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Known as the 3rd most expensive city in Australia among locals, yet at a much smaller scale than its counterparts, Perth took its time in becoming a travel destination of choice. The good news is, travellers don’t have to deal with housing loans and other daily costs of living like locals do, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy Perth for what it is even beyond the city, at affordable rates. Here are a few secrets to an affordable holiday in Perth.
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The first and most affordable way to plan your meals when holidaying in Perth, is to do as the Aussies do: Buy groceries! Yes, you read that right. Grocery shopping in Perth (or anywhere in Australia, really) isn’t just about getting produce cheap, but really fresh! The range of options available for just one kind of product alone is unbelievable and if you’re a foodie who enjoys cooking, you could easily spend an hour just browsing the shelves, allowing the abundance of available meats, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and even pre-cooked items tickle your culinary imagination. This is your chance to buy and indulge in fresh and delicious local ingredients which would otherwise cost a bomb back home.
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The two most famous grocery shops in Perth are Coles and Woolworths (or “Woolies” as they call it) and they are constantly competing with the lowest prices possible. Be creative, choose wisely, and you could probably fill your grocery bag up to a cap of $30 and find it can last you at least 2-3 meals for two persons! That’s almost $15 for two meals per person just cooking on your own or making sandwiches instead of paying the average of $25 - $35 per person when you dine out. If you’re going to be staying beyond the CBD, look out for farmer’s markets such as Spudshed where you can get ingredients at even lower prices. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
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If cooking or making a sandwich really isn’t your thing, then the next best option is to look for discount apps and deals around town. The Entertainment Australia Book has been a go-to book of vouchers among locals for the last 24 years and they now have an app which is available for free for iOS and Android. Sign up as a member and pay a yearly flat rate ($19.99) to access dining, entertainment, accommodation and activity discounts of 25% to 50% off and 2-for-1 offers throughout Australia. By using the Entertainment Australia book or app deals, you’re also contributing to a number of charities and fundraisers on their list.
The app includes participating businesses in all 16 Editions of the Entertainment™ Book across Australia, the ability to search for businesses near you, sort by cuisine type, booking directly from your search result, and even directions. If you’re travelling to different parts of Australia often throughout the year with family or a big group, this option is worth the initial spend!
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Getting around within Perth’s CBD won’t be a problem because everything is within walking distance. There are busses and trains that run within and around the city too of course, and you’ll be glad to know that fares are completely free within the Free Transit Zone of the CBD. Otherwise, buy a SmartRider transport card to get up to 20% discounts on local bus, train or ferry fares across all nine Zones of Perth city and beyond. This card can be purchased at the airport itself or at most newsstands around town. If you’d like to explore beyond this grid without walking yet with the flexibility of stopping wherever you like, you can hire a Spinway bike at certain locations around the city from 1 - 24 hours. The longer you hire it for, the cheaper it gets.
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The best option for affordable and convenient transport beyond the city is to hire a car. This can get a little tricky as most car rentals have all kinds of terms and conditions in the fine print and a cap on the amount of miles you’re allowed to travel, with “unlimited mileage” car rentals being rather overpriced. So remember to look out for things like this. Hiring a car for a week straight is often much cheaper than just for one or two days. No Birds is one of the most affordable and easy car rental services in Perth inclusive of insurance, and although they aren’t available at the airport, there are a handful of pick up locations scattered around the city. They’re so efficient that you can even extend your booking through a quick phone call without needing to show up in person! Malaysian driving licenses and those from other countries are accepted in Australia during your holiday visa duration, as long as there’s an English translation available on the card (and it has to be within the expiry date range of course).
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No trip is complete without a bit of shopping, even if you aren't a shopaholic! You can stroll down and do a little window shopping along Murray Street in the CBD, or spend a whole day gaping and gawking at the biggest and most glamorous Westfields shopping centre in Cannington. But unless its sale season, I’d say save your cash for making actual purchases at Watertown Brand Outlet just on the edge of the CBD. It’s got most of the international brand outlets under its roof, including brands that can only be found in Australia - making your purchases or souvenirs just a little more special and unique.
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The truth is, an affordable holiday is one that is filled with free experiences and Perth has plenty of that. It costs nothing to bask in the sun and splash in crystal clear waters at Cottesloe Beach, Scarborough beach, or any of Perth’s beautiful white beaches. There are plenty of parks in and around the city, with Kings Park being a major highlight for its spectacular view of the city skyline and home to one of Perth’s most Instagrammed spots - the Blue Boathouse. Do a little research before your trip to see if there are any events or free festivals happening at the park. A good rule of thumb is to save your weekends for activities like these because that’s usually when they’re organised. There are also a number of free self-guided or guided walking tours around Perth and you can choose something that suits your interest here.
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A rainy day is always a good reason to stay indoors and learn more about the culture and history of Perth at its many free entry museums and art galleries. The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am-5pm), the Western Australian Museum (Open Monday - Sunday, 9:30am-5pm), and the Aboriginal Art Gallery (Open Monday - Friday 10:30am-4:30pm) are places worth checking out. One of the latest additions to buildings of knowledge is the impressive City of Perth Library. Even if you aren’t a reader, the architecture and interior design of that space alone can be appreciated.
In conclusion, when there’s a will there is a way. Don’t let one or two pricey things intimidate you from having one of the best holiday experiences of your life. You only need to take some time to research, decide on the kind of trip you want and how much you’re willing to spend, and then go ahead and book your flight with us! We hope this article has been useful in giving you a headstart to an affordable holiday in Perth.