The contrast between the cities of Melbourne and Sydney is complex and from an insider’s point of view would seem like they belong in an entirely different country. There is almost a competition about which is better - an argument that most Americans (well at least us Southern Californians) would never engage. Both cities Rock!
These two coastal cities in South Eastern Australia are large- Melbourne just inching past Sydney with a population of 6 million. Both have sprawling suburbs and vibrant CBDs where everything seems safe for tourists, women alone, and late evening joggers. Both take pride in their green spaces. Both have excellent, efficient transit systems unlike anything we have in SoCal and definitely cleaner and more accessible than our Eastern cities. Both Melburnians and Sydneysiders are super friendly, helpful and inclusive. Both locations have great day trips to wineries, mountains, coastal drives, hiking, biking and water sports.
Where Sydney’s vibe is laid back, beach and outdoors focused, with lots of beautiful people jogging in the parks, surfing in the ocean, hopping on ferries, hiking in the foothills surrounding the bay, Melbourne is more about the arts, fashion, history, food and competitive sports. The Australian Football League (Footy) has a bigger presence in “Melbin”. The Formula One race once a year “big do” here. The golf courses in Melbourne are more famous, well known and more expensive than Sydney’s. Nightlife, comedy clubs, and music in Melbs offer almost too many choices!
I am having trouble picking my favorite, but visitors should give both a go. Make time to spend at least a few days in each, before you head to the bush, the rainforest or the reef. I promise by doing so you will grasp the true spirit of OZ. (Pictures are of Melbourne. Sydney celebrated earlier last month).