I have been in Australia now almost a week, and I have really enjoyed this first trip with much gratitude and thanks to my colleagues based here and the many others who have been welcoming.
Although I made the trip to Sydney this weekend, I was in Melbourne (above and below pics) the first few days and return tomorrow. There's much to like about both cities and I feel some urge to make comparisons to other cities I have experienced. But to do so would be to generalize too much.
The Australian people remind me of Americans in the Southwest--more laid back--and there is a sarcastic and teasing sense of humor here that closely resembles humor in the States. But at the same time, I can definitely feel the underlying European current, most strongly in Melbourne as most people here describe. The Asian influence is also strong and brings a lot of diversity to both cities.
I am looking forward to spending a lot more time in these two cities, as well as the rest of Australia!