Should you visit Noosa Heads or Cairns?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Noosa Heads and Cairns can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
A town and suburb located on Queensland, Australia's Sunshine Coast, Noosa is best known as a destination of pleasant weather, beautiful beachside scenery, shopping, dining, and outdoor adventure. Some of the top attractions of the area include Noosa National Park and Sunshine Beach.
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 Noosa Heads?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Noosa Heads is $101, 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 Noosa Heads and Cairns in more detail.
Travelers usually pay around $106 for a double occupancy room in Noosa Heads If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
Noosa Heads food costs typically run travelers around $31 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
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.
Meals for one day
Noosa Heads $31
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:
Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner:
Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Noosa Heads than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $15 on transportation in Noosa Heads on average per day.
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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Noosa Heads
Also for Noosa Heads, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Transfer from Noosa to Sunshine Coast Airport- 8seater + Luggage Trailer:
Private Transfer from Noosa to Sunshine Coast Airport for 1 to 7 people:
Private Transfer from Noosa to Sunshine Coast Airport for 1 to 4 people:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns
Also for Cairns, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Cairns to Mission Beach Private Transfer:
Cairns to Port Douglas Private Transfer:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.:
Corporate Bus, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove:
Premium, private bus transfer. Cairns City - Cairns Airport.:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.:
Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur):
Cairns Airport (CNS) Departure Transfer (Cairns Hotels to Cairns CNS Airport):
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach:
Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport:
Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.:
Is it cheaper to fly into Noosa Heads or Cairns?
Prices for flights to both Cairns and Noosa Heads 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.
Sightseeing expenses in Noosa Heads, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $37 per day, per person.
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.
Typical Entertainment prices in Noosa Heads
For Noosa Heads, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Sea Kayak Tour (for 2)
Sunset Cruise (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Noosa Heads
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Noosa Heads.
Full-Day Guided Hinterland Adventure Tour in Queensland:
Noosa River Cruise for 2 people on a Classic Mahogany Speed Boat - 90 min.:
Noosa River Cruise for 3 to 4 people on a Classic Mahogany Speed Boat - 90 min.:
Noosa Surf Lesson Austraila's Longest Wave 4x4 Day Adventure:
Stand Up Paddle 4WD Day Trip from Noosa Including Great Beach Drive Experience:
Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cairns's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Cairns
For Cairns, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
1.5-Hour Segway Tour of Cairns and Botanic Gardens:
14-Day Cape York Camping Tour:
2 Day Liveaboard Yacht Great Barrier Reef Tour:
2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure:
2-Day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns /Port Douglas:
2-Day Green Island Cruise and Kuranda Day Trip:
ATV Buggy Adventure & Rainforest experience Half-Day Tour:
Aboriginal Cultural Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas:
Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls and Rainforest Day Tour Departing Cairns:
Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns:
Barron River Half-Day Rafting Tour from Cairns:
Best of the Kuranda Rainforest Full-Day Tour:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Noosa Heads, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.41.
Typically, people visiting Cairns spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Sample the Local Flavors in Noosa Heads
Also in Noosa Heads, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Noosa Brewery & Distillery Trail:
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:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Noosa Heads and Cairns, we can see that Noosa Heads 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 Noosa Heads would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Noosa Heads than you might in Cairns.
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