A couple weeks ago I arrived in Australia after deciding that New Zealand was just getting a little too cold for my liking ?. I’ve loved it here so far, but have actually only seen Melbourne and Sydney so far during my time here. A lot of travelers compare these two cities and tend to pick a favorite between the two. I spent about a week in each of these cities myself, so I wanted to talk about the time I spent in both of these cities and compare the two.
So, first thing first: I loved both cities. When it comes to it’s cool cities, Australia definitely has NZ beat. I arrived in Melbourne Tuesday the 25th pretty early in the morning, and ended up spending a week there before heading to Syd. What I loved about Melbourne, was how well kept and well put together the city was. It has the best transport system I’ve seen in any city, and the whole downtown area in Melbourne was really clean. The streets were also very nice with a lot of character -I always love those cities with streets that are lined with trees along the sidewalks, which Melbs had a lot of.
During my second day in Melbs -the day I arrived I mostly just settled in, went grocery shopping, etc so I didn’t see a lot of the city that day- I went exploring around the city and went to Federation Square, the river and South Bank and walked all the way to the Richmond area. My uncle had lived in this part 6 or 7 years ago and wanted me to try to find the restaurant he’d worked at and the street he lived on. My first impression of the city was great! As I said before, it was all very well kept. Another great thing about Melbourne is it keeps its cultural touch and keeps all of its old buildings with unique architecture in place instead of getting rid of them like other cities sometimes do.
My favorite part of the downtown area of Melbourne was along the river. It had some of the best city views and some great restaurants along the bank. I ate at one, but it was very expensive. I guess this is to be expected in Australian cities though.?
After spending a couple days in the downtown area, I took a tram down to St Kilda, which was a really cool area of the city. It had a great beach town feel, with a small theme park, a busy street with shops and restaurants, and a pier where you could go to see penguins at certain times of the day. The pier also had a great view of the main part of the city.
Overall, I think the city had a lot of character and was very well kept as I said before. The only downsides to Melbs were that it didn’t have the best weather -while I was there at least- and there isn’t anything particularly unique about the city as far as landmarks and other activities.
On the other hand, Sydney in general has great weather -even while I was there!- as well as the well known landmarks. So, when it comes to this category, Sydney won out. Syd also has so many parks within the city that make it so nature oriented, including the botanical gardens and Hyde park.
I took an overnight bus from Melbourne to Sydney and arrived the following Tuesday morning. I had great weather my first day in Syd, and the first place I went was Sydney Harbour, of course. The Harbour area won me over right off the bat. Along the walk going towards the Opera House there were all sorts of shops, cafes, and restaurants. I also spent some time in the city’s parks as well. The Botanical Gardens were right along the Harbour, and some spots had great viewing points of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
View of the Harbour from the Gardens
If you’re up for a long walk, walking across the Harbour Bridge is also a great idea as it allows for the best views of the Harbour area.
On my last day in Sydney, I had to go to Bondi Beach to see what it was all about since it’s so popular. The beach was beautiful for sure, but the place was very touristy. I can’t imagine how packed it would be in the summer months. I also loved the street along Bondi Beach because it also had a lot of great shops and restaurants. I thought Bondi was the perfect beach town, despite how touristy it was. Next time I’m in Syd, however, I’d like to go to a less known and less crowded one.
Overall, I loved both Sydney and Melbourne both. As far as transport, cleanliness, how well kept it was, and the cultural vibes, Melbs won out. I also loved the riverfront area here. But as far as weather, nature/parks and the great landmarks and activities, Syd was definitely the winner. Both cities had great shopping streets, museums and old historic buildings. I personally liked Sydney better because it had more of an Aussie feel to me and I loved the Harbour area. The weather here was also perfect, which plays a big factor for me when picking favorite places. Alot of people actually prefer Melbourne though and both cities are great, so I’d recommend both to anyone if you have time to see both of them.
I’m currently doing work in exchange for food and accommodation at a Pecan farm (wwoofing). It’s about an hour and a half north of Sydney. I should have a blog post within the next couple weeks about my wwoofing experience here, so stay tuned!