New South Wales
With all due respect to the folks at The Economist who have ranked Melbourne the world’s most livable city for the past five years, Sydney is more than just a city. The country’s biggest population center and beating heart has it all: world-class beaches, a bumping nightlife, and one of planet Earth’s most picturesque skylines. While Melbourne is well known for its architecture and culture, Sydney is surrounded by beauty and nature that you can easily explore by ferry or on foot.
Plus, it’s a helluva lot of fun. From the pub-heavy districts of The Rocks and Potts Point to the shadier, more “adventurous” red-light district Kings Cross to the many glitzy clubs that can be found dotted throughout the city, Sydney offers more of a California coastal feel paired with an NYC “center of the world” mentality where there’s always something going down -- not to mention better weather and a less concrete feel than Melbourne. Whether your scene is Manly or Bondi Beach, the hipster hoods of Newtown/Surry Hills around the University of Sydney, or laid-back beachside suburbs like Coogee, keep in mind this warning: a Sydney vacation can quickly turn into a permanent relocation.
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Jay Gentile is a Thrillist contributor and world traveler who’s been to 25+ countries across five continents, but really wishes he was in Byron Bay right about now. Follow him @innerviewmag.