Before I went on a spontaneous whim to live in Melbourne for a few months I had never imagined myself living in Australia. Honestly, I don’t really know what I had against it now (just this country rivalry that’s inherently instilled in me as a kiwi I guess), but I am so glad I went and experienced life across the ditch. Naturally when living in a new place it takes some adjusting and we do tend to compare it to what we’re used to and decide which is better. There are so many factors that make a good city, so I’ve broken it down so we can figure out if Auckland or Melbourne is better overall.

Beaches

Australia is well known for its stunning beaches and say what people might, Melbourne is certainly no exception to this.

 

Melbourne beaches are almost all brighter, whiter and clearer than those in Auckland. There are more of them, and there is more happening around them in terms of activities, restaurants and people. On a hot summerโ€™s day, the energy at the city beaches in Melbourne is insane (not to mention all the parties and festivals that are organised there).

In its favour, Auckland beaches are much more varied. We have the quiet white sand beaches on the east coast, and the unique wild black sand beaches on the west coast. It does depend on the weather, but generally speaking Melbourne beaches are very tame. In Auckland you can go to a surf beach and get crazy waves whenever it tickles your fancy.

At the end of the day, Auckland beaches pale in comparison to Melbourne for their beauty and atmosphere.

Verdict: Melbourne

Architecture

One thing I’ve always said about New Zealand is that we are very lacking in historical buildings and beautiful architecture. While they exist, it’s not easy to find a gorgeous colonial building in Auckland, or a unique modern piece. In Melbourne, all you have to do is go to Flinders St Station in the centre of the city and look up. And it doesn’t stop there – there are plenty of beautiful buildings all over the city.

The modern buildings in Melbourne appear to have some thought about aesthetics put into them – I really can’t say that about Auckland unfortunately. The University of Auckland has some nice structures, and our iconic sky tower is a good landmark, but other than that there’s really nothing to say about architecture in Auckland. Itโ€™s neither unique nor historical.

Verdict: Melbourne

Transport

I was amazed when I got to Melbourne and I realised there’s actually a train going to almost every suburb in the city – what a novelty! Auckland has one western line and one southern line, and that’s basically it for our trains. Not to mention they often just completely stop running in the weekends so you can’t really rely on them. Our city centre has a good bus link, but from the suburbs the services are often infrequent and unreliable. Most public transport is not running after 10pm on a weekday.

What really makes Melbourne transport great though, is the tram system. Built over 100 years ago, it feels like you’re stepping into a time machine every time you get on the tram. But aside from the historical element, they are also a good way to get around. Just avoid them during rush hours.

Complain as Melbournians might (and often do) about their transport system, they have fairly reliable and frequent transport which covers almost anywhere youโ€™d want to go. Services run until late during weekdays, and almost all night on weekends, making it easier to depend on them.

Verdict: Melbourne

Green areas

I was excited to get to this point because I finally have something positive to say about Auckland! In my opinion, this is one thing that brings Auckland from being an average city to a decent place to live.

Firstly, the colour of the grass in Australia is very underwhelming. Their ‘green’ can be described as a washed out yellow. Grass is ugly and prickly, trees look lifeless.

In comparison, New Zealand is very lush. Aside from that, Auckland is laden with green areas. You’ll never go very far without seeing a tree, for example. Wherever you are in the city, there’s bound to be a park not too far from you. Melbourne seems to have gone for a different approach, and plonk one or two humongous parks on opposite sides of the city.

Where Melbourne wins with beach vibes, Auckland is definitely smashing it with our parks. They are big, they have varied landscapes with hills and horticulture, and they have a unique atmosphere.

Verdict: Auckland

City views

One big difference between Auckland and Melbourne is that Auckland is full of hills, mountains and volcanoes whereas Melbourne is relatively flat. This means two things โ€“ one, you need to be a lot more fit to walk around Auckland city than you do Melbounre; and two, Auckland has a lot more epic viewpoints.

Melbourne only has one place where you can really see a view of the whole city โ€“ the Eureka tower โ€“ but you have to pay to get up. Auckland, on the other hand has a whole bunch of free spots where you can see a view of the whole city. This article tells you all the best places to catch a view of Auckland.

Verdict: Auckland

Weather

Auckland and Melbourne are both known for their unpredictable weather patterns, or for harbouring โ€˜four seasons in one dayโ€™. I have to say, though, Melbourne certainly takes it to another level. It truly can be a perfect cloudless day one minute, and heavy rain and wind the next (thatโ€™s no exaggeration). Apart from that, itโ€™s not rare to see a 12 degree high one day and a 40 degree high the following day. While the weather can vary a lot, this kind of extreme fluctuation simply doesnโ€™t happen in Auckland (mostly because the temperature never goes that high).

As I explain in my article about why I never want to leave New Zealand, the weather here, especially in Auckland can safely be described as pleasantly mild. It’s never extremely hot or extremely cold. Melbourne gets a lot colder in Winter, and a lot warmer in Summer.

Verdict: Depends on you. Do you prefer a mild or more extreme climate?


Personally, I love both cities for very different reasons. If you have the chance to visit or experience the lifestyle in both, do it! If you are deciding between Auckland or Melbourne for a trip, decide what is most important to you in a city! It’s no secret that Melbourne has been deemed the most liveable city in the world 7 years in a row, and after spending some time there that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Auckland has some catching up to do, but we definitely can’t complain about living here, either!

Have you been to Auckland or Melbourne? What did you think of them?

Auckland or Melbourne city comparison

Auckland or Melbourne city comparison

 

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5 Comments

  1. They both look pretty amazing to me! Appreciate the insights from someone who knows their way around!

  2. Gosh this is such a tough choice for me too! I’ve been to both cities, and since i live in Sydney, I’ve never really warmed to Melbourne, however can’t argue their coffee scene and beaches are insane! I do love Auckland’s harbour area though ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Suzie Reply

      haha the typical Syndey-Melbourne rivalry eh! You’re right, the Viaduct in Auckland has pretty nice vibes ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ve never been Auckland or Melbourne so this post is great to help me to figure out what destination is best for me if I can’t go to both!Based off your post I’m very interested in seeing Auckland’s wild black sand beaches and trying some surfing there although I’m terrible at it!

    • Suzie Reply

      Don’t get me wrong, Melbourne has some awesome surf beaches too! But I’m glad you like the sound of Auckland ๐Ÿ˜‰

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