Why did you move to Perth?
My father is from here, so I wanted the chance to experience where he grew up. Also because of employment opportunities. The weather doesn't hurt either!
What do you do there?
I work as a marketer for the Department of Housing, Western Australia's housing authority. With the recent population growth rate in WA, housing has become significantly restricted. I help to promote government schemes to get people into affordable housing.
What do you like or dislike about life in Perth?
I really like that it is a city that feels like a town. It is very laidback (WA is sometimes known to stand for "wait awhile"), with the local attitude being one of lifestyle balance. I mean, Sunday trading only came into effect last year in September!
I also like the variety. Within a very small distance you can experience the beach, the city, the cultural centres and even the wine region of Swan Valley. Certain elements of life in Perth can be very expensive. In a lot of cases I think the price is pushed up by the miners (people are paid well to work in the mines, and thus return with disposable cash and time off).
How does the cost of living compare to New Zealand?
Perth has a reputation for being very expensive. Eating and drinking out is expensive. Rent has become astronomical, and groceries can be expensive. Petrol is cheaper and you can holiday to Bali for the same price as a trip to the South Island. There are quite a few super stores (Big W, Kmart, Target, IKEA, Super Amart) that are very reasonably priced. In fact, we worked out it was cheaper to buy all new homewares than ship our stuff over when we moved!
What do you do on weekends?
A regular weekend would entail a trip to the Subiaco markets on a Saturday morning to get our fruit and veges (much cheaper than at chain supermarkets), a trip to the beach, and a bike ride along the sea wall to one of the very popular cafes.
Quite frequently we will also be found escaping down south to the tranquillity of the Margaret River region, which boasts great camping, wineries, breweries and beaches.
What do you think of the food?
I hate to say that the food is not that dissimilar to what we would get at home. Perth is a city of many cultures but that hasn't transferred to the cuisine in many instances. There are some fantastic places to eat out, but in most instances they are very pricey. What is most popular is the use of public barbecues at the beaches and parks, or home entertaining. What is probably unsurprising is that the fish and chips here are rubbish.
What's the best way to get around?
Inner city public transport is fairly efficient, with free buses within the city limits and trains to outlying suburbs. The greater Perth region is very extensive, but Perth city itself is walkable. If you were going to explore more of the region then it would be advisable to hire a car.
What's the shopping like?
Perth is not known for its shopping. If you're looking for high fashion or fancy new gadgets then you're on the wrong coast (of Australia), but Perth has all the main chain stores and the big brands you get in most cities. What Perth can boast, shopping wise, are pockets of cool boutique stores tucked away in Fremantle and Subiaco.
What's the nightlife like?
There are several areas providing a diverse mix for night life - the city has the reputation for being classy and expensive, while Fremantle is diverse - with authentic Mexican, Italian and Asian cuisines, and local breweries (notably Little Creatures). Mentionable is also Northbridge, which has become so busy that there have been more frequent incidence of aggression and "bottlings".
What is your favourite part?
I really enjoy heading to south Perth on a weekend morning to walk along the shore line and look out across the water to the city. They have lovely cafes and parklands for hanging out.
What time of year is best to visit?
Any season but summer! Spring and autumn have gorgeous weather, with warm 20-25 degree days, and mild evenings. Winter is also very mild, however summer temperatures can be restrictively hot, a heat that is not even conducive to being at the beach. Summer is also very dry, so not the prettiest time to see WA's flora and fauna.
What's your must-do thing for visitors?
I could not pick one. There is something to suit all tastes, from walking around Kings Park, to visiting the wineries and chocolate shops of Margaret River, or biking around Rottnest Island and seeing the quokkas. One consistently enjoyable pastime would be spending a day or two at the beach. The beaches have lovely gold sands, and crystal blue water. Just keep your eye on the shark warnings!
What are your top tips for tourists?
Historically, Perth has had a reputation as being a quiet, slow, red-neck town. My tips for tourists would be to expect more culture and diversity than you may otherwise have given Perth credit for. From beach babes in Scarborough, to alternative creative in Fremantle, to country folk in Mundaring, there is more to Perth than meets the eye. Scratch the surface and you will find it hard not to find something to suit you.
How easy is it for you to get back to New Zealand?
Very easy. There are direct flights (seven hours) or you can stop over on the east coast of Australia (3 hours to get to Sydney, but five hours return - due to head winds). Off peak you can usually get round trip flights for about $800.
If you know an expat who wants to share the inside knowledge on their home away from home, email email@example.com with Expat in the subject line.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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