Melbourne vs Vancouver

Melbourne is the current most “livable city in the world” while Vancouver is a former number one. They compare a bunch of crap that you probably don’t care about, but what you probably do care about is major lifestyle areas.

This is the first of a series comparing various cities that I have lived in. Of course these are my opinion, so yours may differ. I have already touched on a few points in a previous post but this will be more extensive. Let the city smackdown begin!

Note: I have avoided making comparisons in living areas such as health care, education etc largely because I cannot personally make an accurate comparison between the two.

Cost of Living
Comparing day-to-day living costs, Melbourne seems a bit more expensive than Vancouver, although not majorly so. As mentioned in a previous post, you will find some things in Australia to be significantly more expensive. If you factor in the higher minimum wage in Australia, it seems that Melbourne should come out ahead in this category as long as you aren’t going ham on certain items.
Winner: Melbourne

Both are great food cities and have strengths in different areas. If I had to pick one, I would favour Vancouver’s food scene. Maybe I know it a bit better, but considering the city’s size, it covers an immense range in diversity, price and quality. Stand outs in Vancouver would be “West Coast Cuisine”, Chinese and Japanese. They also have better burgers than Melbourne. Yes, Chester the burger baron gives Vancouver the winning vote over Melbourne.
Winner: Vancouver

Japanese Vancouver

Vancouver Japanese food

Public Transit
Melbourne’s train and tram network is far more extensive than Vancouver’s skytrain system but Vancouver’s buses are more extensive and frequent than Melbourne’s buses. Many of Melbourne’s trains are late approximately 10% of the time but the slower trams fare better in terms of punctuality. Vancouver’s skytrains are rarely late but when they have a breakdown, the whole system falls apart and you will see everyone flood social media with complaints. Vancouver finally introduced a tap on system to bring their system up to date to 1999 while Melbourne’s slightly confusing MyKi system is more mature. Melbourne recently introduced 24 hour trams and trains on major routes on the weekends. This is a huge win for public transit and Melbourne should be proud.
Winner: Melbourne

Crime & Safety
I wasn’t intending to rate this category as I can’t say much about it other than what the news reports. Both seem fairly similar so, I’m going with the neutral approach. Tie.
Winner: Tied

I would consider both to be sporty cities but each city carries highlights different sports. Vancouver boasts ice hockey, soccer(football), and football as its major attractions. Melbourne has its eyes on rugby, soccer(football), Aussie rules football (Aka Footy), cricket, and hosts world events such as the Australian Open and Formula 1 Racing. You probably can’t beat a truly passionate hockey fan in Vancouver but Vancouver was also the city that couldn’t keep its basketball team. Lastly, the fact that Melbourne hosts such global events does say something about its sport culture.
Winner: Melbourne

Australian Open

Australian Open tennis

With its unique geography and location, Vancouver is home to land, beach and beautiful mountains. With beautiful hikes as close as 20 minutes from downtown, Vancouver has an edge that Melbourne can’t touch. There is no contest here. Vancouver has nature close in proximity and the playground of British Columbia at its doorsteps. A quick hike nearby and a stroll down to the beach? No problem!
Winner: Vancouver

Vancouver is well-known for being a rainy city. So much so that it has a nickname Raincouver. Due to most of their weather systems coming from the Pacific Ocean and other meteorological reasons, Vancouver weather is hard to accurately predict. Melbourne on the other hand, is bit more predictable; Predictable in that you should frequently expect 3 seasons in the span of a day. That being said, Melbourne gets a lot more sunny days than Vancouver, even in the winter. And sorry, I like my sunshine.
Winner: Melbourne

Things to do
As far as indoor activities go, things are pretty even, but with Vancouver’s geographical advantage over Melbourne, what can’t you do in Vancouver? When it comes to outdoor activities, Vancouver has a huge advantage over Melbourne. Water sports like kayaking – check. Winter sports like skiing – check. Summer activities like camping – check. As long as you can bear the rainy days, there is a plethora of things to do in or near Vancouver all year round.
Winner: Vancouver

Things to do

Vancouver backyard

Most of Vancouver’s nightlife is situated around a few core areas. Melbourne has various pockets of nightlife in a number of different areas. Besides your standard clubs in both cities, Melbourne is a haven for hidden bars in alleyways. Hipster or not, it’s part of the Melbourne charm and with so much choice, you’re likely to find something for everyone.
Winner: Melbourne

Long known for its artsy hip culture, Melbourne boasts its share of museums, galleries, and musical attractions. With what seems like a festival or event every week, there is no shortage of events to explore art, culture and food in Melbourne. If you walk the city at night or a weekend, you will find it filled with local and international buskers. From music to art for sale, its personality as a city shines through in this area.
Winner: Melbourne.

Street art

Melbourne buskers

Melbourne: 6
Vancouver: 3

Winner: Melbourne


City smackdowns to come: Melbourne vs Sydney, Kuala Lumpur vs Cape Town


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  1. Hmm interesting. I’ll have to travel to Melbourne then. 🙂

  2. I did both, and 4 of my friends too, for at least 1 year each.
    we all agree, vancouver is far more better than melbourne on the overall .

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