I get lots of emails and questions about where I live. So I thought I’d write up a quick overview of what it is like to live in Perth, Western Australia.
Some facts and figures are from recent newspaper reports, some are off the internet (Lonely Planet and WA Tourism), some are just from my own experience.
1. Perth has a population of 1.5million. The whole city and metropolitan area is very flat and spread out, thus visitors are often struck by all the BIG WIDE OPEN SPACES.
2. Perth is a very pretty city, with lots of gorgeous views. Perth’s main aspect is the Swan River. It weaves from the Port of Fremantle, alongside the City Centre, then into the hills.
3. Perth also has great beaches. Clean sand and water. No pollution. Parking is free. Sunsets over the Indian Ocean are spectacular.
4. The Perth atmosphere is generally very relaxed and laid back. There is none of the big city crowds, big city density, big city rushing-around attitudes and crazy traffic jams.
5. There is no INTENSE MEDIA SATURATION in Perth. For example in larger cities, if a blockbuster movie was being released, there would be advertising EVERYWHERE. On the tv, radio, newspapers, on buses, bus stops, posters, digital projections, people handing out pamphlets, merchandise in fast food outlets, people will be talking about it in the streets, offices, cafes – there would be no escape, no quiet, no peace away from the relentless noise of the media.
In addition to that, it’s more probable that TWO blockbuster movies were being released, a huge US music act, a famous ballet performance, some Broadway musical, a charity concert, a Japanese car expo and an European fashion show – ALL fighting for the SAME media attention and it’s JUST ALL IN YOUR FACE EVERY TWO SECONDS AND THERE’S JUST SO MUCH STRESS AND PRESSURE TO KEEP UP.
But in Perth, you can pretty much spend a whole week being out and about having a great time, and not be bothered by any in-your-face-media.
So I think that’s what people mean by, “Perth is very quiet”.
6. In terms of standard of living, the average price of a 4 bedroom x 2 bathroom house in Perth is (officially) $600,000. If you don’t care much for living in $1.2M house by the river, then a 4×2 in the suburbs will probably set you back $500,000 (plus additional $20,700 in stamp duty).
7. Annual cost for my kid to attend a reputable public school = $80.
8. Average cost to see a doctor = $55 per visit
9. Average cost for health insurance (for a family of 4) = $100 per month
10. Average cost for a dental check up and clean = $120
11. Average cost for child care = $50 per day (I think)
12. Average cost for a 2 year old, small sized car = $12,000 (I think)
13. Average temperature in summer is about 29°C (84.2°F)
The hottest it gets is around 40°C (104°F)
14. Average temperature in winter is about 18°C (64.4 °F)
The coldest it can get during the day is around 9°C (48.2 °F)
15. Because everything is so spread out, you pretty much need a car or some form of transport if you want to get around. If you live near the city, you can probably get away with being carless, as public transport is pretty good there. But if you live in the suburbs, catching a bus to the local shops is quite inconvenient.
16. The bulk of the Perth population live in the metro area. And if you work in the city centre, commuting to work might take [at most] 45 minutes one way in heavy traffic. With the new train line, I’ve heard it has cut 20 minutes off commute time.
17. For MOST people who work an office job, hours are usually 8am – 5pm.
18. Perth is extremely multicultural. I believe all the cultures are better integrated into mainstream society, as there are no large ghettos or racial precincts.
19. As for racism, there will always be a drunken idiot with a loud mouth anywhere in the world. I have lived in Perth for 19 years and I’ve never been racially harassed where I felt threatened.
20. At the moment Perth is going through an economic boom – mainly because of the our exploding oil and gas industry. Work is everywhere. Money is being poured into the state. People are working, spending and eating out more than ever.
21. As a result of this, I feel our hospitality and services industry is feeling the strain. Perth used to have a glowing reputation for friendly service. But everyone is slowly becoming more over-worked and less likely to smile and be exceptionally warm.
But having said that, I wouldn’t blame them. I too would rather go for a bike ride, swim at the beach, have an outdoor dinner party with friends, than to be working late!
Original world map from PStut.