Living in Perth – An Expat Guide

Living in Perth – An Expat Guide

Moving away from home is commonplace.

Whether you are a student heading off to a university far from home, or your work takes you across the other side of the country.

There are many reasons why people leave their hometowns.

Surprisingly large numbers of people opt to experience life in a completely different part of the world.

You can’t get much further from the UK than Australia.

A land of plenty that provides quality healthcare, a robust education system, much more space and a welcoming outdoor lifestyle that starkly contrasts the UK’s densely populated environment and chilly weather.

It is never too late to emigrate to the land down under and many thousands of ex-Brits have chosen to settle in Perth, Australia’s fourth largest city of which 10% of the population are from the UK.

Incidentally, mile for mile, Perth is the closest city in Australia to the UK! It is also one of the most remote of Australian cities.

Perhaps this is why the people of Perth are so very friendly, they tend to stick together.

In Perth, reaching the city centre is a breeze with just an hour’s drive, even from the furthest suburbs.

A significant number of residents relish a rural or semi-rural lifestyle, seamlessly blending work and city shopping into their routines.

You can share your spare time equally between the picturesque hills surrounding Perth, or head to one of its stunning beaches for the day, a truly distinctive lifestyle that is hard to resist.

Here are many more reasons why opting to relocate to Perth could very well be the most rewarding lifestyle decision you’ve ever made!

About the City of Perth

Perth Skyline

Perth Skyline. Image credit: Unsplash

In 1829, Captain James Stirling founded Perth as part of the then-named Swan River Colony, it was only later in 1856 that it became known officially as Perth.

It was named after the city of Perth in Scotland, due to the influence of Stirling’s patron Sir George Murray, who had connections with the area.

It is known in the local Aboriginal language as Boorloo.

Perth is a young, compact, bustling city covering around eight square miles.

With a population of approximately 2 million residents, the city isn’t tailored for the energetic, party-centric crowd.

Instead, it is a haven for those in search of a peaceful escape from bustling city life; a city with the overall feel of a smaller town.

Its serene atmosphere and proximity to nature make it an idyllic haven, particularly appealing to those with a penchant for the great outdoors.

Weather Conditions

Perth has been nicknamed “the sunniest capital in Western Australia” due to its almost year-round sunny weather.

Weather conditions are near perfect.

The city experiences a Mediterranean climate characterised by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters – coats are only needed to stave off the rain, not the cold.

Summer (December to February): Temperature: Highs range from 29°C to 38°C (84°F to 100°F). Summer is hot and dry, with occasional heatwaves.

Autumn (March to May): Temperature: Gradual cooling with highs between 24°C to 31°C (75°F to 88°F). The weather remains relatively warm, and occasional rainfall occurs.

Winter (June to August): Temperature: Cooler temperatures, with highs ranging from 17°C to 21°C (63°F to 70°F). Winters are mild and wet, with more frequent rainfall.

Spring (September to November): Temperature: Gradual warming with highs between 21°C to 28°C (70°F to 82°F). Spring is a transitional season with increasing temperatures and occasional showers.

The Aussie Way of Life


Be sure to enjoy the Australian culture. Image credit: Pixabay

When you move to Perth it is important to remember that for some Brits, the warm and open culture of Australia may be a bit surprising and, in some cases overwhelming.

Such is the friendliness of Australians in general.

You will find that random strangers will happily strike up a conversation with you. Far cry from the more reserved nature found in some British settings.

Directness is valued and considered a virtue, with less inclination towards the mutual silence often observed, for instance, on the London tube.

Australians are fair and very democratic favouring an egalitarian ethos to life where everyone is seen to be equal.

You will also discover when you first move to Perth, your neighbours will make you feel incredibly welcome.

It is not uncommon for you to receive a knock at the door and get presented with some kind of gift (usually edible).

You will be invited to a group BBQ so that you can meet some of the people living in your street.

You won’t have any problems making friends if you remain open and welcoming yourself, even if it takes you a little out of your comfort zone!

Amazing Attractions

One thing you will be blown away with is the fantastic selection of attractions and things to do in Perth to rival that of any other state in Australia.


All of Perth’s beaches are beautiful. Cottesloe or Cott is just a quick 20-minute journey from the city. Perfect for surfing and home to some fantastic restaurants and pubs.

Other popular beaches include Mullaloo – great for kids. Scarborough is also great for families. City Beach has great waves and renowned seafood eateries.

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

This spot is famous for its conservation efforts, scientific research, and an abundance of protected bushland culminating at an epic vantage point.

Swan Valley Wineries

Take a drive around the valley and pop into some of the best vineyards in the region. A guided tour is a must.

Shopping in Fremantle Markets

Established in 1897 and one of the world’s premier tourist markets, it is a great way to while away a few hours. Browse the unusual and creative markets of Perth.

Rottnest Island

home to the Quokka. Small marsupials belonging to the macropod family, which also includes kangaroos and wallabies. The island also offers incredible snorkelling opportunities, paddleboarding, kayaking and fishing. Accessible from Perth by ferry, making it a convenient day trip destination for those looking to experience the island’s beauty without an overnight stay.


