Should you visit Surfers Paradise or Airlie Beach?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Surfers Paradise or Airlie Beach, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
A tourist mecca, Surfers Paradise is one of the most popular travel destinations along Australia's famed Gold Coast. The beach stretches for miles and there is an endless supply of almost constant parties. You'll find high rise apartments lined up along the shore and plenty of shopping areas, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Travelers from around the world visit the area, and it's a right of passage for Australia's teens to vacation in or near Surfers Paradise. For many travelers, Surfers Paradise comes across as little more than a mass marketed, over commercialized, party destination, but for others it is a vacation dream. Prices are highly inflated so you have to keep your whits about you to avoid being ripped off. Surfers Paradise is a destination of extremes and it conjures up extreme emotions in many travelers, be it positive or negative.
Airlie Beach, in Queensland, offers the closest port to the Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef. It's a small town of only 25,000 and has grown out of the area's popularity as a tourist destination. It's main industry remains tourism and, as such, there are many venues set up to accommodate travelers hoping to make trips to the Whitsunday Islands and the Outer Great Barrier Reef. The town has the feel of a vacation destination. While in the past Airlie Beach appealed specifically to the backpacker crowd, it's popularity has spread and now there are facilities catering to all travel types. The area has become more commercialized and there are plenty of large resorts to choose from. Even so, you'll still find no shortage of affordable accommodation around town.
Which city is cheaper, Airlie Beach or Surfers Paradise?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Surfers Paradise is $96, while the average daily cost in Airlie Beach is $130. 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 Surfers Paradise and Airlie Beach in more detail.
The prices for places to stay in Surfers Paradise can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $61, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $122.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $108 for a double occupancy room in Airlie Beach.
Food in Surfers Paradise costs travelers about $24 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.
While meal prices in Airlie Beach can vary, the average travelers spends about $29 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Airlie Beach should cost around $12 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Airlie Beach is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Surfers Paradise $24
Airlie Beach $29
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Surfers Paradise
For Surfers Paradise, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Surfers Paradise Sunset Kayak and Dinner:
Dinner Buffet Cruise on the Gold Coast:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Airlie Beach
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Airlie Beach.
Whitsundays Segway Sunset and Boardwalk Tour with Dinner:
Surfers Paradise'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 $10 per person, per day on transportation in Surfers Paradise.
The cost of a taxi ride in Airlie Beach is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $18 per person, per day, on local transportation in Airlie Beach.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Surfers Paradise
Also for Surfers Paradise, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Gold Coast Theme Parks: Shared Hotel Transfers:
Private Brisbane Airport Departure Transfer From Gold Coast:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Airlie Beach
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Airlie Beach:
Airport Transfers - Return (round fare) share shuttle service:
Airport Transfers - One way share shuttle service:
Is it cheaper to fly into Surfers Paradise or Airlie Beach?
Prices for flights to both Airlie Beach and Surfers Paradise 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, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Surfers Paradise can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Entertainment and activities in Airlie Beach typically cost an average of $147 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Typical Entertainment prices in Surfers Paradise
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Surfers Paradise's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Surfers Paradise
For Surfers Paradise, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Green Cabs Surfers Paradise Tours:
Gold Coast: Afternoon River Cruise:
Gold Coast Morning Tea Cruise from Surfers Paradise:
Gold Coast 1.5-Hour Sightseeing River Cruise from Surfers Paradise:
Gold Coast 1.5-Hour Sightseeing River Cruise from Surfers Paradise:
Gold Coast Sightseeing Cruise:
Infinity Attraction in Queensland Admission Ticket:
Surfers Paradise Paranormal Activity Tour:
Skip the Line:Wax Museum Ticket-World in Wax & Guided Tour of Chamber of Horrors:
Aquaduck Gold Coast 1 hour City and River Tour:
Gold Coast Quack'rDuck Amphibious Tour from Surfers Paradise:
Stand Up Paddle Board Tour:
Tours and Activities in Airlie Beach
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Airlie Beach are as follows:
2 Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsuites" Experience:
2 Night Small Group Whitsundays Sailing Adventure Aboard Mandrake:
2 night Whitsunday Islands Cruise on Atlantic Clipper from Airlie Beach:
2-Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsleep" Experience:
2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: SV Whitehaven:
2-Day Whitsundays Sailing Adventure: Summertime:
2-Night Whitsunday Islands All-Inclusive Sailing Tour from Airlie Beach:
2-Night Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure on Trimaran 'Avatar':
2-Night Whitsundays Sailing Cruise Aboard 'Spank Me' Including Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef:
2Day 2Night Sail, Snorkel & SUP Adventure Whitsundays double:
3 Day Whitsundays Sailing and Diving Adventure: Kiana:
3 Day and 2 Night Whitsundays Maxi Sailing Adventure on Hammer:
Typically, people visiting Surfers Paradise spend on average $10 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $8.30 on alcoholic beverages in Airlie Beach per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in Surfers Paradise
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Surfers Paradise:
Private Half Day Wine Tour from Gold Coast to Tamborine Mountain:
Hipster Sipster Brewery and Distillery Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Surfers Paradise and Airlie Beach, we can see that Airlie Beach is more expensive. And not only is Surfers Paradise much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Surfers Paradise would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Surfers Paradise 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 Airlie Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Airlie Beach than you might in Surfers Paradise.
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