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“The river sucked up the sky and went flat and glittery right down the middle of the place and people went to it in boats and britches and bare-backed. Where the river met the sea, the beaches ran north and south, white and broad as highways in a dream, and men and babies stood in the surf while gulls hung in the haze above, casting shadows on the immodest backs of the oilslicked women.”

— Tim Winton

Are you planning to move to Perth the capital of Western Australia?

The weather’s perfect. The beaches are idyllic. And the region is still booming, despite the Australian slow-down.

Moving to Perth could be quite rewarding and the change that you are looking for.  It is a great place to settle down in and get the best experience of down under.  Perth has a reputation of being isolated but its’ small enough to drive everywhere easily, but large enough that you’re not bumping into everyone you know all the time, so you get the best of both worlds. There is a suburban spirit in Perth that many other main cities lack.

business meeting in perth

But it’s not all peace and serenity in Perth. Northbridge is a lively youngish cultural hub filled with hip eateries, bars and clubs and cocktail lounges. The cappuccino strip is where all the entertainment happens, from open mic nights to festive cabaret. People are lively, friendly and from diverse cultures and they like nothing better than spinning some yarns over a barbecue. While it may be remote from the bulk of Australia’s population, there is no dearth of activity. There are restaurants hosting cuisines from all over the world, an active night life and lots of entertainment. In fact, Perth is one of the top ten most liveable cities in the world, a fast growing city (it’s the fourth largest after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and a lucrative career destination for many expats. The Western Australian capital’s economy is pretty strong because of the mining factor.

There’s so many cultural sites to visit- Australia’s Freemantle Prison, which is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Western Australia; Boffin’s Bookshop famous for its stock of Australian literature. Not to mention wildlife sanctuaries, Rottnest Island, and all the historical buildings in Fremantle.

Perth is great for animal lovers, birdwatchers and hikers (check out the hiking paths in the Swan River Valley). There are lots of koalas for the quintessential Aussie wildlife experience. It’s a great place for snorkelling and surfing too. Sports lovers can rejoice as the Perth stadium has a capacity of 60,000 people and regularly hosts events. The city has a low level of crime and is relatively less polluted.

Disadvantages of living in Perth

The advantages far outnumber the disadvantages but it is best to be fully aware of what you are getting into. Perth is isolated, geographically speaking, and the rising cost of living is another hurdle. On a lighter note another disadvantage is the flies- the hot weather encourages these insects. However these are easily controlled by having screens on all windows and doors.

Employment options in Perth

If you have qualifications in the mining or service sectors, Perth is the place for you. The local government of Perth and the Australian Federal Government want skilled and highly qualified immigrants to work in Perth and add to the economy. It is easy for qualified workers in the mining and service industries to receive a Skilled Regional (provisional) Visa. This visa allows you to fast-track your application for Australian Citizenship.

Anyone who procures this visa will need to live in a low population area, which will be outside the immediate vicinity of Perth. Check Australia Department of Border Control website for more information. Be warned that mining jobs have reduced compared to the demand in 2011.

For other roles, Kiwis get a SCV (Special Category Visa) which allows you to live and work in Australia as long as you like. However, it does not get you the same rights as an Aussie citizen. However, the employment market is wide open for Kiwis. There are a range of roles outside of the mining industry, so look around. While the employment rate isn’t as strong as it has been, it’s still pretty steady and you should be able to find a role with no problems.

Qualifications in Perth

Qualifications and certifications obtained in NZ are accepted in Australia. If you are a qualified lawyer, plumber, accountant, dentist or sparky, or indeed anything else, the education you received in NZ is equal to the Australian counterpart, so you don’t have to re-train or re-sit qualification or entry exams.

Get a TFN

You need to apply for an Australian IRD number – these are called TFN’s. The process is simple but you can only start the process once you’re over there. You can apply online and it should only take a few days. If you don’t get a tax file number, you’ll be charged tax at a much higher rate.

Education for children

Day-care centres are licensed and a great option for working parents. Once the child is four, he or she can join kindergarten for 15 hours in a week. After that, it’s primary school.

