Perth, the most isolated city in the world, has a population of over 2 million people. Like in all big cities, the cost of living there seem quite high. However, compared to other major cities in Australia, such as Sydney or Melbourne, Perth is still affordable, although the price of housing goes up! To avoid emptying your wallet in the capital of Western Australia, we have found some great deals, addresses, and travel tips for you to make the most of your stay in Perth!
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Free Wifi network
In both the CBD and Northbridge, you can take advantage of the free wifi network. Alternatively, you can get free internet access from the city’s libraries. However, some libraries limit the free connection to 30 minutes or 1 hour to avoid abuse. You can find all the information you need to connect to the network here: Free City WiFi | Visit Perth
The food court on James Street in Northbridge offers generous meals for under $15, as do several restaurants on the same street. Like most Australian cities, Perth has its own Chinatown, full of small, inexpensive restaurants. One of the institutions here is called ‘Taka’, where you can enjoy tasty Asian dishes, sushi and bento boxes for under $10!
In the city centre, many restaurants offer special deals every night of the week. Half-price pizzas on Mondays, a burger and a beer for $15 on Tuesdays, steak frites for $15 on Wednesdays, and so on. Keep an eye out for these great deals!
Just a little hungry? Stop off at Toastface Killah and their graffiti-filled walls for a delicious toasty sandwich for $5, or $5.50 for a vegetarian option ($9 with a coffee).
From November to April, stroll along the Scarborough Sunset Markets from 5pm to 9pm and try out one of the many food-trucks that set up along the esplanade. There are plenty of budget-friendly options to sample delicious dishes from all over the world!
Good deals in Perth: Food and drink
The best way to save on your food budget is to cook for yourself! In fact, the more you cut down on fast food and restaurants, the more you’ll save. Of course, you can indulge yourself, that’s not the point. But set yourself a certain limit (weekly or monthly) or a certain budget that you don’t want to exceed. Also, make sure you compare prices in supermarkets, and go for the big chains rather than the small ones where prices explode and are multiplied by 2 or 3. Another little tip is to avoid ready-made meals, which are expensive. You can also buy your produce (fruit and vegetables, honey, etc.) directly from a private individual. Many farmers set up roadside stalls selling their produce at ridiculously low prices. Sometimes you’ll even find donated produce!
Alternatively, you should know that the big food shops generally close at 9pm. Go there at the end of the day from 7.30pm to take advantage of reduced prices on fresh produce (meat, ready meals, fruit and vegetables). A small corner of the aisle is usually dedicated to special offers.
As for water, rather than buying bottles in the shops, why not buy a reusable water bottle? Also look carefully on Wikicamps, for example, or in the town centre while you’re out and about, to see if there are any free drinking water points where you can fill your water bottle.
Finally, if you like to party and go out with friends, we recommend you try the local goon if you haven’t already! After all, it’s Australia’s cheap booze! Prices start at around $7/litre and can go down to $3 for smaller brands or if you buy several litres. There are often special offers. As you will no doubt have noticed when you visit liquor shops/stores, alcohol is (very) expensive. Why not try to save money on that?
If you’d like to do something special, we recommend you visit groupon.com.au or scoopon.com.au. You’ll find discounts of up to 50% off wine tours, cruises, kayak trips, zoo admissions, etc.
Perth is a very green city, with many parks and an impressive coastline with long beaches as far as the eye can see. You only have to wander around the city’s many districts to realise this. Perth has a very relaxed atmosphere and the pace of life is pretty cool. If you are keen to go sightseeing on foot, there is a free walking tour. ICity Tours offer daily 90-minute tours with passionate volunteers.
Most museums in Perth are free (excluding private exhibitions): Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, and the Aboriginal Art Gallery. All of them are in the Northbridge district, within walking distance from the city center or via free buses.
Take the time to stroll through Kings Park and its botanical gardens, stroll along Elizabeth Quay and stop off for an ice cream at Gusto Gelato, change banks and go for a picnic at South Perth Foreshore, admire the view of the skyline or discover one of the city’s many beaches. Our favourite? Cottesloe without a doubt! After a swim, grab a fish & chip to go, sit on the grass and watch the fabulous sunset! Finally, if you’re passing through Scarborough on a Sunday evening, don’t miss the free dance classes at the amphitheatre… a great atmosphere guaranteed to the rhythm of salsa, bachata and kizomba!
