Got back from Melbourne on Saturday night but only managed to write about it today. It was my first visit to the capital of Victoria that was not work-related. I used to just fly down there, taxi'ed to the office in CBD, taxi'ed back to the airport and fly back. My two days stay last week managed to help me to see a bit more of this city in the Garden State.
Some after thoughts:
Do not fly JetStar from Sydney to Melbourne, unless you like to find yourself in the middle of nowhere and the only way to get out is 40-50 minutes bus ride. Apparently JetStar Sydney to Melbourne only flies to the Avalon airport, which is a tiny air base closer to Geelong than Melbourne. Bus ride to CBD is $19 which is not too bad though.
I definitely got tricked this time, as I always thought Melbourne only has one commercial domestic airport that is Tullamarine. Damn I was wrong. I shall fly Virgin Blue next time.
You only get to appreciate how good Sydney's weather is after you have been to Melbourne. On Saturday, it was raining one hour, and sunny the next hour -- and I am not even exaggerating! So you have to constantly put on/take off your coat, otherwise you will be freezing/sweating.
Strolling along Yarra river at 5:30am in the morning is nice. It is relatively quiet compare to the otherwise noisy city. Except that (1) it is freezing (2) my dodgy $200 camera just cannot capture the scenery.
Still highly recommended though.
Melbourne people dress better. Walking along Swanston Street on Friday night and you rarely see any "engineer-type" outfit. Not that I know anything about the fashion either, but people there just seem to dress differently.
At the same time, I found Melbourne people walk slower as I usually out-paced everyone on the street. Sydney still feels more "busy", or "messy", or "more chaotic".
Metlink is far better than the century old system RTA is giving us here in Sydney. Traffic is usually better than Sydney, but driving in CBD can still be scary if you are not sure where you are going. Buses are no where to be seen in CBD and inner city suburbs, as trams are offering the same functionality. I can't stand trams though. They will just stop in the middle of the road to pick up/drop off passengers. It sucks to be stuck behind them.
Driving south bound along M1 Princess Highway, and 15 minutes after departing from CBD you are already in the "country area" with farms and a big flat space on your left and right. 15 minutes driving from Sydney CBD and you are still stuck in traffic on the Parramatta Road...
Basically you won't see any major urbanised area until you hit Geelong. Very nice town with a beautiful bay. Too bad the refinery is on the other side of the bay which really destroyed the view -- a bit like Botany Bay here.
I still prefer Sydney though.