy fashions and chic style. You'll find great shopping around town that highlight both local and international brands.

Many visitors go to Canberra to go shopping. Caberra Centre is the city's largest shopping centre and it has all of the usual international brands.

Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Families?

Newcastle
Canberra

Canberra is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Newcastle is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Canberra is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. There are interactive museums and science centers such as Questacon, the National Dinosaur Museum, and the National Zoo and Aquarium. There are also cultural and historical museums such as the Australian War Memorial, the Museum of Australian Democracy, and the National Museum of Australia. The city also has plenty of outdoor space and hands on crafts that kids will enjoy.

Newcastle is a family-friendly city. Kids will enjoy the long sandy beaches, but there's also a working harbor that you can explore. You can also visit the Newcastle Museum or try one of the many kid-friendly restaurants.


Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Couples?

Newcastle
Canberra

With fun activities for couples, both Newcastle and Canberra make for a good place to visit.

Newcastle is a good city for couples to visit. The city has some great restaurants as well as many coastal walks and a vibrant nightlife scene that couples enjoy.

Canberra is a nice destination for couples. As the city has plenty of date night activities like nice restaurants, interesting shows, and trendy wineries. During the day you can explore the outdoor setting, have a picnic, or visit a vineyard.

Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Newcastle
Canberra

Newcastle is a popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Canberra is lacking in options for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Newcastle. While it's not Australia's most popular backpacker destination, there are some hostels and a good nightlife scene that are worth checking out.

Canberra is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Despite being the capital city, few backpackers actually spend much time in town. There are some budget-friendly motels if you're stopping by.

Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Students?

Newcastle
Canberra

Canberra is a well-known place for students. However, Newcastle is not popular with students.

Canberra is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. It's a welcoming city that is a fairly popular study abroad destination. Many students appreciate the friendly atmosphere, safe environment, and great economic setting.

Newcastle is not popular with students.


Is Newcastle or Canberra Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Newcastle
Canberra

Both Newcastle and Canberra offer good public transit options.

Newcastle has a few public transit options. There's both a light rail system and a bus system.

Canberra has some public transit options. There are public buses as well as a light rail system. The Red Explorer Loop bus goes by many of the city's sights.

Is Newcastle or Canberra a more walkable city?

Newcastle
Canberra

Newcastle and Canberra both are good when exploring on foot.

Newcastle is a somewhat walkable city. There are parts of the city that can be explored on foot.

Canberra is somewhat walkable. There are parts of the city that are walkable and possible to explore on foot, but in general this is a very car-centered city.

For even more information, also check out Is Newcastle Worth Visiting? and Is Canberra Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Canberra or Newcastle?

How long in Newcastle or Canberra?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Newcastle and Canberra. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Newcastle than in Canberra. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Newcastle, and 2-3 days is enough time in Canberra.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Newcastle than Canberra 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 Newcastle.


  • How many days in Newcastle or Canberra? Ideal Length of Stay
    Newcastle 2-4 
    Canberra 2-3

One day in Newcastle or Canberra?

The city of Newcastle offers food and shopping. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Canberra. 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 Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Newcastle, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the cultural destination of Canberra. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the diverse city of Canberra. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Canberra is a popular choice for travelers. 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 One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Sydney, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Melbourne, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Australia, and The Best 10-Day Tours in Australia.


Which place is cheaper, Canberra or Newcastle?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Newcastle is $91, while the average daily cost in Canberra is $133. 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 Newcastle and Canberra in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Newcastle $44
    Canberra $82
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Newcastle $88
    Canberra $164
Compare Hotels in Newcastle and Canberra

Looking for a hotel in Newcastle or Canberra? 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 Newcastle


Hotels in Canberra


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: Newcastle Hotel Prices and Canberra Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Newcastle $8.34
    Canberra $24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Newcastle

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Newcastle:

