A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Sydney vs. Melbourne for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Sydney or Melbourne?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sydney or Melbourne, 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.

Sydney

Sydney, known as the harbour city, is the most famous and frequently visited city in Australia. It is at the economical and cultural heart of the country, and is one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. It's situated on the water with stunning views of the famous harbour throughout the city. It's most famous landmarks include the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is also very close wonderful beaches, parks, and nature.

Melbourne

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, after Sydney. It is also the capital city of the state of Victoria, in southeastern Australia. Melbourne is arguably the best city to experience culture and the arts in Australia. There is a friendly rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney over livability and popularity and Melbourne is definitely the city to visit for its parks, shopping, restaurants, galleries and theaters. Like Sydney, it is situated on the water, at the head of Port Phillip Bay. It's a beautiful city, and although it lacks the major sights that you'll find in Sydney such as the Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge, you will never find yourself lacking for entertainment. It is also a wonderful base for exploring many of the nearby highlights, including Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island where you can view the penguin parade.

Which city is cheaper, Melbourne or Sydney?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sydney is $147, while the average daily cost in Melbourne is $161. 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 Sydney and Melbourne in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Sydney is about $178 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $218 in Melbourne For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sydney $89
    Melbourne $109
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sydney $178
    Melbourne $218

Food

In Sydney travelers spend around $34 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

While meal prices in Melbourne can vary, the average travelers spends about $27 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Melbourne should cost around $11 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Melbourne is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Sydney $34
    Melbourne $27
Typical Food prices in Sydney

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Sydney:


  • Tea
    $2.94
  • Lunch Special
    $11
  • Food/Drink Coogie Beach
    $11
  • Meat Pies
    $3.68

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sydney

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

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Sydney Opera House Tour and Opera Bar Lunch or Dinner: $52
  • Retro Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour: $59
  • Dinner Christmas Party! Nov&Dec: $62
  • Vivid Dinner Cruise Sydney Harbour: $63
  • Pizza Paddle Sunset Kayak Tour in Bateman's Bay: $66
  • Latino Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour: $67
  • Sydney Harbour 4-Hour Latino Dinner Cruise: $69
  • Harbour Dinner Cruise with 3 or 6-Course Menu: $70
  • Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise: $71
  • Dinner Cruise at Sydney Harbour with Optional Mast Climb Experience: $72
  • Cairns Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns: $73

Typical Food prices in Melbourne

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


  • Coffee
    $2.94
  • Pizza
    $5.15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Melbourne

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

  • Private Pizza Making Class in Hunter Valley: $48
  • Eynesbury Homestead Dinner and Ghost Tour: $63
  • 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
  • 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

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $13 per day to get around in Sydney.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Melbourne than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $18 on transportation in Melbourne on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sydney $13
    Melbourne $18
Typical Local Transportation prices in Sydney

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Sydney:


  • Taxi Ride
    $15
  • Taxi to Airport
    $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sydney

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Sydney:

  • [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
  • Water Taxi Transfer with Taronga Zoo Entry Ticket: $49
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Sydney Downtown City to Airport: $55
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Sydney Airport to Sydney Downtown: $55
  • Transfer in private minivan from Sydney Airport to Sydney Downtown: $75
  • Transfer in private Minivan from Sydney City Downtown to Airport: $75
  • Transfer from Sydney Airport to Sydney Central Business District - ROUND TRIP: $176
  • Thredbo Day Trip with Round Trip Transfer from Sydney by Brighton Coach: $81
  • Transfer between Airport (SYD) and City Center: $13
  • Transfer between Airport (SYD) and Airport Hotels: $7.79

Typical Local Transportation prices in Melbourne

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Melbourne:


  • Airport Bus
    $12
  • Tram Ride
    $2.80

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Melbourne

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

  • WhiteWater World Return Shared Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18
  • Airport Shuttle and Transfers: $118
  • Airport Transfers: $101
  • Avalon Airport (AVV) Express Transfer by SkyBus for Melbourne City: $15
  • Avalon Airport Transfers: $135
  • Departure Private Transfer Melbourne City to Melbourne Airport MEL Business Car: $86
  • Departure Private Transfer Melbourne City to Melbourne Airport MEL by Luxury Van: $103
  • Departure Private Transfer Melbourne City to Melbourne Airport MEL by Sedan Car: $73
  • Departure Private Transfers: Melbourne to Melbourne Airport MEL in Business Car: $96
  • Departure Private Transfers: Melbourne to Melbourne Airport MEL in Luxury Van: $131
  • Dreamworld Return Shared Transfer from Gold Coast Hotels: $18
  • Fitzroy Island Ferry Transfer Ticket from Cairns: $49

Is it cheaper to fly into Sydney or Melbourne?

Prices for flights to both Melbourne and Sydney 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 $30 per person, per day in Sydney. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing expenses in Melbourne, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $25 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sydney $30
    Melbourne $25
Typical Entertainment prices in Sydney

Here are a few typical costs in Sydney for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Theatre Show
    $33
  • Sydney Tower Visit (for 2)
    $34
  • Blue Mountain Tour/Featherdale Park (for 2)
    $140
  • Powerhouse Museum
    $11

Tours and Activities in Sydney

Here are a few actual costs in Sydney for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 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
  • 1 Hour Northern Beaches Trike Tour: $127
  • 10-Day Surf Adventure from Sydney to Brisbane Including Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Gold Coast: $2,371
  • 12 Apostles, Otways & Great Ocean Road Hiking Adventure from Melbourne: $132
  • 1D1N Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour: $514
  • 2 Hours Running Tour in Sydney: $170
  • 2-Day Combo: Blue Mountains Experience and Sydney City Tour: $353

Tours and Activities in Melbourne

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

  • Live like a Local: Explore some favourite spots on a playful audio walking tour: $5.40
  • Melbourne Audio Tour: A Self-Guided Walk Through the City: $6.99
  • North Stradbroke Island Water Taxi Ferry Ticket: $7.95
  • Bridestowe Lavender Estate Tour: $8.85
  • Searoad Ferry Tickets between Queenscliff and Sorrento: $8.85
  • Koala Conservation Reserve Tickets in Phillip Island: $9.95
  • Margaret River Region Lighthouse Tours: $11
  • Hunter Valley Wine Theatre Experience: $11
  • Questo Self-guided Haunted Melbourne Walking Tour: $12
  • Sydney Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour with Mobile App: $12
  • Melbourne Self-Guided Audio Tour: $13
  • Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Ticket: $13

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Sydney may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting Melbourne spend on average $15 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sydney $14
    Melbourne $15
Typical Alcohol prices in Sydney

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Sydney:


  • Wine
    $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Sydney

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

  • Savannah 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
  • Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Misty Glen Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Hanging Tree Wines Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Capercaillie Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley: $3.69
  • Tempus Two Wine Tasting Experience: $3.69
  • Red Door Collective Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley (Adults Only): $7.39
  • Talits Estate Cellar Door Wine Tasting Experience: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Thomas Wines: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Tulloch Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39

Typical Alcohol prices in Melbourne

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $5.70

Sample the Local Flavors in Melbourne

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

  • 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
  • Pokolbin Estate Wine Tasting Experience: $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
  • Wine Tasting at Horner Wines in Hunter Valley: $7.39
  • Wine Tasting at Thomas Wines: $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 Sydney and Melbourne, we can see that Melbourne 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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Sydney vs. Melbourne Travel Comparison

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