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« Mr Bruce meets the ocean | Main | Extraordinary machine »

Ah, Sydney!

Lord but Sydney’s beautiful! I’ve just had five days there and was blown away by how gorgeous it is.

Granted I was on holiday. What’s more, I was on a silent meditation retreat – an introvert’s paradise – and all I had to do all day was sleep, meditate, eat, walk, repeat. So I was predisposed to feel positive about my environment. It helped that Sydney was all bright blue freezing sky and sunshine, until the day it poured, and that was lovely in its own way. Plus, I was in a scenic part of Sydney. I know Sydney has ugly bits – even Paris has those.

I write this as a proud and contented Melburnian who wouldn’t choose to live for long anywhere else, except maybe Ahmedabad. Or the Isle of Skye.

Sydney, however, is something else if you’re talking about natural beauty. Melbourne has laneways and graffiti, bars and live music galore; Sydney has three things that Melbourne lacks, things that feed my soul: water, hills and bush. It has sizeable national parks smack bang in the middle of the city. Walk to the end of a perfectly ordinary suburban cul de sac and abruptly you’re on a bush track with streams and massive trees and ferns and immense mossy boulders and only the faint sound of traffic to remind you you’re in a major city. Driving from the airport through the CBD there are the magnificent clichés of the bridge and the opera house, and then you’re onto a main road that winds through the kind of landscape you only see in, say, the Dandenongs around here.

The coastline puts me in mind of the children’s classic Where the forest meets the sea. Sub-tropical rain forest comes right down to the water’s edge, unlike the grey, uninspiring scrub that fronts the beaches I’m used to. Every corner you turn, you see a new aspect of a bay, small boats bobbing serenely. Half close your eyes and pretend those boats away, and you are transported back into a painting from the early days of European invasion – twisty white tree trunks against the dense grey-green bush, blinding cockatoos screeching as they fly across the water.

Next time my main man and I are looking for a short break, that’s where I’ll vote for heading. I don’t see why someone who loves Melbourne can’t be smitten with Sydney. Both are afflicted with insane real estate prices and loads of social problems. Both are also fabulous, vibrant cities. It’s not a competition.


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Reader Comments (1)

I like your balanced approach to the Melbourne/Sydney rivalry Clare. You're right, it should not be a competition. I have a friend who lives you know where who says the only good thing about Melbourne is the road to Sydney!

July 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

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