Backpacking in Perth, Australia
Is it for you?

Travel tips

Written by Ophelie
Updated 12th January 20
Will take 6mn to read

Where can I backpack in Australia? East or West? This is a big question. And if you already know about the mystic Western city of Australia, maybe you also ask yourself: should I go backpacking in Perth? What to do there as backpacker? Check the pros and cons I found out while backpacking in Perth city for a few months!

Yes, Perth in Western Australia is this kind of controversial destinations. Perth for backpackers? You never know what to think about it. Some travellers mention it as a lost oasis in the middle of an Australian no man’s land. Others tell you, it’s THE place to be on a working holiday in Australia. Well, not easy to make a decision!

I was in the same case. After 8 months on the East Coast, I finally decided to go to this remote place which raised so much my curiosity…

Backpacking in Perth Australia is still cheap, full of Nature and chill vibes!

Perth on a budget – the city made for savvy backpackers

As backpacker, traveling on a budget is a lifestyle. And choosing Perth on a working holiday is one of the best places in Australia to save money.

First, Perth Western Australia’s public transports give the option to take the bus for free – and in a legal way! The free transit zone takes you inside Perth’s city centre and the busses CAT operate on routes close by to the CBD.

Accommodation in Perth for backpackers is also less expensive compared to other cities in Australia. You can get a bed in a hostel dorm from 12$. And even better, from 100$ a week in a share house.

Perth for backpackers, where to stay? – share house or hostel?

Backpackers’ hostels in Perth are an option… for the first days. Because they are either oldish or not very sociable places, better is actually to move to a share house with fellow backpackers or Australian roommates. Perth is my favourite city regarding share houses. Why that? First, you can find rooms for a good price. Which means from 100$ a week – a very good deal for Australia. Then, don’t think that share houses are all at crappy locations. Even for 100$, I lived myself 20mn away by bus from the centre. And the best of the best… I didn’t need to pay a deposit for the room to the landlord. Quite common in Perth, it’s very handy when you’re backpacking and don’t have fixed plans on how long to stay. So, for less money than a hostel, you get the comfort of a house. And for those who arrive a bit stressed, it’s a good way to keep a feeling of home sweet home and avoid the impersonality of hostels.

Buy your backpacker car in Western Australia

There is another top reason for backpacking in Perth Australia at the start of your working holiday. It’s about buying a vehicle. Because the state of Western Australia has less annoying registration rules than the others. Buying your car, van, motorbike or minibus (yeah, it’s also a cool way of road tripping!) in Perth will make your life easier. Especially when selling the vehicle later on.

Explanation: Western Australia is the only state where all the paperwork for the registration can be done online by the buyer. Which means that you will have no trouble selling your car in another Australian state. 

Perth, it’s for chilled backpackers - Nature, emptiness and Australian laidback style

Definitely, Perth has got something different than the other Australian cities. Its reputation of lost oasis is well-earned… since it is the only big city on the  10,000 km long West Coast. To reach any other “big”place, you will have to fly for at least 3 hours to Adelaide or Darwin. To drive is… many, many, many hours. I don’t want to scare you, so I won’t tell you the exact number.

That said, Perth comes with a nice way of life. City at human size, it’s laid back, even sleepy, some people would say. The city on the Indian Ocean has got the bluest river I’ve ever seen. And did I mention the impressive white sand beaches almost right in town? Or the colourful sunsets you can see even in the city centre? Backpacking in Perth Australia will make you wonder about Nature gems every day.

Of course, backpackers think of road trips on the West Coast when speaking about Perth, the biggest Western Australian city. If you were told that it is the most beautiful part of Australia… it’s not wrong! To swim with wales, dolphins, turtles in complete freedom and without tourists in turquoise water is the rare privilege you’ll have while traveling from Perth to the North. The city is the gate to many road trips, either to the South direction Esperance and the pink lake, or up North to the mythic Darwin and the desert in the Northern Territories. If the Australian East Coast has plenty of amazing nature spots, the West will blow your mind by its emptiness and surrealistic desert landscapes.

Gate to longer roadtrips to the Western South and Northern territories

Of course, backpackers think of road trips on the West Coast when speaking about Perth, the biggest Western Australian city. If you were told that it is the most beautiful part of Australia… it’s not wrong! To swim with wales, dolphins, turtles in complete freedom and without tourists in turquoise water is the rare privilege you’ll have while traveling from Perth to the North. The city is the gate to many road trips, either to the South direction Esperance and the pink lake, or up North to the mythic Darwin and the desert in the Northern Territories. If the Australian East Coast has plenty of amazing nature spots, the West will blow your mind by its emptiness and surrealistic desert landscapes.

