There’s 876 kilometres between Sydney and Melbourne. Given that the distance is roughly the same as travelling across several European countries, it’s seems fair that these two cities could not be more different – (go on, order a ‘schooner’ in Melbourne and see what happens) – therefore exist in a constant state of competition.
Sydney VS. Melbourne is a battle than has raged on for decades, with no signs of slowing down. A
s Sydney shuts its doors on their once-booming nightlife, Melbourne celebrates within 24 hour public transport and 5am licenses.
And as Melbourne shivers through its coldest winter in 26 years, Sydneysiders wink from their perch on Bondi beach.
So as someone who has spent many years in both cities, here is a small insight into what you can expect if making the long trek northwards from Melbourne to Sydney. Gird your loins and slap on that fake tan honey, because where you’re going, you won’t be needing that scarf.
Boats. Lots of boats
Melbourne is a town for land folk. We appreciate a footpath beneath our feet. The only significant body of water we have is the Yarra (ick) or St Kilda (double ick) and the chances of ending up in either of them would be by pure accident…and would require a trip to ER immediately after to treat possible infection.
Sydney, on the other hand, is all about the water. The harbour, specifically. And upon that harbour live lots, and lots, and lots, of BOATS. When you move to Sydney, you will discover that a significant amount of socialising is done on and/or around boats, and with not an ironic sailor’s cap to be seen.
Boating consists of swimming, expensive sunglasses, drinking rosé, and playing obnoxiously loud music from Triple J. If you get seasick, I would seriously reconsider your move to Sydney, because not being able to go boating in Sydney is like not being able to wear black in Melbourne. Good luck.
Sunday night is the new Saturday morning
The first time somebody said to me, “I’m staying in this weekend because I have an early brunch on Sunday” I sat very quietly and stared at them for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that they got up and walked away, which was beneficial for both of us because WHO CANCELS THEIR WEEKEND PLANS IN ORDER TO EAT OVERPRICED POACHED EGGS ON SUNDAY MORNING?
This concept did not compute. Sacrificing a night of fine food and cocktails and deep and meaningful bathroom conversations with perfect strangers in order to wake up early? For goodness sake. Ridiculous. But very, very common in Sydney.
Fact: if you live in Sydney, there is no Saturday night. ‘Saturday night’ is just a time frame that exists between Saturday brunch and Sunday brunch, and no longer serves any purpose further to sleeping.
If people aren’t trying to outdo you with their tan, their income, their luxury vehicles, or their sparkly engagement ring; they’re trying to outdo you with their ability to wake up early on the weekend and exercise. Good for you, Gwyneth.
Forget bars, it’s all about a pub with a television playing sport
Oh Melbourne, you delicious little minx, absolutely heaving with kooky restaurants and hidden bars. Getting lost down a cobbled laneway in the city is likely to lead you to some of the city’s best kept secrets and a damned good martini.
Getting lost down a cobbled laneway in Sydney, on the other hand, is likely to lead you to someone who will steal your handbag, or a small colony of rats.
Sydney’s idea of a good time is a pub. And admittedly, there’s some pretty great pubs out there – perched on their stunning beaches, overlooking the ocean, great hulking structures that have entertained Sydney folk for over a century. Sydney loves a good pub. Just be prepared for said pub to also have a flashing selection of pokies and an extra large television showing the latest rugby game.
Beach as a full day activity
When you move to Sydney, you must master the art of Going To The Beach.
Unlike the Victorian equivalent – which lasts one hour, two hours max – Going To The Beach in Sydney is actually a full day activity. You wake up early (obviously, as that’s what weekends are for) and drive to a beach. You then sit on said beach until the sun goes down, and you’ll enjoy it, dammit.
So what does one do on a beach for eight hours, you ask? Well, you swim. You read. You Snapchat. You stroll along, and say hello *really loudly* to anyone you’ve ever met. You listen to music, you think about which Venroy Linen you’re going to buy, and you just generally try and avoid contracting a melanoma.
White is the new black. Colour is the new black. Everything but black, is the new black
Moving interstate is an expensive exercise, not least of all because you’re going to be up for a whole new wardrobe. Time to leave the urban witch vibe long behind, Ursula, because in Sydney it’s all about the bright, the white, and the floral.
For a town that’s basically sponsored by Napisan, Sydney simply can’t go past anything white and linen. Special mention also goes to Gucci loafers, the blazer-and-jeans combo, and Birkenstocks. [Extra points for Birkenstocks in usual colours.]
Everything you thought you knew about fashion will be flung out the window as you are suddenly faced with a crayola-coloured city, where hot pink is worn by adults and floral shirts are donned outside of Kath and Kim dress up parties.
Sydney and Melbourne may be at war, but there’s no doubting they both have a lot to offer. Melbourne, for it’s grungy concrete sprawl, will always be the slightly more cosmopolitan of the two; specialising in fine food and even finer drinks. Sydney, on the other hand, is the glamorous diamond of Australia – all sparkling beaches and a population that is #fitspo incarnate. But for those who have made the move, be prepared for everyone’s favourite question – “So, which city do you prefer?”
Over to you, traitor.