Hi guys, I'm currently a second year student from usa and am planning to study abroad in Australia for a semester during the 2010-2011 school year. The two universities I have to choose between are the University of Melbourne and Macquarie University..but the difficult part is choosing if I want to live in Melbourne or Sydney! I want to live in the better city..some important factors for me are diversity, nightlife, and ease of getting around without a car - i rather live somewhere where I can walk to where I want to go. Which city has more resources? Which one has more of a city vibe to it? I love everything about new york city, so if either one is like nyc that would be great! Also I was wondering what time of year is better for living in Australia, weather wise..feb-june or july-november?
I know there's a lot of rivalry between the two cities, but your honest opinion would help me out a lot..thanks in advance!
If you're choosing between the two cities based on the location of the university I'd go with Melbourne because it's more central to the city and you'll be able to walk to more places. Macquarie Uni isn't near the Sydney CBD so you'd have to catch a train or a bus to get there, are you planning on living on campus? Have a look on google maps to get an idea of the location of each campus. From your preferences I think ideally you'd go to Sydney University and live either nearby or on campus.
I don't think Melbourne or Sydney would have the same city vibe as NYC, but have heard Sydney weather is more like LA and Melbourne is more like NYC. If you come for semester 1 (feb-jun) it will be warm for longer and then cold, I think semester 2 (jul-dec) will be cool for longer and then hot so it will depend what you prefer.
I think Melbourne would be your better bet - it's a gorgeous old campus and a pretty high standard of education (which you might find easier to acclimatise to as it's the only Australian University with a US-style system of undergraduate and postgraduate learning).
As for the cities themselves, Melbourne is a lot more like NYC than Sydney. I've travelled to NYC a lot for work and always found the vibe similar: lots of cool little bars, easy and quick public transport, similar weather (though never snowy in the city itself). You'll get a similar weather spread across the two periods, but it will be cooler and rainier in the latter half of the year.
Send me a message if you have more questions!
I agree with most of the above two comments. I have lived in both
Melbourne and Sydney, and much preferred Melbourne, partly due
to the weather, (and my allergies).
Sydney may have a more exciting look, because of its spectacular
beaches and harbour, and a few iconic buildings, and you should
certainly visit it for a few days.
For an idea of Melbourne weather through the year, have a look at:
http://www.melbourneaustralia.org/climate.html There's links to
other Melbourne information on the site.
In general Australians talking about "the city" mean the Central
Business District, a quite small area. Melbourme's is circled by
the City Loop, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Loop,_Melbourne
and the free tram, see http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/maps-
As for getting around on foot, both Melbourne and Sydney
CBDs are very walkable. Neither ever has below-zero (Celsius,
forget Fahrenheit) temperatures, but I have seen snow once in
Melbourne. It lasted almost half-an-hour.
Sydney is broken up by the water, but has plenty of
ferries as well as rail and road transport: Melbourne has a great
tram (streetcar/light rail) system, in addition to regular trains and
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Jan-2010, at 19:01 by rerj37 ]