Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, and the largest city in the state. It is known as one of the most isolated cities in the world, though with a population of just over two million, it certainly doesn’t seem lonely.
But what is it really like to live on the western shores of Australia?
The city is named after Perth, Scotland, and it sits between the Darling Ranges and the Indian Ocean, with the Swan River winding through it. Famously referred to as ‘the City of Lights’ by American astronaut John Glenn in 1962, Perth is a laid-back, relaxed city with very friendly locals.
The city of Wait Awhile
Western Australia is affectionately referred to by the locals as Wait Awhile, and once you get to Perth you’ll understand why. The CBD itself is relatively small, with only four main streets running through from East to West, but it is rich in history, with architectural landmarks like The Perth Mint, Kings Park Memorial, Fremantle Prison and much more. Perth city is full of delicious food from cuisines all around the world, and live music abounds.
Coffee-lovers be warned – artisanal coffee, while all the rage in other cities, has only recently hit Perth. A decent cappuccino may be hard to come by, but there are many little hidden gems around the city, as well as drive-thru cafés, which are perfect for when you’re stuck in traffic on your way to work.
Traffic in Perth is renowned for being difficult to navigate, so if you need to travel somewhere by car, give yourself some extra time, just in case. Even if the traffic sucks, the public transport is awesome. Clean, friendly and on-time, both buses and trains are simple and cost-effective.
Unfortunately, since the decline of the mining boom, Perth’s economy has taken a slight turn.
Jobs are few and far between in Perth, and the city has some of the highest rates of unemployment in Australia, currently up to 10%. However the cost of living in Perth is quite low in comparison to other major cities like Sydney or Melbourne. Housing is very affordable, whether you are looking to rent or to buy – provided you have a job and income to support it, that is.
Weather in Perth is comfortably predictable. The four seasons are definitely felt, but if you’re coming from the Eastern states, don’t be surprised if the temperature reaches a sweltering 40 degrees Celsius and you overhear the locals discussing the ‘unseasonably cool summer’. Luckily, reverse-cycle air conditioning is a feature in the majority of houses and apartments, and is the best way to cope with the summer heat.
The beaches are unbeatably beautiful, with Scarborough, Cottesloe, City Beach, Trigg, and Rottnest Island just a few of the best spots to catch a wave or some sun. If you do venture out during summer, make sure you’re liberal with the sunscreen as the rays can be quite harsh.
While Perth might not be the most exciting place for those who prefer to live life in the fast lane, it is perfect for families looking to raise children in a vibrant, friendly city. It’s also great for retirees wanting to settle down and relax.
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