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If you’re thinking of living in Perth, Australia, you’re one of many expats who dream of the beach lifestyle in Australia’s sunniest state capital city.
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. I discovered a city with beautiful beaches, a laidback lifestyle, pretty riverside scenery and affordable rent and property.
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.
You can also see how Perth compares to other Australian cities on my YouTube channel!
Living in Perth: Table of Contents
To skip straight to a topic on Perth lifestyle, just click the links below.
- 1. Perth’s Isolation
- 2. Things to Do in Perth
- 3. Perth Nightlife
- 4. Perth Beaches
- 5. Perth Weather
- 6. Property Prices
- 7. Rental Market
- 8. Daylight Hours in Perth
- 9. Public Transport
- 10. Holidays from Perth
1. Perth is Isolated
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 Australian city to Perth is Adelaide, which is 2,700km away. You can read about my overland journey from Perth to Adelaide to find out what lies in between.
Perth is actually nearer to Indonesia than Sydney and Brisbane! This does mean that it’s easier to head off on holidays abroad from Perth than the east coast cities. Bali is definitely cheaper than Australian holiday destinations!
If you prefer the idea of living on the busier east coast of Australia, make sure you read my blog post comparing Perth to Brisbane, as Brisbane could be a better option for you.
2. 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.
There are still plenty of fun things to do in Perth though!
I think Perth CBD has quite a new and shiny look compared to Sydney and Melbourne, which both have a lot more character-filled heritage buildings. To learn more, read my comparison of Perth vs Melbourne.
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!
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.
3. 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. Once spring starts in Perth, the city Twilight Markets begin, along with pop-up events here, there and everywhere!
4. 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.
5. Perth Weather
Perth enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
With an average of 139 sunny days per year, Perth is the sunniest state capital in Australia!
For comparison, Melbourne only gets an average of 49 sunny days per year.
Perth has an average maximum temperature of 31.6 degrees in February (the hottest month) and 18.5 degrees in July, the coldest month.
Overnight, the average minimum temperature in Perth is 18.4 degrees in February and 8.0 degrees in July.
I was living in Perth from June to November and found the winter nights were much colder than I expected. It even dropped 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.
Perth has an average of 81 rainy days per year (>1mm), and it gets more rainfall in winter than summer.
Perth’s wettest month is July, when it gets an average of 14.7 rainy days. Perth’s driest month is February, when it gets an average of 1.2 rainy days.
6. Perth Property Prices
The cheap price of property in Perth (compared to other Australian cities) is a very big advantage of living in Perth and a huge attraction to prospective migrants.
According to data from the July 2023 CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index report, the median house price in Perth during June 2023 was only $615,793 (less than half the price in Sydney). The median unit (flat) value was $417,643.
Perth is the second-cheapest state capital in Australia in terms of property prices! Only Darwin is cheaper.
7. Renting in Perth
From this June 2023 report on rent.com.au, the median weekly rent in Perth was $590 for a house, $500 for a unit (flat) and $200 for a room.
As a comparison, the median weekly rent for a house was $800 in Sydney, the most expensive state capital city, and $532 in Hobart, the cheapest.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
You can also fly to Bali from Perth in less than four hours, so Perth is a great city for access to Southeast Asia.
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 learn about more Australian cities, take a look at my where to live in Australia page.
- Another affordable city with a similar climate to Perth is Adelaide. Learn more in my Adelaide lifestyle overview or comparison of Adelaide vs Perth.
- To see all my Perth articles, head over to my Perth page.
Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.