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National Geographic has called this city a best-kept secret. If you look at a map of Australia, you realize that Perth is the lone city on the west coast of Australia, the closest large city is Adelaide which is 2700 km away. So geographically speaking, Perth is pretty isolated. But that has helped create the charming city it is today.

Perth is closer to Bali than any other Australian city (a good location if you want to get a cheap holiday to Indonesia). It has the Indian Ocean on one side and the remote outback on the other. This contributes to the amazing weather that Perth has and it’s unique biodiversity.

It was the mining boom which opened up this remote part of Western Australia. Perth may not be the first place you think about when you think of settling down in Australia, in fact often the east coast may capture the attention first… But the remote capital of Western Australia will capture your heart forever.

perth city scape

Perth is filled with sunshine

The sunniest capital in Australia has white beaches, Perth is pretty tempting if you like warm weather. If you compare Perth with other Australian cities, it’s far drier because the sun never leaves Perth – it shines for 265 - 320 days a year. The average temperatures in summer range from 17.5o – 30oC.

Then in the afternoons in Fremantle, a cool breeze from the ocean, the ‘Fremantle Doctor’, offers respite from the heat.

Autumn and spring are warm, sunny, but with cooler temperatures at night, down to 10oC at the lowest.

The warm temperatures are reflected in the water too, with average sea temperatures in summer around 23oC and lowering to 20oC in winter.

Winters are filled with rain, with temperatures coming down to as low as eight degrees. 

A people- friendly city

Perth is the one of the top ten most liveable cities in the world, mostly because it combines the best of city life with the quiet joys of suburban sprawl. It’s a little-big town… small enough so you know people, big enough you still have secret areas and places to find even after living there a few years.

Perth used to be a city where life came to a standstill by six in the evening. All this has changed, though the capital is still jokingly called ‘Wait Awhile’ for its slow pace. More recently, the cost of living has gone up too, though it is far more affordable than Sydney or Auckland.

Perth is geographically remote and as a result has turned into a self-sufficient space with great night life, multiculturalism and cafes. The population is diverse and yet there is a strong sense of community.

In general, people lead very relaxed lives and their idea of a party is throwing a BBQ with friends, chatting by the pool or walking on the beach. The people of Perth are extremely friendly, laid back and know how to have fun.

perth city street

Aboriginal lore

Perth is also a more recently developed city though it does have its share of history. King Street has a lot of shops with original facades from the 1900’s, and Fremantle has many heritage buildings from when the Europeans arrived.

Prior to the Europeans settling the area, the Nyoongar people lived around Perth for thousands of years. The Kings Park and Yanchep National Park showcase Aboriginal culture. In fact, Perth pays tribute to its Aboriginal heritage in a huge way; Yagan who was the warrior patriot who was part of the Aboriginal Resistance in the 1800s is celebrated at Swan Valley to date.

It’s important to acknowledge the Aboriginal culture and the influence the indigenous people have in the area. Australian’s European history is short in comparison.

An affordable city

Perth is a highly affordable city. Perth was ranked 61st in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey in 2018. In comparison, Auckland rocks up behind Perth in 81st place. Things like rent, transport costs, electricity and food is about the same as in Auckland, although fresh fruit and vegetables are generally cheaper than in NZ.

What can we do in Perth, mate?

Get out in nature and get some exercise: Perth is a great city for walkers. Check out the many walking trails around Perth – you are sure to get your 10,000 steps a day. You only have to travel two hours away from Perth to be deep into the local nature. More locally, you’ll find nature at its best at Kings Park and the Botanic Gardens. Climb up the hill, enjoy the views, and walk through the beautifully manicured gardens.

Take a detour north of Perth to Nambung National Park to have an almost sci-fi encounter with the limestone sentries in the Pinnacles desert.

Trial some wines: You can visit the Margaret River Wine region and trial one or ten of the local full-bodied reds. There are over forty wineries in Swan Valley alone; so get ready for your wine trail.  Try Plume Estate Winery in Bickley for some great reds paired with gorgeous food at their restaurant. If you’re more of a cider drinker, visit Core Cider House at Pickering Brook and ask for the taster tray that has five lush ciders to try.