  • Private Transfer from Newcastle Port to Newcastle city hotels: $28
  • Private Transfer from Newcastle Port to Newcastle Airport (NTL): $29
  • Private Transfer from Newcastle Cruise Port to Sydney City Hotels: $88
  • Private Transfer from Newcastle City Hotels to Newcastle Port: $28
  • Private Transfer from Newcastle Airport (NTL) to Newcastle Port: $29
  • Private Transfer - Newcastle Cruise Port to Sydney Airport (SYD): $88
  • Tandem Beach Skydive with Optional Transfers: $243
  • Bimbadgen Lunch Tour with Helicopter Transfers: $738
  • Newcastle to Newcastle Airport (NTL) - Departure Private Transfer: $26
  • Newcastle Airport (NTL) to Newcastle - Arrival Private Transfer: $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Canberra

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

  • Canberra to Canberra Int Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $34
  • Canberra Int'l Airport to Canberra - Arrival Private Transfer: $34
  • Canberra Airport (CBR) to Canberra - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $67
  • Private Transfer from Canberra city hotels to Eden Cruise Port: $82
  • Private Transfer from Canberra Airport CBR to Eden Cruise Port : $82
  • Osaka Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Downtown: $90
  • Guided Tour of Floriade Festival with Transfers: $115

Is it cheaper to fly into Newcastle or Canberra?

Prices for flights to both Canberra 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Newcastle $35
    Canberra $34

Typical Food Prices in Canberra

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


  • Lunch
    $16

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Newcastle $15
    Canberra $17

Tours and Activities in Newcastle

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

  • 3- Hour Wine and Harvest the Hunter Horse Tour in Pokolbin: $91
  • 3-Hour Hunter Valley Scenic Helicopter Tour Including 3-Course Lunch from Cessnock: $251
  • Architecture, Street Art & Hidden Secrets Walking Tour of Newcastle: $33
  • Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard - Sweet Indulgence Experience: $36
  • Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard: Fromage and Fortified Wine Experience: $49
  • Award Winning Full Day Wine and Food Experience: $147
  • Eat And Drink Newcastle History Walking Tour: $59
  • Family Pass: Fighter World Museum Admission Ticket: $29
  • From Hunter Valley Beer & Wine Group Tour: $160
  • Full Day Tour in Country Towns, Rivers and Aussie Farm: $157
  • Helicopter Tour of Hunter Valley in New South Wales with Lunch: $278
  • Humpback Whale Encounter Tour from Newcastle: $82

Tours and Activities in Canberra

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

  • Building + Architecture Tour | 10am Daily: $13
  • Museum Highlights Tour | 1pm Daily: $13
  • First Australians Tour | 3pm Daily: $13
  • Australian Institute of Sport: The AIS Tour: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour in Canberra: $29
  • LGBTQIA+ History Walking Tour: $33
  • Guided Tree Ropes Course Experience in Majura Pines: $39
  • Women's History Walking Tour with Local Guide: $39
  • Spies in the Capital: Women in Espionage Walking Tour: $39
  • Best of Wildlife Tour: $87
  • Best of Wildlife and Birds Tour: $97
  • Beer, Wine, and Spirits Tasting Tour: $109

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Newcastle $10
    Canberra $16

Sample the Local Flavors in Newcastle

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

  • Cael’s Gate Wine Tasting in Broke: $5.23
  • Ivanhoe Wines: Trip Advisor Seated Wine Tasting Masterclass: $9.80
  • Tulloch Wines - Wine Tasting paired with Local Handmade Chocolates: $20
  • 30-Minute Distillery Guided Tour in Carrington : $23
  • Cheese and Wine Tasting Experience in Pokolbin: $25
  • Tintilla Estate: Wine Tasting with a Meat and Cheese Platter: $26
  • Tulloch Wines Hunter Heroes Wine Tasting with Local Cheese & Charcuterie Board: $33
  • Tulloch Wines- Mystery Wine Tasting Experience with Local Cheese and Charcuterie: $33
  • Premium Wine Tasting Experience in Pokolbin: $49
  • Snapshot Half Day Hunter Valley Wine Tour: $71
  • Hunter Valley Wine Tour from the Hunter with Wine Craft Beer Cheese Chocolate: $101
  • Half Day Wine Tour with Light Lunch at Hunter Valley: $105