Situated in West Perth is an interactive science museum that features a planetarium and offers a captivating experience for young minds. Scitech showcases a variety of engaging exhibitions covering diverse topics, ranging from science and technology to engineering and mathematics. Ideal for kids of all ages.

Aside from these great ideas, there is a myriad of leisure opportunities on offer across or close to the city.

Check out TripAdvisor for some of the top picks.


Cost of living in Australia

Cost of living in Australia. Image credit: Pexels

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, affordability is key when you are considering a move abroad.

The good news is that Perth is more affordable when compared to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and even more so compared to London.

According to stats published by Living Cost, as of December 2023, the cost of living in London is 32% more expensive than in Perth.

Both cities ranked 97th and 924th ($3072 vs $2324) in the list of the most expensive cities in the world and ranked 2nd and 5th in the United Kingdom and Australia, respectively.

Numbeo has a useful cost-of-living calculator comparing the cost of living expenses between the two cities:

  • Consumer Prices in London are 0.2% lower than in Perth (without rent)
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in London are 23.3% higher than in Perth
  • Rent Prices in London are 75.7% higher than in Perth
  • Restaurant Prices in London are 2.3% higher than in Perth
  • Groceries Prices in London are 21.2% lower than in Perth
  • Local Purchasing Power in London is 4.3% lower than in Perth

Although living in Australia is not always going to work out cheaper, it does compare favourably most of the time with the UK.

Looking for Work in Perth?

Highly Competitive Wages and Salaries are available in the city.

Australia’s stable economy offers competitive industries, providing expats with diverse career opportunities.

Securing the necessary sponsorship for a visa to work in Perth is often the primary challenge for expats seeking employment anywhere in Australia.

The process involves the sponsoring company demonstrating that no local candidate is suitable for the position, in addition to meeting the requirements of the points system.

The best way forward is to demonstrate that you have the skills and experience related to jobs that are considered a “priority”.

Every two years, the Australian Government releases the Skills Priority List, which provides a rating of the current and future demand for occupations.

Sectors with high demand for skilled workers include mining, construction, agriculture, engineering, ICT, and science roles.

Strong Work Ethic & Good Holiday Entitlement

Unlike some cultures that promote a pervasive workaholic ethos, Australians highly value a healthy work-life balance.

The norm is to finish work on time, allowing individuals to engage in leisure activities such as surfing, socialising with friends over a drink and quality family time.

This cultural emphasis on work-life balance adds a unique and appealing dimension to the Australian job market for expatriates.

Aside from the 20 days of leave per year, Australians enjoy more Public Holidays than any other nation.

Here is a list of public holidays in Perth for 2024.

Perth’s Transport System

Perth Railway Station

Perth Railway Station. Image credit: Wikipedia

Public transport is via busses, trams, ferries and trains it is reliable, clean, and safe.

Transperth is the public transport system for Perth and surrounding areas in Western Australia. It is managed by the Public Transport Authority (PTA), a state government organisation, and consists of train, bus, and ferry services.

All of Transperth’s services operate with either cash payments (coins preferred in buses!) or the SmartRider card.

This is a convenient top-up system that lets you use all of Perth’s buses, trains and ferries quickly and easily. In addition to that, you pay 10% less with a SmartRider than you would with cash.

Check out more details about fare HERE.

If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a car to start with you can share a lift which is common practice for locals.

Australia has a very large selection of ride-sharing apps.

Some of the most popular ones include Uber, Ola, Lyft and Didi all of which are available in Perth.

Getting around is so easy in Perth!

Driving a Car in Perth

Just like all cities if you intend to drive traffic can be congested at times.

Residents have access to an extensive network of well-maintained thoroughfares.

Driving in Melbourne is via the left-hand side of the road.

It is crucial to note that the police rigorously enforce driving laws to prioritize the safety of drivers and their families.

Before embarking on a journey in Melbourne, ensure you possess a valid driver’s license, if stopped it is the first thing the police will want to see.

Advice about how to get a driver’s license and the documentation required, visit the website here.

Furthermore, it is advisable to have car insurance in place to protect your vehicle in the event of an accident or damage.

Education for Your Children in Perth

Schools in Perth

There are some great schools in Perth. Image credit: Pexels

There is an excellent education system for children in Perth and it is compulsory to attend full-time education from age five to sixteen.

Modern, fully equipped public schools are dotted around the suburbs, and there are also several highly accredited private schools as well as a few internationals.

If you have permanent residence, there are no fees to pay.

For those arrivals with temporary residency, there is generally a fee for public school education.

Check out this guide to Australia’s school system for more information about what you need to do to get your child into a school in Perth.

Also, here is a list of the best 20 schools in and around the city you might like to consider.

Healthcare Standards

Ensuring the well-being of yourself and your family is a paramount concern, and it’s reassuring to note that the healthcare standards and accessibility in the country are of the highest quality.

As an expatriate, eligibility for Australia’s public healthcare system, Medicare, is extended to those who become Australian citizens, permanent residents, or hold a temporary visa allowing them to work in Australia and have applied for a permanent visa.

