While many have made the move to Australia, few have looked beyond its famous east coast. To enjoy all of the great things this amazing country has to offer, but without the hustle and bustle, head west and discover Australia’s best kept secret, the vibrant city of Perth.
A burgeoning and diverse population, booming economy, vibrant cultural scene, low pollution, clean beaches, abundant green space and highly efficient public services all add to the city’s charm, offering plenty of things to do. Perth was also named the 7th best in the world to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2015, and has made that list almost every year since 2004.
Perth is no giant concrete metropolis: a population of 2 million people cover an area of over 5,000 square kilometres (compared to London’s 8.63 million in an area of 1,570 sq km), giving most of the city a suburban rather than urban feel. There are, in fact, over 300 suburbs in Perth which makes choosing the right one to live in, for house prices, travel and education (not to mention proximity to the beach!), a tricky proposition requiring a good deal of research.
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Perth has stormed onto the world stage in recent years in more ways than one. Western Australia’s huge mining boom certainly turned a few heads, leading to Perth now being home to more than 30 international oil and gas companies. This growing city is also one of only 19 cities to be a member of the illustrious World Energy Cities Partnership.
Foreign investment continues to flood into Perth’s economy, with manufacturing, agribusiness and retail among the strongest industries. Innovative companies have also been thriving, with industries ranging from 3D printing to sustainable energy production enjoying widespread success. Be aware that if you are not a resident or Australian citizen, you must have a permit to work in Perth.
While there are employment opportunities across all sectors of the economy here, the majority of available positions are in industries related to mining and hospitality, as well as scientific and technical services. Perth is also home to several industry giants, such as Rio Tinto and Wesfarmers, both of whom are worth over 58 billion AUD each. If you’re not sure where to look, try local jobs boards and LinkedIn to get an idea of what jobs are available in your industry.
The cost of living in Perth is among the highest in the country, though the median household income is the third highest in the country at 75,868 AUD. If you’re torn between moving to Sydney or Perth, keep in mind that in Perth you need 6,659 AUD to maintain the same standard of living that would cost you 7,000 AUD in Sydney.
The cost of food in Perth is among the most expensive in the country, regardless of whether you eat out or cook for yourself at home. For a nice, 3-course meal for two you can expect to pay around 100 AUD, which is less than in London, while an inexpensive meal is anywhere from 15-35 AUD.
Head to the market and get a litre of milk for 1.60 AUD, loaf of bread for 3.25 AUD, and a 1.5 litre of water for 2-4 AUD. Beer, whether it is domestic or imported ranges from 4-8 AUD in the shops versus 7-11 AUD at a restaurant.
Expect the cost of utilities per month to be around 330 AUD for basics and internet, while the average price per mobile minute is 0.73 AUD; of course, mobile plans with some of the popular providers like Telstra, Vodafone or Optus will be lower.
Transport in and around Perth
Perth has extensive public transportation with bus, train and ferry all part of the TransPerth network, and is less expensive than Sydney.
- TransPerth Train System: Five main lines go throughout Perth: the Armandale, Joondalup, Mandurah, Fremantle and Midland lines. A Standard SmartRider card is cheaper than paying as you travel by cash - as with all major global cities - where a single journey in 1 Zone is 2.55 AUD with a SmartRider or 3 AUD with a cash ticket. Free travel is available for seniors, veterans, small children and other demographics.
- Free transit CAT buses: Perth City and Fremantle run a free, high frequency service in their most central districts.
- Ferry services: There are several ferry service providers, including Captain Cook Cruises, Rottnest Fast Ferries and Rottnest Express.
- Taxis: The four main services are: Black and White Cabs, Coastal Cabs, Swan Taxis and Yellow Cabs.
After years of rapid growth, Perth’s real estate market is finally starting to slow down, though there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Housing in Perth remains significantly cheaper than places like Sydney and Melbourne, regardless of whether you buy or rent; the average house price in Perth currently sits at 540,000 AUD while the average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is 1,800 AUD.
Source: Flickr | Alan Lam
The majority of Perth’s housing is detached single family houses; however, if you want to live closer to the city centre an increasing number of homes are in multi-storey blocks of units (apartments). Like most cities, the further you are willing to be from the centre of Perth, the larger and less expensive your options will be.
Whether you want to live in Perth’s city centre or in one of its beachside suburbs, you will find a far more relaxed atmosphere here than in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. There are plenty of parks and shops, public transit is extremely efficient, and you won’t friend a friendlier place in Australia. The following are some of the many great neighbourhoods to set up your base in Perth:
Family friendly: Cottesloe – if your family is the active kind you will love this beach-side suburb. Not only are there shops, parks and cafes, this is also one of Perth’s cleanest and safest areas.
Dianella – this well established and community oriented suburb is perfect for raising a young family. It has plenty of trees, shops, a library and lots of affordable housing options.
Floreat – While housing here is on the expensive side, you won’t find a more family friendly area. Features include wide streets, lots of parks, good schools and even a local beach.
