When it comes to experiencing Australia, there are two cities that come to mind immediately: Sydney and Melbourne. Whether you’re focused on sightseeing, shopping, sipping or savoring, Australia’s largest cities each have their specialties to satisfy your cravings. Discover which of the two best fits the style and speed for your next vacation:
Sydney: It’s hard to think about Australia without the Sydney Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge, and for good reason. Not only are these two of the most photographed spots in Australia, but they provide a plethora of opportunity, whether you’re interested in the arts or climbing a bridge for 360-degree views. But don’t think that’s all the harbourfront city has to offer. Followers of all religions will find it hard not to stop and stare at the beauty of one of Australia’s oldest churches, St. Mary’s Cathedral, before making their way to worship the wildlife of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
Melbourne: While Melbourne might lack a legend as large as the Sydney Opera House, it still stands to impress when it comes to housing some of Australia’s most unrivaled landmarks. Eureka Skydeck invites you to test your fear of heights in a protruding glass cube on the 88th floor while soaking up panoramic views of the city. If you prefer to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, you can head to Shrine of Remembrance, an impressive war memorial with mausoleum-inspired architecture. Tourists seeking kid-friendly fun can find themselves conquering thrill rides and games at Luna Park, a historic amusement park dating back to 1912.
Dining Down Under
Sydney: While Sydney has a reputation for its best restaurants being on the pricier side, rest assured if you want to break the bank for a mouthwatering meal, Sydney’s dining scene is worth every dollar. After all, the only thing better than enjoying views of the Sydney Harbour is savoring a fabulous meal alongside it. Some of the most amazing waterfront restaurants include ARIA, a frequent dining stop for celebrities overlooking the Opera House; The Bathers’ Pavilion, a stately restaurant opening up to Balmoral Beach; and, of course, Aqua, offering the most sophisticated seafood specialties right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Melbourne: What some say Melbourne lacks in the glitz of Harbour dining, it makes up for in diversity. The city’s foodie favorites range from hole-in-the-wall Aussie pubs and European cafes to underground eateries you have to be in-the-know to experience. Of course, if you are looking for more acclaimed restaurants to spend a pretty penny at, you’ll find those, too. Attica, recently named in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2017, offers an extended tasting menu for $275 a person. Bon appétit!
Sydney: Similar to its dining reputation, much of Sydney’s nightlife is full of flash, with many bars and nightclubs aiming to be the place to “see and be seen.” International DJs and live entertainment are often included on the lineup at the swankier spots, providing the perfect complement to a night full of bottle service and dancing. Some of the most well-known party venues include The Argyle, Goodgod, The World Bar and Chinese Laundry, each offering a unique style and service patrons are sure to remember long after their recovery period.
Melbourne: Like Sydney, Melbourne is far from lacking in the after-hours scene. But rather than DJs and strobe lights, you’ll find more live music and rooftop retreats. Overall, the city is known for a more laid-back, artistic nightlife, where the thirsty can be found sipping under the stars while listening to the latest jazz band in the courtyard at The Rooks Return, or drinking whisky to rock ‘n’ roll at Leonard’s House of Love, a living-room inspired bar straight out of the 1980s.
Sydney: With an annual weather average between 13°C (55°F) and 23°C (73°F), Sydney offers a pretty comfortable climate throughout the year. Every once in a while, the city experiences a heatwave with temperatures rising to 40°C (104°F), but that’s all the more reason to bring a bathing suit and cool off in the ocean from November through March.
Melbourne: While Melbourne’s temperatures throughout the year are only a bit cooler than those of Sydney – on average between 10°C (50°F) at the coldest and 21°C (70°F) at the warmest – there’s one big difference travelers should know before packing a bag: Expect the unexpected. Due to the city’s geographic location between a hot inland region combined with cold sea breezes, Melbourne can quickly go from clear skies and sunshine to severe thunderstorms and temperature drops at a moment’s notice. So, pack a few layers and an umbrella to ensure Mother Nature’s unpredictable behavior doesn’t disrupt your plans.
Ready to experience Australia for yourself? Whether you want to savor the fast lifestyle of Sydney or Melbourne’s culture is more your speed, you’ll find getting there a breeze. Check out Vacations by Marriott’s current travel deals to Australia, and save big by booking your airfare and accommodations together.