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

Should you visit Rockhampton or Cairns?

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

Should I visit Rockhampton 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.

Where Should I go: Rockhampton or Cairns?

Rockhampton

Rockhampton is a city in Queensland, Australia with a population of around 75,000. It dates back to 1855 and historically the economy was driven by gold, mining, and agriculture. Today it feels more bustling than you would expect in an "outback town." There's traffic, suburban sprawl, and continuing growth and development. The city sits on the Fitzroy River about 45 kilometers from the river's mouth.

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 Rockhampton?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Rockhampton is $141, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $78. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Rockhampton and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Rockhampton $84
    Cairns $35
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Rockhampton $168
    Cairns $70
Compare Hotels in Rockhampton and Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton


Hotels in Cairns


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

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Rockhampton $16
    Cairns $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

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

  • Premium, private bus transfer. Cairns City - Cairns Airport.: $135
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $89
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach: $107
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $244
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $125
  • Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur): $118
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $62
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.: $71
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $171
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $89
  • From Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer: $60
  • Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City: $22

Is it cheaper to fly into Rockhampton or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns and Rockhampton 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
    Rockhampton $41
    Cairns $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

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

  • Guided Twilight Tour of the Aquarium with Dinner: $90
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Afternoon Tour with Evening Dinner Cruise: $134
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $154

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Rockhampton $33
    Cairns $31

Tours and Activities in Rockhampton

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

  • 1 Day Rockhampton Highlights Private Tour with Pickup: $178
  • Tropical Beach Adventure - Private 4X4 Day Tour with Pickup: $178

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

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


  • Scuba Diving
    $37

Tours and Activities in Cairns

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

  • 14-Day Cape York Camping Tour: $2,350
  • 2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure: $619
  • 2-Day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns /Port Douglas: $221
  • 2-Day Green Island Cruise and Kuranda Day Trip: $316
  • Aboriginal Cultural Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas: $210
  • Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls and Rainforest Day Tour Departing Cairns: $95
  • Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns: $124
  • Cairns 4WD Waterfall and Rainforest Tour Including Kuranda Scenic Railway or Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: $166
  • Cairns Adventure Package- 4 tours in 3 days!: $325
  • Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket: $35
  • Cairns Aquarium Family Tickets: $104
  • Cairns Aquarium General Admission Ticket: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Rockhampton $11
    Cairns $11

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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Rockhampton and Cairns, we can see that Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rockhampton than you might in Cairns.


When is the best time to visit Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton or Cairns in the Summer?

Both Cairns and Rockhampton are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.


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Rockhampton is around the same temperature as Cairns in the summer. The temperature in Rockhampton is usually 27°C (81°F) in January, and Cairns stays around 29°C (84°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cairns. It's quite rainy in Rockhampton. In January, Rockhampton usually receives less rain than Cairns. Rockhampton gets 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 429 mm (16.9 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Rockhampton 27°C (81°F) 
    Cairns 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Cairns in the Autumn?

Both Cairns and Rockhampton during the autumn are popular places to visit.


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In the autumn, Rockhampton is cooler than Cairns. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Rockhampton in April are around 23°C (74°F), and Cairns is about 27°C (80°F).

Cairns gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Rockhampton usually gets less rain in April than Cairns. Rockhampton gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 273 mm (10.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Rockhampton 23°C (74°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Cairns in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Rockhampton and Cairns.


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In July, Rockhampton is generally cooler than Cairns. Temperatures in Rockhampton average around 16°C (61°F), and Cairns stays around 23°C (73°F).

In July, Rockhampton usually receives less rain than Cairns. Rockhampton gets 29 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Rockhampton 16°C (61°F) 
    Cairns 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Cairns in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Rockhampton as well as Cairns.


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Rockhampton is cooler than Cairns in the spring. The temperature in Rockhampton is usually 23°C (74°F) in October, and Cairns stays around 27°C (80°F).

Rockhampton usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Cairns. Rockhampton gets 47 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Rockhampton 23°C (74°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Typical Weather for Cairns and Rockhampton

Rockhampton Cairns
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (81°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 29°C (84°F) 429 mm (16.9 in)
Feb 27°C (80°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 29°C (83°F) 469 mm (18.5 in)
Mar 26°C (78°F) 109 mm (4.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 471 mm (18.5 in)
Apr 23°C (74°F) 51 mm (2 in) 27°C (80°F) 273 mm (10.8 in)
May 20°C (69°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 25°C (78°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
Jun 17°C (63°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 23°C (74°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Jul 16°C (61°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 23°C (73°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Aug 18°C (64°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 24°C (75°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Sep 20°C (69°F) 27 mm (1.1 in) 25°C (77°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 23°C (74°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 27°C (80°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Nov 26°C (78°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 28°C (82°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 125 mm (4.9 in) 29°C (83°F) 211 mm (8.3 in)


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Rockhampton vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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