For those who want to visit Rottness Island, a small paradise accessible by ferry, it’s good to know that going there during the week is cheaper. In addition, every Tuesday, you pay the Telethon Tuesdays rate of $58 return. To book your tickets, click HERE.
Bus, train and ferry tickets can quickly become expensive. Especially if you’re travelling in certain zones (zone 1 in the city centre). The best idea is to get a SmartRider Card. It will automatically give you a 20% discount on all your tickets. The card costs $10 and is available from the Transperth office in Central Station. You must credit it with at least $10.
Please note that when you buy a ticket, it is valid for 2 hours, so keep it safe! And if you’ve got the SmartRider Card, be sure to tap it when you get on the bus/train AS WELL AS when you get off so you don’t lose your credit!
To get around in the city center and the suburbs of Perth, you can use the CAT (Central Area Transit) bus network, which is free. They run all day and evening on main routes. Look out for the black panther buses and take advantage of the many stops available. You can find all the info on TransPerth.
You’ll also find bicycles and scooters available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’ll find them just about everywhere in and around Perth. Hire costs around $1.50/hour and is an ideal way to discover the city at your own pace. You can also hire bikes free of charge to visit Fremantle from the Fremantle Visitor Centre: https://visitfremantle.com.au/
Finally, car-sharing is a great way to save money! There are many sites such as Coseats, Shareyourride and Hophop Ride. There are also dedicated Facebook pages such as Australia RideShare Backpackers and Australia Travelmates.
Good deals for Accommodation
Backpackers or youth hostels have the reputation of being the most affordable accommodation in major cities. They are also a good way to meet other travellers from all over the world. Perth is no exception to the rule, with many good quality hostels (swimming pool, breakfast included, free barbecue, etc.). Expect to pay between $50 and $80 a night. Alternatively, many youth hostels offer accommodation in exchange for a few hours’ cleaning a day. This is to your advantage and leaves you free during the day to go about your business. You may be asked to stay for a certain number of days (at least a week, for example).
For a little more comfort and privacy, there’s nothing like a shared flat to save you money. You’ll be living in a flat or house with several other people, so you’ll share the rent. In general, you’ll have your own room and can enjoy all the benefits of living in a house! Expect to pay between $250 and $350 a week, depending on the area. Many offers are regularly available on sites such as Flatmates.com.au, Facebook or Gumtree.com.au.
If you love animals, you can also try your hand at housesitting/petsitting. Many Australian families have pets. Unfortunately, they are not always welcome in holiday accommodation. That’s why there are so many websites that put owners and housesitters/petsitters in touch with each other. Generally speaking, owners are looking for someone who can look after their furry pets and water the plants in the garden while they’re away. It’s a practical way of finding a roof over your head (and a bit of company) for a few days or a few weeks, and sometimes you even get paid for it! Take a look at Facebook groups or sites such as Aussiehousesitters.com.au or Mindahome.com.au.
You could also start your trip by volunteering a few hours a day for accommodation and meals (HelpX /Workaway).
Finally, if you only want to stay for a few days, consider couchsurfing and stay at somebody’s house for free.
Camping equipment / Furniture
Prices at Kmart, Target and Big W are unbeatable. You’ll find a wide selection of items for camping, vehicle conversion (crockery, bedding, storage, etc.), clothing and anything else you might need.
Also have a look on Gumtree.com.au, where you find hundreds of advertisements. Sometimes people give away what they don’t need anymore. So if you’re on a small budget, spend some time on this website and you will surely find what you need for free.
Facebook’s Marketplace has also become very popular for finding cheap hardware. In particular, there are neighbourhood-based self-help groups called “Buy Nothing – the name of the suburb -“. These groups allow neighbours to swap and donate items to each other, and sometimes you can really unearth some treasures!
Second Hand Shops are a great way to find clothes and accessories, such as board games and cooking utensils. You find the biggest Op Shops called Vinnies, the Salvation Army, and Red Cross, everywhere in Australia. Visit Salvos Stores Perth City on Barrack Street to find some good clothes.
You can also get good deals at outlet stores in the city. These stores offer brand-name products at discount prices. You find clothing and deco stores, pharmacies, and restaurants at low prices. Go visit Watertown on Wellington Street.