Talk to me about Perth, Australia

(17 Posts)
Heatherbell1978 Wed 14-Sep-16 20:39:45

We're planning to emigrate to Perth from Scotland in 2018. Can't go any sooner as DH is due some money from shares from his work late 2017. We'll be moving with DS1 who will be 3 and DC2 who will be 12-18m depending when we go (I'm pregnant). We have friends there who have kids the same age so we'll have an instant network if you like but no family.
We're both professionals and plan to work. We're worried about the economy but hoping by the time we go things will have picked up plus we'll have enough money to last around 6-9 months out of work.
We've been before and do love it (visited last time in March with DS1) but I read soooo many negative things about Perth from expats on all the forums. Is it just because unhappy people are more likely to post? Would be good to hear about MNers experiences living there with young kids (and what I'm likely to miss).

shellybr Thu 15-Sep-16 04:31:32

We are in Perth and have been here 5 years and have citizenship. We love it here, we feel really settled and plan staying here for the foreseeable future to the extent if it comes to it DH is going to commute between here and the eastern states if he has too.
We arrived with a 4 year old and an 18 month old, they are now 9 and 6 and have the most amazing lifestyle out playing in parks and at the beach. We are going to have our 3rd boy in Nov so about to start the playgroup preschool thing all over again.
DH is in IT and it is very quiet at the moment but hopefully everything will start to perk up soon.
PomsinOz has a lot of negative nellies about Perth most haven't been here in years or don't live here any more so ignore them. PerthPoms has a more balanced view of life here.

katemess12 Thu 15-Sep-16 04:36:38

Lovely, but blisteringly hot in spring/summer/some of autumn.

I'm Australian, so have no perspective on emigrating, but I like Perth. It's a lot less densely populated than places like Sydney or Melbourne; it's got some lovely beaches and suburbs surrounding it etc.

I think the downsides are:
- The fires during summer. It's extremely bushfire prone, but that goes for a few other places as well
- Very hot and dry in summer
- Very isolated from the rest of the country. I have a friend who gets annoyed that Perth is always left out when people talk about "Australia". It's a vast distance apart from the East Coast, and unfortunately the East Coast is where the overwhelming majority of people live

And that's about it.

I have never lived there. I've only lived in NSW, but I'd move to Perth before I moved back to Sydney, if that means anything. smile

katemess12 Thu 15-Sep-16 04:38:29

Oh, as an aside, Australia's economy is in a period of transition and growth at the moment. It's faring better than most advanced economies at the moment.

TerrorAustralis Thu 15-Sep-16 05:01:34

It's my home town, but I haven't lived there for quite a while. So I don't have an expat's view of it.

I'm sure you're aware of the pros, which is why you're going there.

The cons, in my view are varied and evolving. Stinking hot in summer, but cold nights in winter and the houses often aren't insulated or heated properly, so it can actually be pretty cold. It's very spread out and public transport is limited, so if you live in the suburbs you almost certainly need two cars.

The economy is pretty much in recession and there are not a lot of jobs in many sectors. What do you and your DH do? Have you been looking at job search boards like seek.com.au to see how many jobs are being advertised?

Housing in Australia in general is pretty expensive and overvalued. Perth is nowhere near as bad as Sydney and Melbourne right now, and is coming down (hopefully even more by the time you get there). Unless there's a housing crash you will be paying a lot more than in Scotland.

Socially there is a huge drug problem with crystal meth/ice and all the associated crime that goes along with that. Depending on where you live now, that may or may not be very different.

Culturally it can seem like a bit of a wasteland, although that has improved a bit over the years. There seem to be more events on during the year, and not just the Perth Festival in summer.

It's often said Perth is like a big country town, and in many ways that's true. People can be pretty parochial and the stereotypes of racism and small-mindedness can be close to the mark (obviously not everyone is like that). It's isolation means that some people may have never left the state.

That said, you know it has a lot to offer. I am really missing the lovely clean beaches lately, the space and fresh air. And you're right that people are probably more likely to post when they've got something to complain about or a problem they want help with. Just look at this board! There's not many threads that start with 'I love where I have moved to and have no problems or complaints at all'.

Good luck!

KoalaDownUnder Thu 15-Sep-16 05:27:13

Terror has given a pretty good summary, I think.

Lifelong Perth resident, except for a few years living in the UK and a couple of other countries:

Pros:

- Clean: clean streets, beautiful parks, clean foreshore with lots of green open spaces
with bike trails, free public bbqs, etc.

- outdoor lifestyle: see above. Perth can't be beat for outdoor fun with kids. In summer, we spend hardly anything as always out on bikes, skateboards, surfboards, bbqing outdoors, hanging at the beach, kayaking on the river, etc.

