One of the biggest criticisms of Perth, besides the insane amount of people in work vests, is the price. While it isn’t as expensive as Sydney, it can be quite a shock to the unsuspecting traveller. The standard cost of living has increased in the Western Australian capital over the last decade, due to the mining and oil boom in the state’s north. But that doesn’t mean it has to put a dent in your wallet. There are a number of ways to enjoy Perth without putting your home up for a second mortgage. So get your notepads out, because we are about to turn Perth from a costly city to spendthrift’s paradise.
The more adventurous among you might want to couch surf, but if sleeping in a stranger’s house doesn’t hold much appeal to you, then there are a number of shoestring options for accommodation. Perth has a large quantity of backpackers that are walking distance from the CBD. While they can be a bit hit and miss in terms of facilities and cleanliness, if you’re worried about ending up with a complete dud, I suggest going with a franchise with a strong reputation, like the YHA. Saving on accommodation is not exclusive to singles and young couples. Budget Apartments has affordable, self contained apartments, which is perfect for small families.
Perth is one of the most isolated cities on the planet. It takes an equal flight time to get there from Indonesia, as it does from Sydney. As a result, flying to Perth isn’t always as cheap as you want it to be. However, over the last few years, a number of budget airlines have been coming onto the market (Tiger, Air Asia and Jetstar), which fly out of the busy transit cities of Asia. Last month, it was announced that another company would join their ranks, Scoot, offering flights as little as $88 one way from Singapore. There is currently a lot of competition for budget air travel to Perth – which should reduce the cost of tickets – fantastic news of customers.
The ocean and sun at Cottesloe Beach is free for anyone to enjoy. It is a 15 minute drive from the city and the perfect place to swim and surf. It also has a collection of relaxed beachside cafes and pubs. It has a thriving atmosphere, particularly when the locals converge for a ‘Sunday session’, which involves drinking and eating from around noon. During the summer they hold the iconic ‘Sculptures by the Sea’, which attracts massive crowds. The sun setting over the Indian Ocean is a gorgeous sight and highly recommended (drinks in hand, of course).
For the outdoors fanatics, Perth has a walk trail to challenge even the most intrepid traveller. Starting out in Kalamunda, in the Perth hills, and finishing in Albany, 1000km away, is one of the world’s longest trails – the Bibblumun Track. Do a day walk, over night, or the entire thing, staying in shelters and campsites, free of charge.
Not only is it the biggest inner city park in the south hemisphere (covering more than 400 hectares), but it also has an unmatched view of the Swan River and city skyline.
At King’s Park, you can do a variety of activities, from tree top and bush walks, to picnicking in a number of specially designed areas. They also do an indigenous walking tour, which is a fantastic insight into the Aboriginal people and why they consider this area ‘sacred’.
Art Gallery, Museum and PICA
Situated all within the same block are three must-see attractions– all of which have an admission cost of zero! Move over, Louvre – Perth has culture for free. The Art Gallery of Western Australia houses modern, colonial, as well as indigenous art work. The Western Australian Museum contains some terrific exhibitions, including taxidermy, dinosaurs and meteorites. Perth institute of Contemporary Arts or PICA, is not a place for everyone. Some of their contemporary pieces will get you thinking, while others will have you scratching your head in bewilderment.
For a standard pub meal with a drink in Perth, you’re looking to spend between 30 and 50 dollars. Compared to the rest of Australia, nay, the world, this is expensive and primarily where Perth gets its pricey reputation. But ordering food and drink doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – you just have to know where to look. There are a number of place around Perth, especially for lunch, where you can get a pint and meal combination for $15 dollars. For a comprehensive overview of the cheap eats in Perth, we suggest hopping onto the Guide’s specials page.
Jason Lee has helped thousands of tourists travelling to Perth, Western Australia to find quality accommodation at affordable price, while assuring they enjoy their stay with family, friends or even business associates.