The Perth education system is very similar to that of NZ. The majority of schools are state-owned, with a small number of private institutions. If your child is part-way through their schooling, a move to Australia shouldn’t negatively affect their education in any way, as the countries are roughly aligned in terms of what they teach and how they teach it.


Getting a suitable health insurance plan is a must. Kiwis arriving on an SCV are not immediately covered by Medicare. It’s only after six months, with proof of intention to remain in Australia, that you can apply for Medicare.

Those who have a permanent visa can get Medicare, which is the healthcare system run by the Australian government. Medicare is pretty extensive, covering most medical expenses at public clinics including consultation fees. Medicare does not cover dental costs, private hospital stays, or elective surgery. Having additional private health insurance means for that first six months you’re covered, and after that you and your family can apply for Medicare.


Perth’s public transportation network, Transperth is efficient and has a large network of trains, ferries and central area tourist buses every day. You can create a smart rider card on Autoload with your debit card. That way you can easily pay for all public transport with just one card.

perth commuters

Driving in Perth

Your New Zealand license is valid in Perth for three months. After that, you have to apply at the local Department of Transport and get a WA drivers licence. It should be a simple process and will ensure you remain legally compliant.

Driving in Australia is much the same as in NZ, with no major differences except Australia has more tolls, and if you’re driving in the outback, you have to keep an eye out for kangaroos.


Although Perth housing is expensive, it is cheaper than in Sydney or Melbourne. You’ll need to choose if you want to rent or buy, and the tax / financial implications of that, especially if you already have a home in NZ.

Houses range from $400k in outer suburbs, til $2 million in some of the most expensive areas. Schooling, accessibility to public transport, and where you will be working will all influence where you end up living.


The City of Perth  is a suburb on the bank of the Swan River, home to the central business district, stock exchange, and shopping zone. Younger couples tend to live in Subiaco and Northbridge where the nightlife is, or Fremantle / Freo which is a tourist and expat hub. Ordinary residents and family live in Willetton while the high end areas include City Beach, Applecross, or Bicton. There are municipalities outside Perth that offer good suburban communities to live in like Joondalup and  Shire of Kalamunda. Some places to search for housing include West Real Estate, and ,REIWA.

Cost of living in Perth

The cost of living is very similar to New Zealand. Many Kiwis notice the difference in cost of fruit and vegetables in Australia, as they are cheaper than at home. Rent, petrol, booze and utilities are all about the same.


If you are an expat and you want to open a bank account in Australia, the major banks there: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank. The procedure is fairly simple if you provide all the relevant documents, and you can apply before you leave home.


Winter is usually rainy in Perth and there is no snow—there is about 320 days of sun a year! Pack sneakers and boots, jeans, woolen socks, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, raincoat and an umbrella. In the summers, dress in light cottons, hat and sunglasses. Sunscreen is a must as the ozone hole is over Australia as well as NZ.

Work clothing will vary from workplace to workplace, so have a few days in businesses-smart outfits before you find your groove. Some Aussie offices allow tidy shorts to be worn instead of trousers, and especially in the Perth heat in summer this might be a great option.

Work Etiquette

Australian work etiquette is distinct. Swearing is common and office romances are not uncommon (although not encouraged). There are four paid weeks of annual leave a year, and ten paid statutory days.

Public holidays in Australia

  • New Year's Day - 1 January
  • Australia Day - Monday 28 January
  • Labour Day - First Monday in March
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • ANZAC Day - 25 April
  • Western Australia Day – First Monday in June
  • Queen's Birthday – Last Monday in September
  • Christmas Day- 25 December
  • Boxing Day- 26 December

What are you waiting for?

With your SCV, you hardly need to do anything in order to move to Aussie—it’s simply a matter of packing up your life and heading over there. While it’s advisable to get a role before moving, you don’t need to get a house or drivers licence before you head over the ditch. There are plenty of opportunities, especially in the mining industry, and plenty of money to be made in the right roles.

So make the call today- what are you waiting for?

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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