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What is the most livable city

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1. Posted by mamiguapa (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

hey there,

i'm thinking of doing a graduate degree in australia or nz in 2007. the schools that i'm going to apply to are in melbourne, brisbane, sydney and auckland. i'm also thinking about schools in adelaide and canberra but i'm not sure as i don't want to go to small cities (i also want to be in a multicultural city).

so, what are the pros and cons of each (which ever one you have info about or that u live in)? which is the most livable? which is the most multicultural? i've done my own research but i don't think the info. is objective as the sites were promoting the cities.
i'm going to be there for 3 years so i don't want to make the wrong decision.

thanks guys. :)

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 10y

Hmm, hard question...

I've lived in Auckland for about four months, in Melbourne for about eight months, stayed in Sydney multiple times totalling about three weeks, and visited Brisbane twice for a few days (and stayed in Canberra and Adelaide for a few days as well).

Easy one first: the climate in Brisbane wasn't me. Too humid too often. It's a pretty city, with worthwhile things to do in the city centre (and places like Surfer's Paradise in easy reach with frequent trains), but it didn't strike me as a very multiculteral place, nor as a place where you could easily settle down and be part of life just like that. Of course, as a student you will probably have an easier time at that, but for me personally it'd be the first to be crossed off the list.

Melbourne has the title of being the most livable city in the world, based on some survey where the particular bias suited Melbourne perfectly. It is a very nice city to live in. Gets unsuspectedly cold during the winter (above freezing, but that's it, and houses aren't built for warmth), and there's a plague of flies during the early summer (very bothersome in my opinion), but has a very reasonable climate all the same. Nothing much touristy to see in Melbourne (you could call the city "boring" wrt to sightseeing), but lots of nice neighbourhoods to explore and get to know over an extended stay. Really good restaurants and cafes everywhere. Awesome live music scene. Several universities, and what I've seen of them and their students, they looked like pretty decent places. Some funky and bohemian atmosphere in places, but more suburbia vibes (if nothing like what Canberra has). Very European, with large greek and italian segments of the population.

Sydney is a far more interesting city at first glance, has a more appealing central business district (as far as wandering around goes), the harbor with all its ferries, much nicer botanic gardens, better beaches nearby, and I think generally speaking nicer (excepting high summer) weather as well. The university neighbourhood and surroundings (Newtown/Glebe/...) is the nicest surrounding I can imagine. Very bohemian, awesome little cafes and used bookstores, great atmosphere. Yet outside of this area, the Sydney city centre is less appealing than Melbourne (the goodness is more concentrated). Not much interesting live music that I saw (but I might just have had bad luck, timing wise). Way more touristy.

Auckland has the best weather of them all. It's part of the "winterless north" of New Zealand, yet doesn't have extreme heat during the summer. Really nice and green year round. Lots of sushi places everywhere, if that's your thing. No real student districts around that I ever saw, and probably has a more sedate pace everywhere outside the CBD. Gorgeous parks and scenery, and it has the benefit of being in New Zealand, so you can more easily take off for a weekend to see even more stunning beauty everywhere else in the country. It's a more spread out city, so I imagine you'd regularly find yourself moving from one neighbourhood to another depending on activity. Good music around, if not as much as in Melbourne, and some surprisingly reasonable beaches not all that far away.

All these cities have deccent public transport (Auckland's probably the worst, simply because it's by bus only, rather than having trams or trains as well), and there's usually something happening somewhere.

I'd love to live in Glebe (Sydney) for a year still sometime during my life, and I very much enjoyed my time in Melbourne, but of the four, Auckland's the only one where I could see myself settle for the long haul.

If you could give some more information on what you like: what kind of interests you have and which activities you like to engage in, I might be able to help you more, but for the moment I'd say that no matter which city you choose, you'll have an absolutely great time.

3. Posted by mamiguapa (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

wow Sander, thanks for your post. very informative indeed. as a person who hasn't been in that side of the world i've found it difficult to get a feel of what the places are like. and your post has helped a lot. i'm from south africa btw.

