Perth at a Glance
Neighborhoods in Perth
Although the metropolitan region of Perth is but a tiny speck in vast Western Australia, it covers quite a bit of space. The metro area stretches 140 km in north-south direction, from Two Rocks to Mandurah, and about 50 km from the ocean to the Shire of Mundaring in the west. Where you are going to live depends first and foremost on your personal situation, especially your place of work and income. Nevertheless, we’d like to introduce a few neighborhoods and municipalities in metropolitan Perth.
Suburbs in Central Perth
The City of Perth itself is a “suburb” on the northern bank of the Swan River, in the heart of town. (No, that’s not a contradiction in terms. In Australian English, the word “suburb” refers to any district or neighborhood, no matter where it is located.) It is home to the central business district, the stock exchange, and a pedestrian shopping area. However, it is less suitable to look for residential housing here.
Younger expatriates, particularly singles or couples without children, may consider a move to Subiaco, Northbridge, or Fremantle. “Subi” is an inner western suburb of Perth, an older working-class district that has reinvented itself as buzzing, stylish, and cosmopolitan. Northbridge, too, is close to the city center and renowned for its nightlife. Traditionally the heart of Perth’s Italian, Greek, and Macedonian communities, it is nowadays known as ethnic and trendy.
Further down the Swan River, around the port, you will find Fremantle or “Freo”, as the locals call it. Since it contains many heritage buildings from the colonial area, it attracts its fair share of visitors exploring Fremantle’s tourist trails. Nonetheless, its arts community, live music scene, and alfresco dining culture are an added bonus for the residents.
If you settle in Fremantle, you’ll also benefit from its nature reserves and its transport connections, like the railway terminus for the entire Perth area. Expats from Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, and the UK will run into quite a few compatriots here.
Upper-Class and Middle-Class Residential Areas
If you needn’t worry about money, you should look into finding a new home in the inner suburbs of City Beach, Applecross, or Bicton. As the name implies, City Beach is a beautiful beachside district, one of the city’s most prestigious residential areas, with some ultra-modern and ultra-chic houses for the affluent.
Applecross and Bicton are both situated on the banks of the Swan River, and the available housing mainly caters to the well-to-do, especially in Applecross. In exchange for a generous sum, you get to live in streets lined by jacaranda trees, in close proximity to lots of green space, the South of Perth Yacht Club, and several golf courses.
Expats on a normal income are more likely to move to an area like Willetton, a broadly middle-class to upper-middle-class suburb in the City of Canning, about 15km south of the CBD. It has an ethnically mixed population with a large Asian community and offers a variety of accommodation. The latter makes neighborhoods like this one a good choice for expatriates with children.
The Outer Metropolitan Area
Further from central Perth, there are plenty of municipalities in the outer metropolitan region which could be attractive for new arrivals. For instance, the City of Swan, located about 20 km further up the Swan River Valley, includes over three dozen different suburbs. Its districts range from the exclusive neighborhood near the local five-star resort to settlements like Ellenbrook. This planned satellite city and self-sustaining community is a rapidly growing residential area that may soon become a regional center.
Joondalup is a prime example of an established regional city in the outer metro area. It has its own shopping district, schools, and hospital, and is linked with Perth via railway connections to the CBD. Its population has a disproportionate percentage of parents, older workers, and retirees – people who probably aren’t that interested in the nightlife and entertainment scene of the central areas anymore.
The eastern Shire of Kalamunda is more of a “dormitory suburb” than Joondalup. Plenty of people mostly live and sleep in the semi-rural area full of orchards, vineyards, and fields of roses, and go to work elsewhere. But if you enjoy peaceful surroundings and natural beauty, places like Kalamunda are ideal for you.