Australia

Living in Perth | Discover the Capital of Western Australia

Ashley R. Cottrell

With over a dozen beautiful beaches and nine months of tank-top weather, living in Perth is the perfect summer getaway. The fourth-largest city in Australia, Perth exudes a relaxed, friendly atmosphere> that attracts travelers from all over the world.

Sitting on the southwestern coast of the country, this capital city of Western Australia is also home to several natural reserves, parks, and craft breweries. If moving to Australia is on your bucket list, and you love the tranquil, outdoor lifestyle, here’s everything you need to know about living in Perth.

Quality of Life in Perth

people bicycling in perth

With one side of the city facing the Indian Ocean and the remainder surrounded by nature, Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. The next major city, Adelaide, is more than 2,000 kilometers away. The city’s remoteness, however, doesn’t equate to emptiness. The nearly 2 million residents of Perth enjoy everything within a short commute.

Perth isn’t exactly a tourist city, which is why many people who move here enjoy its relaxed lifestyle. With Swan River running directly through the city, Perth has great waterside views. If not spending the day at one of Perth’s many beaches, you can find citizens enjoying a quick bite to eat at a riverside cafe or walking and cycling through dozens of local parks.

Due to its tranquil ambiance and laid back culture, this sunny city is a great escape from the busy entertainment life. Perth is the birthplace of late actor Heath Ledger and young actress Katherine Langford. There is also a rumor of the late David Bowie owning a second home in Perth. While visiting or living in Perth, you may run into a celebrity or two!

Weather in Perth

beach weather in perth

Nicknamed Australia’s sunniest city, Perth has the sunniest days of any other city in the country. During the warm months, which are about 75% of the year, you can expect 14 hours of sunshine.

The climate of Perth is the moderate Mediterranean, meaning hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. During the summer months, which run from December to February, temperatures average around a high 30℃ and low 17℃.

Winters are from June through August with temperatures that average a high 19℃ and low 8℃. Rainfall and thunderstorms occur more during the winter months, but the season is still relatively comfortable for outdoor activities.

Cost of Living in Perth

Australian money with notebook

Living in Perth is considerably cheaper than the other major cities in Australia, but can still be a bit steep for international students in comparison to their home countries. Below is a breakdown of various living expenses in the city.

Food and Personal Care

Regarding day-to-day necessities, such as personal hygiene and groceries, here is a list of average prices (in AUD) in a market or department store in Perth:

  • Milk (1 liter): $1.69
  • Eggs (1 dozen): $4.99
  • Rice (1 kg): $3.05
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle): $2.36
  • Deodorant: $4.60
  • Toothpaste: $3.50

Rent and Utilities

Depending on the area, a one-bedroom apartment in Perth can range between 1,000 and 1,500 AUD per month. As for utilities, including electricity, water, and heating and cooling, will cost the average person around 200 AUD per month. Last but not least, internet service at its cheapest rate in Perth will cost around 70 AUD.

Excluding rent, we estimate that an international student living in Perth will need to budget approximately 1,000 to 1,200 AUD per month to live comfortably. The rent amount factors in daily necessities such as groceries, personal care, transportation, utilities, and occasional leisure activities.

Transport in Perth

To get around Perth without a car, you can take the bus, rail train, and ferry, all of which operate under the company Transperth. The rail train, the fastest transport of the three, has six lines across over 30 stations throughout the city. Next, the bus, which also has over 30 stations throughout Perth, runs every five to 15 minutes. Last, the ferry runs every 30 minutes with stops along several southern beaches of Perth.

Trip costs in Perth count per zone, which are about 10 kilometers from one another. One zone trip costs 3.20 AUD, where each zone traveled costs an additional 1.70 AUD. The best way to save money on public transport is to use the SmartRider card, which gives users a 10% discount. There are also SmartRider card discounts available for senior citizens, students, and veterans. Speaking of saving money, let’s dive into other helpful methods to stay within your budget.

