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Anthony asked

How to divide time between Melbourne and Sydney?

I'm planning to visit Austrlia for 9 days in September. I'm currently thinking of visiting Melbourne and Sydney, but having trouble determining how to divide up time and if I should add any other locations. It will be 5 adults on the trip, with primary interests in surfing, exploring cities, active-outdoors (ie. hiking, biking, etc), good restaurants and coffee. Ay ideas?

Australia   Melbourne   Sydney

5 Answers
answered first by
Sara from Sydney

Hi Anthony,

I must admit I firmly belong to camp Sydney as that is my home town.  September is a beautiful time of the year to visit.  Sydney and Melbourne are completely different to each other.  Sydney is surrounded by water and we have the gorgeous harbour.  Melbourne has a more European vibe to it and is located on the Yarra River.

I personally would work out exactly what you would like to see in both cities.  In regard to resaurants I believe both have amazing food on offer and can't say one is better than the other. 

I will give you some suggestions for Sydney, and hopefully a Melblourne expert will add.

If you enjoy outdoor activities, I suggest a coastal walk in the Royal National Park in Sydney.  Also there is a great walk along the coast from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach.  Hiking up in the Blue Mountains is also fantastic.

In regard to surfing all the beaches in Sydney are awesome.  If you have a car available may I suggest heading a little out of Sydney and head to the Royal National Park and have a surf at Garie Beach during the week when it is quite.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a must do.  The view is amazing.  I suggest doing a twilight walk, that way you have day time views heading up and then you get to see the night lights of Sydney on your way down.  Plus you get to see the 'black rainbow' which is a shadow the bridge casts against the Sydney night sky.  Only visible from the bridge.

Catch the ferry to Manly, go for a surf while you are there too.  If you are in Sydney on the weekend jump on a ferry and head to Fort Denison for brunch or breakfast.

Any specific questions please feel free to ask me.  There is just so much to do in Sydney!  For food in Sydney you can check out my food & travel blog

Comments (5)

Thanks Sara, that's really helpful advice! Just one specific question for you -- do you know of any resorts or wineries within 1-2 hours of Sydney where we could to stay for a few days at the end of the trip? I'm thinking of taking my girlfriend somewhere for the last 2 nights before we depart.

Sara, is it possible to do Sydney as a long weekend trip from another part of the country, if you kept busy the entire time?

Hi Anthony, The Hunter Valley is just over 2 hours out of Sydney. Wineries and a nice place to relax for a couple of days. Alternatively you could head to the Blue Mountains, no wineries, but there are a couple of spa resorts up there.

Hi Annemarie, You could squeeze quite a bit of Sydney in on a long weekend. If you stay in the central area and don't venture further a field. I suggest staying in the city.

Well defined and informatively explained where to visit and what are the medium are being available. This is perfect answer according to me.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Melbourne (city)
  2. Royal National Park (attraction)
  3. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  4. Bronte Beach (attraction)
  5. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  6. Garie Beach (attraction)
  7. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  8. Manly (city)
  9. Fort Denison (attraction)
  10. Sydney (city)
comments (5)
likes (7) thanks
answered by
Lisa from Wellington

I have to say I am a Melbournian on this one! 
Then again I've never been to Sydney! ;) 
I'm a Kiwi who flies to Melbourne once a year for my boyfriend's birthday, since his brother and GF live there. 

Anyway: I recommend, taking good walking shoes! You will probably walk a lot. If you're not walking you'd likely be taking a tram. 
The CBD (city) of Melbourne is actually not overly large, so you can (and I have) walked from one side to the other in a day! 

There's Free City Loop trams.
These run every 12 minutes approximately! (In both directions). 

They also offer a general rundown of 'spots to see' along the way with an automated voice telling you where you are! 
It's pretty cool. 

One spot to see is the Queen Victoria Market it's a large market place where you can buy things, from souvenirs to food, drinks, fresh fruit and vegetables! (Which is awesome if you happen to be staying in a self service apartment cooking your own food!)  Some prices are cheap, others try to rip off tourists, so stick with your guns. I think I've seen people barter too. I tend to just look at everything, then choose what I want to get. 

Federation Square is a good spot to locate at some stage of your trip: The Melbourne Information Centre is located there as well, they offer advice about travelling in Melbourne (Public Transport) as well as general tourist advice. Great people to talk to. Plus they have a souviner shop too! 
They offer Tourists a MYKI Card (which is their Bus/ Tram/ Train consession card.
I recommend buying one if you're there more than 48 hours. When we stayed for a week we all used our credit that came on the card within 72 hours, so it's a good thing to have. Plus it means transport costs are cheaper. 

Oh and I see you're interested in outdoors stuff:
Melbourne offers bikes to be hired in the city, so instead of worrying about the trams/ trains you could also pick up a bike and cruise on that. More info on "Bike Share" can be found here:

That is all I  can think of at the moment, please ask back if you have more questions or need me to clarify anything. :) 

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queen Victoria Market (attraction)
  2. Federation Square (attraction)
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answered by
Rob from Costa Rica

Sydney. Hands down. Has the best weather of the year in September, Amazing. But people aren't great. Bit arrogant and up themselves. Melbourne wins on that scorecard. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Melbourne (city)
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answered by
Brennan from Australia

Hi Anthony, to see both cities I recommend at least a week in both Melbourne ans Sydney.

If you come late September the  Melbourne Cricket Ground host the AFL grand final and there is always heaps going on in Melbourne during that time of the year.

Sydney host the NRL grand final which also makes Sydney crazy during that time.

Flights would probably be cheaper early September, but the sporting atmosphere wont be as good.

Bondi Beach and Manly in Sydney is great for surfing.

Portsea and Philip Island are the spots to surf in Melbourne.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Melbourne (city)
  2. Sydney (city)
  3. Melbourne Cricket Ground (attraction)
  4. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  5. Manly (city)
  6. Portsea (attraction)
likes (1) thanks
answered by
Alica from Australia

I must suggest to travel Sydney for 3 4 days which will enough to enjoy the places which not to be missed and rest will be Melbourne.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. (attraction)

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