Airlie Beach is cheaper than staying on one of the Island resorts by a long shot. Resort prices start from $300 per night and go as high as $40 000 per night for luxury penthouses.
Airlie Beach accommodation can be had from $100 per night.
Again, Airlie Beach wins this battle. Whitehaven Beach and Whitsunday Islands tours will set you back $189 per adult while a similar tour operating out of an island resort will cost a minimum of $200 per adult due to the monopoly factor.
If you are staying on Daydream Island though, Thundercat can pick you up for a day trip at no additional cost on top of the standard tour price.
Food and Drinks
The island resorts are notorious for only having expensive dining experiences. Expect to pay around $10 for a beer.
Airlie Beach has many amazing restaurants and bars that offer ‘normal’ prices. There are also many places in Airlie Beach that offer cheap meal and drink combinations like Boaty’s and Beaches. Expect to pay around $7 for a beer in Airlie Beach.
Picking up something to remember your trip by is something that is much cheaper in Airlie Beach than on the islands. There are plenty of shops in Airlie Beach that offer these products, unlike the islands that will generally only have one store.
If you fly into Airlie Beach and need to transfer to your island resort, you will be lumped with a rather large fee for the ferry. There is no need for this when visiting Airlie Beach.
How much will a holiday in The Whitsundays cost?
For 2 adults staying in Airlie Beach for 3 nights, you should budget for $1400 total excluding flights.
For 2 adults staying on an island resort for 3 nights, you should budget for $2000 total excluding flights.