The majority of ex-pats opt for Medicare. A note of caution. If you do decide to use this system, you must declare it in your annual tax return.

To enrol in Medicare for the first time you are required to complete a (MS004) form. This can be downloaded from the Medicare website.

There are other health systems available, to find out more visit the iSelect healthcare comparison website HERE.

Perth Real Estate

Perth Property

Perth Property. Image credit: Unsplash

Perth’s real estate market is dynamic. Homes sell quickly, much quicker when compared to the UK.

The whole selling system is different so, for your first purchase it is wise to hire the services of a good real estate agent and a reputable solicitor.

For additional peace of mind, speak to other ex-pats who have already bought a home.

They can explain the ups and downs of the system to you so that you are fully armed when you start your house hunting.

The market has been adversely affected by the pandemic and prices have been highly inflated.

This unusual situation is changing with values dropping. Now could be a good time to buy.

For a helpful guide to buying a home visit the Avenue Perth website. 

Cost of Housing in Perth

If you have permanent residency nothing is holding you back from buying a home in Australia.

Of course, the cost is very much dependent on firstly, your budget and the size of the home you are searching for.

The average cost to buy a home in Perth stands at $555,000 (£291,000) which is cheaper than many other Australian cities.

Although this is the average cost, there are three-bedroom homes in Perth available for under $400,000 (£210.000).

Smaller homes, such as one-bedroomed apartments start at just below $200,000 (£105,000).

Visit one of the popular real estate agents online before you go and see what you can buy for your budget.

Finding a Rental

Owning a home immediately is not everyone’s objective.

Renting for a while does give you the freedom to move when you want to and to “test drive” several different areas until you find your perfect fit.

Rental properties move very quickly and rarely are they leased for under their advertised price.

As for cost, one-bedroom rentals start at $1228 per month (£643).

Three-bed homes start from $2000 (£1048).

It is important to understand the process of finding and applying for a rental property in Australia, as well as your rights as a tenant.

You can find out some more about the process HERE.

Popular Perth Suburbs

Perth Suburbs

Perth Suburbs. Image credit: Depositphotos

Perth is full of lovely suburbs, so there is plenty of choice to suit everyone’s personal preferences.

Here are some of the most sought-after suburbs in the city:

East Perth: Right alongside the Swan River and near the central business district. A convenient and practical location.

Highgate: Just one mile from the business district but also within a handy hop to some very reputable schools.

Ashfield: Another waterside location. Plenty of green space nearby and affordable housing.

Cottesloe: Popular due to its proximity to the coast. Cottesloe is home to one of Perth’s iconic beaches offering a beachy laid laid-back kind of lifestyle. Many homes here are expensive.

Fremantle: Arguably the best suburb. Surrounded by water and home to some distinguished educational institutions such as the University of Notre Dame Australia. Perfect for both families and young people.

Crawley: This is also a waterside suburb and home to Matilda Bay Reserve, ideal for nature lovers and just a short commute to central Perth.

How to Apply to Move to Perth

After reading about how great the way of life is in Perth, you might want to take the next step and consider a permanent move.

Visiting first is advisable.

You can obtain a 90-day British Visitor visa known as a (subclass 651). This will allow you plenty of time to investigate and decide whether or not living in Australia is for you.

For longer stays the rules are different and the most common visas are the:

Independent Visa. Aimed at skilled workers under 50 years old with “in-demand” skills.

Nominated Visa. It is specifically for prospective migrants who are interested in nomination by an Australian state or territory government agency. The downside to this visa is that, as per the nomination, you must live in the nominating state/territory for the first two years of your residency.

The 457 Visa. The 457 Visa program allows you to work temporarily in Australia for up to four years by obtaining a sponsor (employer) in Australia. To qualify, your occupation must be on the Australian government’s Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). 

All visas aside from the 90-day holiday visa are point-based.

The permanent immigration policy in Australia is notoriously strict and works on a points basis.

The Australian Government has set up a useful page on their website which provides advice on which visa you may be eligible for and how to obtain the correct visa.

The vast majority of potential immigrants use an immigration agent.

You will need the services of a reputable Immigration Lawyer in Perth, there are plenty to choose from.

Click here for a list of the best ten lawyers.

Becoming a permanent resident takes time and patience. But the benefits are well worth the challenge.

Packing & Moving Your Effects to Perth

WACO Truck

White & Company Truck

If you have decided to make the move, you will likely need a professional, reliable international removals company to wrap, pack and transport your personal effects to Perth, get in touch with White & Company.

We specialise in removals to Australia, providing customers with comprehensive services including both full and part loads ensuring your items arrive as quickly as possible.

If you require storage, we can also provide accredited facilities which adhere to European standards.

Our dedicated partners in Australia will meticulously handle all paperwork and customs clearance, overseeing the unloading and unpacking of your household goods.

For more details on shipping goods to Perth, contact our international office at 01489 854175 and consult with one of our international relocation experts.

Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form, and a member of our team will reach out to you shortly.

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