Brisbane vs Melbourne: Which City Is Better To Visit?

Brisbane and Melbourne are two of the most popular tourist destinations. Both cities offer a unique blend of culture, history, and modern amenities, making them ideal places to visit. However, if you’re planning a trip to Australia and wondering which city to visit, the question remains: Brisbane versus Melbourne – which is better?

In this article, we’ll explore the various aspects of these two cities and help you decide which suits your travel preferences better.

Here is the main difference between Brisbane and Melbourne

The main difference between the two cities is that Brisbane provides more budget-friendly vacation options, including dining and accommodation. Melbourne, on the other side, leans toward offering premium services to their visitors at a higher cost.


Quick overview

Sure, here’s a more concise version without sources:

Main DifferenceBudget-friendly travel optionsOffers more premium services
Key AttractionsStory Bridge, Wheel of Brisbane, parks, and local museumsFederation Square, Royal Exhibition Building, diverse museums, and parks
Food and DiningLaid-back food culture with fresh seafood and Queensland beef steakTop culinary destination with diverse local and international cuisines
AccommodationBudget-friendly hotels, motels, hostels, and serviced apartmentsBoutique hotels and luxury properties
TransportationExtensive bus and train networks, experiences traffic during rush hoursTrains, trams, and buses, experiences heavy traffic during rush hours
Visitor ExperienceClean and safe, locals are relaxed and friendlyClean and safe, locals are relaxed and friendly


Both cities offer a wide range of attractions and experiences. From unique landmarks, museums, and beautiful parks to outdoor spaces. Here is how different they are from each other.


Perhaps the most iconic landmark in Brisbane is the Story Bridge. It is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge that spans the Brisbane River. When you visit Brisbane, you can climb the bridge and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Another magnificent landmark that reminds you that you are in Brisbane is the Wheel of Brisbane. The giant Ferris wheel in South Bank Parklands has gondolas that each fit at least 6 adults and two children. Take four rotations and experience 10 minutes of adrenaline in Australia.

On the other side, Melbourne’s main landmark is Federation Square. The venue mainly hosts various arts, culture, and public events. Some of the most memorable events that have taken place in Fed Square include Oprah’s Australian tour, several peace rallies, and big-screen events.

The Royal Exhibition Building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has many exhibitions and events. Therefore, most of Melbourne’s landmarks lean towards art and cultural events for visitors.

The Royal Exhibition Building


Brisbane has a couple of museums that help you learn more about the origin of the Australian city. Queensland Museum and the Museum of Brisbane are attractions that showcase the city’s history and culture. The galleries also have exhibitions based on science, art, and design.

On the other hand, Melbourne has more diverse museums than Brisbane. They include the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).


Brisbane boasts several parks like South Bank Park, Roma Street, and the Botanic Gardens. The most popular of all parks is the South Bank Parklands which gives visitors a wide range of parklands, pools, and river views to enjoy.

Melbourne’s city parks include Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, and Carlton Gardens. These gardens are suitable for taking strolls around the park. Picnics are also a good idea at the parks. Other parks, such as Yarra Bend Park and Albert Parks, are famous for sporting activities.

Food and Dining

Melbourne and Brisbane have vibrant food scenes. Both cities offer various cuisines, from local fare to international delicacies, and are home to many popular restaurants, cafes, and bars. However, you will find a difference in the experience they give. Here’s how they differ.


Brisbane’s food culture is somewhat more laid-back than Melbourne’s. Plenty of fresh seafood, particularly its Moreton Bay bugs, and prawns. Another local delicacy is the traditional Queensland beef steak with chips and salad.

The types of cafes you’re more likely to find open-air cafes, often serving various healthy, fresh food options. In Melbourne, cafes focus more on specialty coffee and unique food offerings.


On the other hand, Melbourne is globally recognized as a top culinary destination. Traditional and modern cuisine blend characterizes the city’s innovative food culture. Melbourne’s diverse population has also led to a melting pot of cuisines.

You can find plenty of Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, and more dishes from countries worldwide.