Tips to Save while Living in Perth

Accommodation in Perth can be quite expensive for someone living alone, especially if they’re college students with limited work schedules. If you plan to get a rental, look for apartments outside of the downtown area. Real estate and rental prices are much cheaper the further they are from the central business district. You can also consider sharing your rental with a roommate. Having a roommate will cut the rent and monthly utility bills in half, thus putting extra money in your pocket.

As for transport, public transportation every day can become costly. The advantage of living in Perth is that most of the destinations within the city are a short commute. If not too far away, you can alternate the days you take the bus or train with riding a bike or walking.

Last but not least, stick to your budget. Consider cooking meals at home to limit the number of times you eat out. If you’re on a tight budget, only buy necessities. As for leisure, there are always free activities to do in Perth, such as going to the beach and exploring street art. If you find it hard to stay within a budget, there’s always the option of finding a job, which we will explain next.

Work while Living in Perth

chef working in restaurant kitchen

As the capital of Western Australia, Perth is a growing financial hub with diversified work opportunities. While agriculture and mining are the most common jobs in the city, travelers and international students can usually find work in construction, care-taking, and hospitality. Even if just a part-time job, the minimum wage in Australia is 19.84 AUD, one of the highest in the world as of 2020.

Requirements to Work in Perth

If you plan to have a job while living in Perth, there are several requirements you will need to work in Australia.

Have a Visa

Whether you are studying, working, or living in Perth, you will need a visa for Australia. Multiple visas allow you to work in Australia, but the most common is the Student Visa and Working Holiday Visa. Both types of visas allow you to work full-time outside of the school semester. Students, however, can only work part-time, a maximum of 20 hours per week, during the school semester if under a Student Visa.

Be of Legal Age

To work in Australia under any visa, you must be at least 18 years old.

English Proficiency

Since English is the official language of Australia, most companies in Perth will require you to be proficient in English. Don’t be discouraged if English is your second language. Australia is a country that welcomes foreigners of all nationalities and languages. With a strong work ethic and confidence, you will be able to work while improving your comprehension of the language.

Obtain a TFN or ABN

A Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia is the equivalence of having a social security number. You will need a TFN to work for any company in the country. If you are self-employed or own a business, you will need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Tips on Finding a Job in Perth 

An effective way to find work while living in Perth is through networking. Ask your neighbors, roommates, or classmates if there are any open positions at their jobs or if they know of any work opportunities in the area.

Next, you can utilize job search websites to find work. There are several popular job boards in Australia with daily postings, including GumtreeIndeedJobSearch, and Seek. Temp agencies are another method of finding work that best aligns with your experience. Two popular temp agencies in Australia are MLKA Recruitment andTravellers at Work.

Finally, social networking sites are useful and help you connect with employers. If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn profile, and keep it up to date with your work experience and professional skills.

Accommodation in Perth 

cozy living room with furniture

There are plenty of accommodation options available in Perth. First, you can choose to stay with a local family through an arrangement, usually through a university, known as a homestay. Here, the host family provides you room and meals like student residency. Homestay arrangements generally cost between 200 and 400 AUD per week, depending on factors such as space, amenities, and distance from downtown.

Second, if within your means, you can rent an apartment. As we explained in a previous section, having a roommate is a great way to save money by sharing rent and utilities. You can look for local host families in Perth using Homestay.com and search for rentals in the area using the real estate section of GumTree.

Areas to Live in Perth

Now, the only question left to ask is, “Which area of Perth do I live in?” Here are some of the best areas of Perth:

Fremantle

If you would like to live near the sea, Fremantle is Perth’s maritime hub. Located 30 minutes from downtown, Fremantle is an elegant neighborhood best known for its beaches. This area also has a buzzing nightlife. Rentals in this area cost between 200 and 350 AUD per week.

Northbridge

With an active nightlife and dining scene, Northbridge is a central neighborhood of Perth known for its busyness and events. Here, you will find plenty of upscale clubs, boutiques, lounges, and art galleries. Rentals in this inner suburb are generally 300 to 500 AUD per week.

Scarborough

As another beachside neighborhood, Scarborough has a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. This suburb offers plenty of outlets, restaurants, and bistros along the shore. Rentals in Scarborough run at about 350 to 450 AUD per week.

