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Lying on the southwest coast of Australia, pretty Perth is the state capital of Western Australia, and with around 2 million inhabitants, Australia’s fourth most-populated city (after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane).

Perth has long been a popular destination for people moving to Australia, which is no surprise considering its ranking by The Economist as the seventh most liveable city in the world.

I spent five very fun months living in Perth during 2015, and it was my first destination when I arrived in Australia after gaining permanent residency. So if you’re considering moving to Perth, or are trying to decide where to live in Australia, here’s the lowdown on what Australia’s sunniest capital has to offer.

Isolated Perth

The first thing to be aware of is that Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world. While the east coast of Australia is fairly built up and well populated, the west coast is quite the opposite.

The nearest large city to Perth is Adelaide, 2,700km away (read about my overland journey from Perth to Adelaide here to find out what lies in between). Perth is actually nearer to Indonesia than Sydney and Brisbane.

Long empty road on the Nullarbor Plain.
The Nullarbor, between Perth and Adelaide – a whole lotta nothing!

Living in Perth: Things to Do & Lifestyle

Set on the Swan River with a compact city centre (called the CBD in Australia), pretty Perth certainly has a smaller feel than Sydney and Melbourne, with only a tiny stretch of skyscrapers making up its skyline in comparison.

The CBD is similar to those in other Australian cities, although with quite a new and shiny feel compared to Sydney and Melbourne, which have a lot of character-filled heritage buildings (read my blog post on historical Australian architecture to see examples).

Pretty park area by the river in Perth.
City views from riverside Langley Park in Perth

The riverside area in Perth is particularly beautiful, with great views, waterside cafes and often dolphins arching out of the water! The perfect location to enjoy the sunshine or join the many joggers and cyclists at sunset.

The stunning and enormous Kings Park, with bush walks and elevated views over the city, is an easy walk or bus ride away from the CBD. At dawn, you’ll witness Perth’s sporty culture as the lycra brigade arrive en-masse, hurling themselves up and down the steps as the sun rises over the city!

Sunrise over the Swan River viewed from Kings Park, a top attraction in Perth.
Sunrise in Kings Park

Lively Fremantle lies to the south and makes a great day out, with its heritage architecture and thriving music and arts scene. A short walk from Perth CBD is funky Northbridge, if you want to experience Perth’s quirky café culture and nightlife.

For more ideas on Perth attractions and things to see and do in the area, find out my top recommendations in this blog post:

15 Things to Do in Perth

Fremantle fishing boat harbour.
Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour

Perth Job Market

Greater Perth has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any major capital city in Australia, at 5.7% in June 2017. The rate in the inner city is even lower at 3%, almost half of what it was in 2016. Check out this Perth job market article in The West Australian for more information.

Cool view looking up at skyscrapers in Perth in a blog post about living in Perth, Australia.

Perth Nightlife

From the Murray Street bars and restaurants in the CBD to Northbridge’s nightclubs, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Perth if you’re looking for nightlife. Suburbs such as Subiaco and Leederville have a great choice of restaurants and cafes, and once spring arrives the Twilight Markets begin in the city, along with pop-up events here, there and everywhere.

Guide to living in Perth, Australia. Image is a montage of Perth bars and nightlife.
Clockwise from top left: Perth Twilight Markets, The Brass Monkey Hotel in Northbridge, Urban Orchard pop-up event, funky Bird bar in Northbridge.

Perth Beaches – White Sand & Sunsets

Perth, and Western Australia in general, has notoriously beautiful beaches. And its location on the west coast of Australia means it gets pretty spectacular sunsets too. From the city centre it’s only 20 minutes on the train to Cottesloe Beach, or slightly further to the pretty Scarborough Beach, City Beach and many others.

Couple living in Perth walking along Scarborough Beach at sunset.
A beautiful Perth sunset at Scarborough Beach

Perth Weather

Perth enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. With an average of 139 sunny days per year, it’s the sunniest state capital in Australia!

Perth has average highs of 18-19 degrees in the winter, and 29-32 during the summer months. At night time, the temperature drops to around 7-8 degrees in the winter, and 16-18 in the summer.

Woman's legs on a sun lounget at Beatty Park swimming pool.
A summer’s day at Beatty Park in Perth, a typical Australian sports centre (and only $7 a visit!). No more shivering in your British council-run pool if you move to Perth!

I was living in Perth from June to November in 2015 and must say the winter nights were much colder than I expected, dropping down to 2 degrees on one occasion. I also experienced 40 degrees in the summer, which was really revolting! Most of the time it’s sunny and pleasant though.

Extremely black sky at City Beach, a top spot to visit when living in Perth.
A storm brewing over City Beach in Perth

Perth Daylight Hours

Along with Queensland and the Northern Territory, Western Australia does not have daylight saving.

This means in mid-summer the sun rises just after 5am and sets around 7:25pm – quite a bit earlier than in Melbourne, where the sun stays up until 8:45pm. In the Perth winter the sun rises just after 7am and sets around 5:20pm – not too different from the other cities.

Pink sunset between the skyscrapers at sunset in Perth CBD.
St Georges Terrace office workers heading home in the dark in the winter.

Public Transport in Perth

Perth has an easy-to-use transport system covering the metropolitan area. You will need a Transperth travel card that you load with credit and scan when you get on and off buses, trains and ferries.

Even better, there’s a Free Transit Zone within certain boundaries around the city centre, where you can travel for free, and a network of free buses (called CAT buses) too.

Bus and train station in Perth at night.

Where Do People Living in Perth Go on Holiday?

Even though Perth is very isolated, it has some pretty stunning locations right on its doorstep if you don’t want to travel too far for your holidays.

Just a 25-minute ferry ride away is the beautiful and unspoilt Rottnest Island, and a three-hour drive south takes you to the Margaret River region, packed with beautiful beaches, vineyards and a very famous food scene.

Seagull at Rottnest Island, a popular holiday destination for people living in Perth.
Pinky Beach on Rottnest Island

Further afield you’ve got Denmark, Albany and Esperance on the south coast, and Broome further north up the west coast. You can also fly to Bali in less than four hours; it’s a great city for access to Southeast Asia.

Gorgeous white sand and turquoise water at Twilight Beach in Esperance.
Twilight Beach in Esperance

I had a fabulous time living in Perth, and I’d recommend it to any expat as long as you don’t mind the isolated location. To compare living in Perth vs Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra or Hobart, make sure you check out my other Australian city lifestyle blog posts too:

Living in Sydney: Lifestyle, Beaches, Weather & Property

Living in Melbourne: Most Liveable City in Australia

Living in Adelaide: Affordable Outdoor Living

Living in Brisbane: Lifestyle in Australia’s River City

Living in Canberra: Australia’s Most-Educated City

Living in Hobart: Laidback Island Lifestyle

The lowdown on Perth lifestyle from an expat who lived there. Learnif Perth could be the right city for you.