- housing: house prices have gone down, and you can get a detached house with big outdoor garden areas within 10 km of CBD for much less than an equivalent property in the UK

- space: lots of it. Everywhere. I feel claustrophobic when I go back to the U.K. now.

- traffic: sucks going in and out of the CBD at peak hour, but really not an issue the rest of the time, compared to other cities.

- safety: I think Perth is a very safe city. I often leave my house and car unlocked, and I have no qualms about walking on streets or catching public transport at night

- culture: okay, Perth is notorious for lack of cultural attractions, but I do think it is rapidly improving. Lots of street festivals and arts festivals springing up, Elizabeth Quay and Scarborough foreshore being revitalised, and we are starting to attract some bigger musical festivals and performers who would have only gone to the eastern states in the past.

Cons:

- isolation: yes, it can get to you. Flights anywhere are long and expensive

- heat: summer can be brutal. However, if you have good air-con, a well-designed house and are either near the beach or have a pool, it's fine

- shopping/nightlife/culture; lets just say it ain't Sydney

- suburban spread: I would recommend NOT doing what lots of the UK expats do, and buying a massive McMansion up the end of the freeway. The far northern and southern 'burbs (eg Butler, Joondalup, Success, Parmelia) are soulless and dull. Get a smaller place closer to the city/river/beach. You will thank yourself.

- winter: is boring. No snow, just chilly (although extremely mild temps by uk standards, tbf). Everyone hibernates. Houses tend to have inadequate heating.

summary: I think Perth is a bit dull for young, single people (eg, anyone in their 20s), which is why we all bugger off to live overseas for a few years wink. But in your 30s +, it's grand - especially with kids. I do think the lifestyle for kids is second to none. Just be prepared to spend a bit more time and money to get anywhere outside Perth, and you'll be grand!

KoalaDownUnder Thu 15-Sep-16 05:31:49

Ps Here are some pics I took a few weeks ago, 5 mins from my house, during the dead of winter winksmile

CaptainWarbeck Thu 15-Sep-16 05:39:10

I'm in Perth. DH is an Aussie, so we had a ready made network. We moved from the UK and haven't regretted it at all. So much more open space, weather is great, lots of sunshine, friendly people and heaps of stuff to do outdoors. Lots of sporty outdoor events on. Great if you're into running. Plus the food and coffee is generally better than the UK. Lots of groups for kids and parents to join, we've found that really good.

Downsides: public transport is crap, you generally need a car. Bike paths are pretty good though, DH commuted by bike for a few years. Hot in summer and cold in winter but nothing you can't get through fine if you have reverse cycle aircon smile

mrsplum2015 Thu 15-Sep-16 06:25:48

Totally agree with down under koala!

Don't forget the heating and cooling costs a fortune. I would love to have my central heating and double glazing back...

Winter can be pretty miserable but there are some lovely warm days still and it's so short compared to in England.

I could happily return to England especially for friends and family. However a combination of factors has meant financially the opportunity to be comfortable and secure long term is far better if we stay in Perth so that kind of made the decision!

Good luck with your decision...

Glastokitty Thu 15-Sep-16 06:33:14

I'm in Perth, we moved here in 2013. I concur with most of what is said above. We bloody love it here, we have a beautiful house near the beach that is fairly cheap as its small by aussie standards (but huge and lovely compared to anything I lived in in the UK). I absolutely adore the long hot summers, and spring and autumn are pretty nice too (although I wish this spring would bloody HURRY UP). Winters are mild and short and a bit dull as everyone hibernates (or pisses off to Bali). I do think I would have found it a bit dull in my 20s, but then I lived in London in my 20s so not really a fair comparison. For families, in my opinion, its paradise.

There is a slow down at the minute, depending on your profession this might affect you. Its bloody hard to get a job before you get here, but do if you can. it is expensive until you are working, when you are still converting everything back to stirling in your head the prices will be horrific, but you get used to it, and in my opinion it is far easier to have a great lifestyle on an average wage than it was in the UK.

You will need a car straight away, distances are much bigger here. I disagree that public transport is crap, if it goes where you want it to it is cheap clean and efficient, its just that it cant possibly cover everywhere. FWIW I dont drive, and I work full time, I get to work on the bus just fine (and I dont work in the city).

One thing we have found is that the people are lovely. We started out with making fellow pommy friends, but now know loads of people Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans etc. Lots of people choose to live in very pommy places (Secret Harbour, Baldivis and Joondaloop, I'm looking at you), its really up to you. Familiarity is comforting at the start that's for sure!

What else? I recommend air con for summer and a log burner for winter, winter here is freezing because of the stupid uninsulated houses.

