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Victoria and New South Wales

Rivalry Between the States


Melbourne tram and buildings at back

A Melbourne tram against a backdrop of city buildings

© Australian Tourist Commission 1997

Australia's smallest mainland state, Victoria, is a winner in more ways than one. But don’t tell this to their northern neighbors in New South Wales.

Keen rivalry has always existed between Victoria and New South Wales -- and between their cities of Melbourne and Sydney -- and one wouldn’t know for certain who’d win in a dust-up.

Let’s just say that Victoria is a victor in itself.

Size doesn't matter

Sure, Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state (228,000 square kilometres as against the 802,000 square kilometres of New South Wales), but this is actually an advantage.

Most Victoria attractions are within a short day’s ride from Melbourne, many within an hour or so.

Daylesford with its natural mineral springs are an hour away to the northwest; the Yarra wine valley is an hour to the northeast; and Ocean Beach on the Mornington Peninsula is an hour to the south.

Sydney and Melbourne

As far as the capital cities of New South Wales and Victoria go, Sydney is blest with its harbour and its iconic Opera House.

You’d need to go on a walking tour in the heart of each city to find out which -- Melbourne or Sydney -- has more to offer.

My money’s on Sydney. (But being a Sydneysider, I’m biased, of course.)

Fashion, food, culture

Consider: Melbourne is still often regarded as the fashion, food and cultural capital of Australia. Once it was also the country’s financial centre, but this distinction is now shared with Sydney.

The Australian national government had its roots in Melbourne -- seat of the national government from federation in 1901 until 1927.

The Australian capital, Canberra, was carved out of New South Wales somewhere between Melbourne and Sydney to stem the two cities’ rivalry. The first Australian Parliament House opened in Canberra in 1927 and this has now been replaced with the newer house on the hill.

State attractions

There's great variety in Victoria attractions -- and they're closer to one another.

In winter, the snowfields in Victoria’s Alpine country are closer to Melbourne than the Snowy Mountains resorts are to Sydney.

Go southeast from Melbourne for the fairy penguin parade at Phillip Island at dusk.

The Great Ocean Road

Go west on the Great Ocean Road, through scenic shores, to the Twelve Apostles. Go northwest to the Murray River.

Visit the goldfield towns of Ballarat and Bendigo and feel the breath of history at the Eureka Stockade. There’s Sovereign Hill, a recreated gold-mining township, in the area as well.

Museums, historic colonial buildings -- you’ll find them in Victoria, too.

And the winner is...

Well, perhaps there’s no real winner as to which state is better: Victoria or New South Wales.

Many New South Welshmen like to travel south to Victoria, and many Victorians holiday in New South Wales.

Sometimes, it’s pretty much six of this and half a dozen of the other.

Victoria victorious? Or is it New South Wales?

(And if you feel like expressing an opinion, there's our forum, of course.)

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