Also in Perth itself there’s great night-life so you can try local wines closer to home. In particular, Northbridge, Joondalup, Scarborough and Fremantle are areas with good night-life.

Surf, swim and sunbathe: And oh, all those white sandy beaches and delightfully warm waters. Cottesloe Beach is the pin-up of Perth beaches, with its blonde sand and blue waters. It’s at its best in the morning before that Fremantle Doctor arrives, with small waves.

Mettams Pool offers shallow waters with snorkelling opportunities. You’ll find starfish, brightly patterned tropical fish and the occasional octopus.

Hang out with the locals: You’ll find marsupials galore at the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park.  Want to meet a wombat? Try the Caversham Wildlife Park. If you thought wombats were strange enough, how about a quokka selfie? Quokkas are only found on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth. They are very inquisitive, friendly, smiley and just an all-over cute marsupial. And of course, don’t forget the birds; parrots and pigeons, gulls and galahs.

If you like your animals a bit tamer, then the Cat Café Purrth (get it?!) has coffee and some furry friends who will give you love (or tolerate your attentions). For the kids you can also head to Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm to get up close and personal with a range of Aussie natives of the cuddlier kind (i.e. not snakes and spiders).

Admire the local art: Art lovers can take in the art scene in the area, with a vibrant street art and music culture. The best way to see the local art is by taking a free walking tour through it. There is a City Art Walking Trail map that allows you to see mosaics, bronze swans, bounding kangaroos and plenty of murals.

Soak in the culture: There a host of cultural attractions at Perth, including museums, art galleries and exhibitions. A highlight is catching a classic movie at the city’s outdoor cinemas. Explore Fremantle Prison, which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. There’s also Scitech with lots of interactive exhibits for the science-minded kids, the Museum of Perth and the WACA sports museum for the rugby and cricket fans.

Eat away in Perth: You can taste a wide variety of cuisines that represent the widely diverse population in Western Australia.  Perth is also famous for its seafood. Have you heard of the street food heaven Twilight Markets? You’ll find a huge range of international cuisines to choose from including as Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Ethiopian and Jamaican.

For amazing local food, Wildflower has Aboriginal- inspired food, with food grown in the local area. You can try Manjimup marron with bush tomato and beach spinach, Geraldton Kingfish with finger lime and river herbs or roasted Baldivis macadamias with macadamia curd and mango sorbet.

Propeller offers a great range of Middle-Eastern fare with an emphasis on great vegetarian food.

Al fresco dining is a favourite dining option, and with the amazing weather year-round, many eateries have gardens, courtyards, deck and river-side dining.

Shop till you drop: Make your shopping experience rich by visit Oxford Street, Claremont Quarter and King Street.  The Hay Street Mall is an open-air mall jam-packed with department stores, arcades and cafes. Myer and David Jones department stores in Perth are great shopping destinations too. 

Suburban urban

The city is neither expansive nor tiny. In the CBD It’s got the best of both worlds—high rise hotels, museums and art galleries, all in walking distance of each other. The capital has a chilled-out feel to it. With two million people living here, and only a small percent located in the CBD itself, the suburbs are definitely the place to be.  

Great family life

There is a great life for the kids in Perth too. The kindergarten and schooling systems are much like NZ, so the kids will simply slot into life here easily enough.

The beaches in the area are great for children with typically small waves, making them ideal for swimming and picnics.

There are also plenty of activities for the kids to do other than just the beach. Try heading to The Maze, where they’ll play all day on the waterslide playground, kids splash zone, mini golf, get lost (and hopefully found again) in the mazes and get up close with fluffy Aussie wildlife.

There’s also a range of other non-local wildlife to investigate at the Perth Zoo. Elephants, tigers, and bears, rhinos, lions and giraffes will keep the kids spellbound for the day.

Perth Family with a Kangaroo

Perth is the new home you’re looking for

With so many opportunities, a laid-back lifestyle and a similar cost of living to NZ but with more potential for higher earnings. If you are planning a move to Australia, ditch the east coast and head to the warm West coast, where opportunities abound and the living is easy.

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