Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?

I’m an American (originally from Southern California), have lived in Sydney for over a decade and often travel to Melbourne. Everything’s been covered pretty well here but a couple more thoughts:

First off, I need to emphasize the weather. Melbourne will be more of what you’re used to but not so extreme. I feel cold weather big time and am challenged when I have to be there. No, you’re not going to get a snow, blizzard situation like you would in Chicago or NY but you might feel more at home, weather wise, in Melbourne. Sydney weather will be different than what you’ve been used to. Weather’s really important to me so that would be a factor.

Melbourne to me is more East Coast, USA – (more established, solid, cultured) and Sydney is more West Coast, USA (beach, casual, low key). Some Sydney infrastructure seems markedly worse than Melbourne – the traffic, the parking and the public transport especially need a serious overall so keep in mind how you intend to commute.

Actually, I rate Sydney trains shameful – hard to believe you’re in Australia they are so run down.

We are in Sydney because we’re beach people. We live in a relatively small suburb (Manly) that’s easy to get to the CBD via a ferry (ranging from 20 to 30 mins). It’s pretty damn gorgeous and actually I have to pinch myself that I live in such an amazing place.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?

There are also insanely fantastic hiking trails all along with the national parks along the harbor. If you hike, jog, etc. it’s divine. From this point of view Sydney is extremely liveable – beach, parklands all just a few miles from the city.

Speaking of water, living in Melbourne would also be a challenge for me because I need to be near water. Yes, they have a river – The Yarra- but I need water and feel landlocked if I’m not near it. The ocean water is far colder than Sydney too so I don’t really rate the beaches there as you do in Sydney.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne
Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?

So keep that in mind, if in your past locations living near water has been important to you. Re humidity, I think an East Coast US summer would have far higher humidity than you ever get Sydney. I’ve lived in Queensland and Sydney humidity is nothin’ compared to that.

Re wine, coffee and food. Melbourne is great but have no fear there is plenty of all of that here. You just have to find your patch.

And yep, both expensive. My American family and friends are always pretty surprised by this. You open your mouth here and it costs $20.

Bottom line – they both have different feelings. But coming from the US you’ll find the health care system and the less insane pace of life here a breath of fresh air compared to where you’re coming from and both share that.

If you’re going to visit Australia and only have time for one city then go to Sydney. It’s beautiful. On a nice day Sydney is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world and Melbourne’s ugly brown river is never going to get anywhere near it.

But if you’re going to live somewhere then Melbourne is much more interesting. Sure the Opera house and bridge are nice but after a while the novelty does wear off.

Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world. Not just Australia, the entire world. There is more world class sport to enjoy in Melbourne than any other place on the planet. And when a big sporting event is in town there’s a real buzz about the place.

Enjoy your adventure!

It’s got an atmosphere. Melbourne also has one of the world’s top three Comedy Festivals and lots of other cultural events which means there is always something on. It’s always alive and vibrant and exciting. There is always something on and something to do.

Live in Melbourne, visit Sydney. It’s the only way to go.

Are you rich? Like really wealthy? Yearly income of 250K plus? Sydney. If you have tonnes of money, Sydney is a fabulous place to live. Stunning beaches, beautiful CBD, loads to do.

BUT, if you are like most families, you will live nowhere near any of these things. My stepsister, her husband, and their two children live in McGrath’s Hill. It is 53km from the CBD and it was the only place they could afford to buy a house to accommodate their family.

The median for this suburb, which is essentially hardly in Sydney, is $840K. If you work in the CBD, that is one hell of a commute each day. Commuting time has been shown to be negatively correlated with mental wellbeing (won’t put citations in here, just google commuting and mental health)

Sydney vs Melbourne: Which City Suits Your Style?

In Melbourne, you can live much closer to the city, have a shorter commute, be closer to nice parks, facilities, etc for way less money. In 2016, when we bought our house it was $620K and 9km from the CBD in a lovely park filled area. Find me in Sydney.

I’ll start with my bias, I live in Melbourne and have done for a decade and a half, and I love this city.

With that bias declared, I genuinely think Melbourne is a superior option. I spent a big chunk of time in Sydney a few years ago for work, I spent alot of time travelling around the city and got a pretty good feel for the city.

Frankly, I think Sydney is a very unimpressive place once you get away from Circular Quay (which is admittedly gorgeous).

One of the things I noticed was the restaurant culture was odd – there’s a giant gulf in the middle of the market, there are lots of low ends take away joints – and there are some fabulous top-end restaurants only rich people can afford to eat at, but it is very little in between those two extremes.

