Comparing Sydney and Melbourne


Sydneyites and Melbourners have long been embroiled in a debate about which city is better. In the end it is comparing apples to oranges as it comes down to personal taste, but with that said I will weigh in on some thoughts having lived in both places. The first thing I would contend is that though big cities with all varieties of people living in them still a “type” of person tends to be attracted to either Sydney or Melbourne.

melbourneHipster versus Yuppie 

I remember sitting in a bar having some drinks on Swan Street in Melbourne and a guy walked up to me and asked me if I wanted to be an extra in his film. This was just something I observed in my time in Melbourne there tended to be a lot more artistically inclined people and that the “mainstream” was getting more connected with a hipster derivation of the concept. Even outside bohemian sections of the city like Fitzroy and St Kilda people still wore a lot of more alternative, hipster’esque’ clothes, it was kind of the norm. Compared to Sydney in the central business district – especially as the sun set – shirts and nice shoes were the uniform. Perhaps, a personal bias in what I noticed, but it was my perception.

Urban edge versus Nature’s Splendour 

There are a load of great parts of Melbourne. Already mentioned were Fitzroy and St Kilda but there is also Richmond and just the whole city centre. My wanders around the centre uncovered loads of independent cafes, the famous Melbourne coffee and plenty of urban cool. Really cityscape life is what I found Melbourne to be about.

When visitors from nearby countries like New Zealand were asked which city they preferred, it was about fifty-fifty. Staying in Melbourne offers great places to eat and shop in order to fulfill your spending needs. There are also several parks and playgrounds all throughout the city. This makes it the ideal city for anyone traveling with young children.  Melbourne is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the great weather; however Sydney is a great place to visit all on its own.

Sydney has some great urban locales too, but what really set it apart from its competitor down to the south were its amazing bays and beaches. Flying into Sydney was one of the most impressive descents I had ever seen as nature had truly smiled upon this city.

Second place resentment versus the champ’s self assurance 

My appraisal seems to be siding with Melbourne, but there is one more distinction I have to make. People in Melbourne have a lot more angst when the topic of which city is “better” came up. You could sense that there was that underdog annoyance at this question and it was easy to see a lot of passion get riled up. People from Sydney on the other hand seemed kind of oblivious to the question and never seemed to give it much thought. The weight of world popularity sides with Sydney and it helps them avoid, the sometimes off putting, second places anger and need to discuss the topic.


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