The meat pie is one of Melbourne’s most famous local dishes and Australia’s staple. You can find these savory pastries in many local bakeries and cafes filled with minced meat and a gravy diet.


Where you will spend your night when visiting a foreign city is vital when planning your trip. Both cities provide a wide range of accommodation options. The available options will differ depending on one’s budget and preference.


Similar to Melbourne, there are various accommodation options in Brisbane. You can opt for hotels, motels, hostels, or serviced apartments.

However, Brisbane offers more budget-friendly options, while Melbourne has more options for boutique hotels and luxury properties.

Some examples of accommodation choices are;

Budget Hostels:

Brisbane City YHA: Dorm beds start from $32 AUD per night.
Tripadvisor Review: 4.0/5 (based on 718 reviews)

Bunk Backpackers: Dorm beds start from AUD 35 per night.
Tripadvisor Reviews: 3.5/5 (based on 689 reviews)


Accommodation options in Melbourne include the following:

Mid-range hotels:

Ibis Melbourne Central: Standard queen rooms start from $159 AUD per night.

Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5 (based on 265 reviews)

The Victoria Hotel Melbourne: Standard queen rooms start from $169 AUD per night.

Tripadvisor rating: 4.0/5 (based on 3618 reviews)


The two cities have differences in transportation service, network, and overall traffic congestion. Here are the variations


TransLink takes charge of Brisbane’s train, bus, and ferry public transportation systems. The city has an extensive bus network and a well-established train network that serves much of the metropolitan area.

Brisbane also features a Go Card system, which makes it simple to pay for all forms of transportation. However, Brisbane also has a problem with traffic, especially on main routes and during rush hours.


Trains, trams, and buses are all part of Melbourne’s public transportation system, which is run by Public Transport Victoria (PTV). The area offers a vast network of railroads, trams, and bus routes serving the metropolitan region. Melbourne also uses a Myki card system for transport payment, which makes it simple to pay for all forms of transportation.

However, Melbourne experiences quite heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. Despite the city’s large road system, delays and traffic congestion are sometimes caused by it.

See related: What happens if i miss my Greyhound bus

Visitor experience

Melbourne and Brisbane each offer a unique visitor experience. Here’s a brief overview of the overall visitor experience in terms of safety, cleanliness, friendliness of locals, and ease of navigation:

Most importantly, tourists can feel comfortable in Melbourne and Brisbane. However, like in any city, use caution in some locations, especially at night. Keep an eye on your surroundings at all times, and avoid going for a solo stroll in dimly lit or quiet regions. Visitors can feel generally safe while out and about during the day and while using public transit at night.

See related: The Best & The Worst Time to Visit Darwin


Both cities are spotless and have streets and public areas that are kept up. The laneways in Melbourne, which have been turned into bright, graffiti-covered art lanes, are popular. Brisban, on the other hand, is renowned for its parks and open areas, with the South Bank Parklands being a well-liked tourist hotspot.

See related: Why Are There So Many Flies In Australia?

Friendliness of locals

The people of Melbourne and Brisbane are typical examples of Australians’ relaxed and amiable natures. Visitors anticipate receiving a smile and a warm “G’day” from residents. Although this is not the norm, there can be a few people who are not as hospitable.

Ease of Navigation

The public transit networks in both cities are effective, making it simple for visitors to move around. Brisbane has buses, trains, and ferry services, whereas Melbourne has a sizable tram network in addition to its trains and buses. Both cities feature excellent infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, making getting around on foot or by bike simple.


Is Brisbane more expensive than Melbourne?

No. Brisbane is cheaper overall compared to Melbourne. The city is favorable for budget-conscious travelers, especially in terms of accommodation. Affordable hotels and hostels are popular in Brisbane. Melbourne also has a high cost of living, making accommodation quite expensive. Moreover, most hotels in Melbourne are also luxury hotels with high costs.

Which American city is Melbourne like?

Concerning its size and overall population, Melbourne has been compared to San Francisco, California. Seattle is also a city similar to Melbourne regarding cultural cuisines and many public displays of visual and creative art.