Upmarket: Applecross – located 7 km from Perth’s CBD, Applecross boasts beautiful city views, tree-lined streets and lies on the banks of the Swan River. This is also one of Perth’s oldest suburbs.
Claremont – one of Perth’s more prestigious western suburbs, this area’s highlights include great shopping, huge homes, ample greenspace, high-end restaurants and nearby beaches.
Peppermint Grove – Few parts of Australia are more exclusive than here. This tiny area on the north bank of the Swan River has huge houses with high fences and lots of large old trees.
Hip and trendy: Leederville – this inner city neighbourhood is one of Perth’s most hip and vibrant areas. Its diverse community has lots of bars, cafes and independent shops of every description.
Mount Lawley – whether you are an artist, musician or a cutting edge trendsetter, you’ll love this inner city area. It has affordable housing, interesting shops and even its own skate park.
Northbridge – located just 1km from the city centre, this vibrant enclave has some of Perth’s coolest galleries, best restaurants and hippest bars, not to mention truly stunning architecture.
Up and coming: Yanchep – this suburb in Perth’s north-west is growing fast, with a 20% increase in population last year alone! Though far from the CBD, it is close to the ocean and homes are still affordable.
Ellenbrook – designed to be essentially self-sustaining, this area is just over 23km from the CBD. Close to wetlands, schools, shops and parks, this is a safe, clean and friendly area.
Lathlain – One of Perth’s best kept secrets, this area lies roughly 6km from the CBD. It is safe, clean and has lots of parks, shops and decent affordable housing options.
Cost of moving to Perth
The cost of moving to Perth will depend on how much you need to move and how far it has to travel. The following estimates are based on the cost of moving a 20 foot shipping container:
|Abu Dhabi||£6,479 GBP|
Schools and education
There are just over 600 schools in Perth, the majority of which are government run while the rest are predominantly religious or private schools. You will also find 8 schools offering International Baccalaureate programmes.
Perth has a wide range of post-secondary opportunities too, including a network of TAFE community colleges and a range of hospitality, business and trade institutions. There are also five world class universities; the highest ranked (according to the World University Rankings) are the following:
- University of Western Australia: Ranked 80 – specialties include Arts, Commerce, Design, Science, Dentistry, Medicine, Education and Architecture.
- Curtin University: Ranked 331 – specialties include Business, Health, Humanities, Science, Engineering and Aboriginal Studies.
- Murdoch University: Ranked 551 – specialties include Veterinary Science, Engineering, Law, IT, Business, Psychology and Nursing.
Source: Flickr | Kim Davies
Ranking against the world
Perth has evolved into one of the world’s best places to live, as well as fellow Australian cities Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney; clearly moving to Australia should be on everyone’s to-do list.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is geographically closer to Jakarta than Sydney and East Timor than Canberra, however new residents of Australia’s fourth biggest city by population will feel anything but isolated. While not as multiculturally diverse as some of Australia’s east coast cities, Perth is attracting emigrants from all over the world and is now home to people from dozens of nations and countless religious orientations.
Compared to Sydney, rent and housing prices in Perth are approximately 30% cheaper, while costs of public transportation is around 15% cheaper.
Perth's climate through the seasons
|Spring||September to November||14 to 20°C||2in of rain|
|Summer||December to February||22 to 24°C||0.5in of rainfall|
|Autumn||March to May||16 to 23°C||6in of rainfall|
|Winter||June to August||13 to 14°C||6in of rainfall|
A day in the life
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could live in a thriving city that didn’t feel overcrowded; a place where you could enjoy world class arts, culture and entertainment and all those big city benefits but with a small town feel? In Perth you will have the best of both worlds.
Spend your day making a difference in some of Australia’s most innovative industries, then after work, get lost in the magnificent King’s Park, take a dip at Cottesloe Beach or enjoy a sumptuous meal at one the city’s world class restaurants. With a population less than a quarter the size of London but more than three times the space, Perth is a place where you have the breathing room you need to relax and grow.
Whether your love is art, music, architecture or just spending time with your family, you won’t find a safer, cleaner or more vibrant city than Perth.
Perth's events calendar
|Time||Event||What it is|
|New Year’s Day||Perth Cup||Horse race and great annual celebration|
|January||Fremantle Sardine Festival||A celebration of the famous Fremantle sardine!|
|FringeWorld Festival||Alternative arts and cabaret festival|
|Australia Day Skyworks||The country's largest Australia Day celebration, with fireworks along the waterfront|
|February||Avon Descent||Paddle and power boating along the Avon and Swan rivers|
|February and March||Festival of Perth||A celebration of theatre, music, dance and other visual arts|
|March - April||Fairbridge Festival||A folk, blues and world music festival|
|April||Eat Drink Perth||Tasting stations, cookery lessons, demonstrations and markets full of curiosities...|
|May||Taste of Perth||3 day fine food and drink tasting--degustation!--from 10 selected restaurants|
|September||King’s Perth Wildflower Festival||Stunning wildflower show|
|September - October||Perth Royal Show||Rural, agricultural, horticultural and all-round countryside show|