View of Sydney’s beautiful harbour from the plane :)
Witnessing the crush of suit-clad and iron-faced Sydneysiders at lunch hour in Martin Place, it’s not difficult to see why Sydney, beyond its beautiful harbour and cosmopolitan beat, is the economic capital of Australia. I have to say, it’s hard to fight to the top among the cities Down Under to be the best, with every city from Hobart to Brisbane to Perth boasting their unique must-see landmarks and a distinctive niche.
I’m unable to comment on the rest since I’ve yet to check them off my list, but having returned from a quick city jaunt in Melbourne the garden state and my second time in Sydney has set me thinking that there is every reason for these southern sisters to engage in head-on sibling rivalry.
Let’s look at the people, streets, public transport, waterfront experience and their beaches to see how each city fares!
Sydney: Well dressed and very cosmopolitan; everyone seems to be always in a rush to get somewhere. Friendly with yet a distinct air of exclusivity. Kind of stressful…even on a relaxing night out.
Melbourne: Laidback, not as fast-paced, cool. Homely and comforting without the overwhelming stressful vibe of a big city.
I can’t really decide; Sydney has a dazzling personality with a potentially scalding temper, but Melbourne’s like the Mr. Nice Guy. For fun, go to Sydney. For a longer, chill-out stay, choose Melbourne.
#2 Street architecture
Sydney: Well-preserved facades from the late 19th century of churches, hospitals, museums, banks mean that architecture buffs and history lovers get to gawk at the lovely juxtapositioning of old against new of Sydney’s sparkling city skyline.
Melbourne: Interesting, avant-garde, strange shiny architecture with sporadic sprinklings of old buildings here and there.
I prefer Sydney because there is more to see and the buildings lend an air of rich historical culture to the otherwise modern and trendy city.
Sydney: Haphazardly planned! Traffic lights that don’t turn green on pedestrians until after five minutes of painstaking wait, rude motorists, frantic zigzags, steep slopes at places, tight bends, roundabouts, truncated and narrow pedestrian walkways before shopfronts and unclear road directions make walking a nightmare…
Melbourne: Neatly gridded, pencil-straight roads with generous tree-lined sidewalks, patient drivers, traffic lights that respond to both cars and pedestrians.
Hands down, Melbourne. Unless you enjoy the dangers of getting run down by speeding cars and the agonizing wait of badly timed traffic lights.
#4 Public transport
Sydney: Grab any ferry from Circular Quay going to Watsons Bay, North Sydney, Darling Harbour etc and you’ll be treated to the priceless view of the Harbour Bridge and the world famous Opera House, before cruising up or down the Paramatta River a little bit. A walk along the waterfront from the Opera House, across the Quay and towards the Rocks is also super enjoyable. You can also pop into the Museum of Contemporary Art along the way to get a respite from the summer heat or a visual treat…afterall admission is FREE!
#6: The Beach
Sydney: With the renowned sun worshippers’ paradise Bondi Beach, the exclusive Tamarama Beach and the trendy Bronte Beach a stone’s throw from the city centre; the charming Manly Beach a ferry ride away, plus Palm Beach (made famous by TV series Home and Away) an hour’s drive away, Sydney is easily one of the best cities to live in if you’re a beach lover.
Personally, I really like the city vibe of Sydney and all there is to offer within easy reach from the city centre, but Melbourne is also cool in its own ways, such as the ubiquitous street graffiti, some of which look really impressive and artistic indeed.
But as far as real sisters go, these two are the best when they are seen together. ♥