Every Sydney vs. Melbourne article seems to to be a xerox copy of the other. They all speak about the high-level differences without getting into the nitty-gritty details that residents would pick up on. Below are some on-the-ground details that separate Sydney from Melbourne.
Sydney parks have way better views – by a LONG shot.
Far more parks in Melbourne are BYO.
Suburbs – Hip vs. Hipsters:
Sydney’s eastern suburbs vibe can be compared to that of South Yarra in Melbourne.
Sydney’s inner-west vibe can be compared to Fitzroy in Melbourne.
But, Melbourne’s Fitzroy and South Yarra are more alike (with far more crossover traffic) than Sydney’s eastern suburbs and inner west.
If Melbourne’s Fitzroy and South Yarra had a child, they’d be Surry Hills/Darlinghurst.
Bins: Sydney has far fewer bins in the city. They’re everywhere in Melbourne.
One way streets: Every other street in Sydney is No Right Turn or One Way. Frustratingly so.
Suburbs – views:
Many suburbs, houses, and apartments in Sydney have incredible views and are walking distance to the beach, the water, and more. Melbourne suburbs have none of this.
Directions: It’s far easier to get lost in Sydney (even when with Google Maps at hand).
Humidity: The weather is far more humid in Sydney. I.e. You’ll sweat a lot more!
Footpath seating: Melbourne has far more sidewalk/footpath benches across the city than Sydney.
Uber ETAs are FAR less reliable in Sydney. You can thank those no right turns and one way streets.
Availability: Sydney also seems to have more Ubers available at any given time and in more places.
Surcharges: Sydney seems to have more frequent and higher Uber surcharges.
Taxis: Taxi drivers are generally much nicer in Sydney. In Melbourne, they’re complete douchebags.
When you top up your your Sydney (Opal) card online, it processes far faster than the Melbourne Myki card. You can also check your Opal card balance by tapping it on your phone.
Melbourne transport cards can be used on literally all forms of transport. Sydney ones can be used on most, but not all.
Fewer locals live in the CBD in Sydney than do in Melbourne.
Room-sharing in Sydney is far more common in Sydney than in Melbourne, particularly by European travelers and Asian students. A single room in Melbourne’s Brunswick may cost as much as a shared room in Sydney’s Newtown.
Bars: Some of the bars in both cities are run by the same hospitality groups, and you’ll find a few sister bars (such as Eau De Vie) in both cities.
Sydney has far more massive, mega-clubs tha Melbourne. Melbourne has far more late-late-late night options than Sydney.
Restaurants:There are far more restaurants with outdoor seating in Sydney than Melbourne.
Cafes: There are far more little cafe’s distributed across Melbourne than in Sydney. In Sydney, all the good cafes are generally around the same area.
In Sydney, most convenience stores are independently run – you never know what you’ll find inside. In Melbourne, almost all convenience stores are 7/11s.
Day drinking is far more accepted and common-place in Sydney than in Melbourne (you can thank the views).
There are more beer drinkers in Melbourne than Sydney. There are more prosecco drinker is Sydney than in Melbourne.
Sydney is rose (or a crisp white), Melbourne is mulled wine (or a good red).
Coffee: Melburnians care far more about their coffee (and the quality of it) than Sydneysiders. They even invented their own alternative to the Cappuccino, Latte etc. called ‘The Magic.’
Drugs: More people are pot-friendly in Melbourne. More people are “charlie” friendly in Sydney.
Sushi in Sydney often comes in clear, convenient, no-environmentally friendly plastic wrap. In Melbourne, they come in soggy brown environmentally-friendly paper bags.
There are more recent migrants of Middle Eastern descents in Sydney.
There are more migrants of Indian/South Asian descent in Melbourne
There are far more recent Thai migrants in Sydney. There are more Malaysian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese migrants in Melbourne.
There are way more English, Irish, and Brazilian travelers in Sydney.
There are more Italian, French, and Colombian travelers/visitors in Melbourne.
People in Sydney either seem to dress spectacularly – to the T – or not really care.
More people in Melbourne generally try to infuse a bit of their own cool, eclectic idea of fashion into their wardrobe mix. But not nearly as many people dress *as* sharp as in Sydney.
More people wear black and/or glasses in Melbourne. The surface area that clothing covers in Sydney is generally smaller, and the layers fewer.
There are more people in Sydney who are “liberal” in a social sense, but support the more conservative party.
Most people in Melbourne tend to support the less conservative of the two main parties.
Activity: People in Sydney generally seem to be more outdoorsy, love the water, trekking, swimming et al. People in Melbourne love all things hidden.
Health & Fitness: Far more in Sydney care about health trends, regular exercise, healthy eating etc. than in Melbourne.
Sydneysiders are generally more entrepreneurial. Everyone’s got a friend who’s got a startup.
Melburnians are generally more artsy. Everyone’s got a friend who’s got a gig coming up.
Wages: The average wage for the same job is higher in Sydney than in Melbourne. This can be anything from casual jobs to professional roles.
Sydney is more Insta-worthy. Every photo in Sydney looks absolutely amazing – the blue of the sky, the endless water, the stellar views/landmarks.
Melbourne is more blog-worthy. Melbourne is jam-packed full of fun, quirky, eclectic and unique bits that can be best described through a verbose piece.