Perth is growing up and continuing to enchant travelers and expats. While the mining boom of the early noughties has since ended, the city attracts with its natural beauty, rising foodie scene, and proximity to wine valleys. Thinking of heading over for a longer while? Here are ten things you should know before moving to Perth.
1. Manageable size
With a population of just over two million, Perth is not an immense metropolis. There’s a greater sense of community that comes from a smaller city, as well as an appreciation for space and an undeniably laid-back nature. In Perth you won’t find that rushed inner-city feeling or be in danger of blindly bumping into people running to work at rush hour.
2. Distant city
On the other hand with all that space comes the inevitable fact that Perth is also located far away from the rest of Australia’s capitals. Famously, it’s closer to Indonesia than it is to Brisbane—and this is reflected in the affordable direct flights you can book from Perth to many Asian cities, as well as Johannesburg and London.
3. Quieter weekday vibe
Perth is not a 24/7 type of city, so during the week locals tend to keep things simple, staying at home with family or maybe having a quiet meal with friends. Don’t expect to see the city jumping Monday to Friday: get into the Perth swing of things and use that time to hang out with your new friends.
4. Save beforehand
It’s true that Perth is more affordable than Sydney, though visitors often comment on how unexpectedly expensive Australia is in general. Do research before arriving and save enough to keep you going for the duration of your stay (or the first few months at least if the move is permanent).
5. Integrated public transport
Called Transperth, Perth’s public transport is a fully-integrated system of trains, buses, and ferries. While perhaps not as frequent as other major public transport systems such as London’s, it is reliable and easy to use. Pick up a SmartRider card – a reusable travel card you recharge with credit and use to tap on and off as you travel. There’s an initial cost to get your card, but you’ll save that in no time on your trips.
6. Explore Western Australia
Take the time to explore one of the country’s most unknown states. Visitors to Australia are quick to travel across the east. However, Western Australia has some truly astonishing experiences waiting: from the long-haul Bibbulmun Track running 1000 kilometers from Kalamunda to Albany, to the north’s Karijini National Park, and dolphin feeding at Monkey Mia Reserve.
7. Warmer weather
New arrivals to Perth from the Northern Hemisphere are usually delighted with its weather. Expect a Mediterranean style climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. On the other hand, the experience of a hot Christmas can be a shock for expats. The trick is to giving in and relishing “Chrissie” Australian style: think plenty of seafood, salads, and sparkling wine all enjoyed outdoors. We think it’s just as wonderful.
8. Head outside
Speaking of heading outside, Perth is super conveniently located right by several hikes, nature trails, waterfalls, and swimming holes. So pack your hiking shoes and a swimsuit! For a weekend day hike, try the Perth Hills, Serpentine National Park, Yanchep National Park, Bells Rapid Walk Trail, Herdsman Lake, Noble Falls, and Lesmurdie Falls.
9. Beach safety
Before you run freely towards one of Perth’s beautiful beaches, take a moment to brush up on your beach safety. Always swim at patrolled beaches, taking care to stay close to shore and between the flags. If you go too far out or are not between the flags, you risk getting caught in a rip (strong current). If this happens, don’t try to swim against the rip: instead, float and raise your arm to show the lifeguards you require assistance.
10. Stay SunSmart
Speaking of being outdoors, whatever you do, remember that the Australian sun can do a lot of damage to your skin. It’s a good thing it’s easy to keep on the right side of UV rays by following the five S’s. Never heard of them? Well, Slip on a long-sleeved cotton shirt, Slop on 30+ sunscreen, Slap on a wide-brimmed hat, Seek shade, and Slide on some sunglasses.