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Moving to OZ for a year and need spome advice on where to li

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Moving to OZ for a year and need spome advice on where to li

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1. Posted by schott19 (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi All,

I was wondering if some of you could offer some advice as to where is best to live and work in OZ. At the moment myself (28 + Computer Programmer) and my girlfriend (23 + Midwife) are thinking it is between Sydney and Melbourne but have no idea which would be best to settle for a year (or indeed, open to other suggestions).

We both enjoy going out for nice meals and the usual couple type stuff. Would like to have a nice beach nearby and we enjoy hitting decent bars / nightclubs at the weekends. I suppose we like the typical stuff for people of our age.

We have decided we may come to OZ for a two week holiday in April and spend some time in sydney and some time in melbourne to try and get a feel for both places.

If we did this, where would you recommend we went in each city so we could soak up as much of each city as possible in the short amount of time we have,

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5088 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hmm, I'd recommend Melbourne for certain as the better city to live in: Sydney has many more attractions to see for a tourist, has the better climate, and has a few really nice areas to live in (Glebe!), but overall Melbourne is a city which feels more vibrant, has a much better live music scene, good restaurants, etc.
However, Melbourne lacks any kind of decent beach nearby (there's St. Kilda, but that's just disappointing; there are good beaches in the vicinity, but they're an hour or two away), while Sydney has Manly (or even Bondi will do in a pinch), so that makes it all a lot harder again.

For some general commentary on Sydney vs Melbourne, see for example this thread (ignore the rivalry between locals), and there's some more info on Melbourne here.

I think it's a great idea to get the feel of both places first. For places that you must absolutely visit (in order to get a feel for them, not as a tourist), I'd recommend:


  • Glebe: My favorite neighbourhood; it feels almost bohemian, thanks in large part due to the student population; wander down Glebe Point Road (on a Saturday if you can, to catch the market), browse the used bookstores, have lunch at the bakery cafe, or dinner at one of the countless restaurants.
  • Newtown: On the other side of the university seen from Glebe; probably a more common view on what your average Sydney neighbourhood will be outside of the city center (yet still close by)
  • Take a ferry or two, randomly across the harbour and back. Do this during rush hour for best effect. Doesn't really matter where you're going, just as long as you get the feel of commuting over the water like that. That's Sydney, or at least one of the better parts of it.
  • Spend an evening at the Rocks, right below Harbour Bridge. Maybe wander through Darling Harbour, too. That's a large part of Sydney's night life.
  • Coogee: not quite as well known as Manly or Bondi, the beach is probably just as nice, and it's probably a great neighbourhood for you to explore.
  • Wander the Botanic Gardens.


  • Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick, Northcote: start down at the south end of Lygon street, and just walk this endless street through Carlton and Brunswick, seeing the character slowly change. Hop on a tram for a couple of blocks when you're tired of walking. Head east at some point, until you hit Northcote, then go down High Street back to the city center. Go back to this area at night, especially with the purpose of catching a live music show you've seen advertised.
  • Wander through Royal Park (where the zoo is) at sunset. Watch the lorrikeets go crazy.
  • Explore the countless hidden alleys in the CBD with their endless coffee places; the epicenter is probably between Queen and Swanston, and Little Bourke and Collins.
  • Spend an evening on Southbank. Yes it's gauche, but hey, so was Darling Harbour. :)
  • Wander along the banks of the Yarra river, north and east of the Botanic Gardens.
  • Train into Melbourne Central, then take the escalators up. After exploring that, cross Swanston street and take a look at QV. Note: these places are multi-leveled, so don't think you've seen them too soon. (You'll be surprised how many people can be found at Max Brenner's at QV on a cold night.)
3. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I have never lived in Melbourne, so can't compare, but I can tell you that I loved living in Manly in Sydney. Its right on the beach (with even better ones up the road), there's lots going on yet it's still relaxed, and it's not too far from the city when you need to get there. I spent a week or so in Melbourne and it also looked like a cool city, but I'm still pretty glad we chose Sydney instead.
There's always the option of spending half a year in each.

4. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Ahh the age old Sydney vs Melbourne's like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first! There's many different opinions and a big rivalry between the cities.

A level-headed person would say that they are both big, cosmopolitan cities with work opportunities and plenty to do for the people who live there. Both have many restaurants, bars etc. great access to the ocean and nature around them.

Melbourne is a little better known for its restaurants and bars, known as a bit more "artsy", maybe slightly more progressive, but with a pretty bad public transport system :P
Sydney has surf beaches closer to the city, a warmer and less volatile climate, a slightly larger population but I believe Melbourne is catching up to it, and a few more central offices of large organisations are here (not sure if the public transport system is any better!).

Also, keep in mind a budget - in general Sydney is slightly more expensive, but both cities have suburbs that cater for everything from the very wealthy to the places with gritty edges, the green to the more industrialised areas - you may want to do some research on these depending on your interests. I think taking a short holiday in each place is a great move though.

As for Melbourne (since that's my home city!) - Sander has posted some spot on info, but I'd just add to check out St Kilda (not just the beach, but more along Fitzroy St.(not the suburb)) as it's quite cultured and there's a lot of nightlife. Not to take away the emphasis on the other places he listen because they are all great and represent the city.

Perhaps you might also want to mention where you are from and the type of place you live in so some comparisons could be made!

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 11, 2008, at 12:17 AM by Erik85 ]

5. Posted by schott19 (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


THank you all so much for your replies. Its really great that people are willing to spend the time and effort to write a very thorough and helpful reply (special thanks to Sander for an itinerary :)).

I have to say we are leaning towards Melbourne but we are open minded so after out little trip it could all change.

Erik85 - to answer your question i currently live in Nottingham in the UK so its not a massive city but by no means small either. Other similar UK cities are Manchester & Leeds.

Before thinking of OZ i was planning to move to London but with the current situation in the UK we thought why not just leave the country for a while until it sorts itself out! I dont think we would have too much trouble finding a job but then i could be wrong!

I'd still like to leave this thread open if anybody else has any suggestions but i certainly feel more at ease now i have been given some pointers from you all :)

6. Posted by girds (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Even though i love Melbourne, Sydney is by far a better place to live.

If you want a real Australian experience avoid all the trendy spots like Glebe ,Newtown, Bondi, Manly etc

Try Lakemba, Auburn, Blacktown, Lalor park, Shalvey, or Green valley ..This is where the real Aussies live.

7. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

hey, remember the beach is only nice for half the year, for the other half it's too cold to enjoy unless you're really keen... Maybe you could have 6 months in each city?

8. Posted by Moyne (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Melbourne is the place to go hands down.

Melbourne is better for food, weekend getaways and nightlife.

Melbourne has it's fair share of beaches that enjoy calm and clear unlike Bondi beach in sydney where many people get injured or die. (just watch all the surf/lifesaver shows st there)

To live in Melbourne i would suggest suburbs such as Point Cook, Werribe, Bundoora or Epping if u are looking for a cheap home in the outer areas and there is fitzroy, st kilda, hawthorn and carlton if u are looking for inner city apartments.

Though if u prefer the upper class areas then move to Toorak, Brighton, Camberwell or South Yarra.
I would not suggest Praharn as there was a mysterious diesase there a couple of months ago...

Hope this helps

9. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If you don't live in Sydney, you are camping out

Seriously, I'm from Sydney and I must admit I don't know Melbourne too well but I only hear good things about it except for the weather and the lack of good, close beaches.

Either city will suit you well. But then, what about Brisbane?

10. Posted by chefman21 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

What about Brisbane? It doesn't have the traffic & attitude Sydney does and can have respectively or the terrible weather of Melbourne. The Gold Coast is close as well as the Sunshine Coast and it still get's a lot of the major events that Sydney & Melbourne get.