As for culture, this is plenty there if you want it. This year I've been to see Little Shop of Horrors, Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Sound of Music (last night! was fab!) at the theater. Its never going to be London, but unless you are a dedicated culture hound, there should be enough to satisfy you. But that;s not really what Perth is all about. Its about getting outside, going to the beach, having a barbie with friends, playing or watching sport (I hate it) enjoying the beautful wildlife (dolphins in the bay, fairy penguins, kangaroos, kookaburras), chilling out in the sun with a beer! if that sounds like your kind of thing, you'll love it. Good luck!

Heatherbell1978 Thu 15-Sep-16 15:14:04

Thanks very much for all your comments. The isolation is perhaps one of the biggest things that concern us - we're used to a couple of holidays a year and obvs living in the UK we're spoiled for choice in travel. But with #2 on the way, holidays will be one more difficult and part of the reason for emigrating is thAt we're both sun-seekers so hopefully living in it makes holidays slightly less necessary. The heat doesn't worry us too much. It was 40 when we visited in March and both of us are quite happy in those kinds of extremes (although I get that it would become tiresome after a while).

Jobs wise I work in banking but have done a variety of jobs over the years in the bank so could probably turn my hand to a few things. DH is a business analyst. We have a few contacts in Perth which we hope will come good for us but we are worried as we'd hope to earn similar to here where we're quite comfortable.

I don't think Perth is somewhere we'd go in our 20s or even if we didn't have kids. It's fair to say it's the lifestyle for the kids we're going for. Summers in Scotland are fine but as soon as winter arrives we hate it and find we're limited with things to entertain our toddler as neither of us like the cold and wet so struggle to do much. Appreciate Perth has a winter but during the day it's probably not too dissimilar to the weather here in summer so we can deal with that!

Our overall feeling is that we'd like to at least try it out. DH won't have enough visa points once he reaches 40 (2 years time) and we will have enough money to do it. I think we'd perhaps regret it if we didn't try it as we've both thought about it for years....lots to consider though!

TerrorAustralis Thu 15-Sep-16 15:47:39

There are plenty of places within the state to have holidays, but it's not exactly like popping over to France! I suppose it depends on the type of holidays you enjoy. If you do want to go overseas, then holidays in South East Asia can be relatively cheap.

You'll probably find that there are jobs in both your areas. If you both worked in mining related fields, I'd be coming up with another plan! But banking and IT are relatively stable at the moment, I think.

CaptainWarbeck Thu 15-Sep-16 22:54:28

I do agree about the holidays factor actually, it took me a while to get used to mentally that to get anywhere really was a few hours on a plane. Many people in Perth go to Bali for holidays because flights, accommodation and food are all cheap. But 'nearby' you've also got the rest of Indonesia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore etc. Plus Australia itself, which is what we mainly do. 3 hours drive south from Perth you get to Margaret River which is a beautiful wine region with beaches and surf etc. Then lots of little towns around there to explore too. Tasmania is also on our list. You can go north from Perth but it just gets hotter!

shellybr Fri 16-Sep-16 03:47:47

It depends were you live re the public transport. We chose to live in a beach suburb with quick access to both the train and the Mitchell and we have done with 1 car for 5 years. Its only now that the boys are getting older that we might need one for the weekends as their sports are starting to clash at weekends. My husband takes the train to work. I love the heat in the summer so that doesn't bother me so much. As we live so close to the beach as soon as the Dr blows in it cools everything down. Housing as come down so much since we arrived.
My parents love it so much they are coming for 4 months over the summer this year. They hate the winters at home. They are always amazed how clean everything is.
We figure we live somewhere that is hot a lot of the year with the best beaches literaly minutes from our house so it suits us alot better then having to wait for a couple of weeks a year that we can go away. We have kitted ourselves out with camping gear and are slowly getting to see this massive state. The one thing that annoys me though is we can go to Bali for a holiday for less then a trip to Rothnest.

Glastokitty Fri 16-Sep-16 03:59:41

Shellybr I hear you about Rotto. I have been over a few times off season, but $75 dollars a ticket is daylight bloody robbery! I wonder if you are in the same beach suburb as me? I'm five mins walk from the beach and I bloody love it, I am most pissed off that the weather has been so shit, this time last year I'd had a beach day already (it popped up on my facebook and made me cross!) grin. I must get some camping gear, now Aldi is open I should be able to get some cheap gear.

bluetongue Fri 23-Sep-16 23:22:02

I personally my wouldn't move there because the heat and isolation would do my head in and I currently live in Adelaide!

To be fair I've never been there and plenty of others seem to love it there. There also seem to be lots from the UK that tolerate the heat better than me who was born in Australia.

citychick Fri 07-Oct-16 14:00:46

hi op
i have never been to Perth or Australia for that matter. my cousin lives in Perth, Australia though.
our whole family is Scottish. from the NE
from what she tells us in her letters /emails , Perth is full of Scots!
so that will be a complete.change then...hmmgrin
whatever you decide very best of luck!

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