If you could give some more information on what you like: what kind of interests you have and which activities you like to engage in, I might be able to help you more, but for the moment I'd say that no matter which city you choose, you'll have an absolutely great time.

ok, well i like eating out and shopping. as well as beautiful scenery and nature. i really like beaches. i'm studying in a small town at the moment (doing my msc and i've been here since my first year of university) and i would like to experience something different. i lived in the americas for a couple of years in the past and so i like big, vibrant cities that are multicultural. also i suppose i feel i would "fit in" in a more mutlicultural place.
nightlife is not that important to me i suppose but a vibrant city is a must- to have the option there if i feel like going out.
and because i am not sure what i'll do after my phd (i.e. emmigrate to the country that i would be studying in or go somewhere else) i want to go to a place that is livable and hence the option of staying will be there. of course that's too far in the future to know for sure.
a very important aspect of the city is friendliness, seeing that i'll be so far from home (and alone :P) a friendly people is key.

thanks again for your reply. :)

4. Posted by ujkle (Budding Member 42 posts) 10y

If money's an issue - and half your luck if it's not! :D - Melbourne's probably a bit more affordable than Sydney. I have a couple of friends who are students here in Syd, and they're struggling to get by because of the higher rent.

Sydney is pretty multicultural, I was under the impression Melbourne was as well but I've only spent a few weeks down there. I think it differs very much here though on what part of Sydney you are in.

I don't know much about Brisbane or Auckland, sorry!

5. Posted by OzRocco (Budding Member 45 posts) 10y

Just a couple of random notes:
Auckland in the first instance will be the cheapest to live in - check out the AUD/NZD exchange rate.
Coming from SA - there's an asumption on my part (dangerous I know) that you are into Rugby. FWIW there's not a lot of rugby in Melbourne - a different game is played there. Plenty of rugby in Auckland and a fair bit in Sydney & Brisbane.

6. Posted by mamiguapa (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

thanks guys for your replies. it's good to get some sort of perspective (and no i'm not into rugby, lol). at the moment i'm leaning towards melbourne and sydney. thanks again. :)

7. Posted by grasshoppa (Full Member 202 posts) 10y

When Ozrocco says theres another sport played in Melbourne he is refering to AFL which is Australia's national sport and i read somewhere it has the third highest attendence out of every sport in the world. It is Melbourne based but also very popular in all other states. Both cities are very liveable. Sydney gets to be very hot in summer time but there a some great beaches nearby, bondi beaing one of them. If you are a massive sports fan then Melbourne would be better entertainment wise as it s the sporting capital of Australia. The main sporting events in Melbourne are: Melbourne Cup, AFL season games and grand final, most of the cricket and the Australian open.

8. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 10y

What's wrong with Perth?
Great beaches, restaurants, wineries, a climate California envies, the closest Oz place to South Africa, and if you get cold, you can have breakfast in Perth and lunch in a beachfront restaurant in Bali.
Oh, and we do have excellent colleges and universities.

9. Posted by grasshoppa (Full Member 202 posts) 10y

Quoting cobbana

What's wrong with Perth?
Great beaches, restaurants, wineries, a climate California envies, the closest Oz place to South Africa, and if you get cold, you can have breakfast in Perth and lunch in a beachfront restaurant in Bali.
Oh, and we do have excellent colleges and universities.

yeh Perth would be good, its just when someone says most liveable cities they austomatically think Sydney and Melbourne. Go to the Gold Coast... fairly hot but so many nice beaches...youd never get bored there

10. Posted by mamiguapa (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

in terms of friendliness? not sure if one can really distinguish between an unfriendly city and one that isn't. this is a pretty big decision for me and i don't want to regret it. my mom is pushing for me to go to the uk, but no thanks. i'm not leaving s.a. for 3 years for cold weather. heh.
melbourne sounds pretty good. sydney too because of the beaches and the fact that it's multicultural. i'll have auckland as my third choice i guess.