The capital of Western Australia has it all. With beautiful beaches, bustling nightlife, wine regions, scenic parks and shopping destinations, Perth is a city that is brimming with opportunity for those looking to settle down. So if you’re looking for a sea change, the allure of one of the most isolated cities in the world is one you won’t be able to resist.
Perth’s indigenous history dates back nearly 40,000 years. The Noongar people are the traditional owners of the Perth region and the Swan Coastal Plain, and at the time of British colonisation were split into four main groups – Mooro, Beeliar, Beelo, and Weeip.
The Swan River is a sacred place for the Noongar people, with many stories preserved about Wagyl, the water-serpent believed to be responsible for creating and taking care of the river and many water features around Perth.
Moving with the seasons, the Noongar people would travel inland during the winter before returning in late spring to hunt wallabies, kangaroos and possums. What’s now known as Kings Park was where their main camp was, while Heirisson Island used to be a site made up of several small islands and fish-filled mudflats.
While the Noongar people had sporadic contact with Dutch and French visitors in the late 1600s and early 1800s, it wasn’t until 1829 that Captain James Stirling established Perth as part of the Swan River Colony. Stunned by how beautiful the natural environment was, Sterling and the British Government decided to found Perth as the first free settlement in Australia.
In the early days of colonisation, the Swan River determined the first towns in the region. It was decided that the capital would be established on the river 18km from the port of Fremantle, halfway between the sea and the farming areas of the Upper Swan.
Due to years of financial difficulty, around 10,000 convicts were transported to Perth from Britain between 1850 and 1868. The arrival of these convicts meant that many public works were quickly completed, and Perth gained ‘city’ status in 1856.
From the 1890s, gold discoveries in the Kalgoorlie region ushered in a new era of prosperity for Perth. Many new buildings were constructed, some of which still stand today, and the city’s population rapidly grew. In 1901, Western Australia federated with the other Australian states to form the country we know today.
Due to a mining boom in the 1960s, Perth experienced another increase in wealth – which is most noticeably reflected in the city’s changing skyline. In 1962, the city became world renowned for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
These days, Perth is home to over two million people. It’s also the fourth largest populated city in Australia and one of the most liveable in the world.
Perth might be one of the most isolated cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. Pristine beaches, parks and rivers meet to harbour a highly educated and progressive workforce, full of opportunities and innovation. In addition, the city has been recently ranked 22nd in the world for quality of life according to Mercer’s Quality of Living top 25.
You’ll also find plenty of activities and attractions to do, such as visiting Rottnest Island, Swan Valley vineyards, Kings Park, museums and more. On the coast of the Indian Ocean, Fremantle is the port city where you’ll be able to enjoy a proper sunset over the sea.
The mining sector and its close proximity to Asia make of Perth’s economy an attractive one; with many investors in energy, minerals, agriculture, tourism, education and food
You can get to Perth via plane, car, train or cruise. Flights to Perth from any major city in Australia depart daily and frequently, with the flight from Sydney to Perth averaging four hours.
If you’re interested in seeing what the vast landscape of the Nullarbor Plain in the middle of Australia is like and want to make getting there an adventure, then the train is for you. As the longest straight railway in the world, the Indian Pacific can take you from the east coast (Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide) to the west coast in three days. If you’re on a budget, there is also the possibility of a long bus ride from Adelaide to Perth.
Of course you can always pack up the car and drive yourself. In fact, the average Australian plans to drive over 10,500 km per year. To put that in perspective, that is more than the distance from Brisbane to Perth via Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and all the way back! Whether you plan to brave the rugged beauty of the Outback or take the stunning coastal route, make sure you’re prepared for the long trip and plan for plenty of breaks.
If travelling across the centre of our great island nation isn’t your style, then why not relax as you set sail in style on a leisurely cruise? Most cruises will depart from Sydney and stop in other Australian cities on the way.
If you’re committed to doing your part for the environment and don’t drive a car, you’ll still be able to make your way around Perth with ease.
Perth has a very effective public transport system, Transperth. If you’re settling in, a good idea would be to buy a SmartRider card, which covers buses, trains and ferries. The cost of the card is $10, and then just add credit to it. It works with “tap on, tap off” technology, so the price of your ride will be defined by the distance you’ve travelled and which zones have you covered. The SmartRider Card works out to be 15% cheaper than buying paper tickets.
The train network covers the majority of the city, all the way to Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland, Armadale and Mandurah. Transport in Perth also features a free city bus service that can take you to most of the city’s attractions.
Taxis operate 24/7 and can be found outside hotels, airports and shopping centres, as well as circulating on the streets. From the airport, you can catch a taxi to the city or the Airport-City shuttle, which stops in several points in the city.
This pristine island, where cars are non-existent, is located only 19 kilometres from Perth, and it features more than 60 breathtaking beaches. It has a rich history, the island sporting several adventurous activities such as snorkelling and bike riding. There are a number of coral reefs and tropical fish which must be explored!
Kings Park is one of the largest parks in the world in the midst of the city. Packed with native Australian flora, it is surrounded by the Swan River (which plays host to the majestic black swans swimming freely on its waters). From the park, you can catch quite a privileged view of the city’s landscape and skyscrapers.
Indulge in Australia’s best wine
Whether you’re an amateur sommelier or can distinguish notes with one whiff, the wine region of Perth does not disappoint. Indulge in the famous Swan Valley, which has more than 40 vineyards compose the region, mainly focusing on producing warmer climate wines. There are several tours that can be taken in the region; including the cellars, the vineyards, art galleries, bush trails, national parks, colonial heritage, lakes and rivers.
White sands and turquoise waters perfectly describe what you’re in for when visiting Perth’s well-renowned beaches. From trendy Cottesloe Beach, to snorkeling reefs in Mettams Pool and Triggs beach park and grass area, you are in for a treat. If you like to take it slow when it comes to the ocean, Leighton beach has more calm waters.
The port city of Fremantle, or Freo (as known by the locals) is a bustling combination of historic buildings, delicious cafes and colourful markets located half-an-hour south of Perth. Local tours include the Fremantle Prison, Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Galleries.
Shopping and nightlife
Head to the stylish neighbourhoods of Subiaco, Leederville, Mount Lawley and Northbridge for unparalleled boutiques, bar and bistros, pubs, small bars (from the small bar movement) and hipster restaurants. Designer clothing shops and weekend markets are also in store in any of these urban villages of Perth.
Multiculturalism is a strong characteristic in WA’s capital. You can experience it yourself, from walking down the streets of the CBD to visiting some of the city’s cultural attractions, such as Perth Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Western Australia (which features a huge collection of Aboriginal Art and it’s free), The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art for modern exhibitions and finally, the Urban Orchard, a city garden for the green enthusiasts.
Ready to make a change and lay down some roots in Perth? Get in touch with the Gemmill Homes team to learn more about building a home here by calling (08) 9263 4444 or send us an email.