Australia is far away. The city of Perth, Australia, is even farther. It’s the most isolated capital city in the world, and I’m going to tell you why you need to go.
Picture what you already know about Australia: sun, surf, kangaroos, koalas. Perth has all that and a whole lot more. Located in the state of Western Australia, Perth has a population of around 2 million people—and it is growing every day. In fact, Australia itself is growing; its population is now close to 24 million people.
But what makes this city attractive to students, businesses and immigrants alike? Could it be the free Wi-Fi in the city center? The free bus service (CAT lines) around the city, too? The amazing, clean beaches so close to the city? The safety, good public transportation and relatively little traffic on the roads?
To me, an American from Ohio, Perth ticks all the boxes.
PEOPLE – I lived in three cities in Australia in my life – Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. In my opinion, Perth has the friendliest population. They are super welcoming to foreigners, which is an extremely important part of traveling or moving abroad. At least for me, I remember my experiences abroad based on the people I meet.
But not only are the locals welcoming; the city itself is also very cosmopolitan. I once heard that 1 in every 4 people in Perth was born overseas. How cool to live in a place where you can meet people from many different countries on any given day!
EDUCATION – Perth is also a great place to study. It has five universities, the oldest and most prestigious being The University of Western Australia, which is ranked #87 in the world. Many people picture Australia as a place just for tourism, but it is actually a country with one of the highest quality education systems in the world. The state of Western Australia also offers free education for children of postgraduate international students studying there, an awesome initiative to attract more students to the region.
COMMERCE – Western Australia is the state that drives the Australian economy. Recently, there has been a huge movement of investments coming to Perth for projects in mining, energy, agriculture, construction, technology, research and more. Because of this, there is also a huge demand for workers, and Perth generally offers higher salaries than in other cities. Looking for work? Chances are, Perth is the place to be.
CLIMATE – Perth is considered the sunniest capital city in the world. Its Mediterranean climate is the reason why it offers clear, blue skies 70 percent of the year. This means lots of barbecues, swimming, running—and if you’re not careful, sun burning, too!
But Perth also has the best beaches in Australia in my opinion, especially the famous Cottesloe Beach. I spent countless hours there after work, enjoying a smoothie, watching the sunset with friends. And let’s not forget the beautiful dog beaches. I used to bring my golden retriever at least once a week to run and play with the other dogs in the ocean. The quality of life in Perth is just awesome.
SPORT – Australians are becoming more and more interested in American sports, but theirs are still the most popular ones—rugby, Australian Rules Football (which is not soccer) and cricket. In Perth, Aussie Rules “Footy” is the most popular sport, which I consider to be a strange combination of soccer, volleyball and American football—definitely a must-see.
NIGHTLIFE – In the past, people used to say that Perth was boring. Stores weren’t allowed to be open on Sundays until a few years ago. They still don’t change their clocks for Daylight Savings. It was a conservative place to live, designed for an older generation. That has all changed. New bars and clubs are popping up all over the city, and Perth is now the cool place to be.
FREMANTLE – Catch a 30-minute ride on the Perth train system and you arrive in Fremantle, a historical port city filled with funky cafes, restaurants and pubs, the most famous of which is called Little Creatures. Oh, what I would give to drink a Rogers beer right now!
ROTTNEST ISLAND – This is a MUST-SEE. Also 30 minutes from Perth city (by boat), this little island about 12 kilometers around is one of the most beautiful places in the world. There, no cars are allowed, so everyone gets around by bicycle! The place is also full of funny-looking and cute little marsupials called quokkas, who always seem to be smiling. But why wouldn’t they? They live in a paradise…
CAFÉ CULTURE – In Australia, Melbourne has the reputation for the best food and coffee, but Perth is not far behind. Aussies love their “flat whites,” a twist on the latte that even Starbucks and coffee shops in both North and South America are starting to promote (however, I don’t think they got the taste right yet). I never drank coffee until I lived in Perth, and now I can’t get enough of it. My favorite places were The Tenth State, a boutique store that also served amazing coffee, and Greens & Co in Leederville, where you can always run into someone you know.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Like to travel? Like wine, surfing, hiking, camping? You could spend a whole month in the state of Western Australia and not see everything (it is Australia’s largest state after all). But with more than 10,000 kilometers of pristine coastline, WA is also one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, similar to the Amazon. In fact, around 80 percent of the marine life in WA cannot be found anywhere else in the world!
Perth is the ideal place to study, start a career, have a family or just visit during the holidays, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
So when you’re booking your next trip down under, I beg you-don’t even think twice about booking that extra leg across the outback, and go see one of the most fascinating places in the world.