With several major cities spread across Australia it can be tricky trying to choose which one to settle in, especially if you have never even set foot in the country. Some people choose to do a reccie or an LSD trip (‘look see and decide’ – not the other kind!) to try and get a feel for the cities, but unless you have a lot of money (which most people don’t) and plenty of time to spend travelling around this expansive country to check out each city and state, you are probably going to have to take a chance and pick an area to live in well before you arrive.
With the advent of internet access a couple of decades ago (is it really that long ago!?), and more recently blogging and social media, the amount of information you can now glean from simply surfing the net and Googling is pretty staggering. From being able to check out areas to live on Google maps, working out distances between potential residential and work locations, doing an online grocery shop to estimate a shopping budget and getting online quotes for things like insurance or mortgage payments, you can pretty much find out almost anything you need to know before you even set one foot on Aussie soil.
When we were initially umming and ahhing about moving to Australia, we quickly decided that if we did want to move down under, we wanted to live somewhere warm and sunny! This ruled out Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne for us almost immediately! They also seemed a bit too big and corporate for us – being a young family, we wanted somewhere a bit more chilled and family-friendly.
We narrowed it down to Adelaide and Perth. Brisbane and Cairns didn’t seem to have many work opportunities for us at the time and Tasmania seemed way too cold and with very few work opportunities. We eventually went with Perth, I think the (perceived!) better chance of securing work for both of us was probably a deciding factor, not to mention the extra 5 points we got by going the state sponsorship route.
Perth can often be overlooked for being so remote from everywhere else in Australia but is often chosen for its proximity to South Africa and Europe compared to the Eastern states. It’s no secret it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country as well and this can be a big draw card for many. The city itself is fairly small and new having only been established in the mid 1800s. If you are coming from Europe, this can be a bit of a culture shock to some! Compared to South Africa, it’s so similar in terms of age, style, housing and general feel.
Perth seemed to have everything we were looking for as a family. Great weather? Tick. Beautiful beaches? Tick. Family friendly? Tick. Outdoor lifestyle? Tick. Work opportunities? Tick (we hoped!).
I had a few people describe Perth to me before we arrived and two phrases stuck with me:
1. Perth is like Cape Town without the mountain.
Having lived in Cape Town for several years, I fell completely in love with the place. The laid back vibe, the stunning scenery, beautiful beaches (albeit icy seas!) and world-class wineries on your doorstep.
Minus the mountain, and you get Perth. Idyllic beaches, wineries and gourmet food producers just 30 minutes from the city in the Swan Valley, beautiful green and well planned suburbs complete with cafe culture and outdoor lifestyles. Plenty to keep both adults and kids entertained all year round.
And who would say no to that?
2. Perth is like Durban was 30 years ago.
I may be giving away my age here but I grew up in Durban 30 odd years ago. So being able to give my son the childhood I had was an amazing opportunity for me. How many people can say their child had a similar childhood to them?
While it has certainly not been a walk in the park, if you arrive with a positive attitude, you will be able to see the beauty in Perth and everything it has to offer to its inhabitants. Yes you will have days, weeks or months where you may wonder what you have done, and will it work out and will it all be worth it in the end, but don’t lose sight of why you made the move in the first place.
So if you are looking for city living with the added bonuses of being close to white sandy beaches and stunning national parks, a family friendly vibe and infinite opportunities to have an outdoor lifestyle, you need to seriously consider Perth!
If you want to find out more about the cost of living in Perth, read my blog about it now.