Sydney and Melbourne are two biggest Australian cities, both with population of around 4 million people. Many will compare it with American cities Los Angeles (Sydney) and San Francisco (Melbourne), since they all have many things a like. Each one of these cities has its own advantages and many different things to offer. It depends on you, what do you need from a city, what do you plan to do and are you there as a tourist or planning to live there.
Sydney is situated on Australia’s south-east coast. The city is built around Port Jackson, which includes Sydney Harbour, leading to the city’s nickname, “the Harbour City”. It is noted for the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and its beaches. The metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and contains many bays, rivers and inlets. It is listed as a beta world city by the Loughborough University group’s 1999 inventory. The city has hosted international sporting, political and cultural events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, which reflects its role as a major destination for immigrants to Australia. According to the Mercer cost of living survey, Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, and the 15th most expensive in the world.
If weather and beaches are very important to you, then you basically have no choice as Sydney wins out easily on both counts. Sydney has some much nicer suburbs to live in and visit, more opportunities work wise, beach wise and in a lot of cases entertainment wise. The weather here is supposed to be more consistent than in Melbourne.
Suburbs to stay in – East of the city – Bondi, Bondi Beach, North Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Coogee. On the north shore – Manly, North Steyne, Queenscliff (mind you, this is some of Sydney’s most expensive real estate so getting a place to stay wont be cheap). Once it starts to get colder in Sydney, a lot of travelers start to head north to Queensland.
If you are interested in Australian nature, Sydney has a “great outdoors”; Melbourne does not. Sydney is surrounded by beautiful national parks, right on its doorstep, offering superb bushwalking and wildlife-watching, especially the fantastic native flowers and birdlife.
Sydney has 3 major estuarine systems (Pittwater, Sydney Harbour, Port Hacking) giving it a stunning scenic coastline, and offering fantastic fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and boating. Of course the real surf beaches add to the nature experience of Sydney.
Melbourne is a major centre of commerce, industry and cultural activity. The city is often referred to as Australia’s ‘sporting and cultural capital’ and it is home to many of the nation’s most significant cultural and sporting events and institutions. It has been recognized as a gamma world city by the Loughborough University group’s 1999 inventory. Melbourne is notable for its mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture, its extensive tram network and Victorian parks and gardens, as well as its diverse, multicultural society. It was the host city of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
If you are after a city with a much more relaxed attitude, a million times better and more cafes, restaurants and bars and generally a much more cultured feel, it’s no competition as Melbourne wins hands down.
The weather is supposed to be more consistent in Sydney as they say that Melbourne can get the weather of all four seasons in one day.
Melbourne has got a more relaxed feel about it, loads of beautiful parks and from there you can take trips down the stunning ‘Great Ocean Road’. Once you get past the obvious attractions of the opera house and the harbour bridge, I think Sydney is just another city, whereas Melbourne has got a bit more personality.
Melbourne has something like 5000 cafes and restaurants on a pretty small population. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that per capita it’s the city with the most cafes/restaurants in the world. If you are not interested in nature, then Melbourne has everything you could ever want in a city