Sydney is famous for its harbour, its Opera House, its beaches and its shopping. A year ago “Sydney” was an easy weekend getaway. So until we have the trans-tasman bubble sorted out and we are free to venture around our “Island bubble”, let’s see how they match up.
It’s free to cross the Harbour Bridge
Yes, the Auckland Harbour Bridge traffic isn’t always free-flowing, but you can drive back and forth between the North Shore and the central city as many times as you like each day and it won’t cost you a cent in tolls. By contrast, every southbound trip on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will set you back between AUD $2.50 and $4.00 depending on the time of day.
Auckland has better beaches
Sydney has some world-famous beaches, like Bondi and Manly, but the downside of being so popular is that they’re often extremely crowded. In Auckland, it’s not uncommon to find yourself on a pristine stretch of sand with only a handful of other people. Even on a hot summer’s day, there’s still plenty of room thanks to the fact that Auckland is encircled by three harbours and has 29,000km of coastline. Take your pick from family-friendly white sand bays on the east coast through to wild, black sand surf beaches in the west.
Auckland has less extreme weather
Thanks to our position between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland has a mild, pleasant climate year-round, with few extremes. Sydney gets much hotter – in fact, in 2018, the suburbs of Penrith and Richmond both achieved temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius. Sydney is also well-known for extreme weather events, like the 2009 dust storm that turned the city red, disrupted international flights, closed down the main tunnel of the M5 East Motorway, shut down building sites and cancelled ferry services. In 1999 a hailstorm that pelted the city with hailstones as big as cricket balls for over five hours damaged 35,000 houses, 40,000 cars and 25 commercial aircraft. It was Australia’s most expensive natural disaster, costing $1.7 billion.
The wildlife in your Auckland garden is unlikely to kill you
While Avondale spiders and Gisborne cockroaches might be large and scary, they’re harmless and probably more scared of you than you are of them! Sydney gardens, on the other hand, can be home to the Sydney Funnel Web Spider, whose venom can kill a person in 15 minutes. There are also six species of venomous snake that can be found in Sydney, including the Eastern Brown and Red-Bellied Black, which can occasionally stray into residential yards.
Auckland has less traffic
Yes, really! The TomTom Traffic Index for 2018 ranked Auckland behind Sydney in terms of congestion on the roads. And the good news is that Auckland’s traffic has improved, dropping it from the 77th most congested city in 2017 to 112th in 2018, most likely due to a recent big uptake in the use of public transport.
The experts agree
The 2019 Mercer Quality of Living report ranks Auckland 3rd equal (alongside Munich and Vancouver), well ahead of Sydney in joint 11th place. The Mercer report uses metrics such as recreation, housing, economic and social environment, public services, education and the availability of consumer goods to rank each city.
The WSP Opus Global Cities Index looks at “how cities are preparing for a future shaped by tomorrow’s major urbanisation and growth”. The most recent report, conducted in 2018, ranked Auckland in 13th place, ahead of Sydney at number 15.