Now I hear that this is changing a bit which is a good thing, but if you like eating out there’s no comparison, Melbourne wins that fight hands down.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

The weather question, Sydney has a reputation for better weather, and in a way that’s justified – it has a higher average temperature year round than Melbourne (23C vs 20C) and more Sunny days per year.

That said, having some idea of the climate of the cities you have lived in previously, I think you’ll find the climate in either city eminently more agreeable. Another thing to consider is humidity, I found Sydney experiences many more humid days than Melbourne, and I can’t stand humidity – it’s something to keep in mind.

On the beachfront, one has to give that one to Sydney, it has some V nice beaches not far from the center of town. Melbourne has some great beaches nearby, but one would need to travel for a while to visit them – especially if you are looking to do some surfing.

Transport, Sydney has a public transport system so run down and ineffective it makes Melbourne’s look great. Seriously the Melbourne PT system has serious issues, but no where near the magnitude of those experienced in Sydney.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?

The over-reliance on buses in Sydney makes it challenging to get around without a car. If you do have a car you get to enjoy Australia’s worst traffic snarls! They’ve had particularly ineffective governments over the last 20 yrs who have been unable or unwilling to fix the road network problems.

Culture, this one is not even close, Sydney is a cultural vacuum compared to Melbourne, I can’t put my finger on it, but Sydney just has this culture of not going out to things, concerts, sports whatever.

It’s so frustrating to see a gig sell out three shows here in Melbourne but see two for one tickets going to the first and only Sydney show. The majority of big shows/musicals etc come to Melbourne first (in some cases it’s the only stop).

If Sydney didn’t have that magnificent Opera House it’d be screwed. Melbourne has the third biggest Comedy Festival in the world, the oldest and most prestigious film festival in the county. Live music venues are still dotted all over the place (despite gentrification) if you can’t find something interesting to do here, you’re not trying.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

Sports, again no contest, the list of world-class sporting events that take place here is exhaustive. They love their Rugby League up north, but I’m not sure the sports as religion culture is quite as ingrained up there as it is Melbourne – if you’re not a sports fan yet we’ll do our best to make you one! : oP

This one I’m going out on a limb, but to me Sydney really felt like much more of a city divided into different neighbourhoods – almost many cities with one big city (Cityception!).

I spoke with people who lived in the West their whole lives who’d never seen the ocean – in a coastal city! It seemed like a big deal to travel from the South to the North – this has been suggested to me as to why people in Sydney don’t go to things – you are from your part of the city and you see your part of the city as very distinct and separate from the rest of Sydney. This exists to a small extent in Melbourne, but to a much lesser degree.

So I with my bias is voting Melbourne – even my friends from Sydney can’t wait to come back when they visit. Sydney is where you go for work – Melbourne is a place to live.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?
Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne?

Sydney vs Melbourne: Which City Suits Your Style?

I’ve lived in both cities for many years (with a family). Here are the advantages of each city over the other:-


  • Beaches, but only applicable if you live close
  • Finance or Business-related jobs
  • Lower cost of living
  • A higher standard of living
  • More time spent with family and friends (less in commuting)
  • Engineering or Manufacturing jobs
  • Better education for kids (e.g. fewer kids per teacher, more space and facilities)
  • Kids have more fun (e.g. can easily ride to the local shops/park/school/friend)
  • Easier to get around
  • More parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, sports venues
  • Parking, not an issue (and free)
  • True multicultural, where a variety of cultures are spread all over (not concentrated)
  • Friendlier people
  • Do not need to be rich to have a good quality life
  • More comfortable living (e.g. every house has ducted heating, more space, a garage)
  • More family-friendly
  • Lower average age

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

Both cities have their Pros and Cons:



Sydney has the best jobs in services like IT and finance
Great beaches
Good transport within the city

Exorbitant living costs ( particularly housing)
Crowded public transport and public places


The cultural capital of the world. The number of global Sports events happening here is UNMATCHED
More affordable than Sydney in every area. Still pricier than, say, Adelaide
Good economy and ample jobs
Excellent public transport!

Unpredictable weather. Usually three seasons per day
Slightly unsafe with gang violence becoming a big concern. Especially in the west
If you have the cash to spend big, go to Sydney. It’s a King Size life.

Melbourne is more sedate and more about culture than flashines

Melbourne is the city of sport, culture, food, nightlife, and beauty.

Sydney is a great holiday, but to live Melbourne wins every time! … I have moved because of cheap housing, Sydney is too expensive to buy your own property.

Should we move to Sydney or Melbourne

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