Subiaco

Known to locals as “Subi,” this central suburb is full of bars, cafes, and farmers’ markets. Subiaco, renowned for its edgy architecture, is where you can immerse yourself in local cuisine, art, and nature. Subiaco rentals cost an average of 280 to 480 AUD per week.

East Perth

With a popular waterfront, which caters to the seafood restaurants and bars in the area, East Perth is an inner suburb known for having a laid back, tranquil lifestyle. It is the closest neighborhood to the central business district and offers a nice >balance of nature and city life. East Perth rentals cost between 400 and 600 AUD per week.

Tips on Renting in Perth

Aside from having a roommate, we recommend that you search for accommodation while in the city. Booking online from your country of origin has its limitations, where you’re unable to see the rentals in person. To make sure you are not scammed or ripped off on a bad rental deal, consider staying in a hostel in Perth for a couple of weeks. While in the area, you can visit the rental options and meet with the owners in person. Hostels are an affordable and convenient form of accommodation for travelers. To find a hostel in Australia, you can use YHA Australia.

Things to Do in Perth

Freemantle arts district in Perth

Living in Perth will expose you to plenty of Australian cuisine, culture, and nature. The best time of year to plan activities in Perth is during the summer. During the warm months, you will experience everything Perth has to offer, including live music and festivals such as the Perth International Arts Festival.

The cultural scene of Perth is also active. As the capital city, you can enjoy art shows at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, classic plays at the Black Swan State Theatre Company, and discoverAustralian fauna at the Parks and Wildlife Department.

Exciting Places to Visit in Perth

Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth

Now that you have an idea of what to do, let’s talk about the best places to visit!

King’s Park

Covering nearly 900 acres, King’s Park is one of the largest parks in the world. The attraction receives nearly 6 million visitors per year and is usually the venue of multiple events in Perth. When you visit King’s Park, you receive breathtaking, panoramic views of the city as well as access to plenty of hiking trails, eateries, and guided nature walks.

Swan River 

Lustrous sunsets glistening among the Swan River are why living in Perth is worthwhile. The river runs directly through the city and is named after the infamous colonies of blacks swans, which are the official bird emblem of Western Australia. Locals enjoy the relaxing atmosphere next to these waterside views every day.

Rottnest Island

By taking a ferry, you will discover this wonder of nature about 19 kilometers off the coast of Perth. Rottnest Island is a popular holiday destination where you can relax on its beautiful beaches, snorkel, and encounter Western Australian Fauna. The largest population of Quokka, an Australian mammal, is found in Rottnest Island, which is the animal’s natural habitat.

Study while Living in Perth

books in front of Australia flag

If you would like to study in Australia, Perth has some of the best universities in the country. Perth is a popular study abroad destination, receiving over 35,000 international students per year>. Below are various courses available in Perth through our GrowPro program.

English Courses

If English is your second language and you would like to improve your English language skills, these courses are ideal. Through General English or Intensive English classes, you will significantly improve your skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English.

Exam Prep 

Are you studying for official language exams such as TOEFL, Cambridge, and IELTS? These exam preparation courses provide you with the study tools and resources you need.

VET Courses

As an alternative to degree programs, vocational courses in Perth provide you with hands-on training and certifications needed to enter the workforce of a specific job sector.

Live in Perth with Help from GrowPro

evening view of Perth city

So, does living in Perth sound like a dream? Make it your reality through GrowPro Experience! Our team helps hundreds of young individuals around the world move abroad. Visit our Australia page to check out dozens of experiences we offer in Perth.

Once you choose a course and destination package, one of our Experience Managers will contact you and explain the next steps. We also help you with planning your trip, including managing paperwork for your school choice, assisting with the visa application, and more!

Once you arrive at your destination, our GrowPro team hosts Welcome Sessions to help you find accommodation, open a bank account in the city, and provide other helpful resources to get you adjusted in the country. To learn more about Australia, download our free guide and subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos of exciting things to see and do there.

What are you waiting for? Come live in Perth for an unforgettable experience!

About the author

Ashley Cottrell