Typical Alcohol Prices in Canberra

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Canberra from other travelers:


  • Drinks at a Bar
    $9.08

Sample the Local Flavors in Canberra

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

  • Canberra Brewery and Beer Tour in 3 Hours: $96
  • Canberra Brewery Winery and Distillery Tour: $111
  • Capital Brewery Full-Day Tour: $119
  • CanBEERa Explorer: Capital Brewery Full-Day Tour: $121
  • From Winery, Distillery, & Tasting Tour with Lunch: $144
  • Canberra Wine Tour: $156
  • Full-Day Canberra Brewery, Wineries & Distillery tour /w lunch: $160


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Newcastle and Canberra, we can see that Canberra is more expensive. And not only is Newcastle much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Newcastle would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Newcastle 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 Canberra would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Canberra than you might in Newcastle.

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


Which is Bigger, Newcastle or Canberra?

Newcastle has a larger population, and is about 52% larger than the population of Canberra. When comparing the sizes of Newcastle and Canberra, 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 Newcastle or Canberra?

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 Newcastle or Canberra in the Summer?

Both Canberra and Newcastle during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Newcastle because of the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Canberra this time of year.

In January, Newcastle is generally a little warmer than Canberra. Daily temperatures in Newcastle average around 22°C (72°F), and Canberra fluctuates around 20°C (68°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Newcastle. Newcastle usually gets more rain in January than Canberra. Newcastle gets 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain, while Canberra receives 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Newcastle 22°C (72°F) 
    Canberra 20°C (68°F)

Should I visit Newcastle or Canberra in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Newcastle and Canberra. The hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the shopping scene are the main draw to Newcastle this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Canberra for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the shopping scene.

Newcastle is a little warmer than Canberra in the autumn. The daily temperature in Newcastle averages around 19°C (67°F) in April, and Canberra fluctuates around 17°C (63°F).

Canberra receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Newcastle gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Newcastle usually receives around the same amount of rain as Canberra. Newcastle gets 112 mm (4.4 in) of rain, while Canberra receives 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Newcastle 19°C (67°F) 
    Canberra 17°C (63°F)

Should I visit Newcastle or Canberra in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Newcastle as well as Canberra. Many travelers come to Newcastle for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Canberra in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Newcastle is a little warmer than Canberra. Typically, the winter temperatures in Newcastle in July average around 13°C (55°F), and Canberra averages at about 11°C (52°F).

Newcastle usually gets more rain in July than Canberra. Newcastle gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Canberra receives 43 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Newcastle 13°C (55°F) 
    Canberra 11°C (52°F)

Should I visit Newcastle or Canberra in the Spring?

Both Canberra and Newcastle are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Newcastle in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city. Also, most visitors come to Canberra for the activities around the city during these months.

In October, Newcastle is generally a little warmer than Canberra. Daily temperatures in Newcastle average around 18°C (64°F), and Canberra fluctuates around 15°C (60°F).

In October, Newcastle usually receives less rain than Canberra. Newcastle gets 85 mm (3.3 in) of rain, while Canberra receives 95 mm (3.7 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Newcastle 18°C (64°F) 
    Canberra 15°C (60°F)

Typical Weather for Canberra and Newcastle

Newcastle Canberra
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 22°C (72°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)
Feb 22°C (72°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 107 mm (4.2 in)
Mar 21°C (71°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 19°C (67°F) 131 mm (5.2 in)
Apr 19°C (67°F) 112 mm (4.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)
May 16°C (61°F) 102 mm (4 in) 14°C (58°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)
Jun 14°C (57°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 12°C (54°F) 90 mm (3.5 in)
Jul 13°C (55°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 11°C (52°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Aug 14°C (57°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 12°C (53°F) 66 mm (2.6 in)
Sep 16°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 14°C (56°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 85 mm (3.3 in) 15°C (60°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Nov 20°C (67°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 17°C (63°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Dec 21°C (70°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 19°C (66°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)