Australia’s westernmost capital city, Perth, has a growing global reputation as a great study destination for international students thanks to institutions like The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, the University of Notre Dame, Murdoch University, and Curtin University. The city is also gaining in popularity for its affordable, yet cosmopolitan, lifestyle.
If you’re thinking about studying in Perth and want to get an idea of what it’ll cost you, we’ve put together a guide to the cost of living in Perth.
Perth offers some of the most affordable accommodation in Australia. Compared to bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Perth is a very reasonable option.
In the inner city, you can expect to spend $178 per week on average for a room in a share house (living with professionals or other students), $240 per week for a serviced apartment, or $380 per week for a one-bedroom unit all to yourself. Additionally, there are homestay options where you can live with local families. This usually costs around $310 per week.
In the suburbs around central Perth, a one-bedroom unit is even cheaper at an average of $300 per week, while a room in a share house will cost around $158 per week.
Managed student accommodation is a convenient option if you want utilities and extra features included in your weekly rent. At Campus Perth, for example, fees start at $162 per week for a bed in a four-person bunk bed apartment. This includes all bills, unlimited Wi-Fi, access to common areas like rooftop terraces, a gym and fitness studio with yoga and pilates, coworking spaces, and invites to several free events each week.
It’s important to think about your priorities when weighing up these options. Living further away from the city is cheaper and generally offers more living space. However, it can potentially mean more money being spent on public transport and taxi or Uber services, as well as getting home later from school. Living closer to the city can be a little more expensive, but you’ll be closer to restaurants, nightlife, and major cultural institutions. Living in student accommodation on or near campus can be hugely convenient, as all costs are included in the weekly price and you’ll have a minimal commute to class.
Most of Perth’s university campuses are located along the picturesque Swan River and are easily accessible thanks to the city’s bus, train and ferry services.
The city’s public transport network is called Transperth. You should purchase a SmartRider card for all travel purposes, as the card works on trains, trams, ferries and buses, and offers cheaper travel. Plus, tertiary students receive up to 60% off all travel costs. Using a SmartRider card, it can cost as little as 72 cents for one journey. You must apply for your student card online before travelling with the discounted rate.
If you truly want to experience everything Perth has to offer, you’ll need to immerse yourself in the city’s food culture. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants, cafes, bars and hole-in-the-wall eateries serving up delicious food, with quite a few affordable options available.
It’s important to remember that in Australia, waiters and servers get paid a liveable minimum wage. This means that your sandwich or salad may cost a little bit more than you expect, but it also means the staff are being paid fairly for their time. Unlike some other places you may have visited, such as the United States, Australia does not have a tipping culture. Places may ask if you would like to tip, but it’s not necessary.
On average, a breakfast at a cafe in Perth is going to cost you $15, but make sure to budget a bit extra if you’d like to add a coffee or freshly blended juice. Australia is famous around the world for its coffee and fresh fruit and vegetables, so you can expect to get a high-quality beverage for the price you pay. For lunch, you will likely have to spend around $16. Dinner might be slightly more expensive at around $25 per meal.
Depending on your circumstances, it’s always worth planning ahead for a night out. You don’t want to accidentally splurge your weekly savings just by walking into an expensive venue! Some bars that feature music, burlesque or other live entertainment will likely enforce a cover charge, but rarely more than $10. While there, you can expect a glass of wine, beer or cider to cost approximately $6-10. Spirits might be anywhere between $10-20 depending on the venue and whether you have a desire for cocktails.
Concerts and live music can be more expensive in Australia. Performers have to spend more to travel here, and the costs associated with paying bar and security staff add up. In Perth, $43 or more per ticket is an expected figure to pay for live music or sporting matches. For a larger act at a stadium or arena, over $100 per ticket is typical. Other events like dance or theatre performances will usually cost $57 or more. Always make sure you investigate the weekly city guides, as there are plenty of regular free events taking place around Perth.
A movie at any of the city’s cinemas will likely cost around $18, which may sound like a lot compared to Netflix at home. But, you don’t get the big screen experience that way! Make sure you take advantage of any cinema membership programs that will get you discounted tickets and free popcorn and drinks.
If you prefer to spend your downtime at the gym, a membership at one of the more common gym franchises like Goodlife, Fitness First or Anytime Fitness, will cost around $19 per week. Make sure to ask about any student discounts on memberships or classes. If you opt to live in student accommodation, access to a designated fitness space is usually included in the weekly price.
For more information on the cost of living in Perth, make sure to check out our Cost of Living Calculator.