If you want to be quicker in Europe and Asia

You wouldn’t think about the isolated Perth as gate from and to international destinations, would you? Nonetheless, when coming from Europe, Perth for backpackers has got two advantages. First, the flights are cheaper since Perth is at the closest end from Europe. Second, the time difference is less than on the East Coast – +5 hours between Western Europe and Perth, against +8 hours for Sydney. Your jetlag will say thank you.

And for all travellers who already think about making the step either from Australia to Asia or reverse, Perth is also a good bet. To name the most popular ones, flights from and to Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam are cheaper than from other Australian cities. It will make the difference in your travel budget.

Extra tips for backpacking in Perth, Australia

[Updated 2020]

Perth backpackers

Koalas Perth city backpackers

Dorms from 12 US $

+ Central location (Elizabeth Quay), free breakfast, free cancellation, new (March 2019)

myOzexp Palmerston Lodge

Dorms from 14 US $

+ In Northbridge (nightlife spot), 10 mn by foot from CBD, small friendly and social hostel, chill vibes, renovated 2018

The Shiralee

Dorm from 16 US $$

+ In Northbridge, 10mn by foot from CBD, small hostel in a house, very ‘home sweet home’ atmosphere

Backpackers' partys and pubs

Brass Monkey – $

Super nice venue with 4 bars and an outdoor dance floor. Australian beer!

The Bird – $$

Electro club and bar. With very cool outdoor area to dance and chill.

Villa – $$

Large mainstream club with 3 levels and 3 bars.

Ocean beach hotel – $$$

Restaurant and party venue on the awesome Cottesloe beach. Spot to some backpackers partys. Fancy style.

Do you need more info? Find tips about places to stay, to eat,
backpacker jobs or what to do in Perth on the cheap!

Perth on a working holiday… this is also about partying and dancing!

For music lovers, especially those into electro music and raves, being in Perth will make you dance like crazy. From November on and through the summer, festivals and the so cool bush doofs take place every weekend. Bush doofs, do you need an explanation? They are these electro techno psy trance and co parties… in the middle of the bush, that’s to say in the middle of nowhere! Often one to two hours away from Perth, you dance for two days long on a remote beach or a secret spot in the forest. It’s a travel experience you will love, I guarantee you!

One of the biggest rave events, comparable to the Burning man in the US, actually happens every year end of March near Perth in Western Australia. Another reason to come by!

The backpackers' community in Perth - chill and authentic!​

If you are a traveler looking for easy-going and open-minded travelers, I would highly recommend Perth to you. Of course, it always depends on who you meet but I have noticed one big difference between the backpacker on Australia’s East and the one at the West. It’s about the mindset. The backpacker coming to Perth loves outdoors and simple Life. This is what I like here – being surrounded by authentic people. It feels relaxing in Perth. For me, the backpacking community reflects the wilderness and simplicity of the West Coast. To note as well that the backpacker in Perth tends to be older than the 18 years old of Australia’s busy East Coast!

Elizabeth Quay, Perth

Fremantle, Perth

… if you followed me to my  travel photography gallery?

Is Perth for every traveller? Some downsides you need to know.

At the end of the world… literally

Backpacking in Perth Australia actually equals to be in the most isolated city in the world… it doesn’t come without some inconvenient!

The city on the Indian Ocean is surrounded by Nature… and nothing else! Smaller towns are spread along the coast. But if you need to reach bigger Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Cairns, you will have to fly for at least 3 hours. It’s also not particularly cheap. We should not forget the geographical situation of Perth – most isolated city worldwide.

This statement has its importance if you plan to travel further and, important for us backpackers, to find a job quickly. So, before flying over there, bear in mind that you will need flight tickets to move to other parts of Australia and the budget for that.

Now, speaking of the job situation… let’s take a look on it.

Curiosity makes the awesome traveler you are. 

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Jobs for backpackers in Perth… you'll need some patience!

What I am going to say about the job situation is based on my own backpacking experience as well as the one of my backpacker friends. It is of course different for everyone but I would like to give you some guidelines and insights. So that you know what to expect and gain time while applying for backpackers jobs.

To get a job while backpacking in Perth depends on several factors.

First, there is the period of the year. Because the place is so isolated, it gets very quiet in winter. That’s to say, roughly from April to November. Now, writing these lines, we are in summer and the busy touristy season is starting… raising other difficulties for us backpackers. It is of course easier to find a job but there is also a lot of concurrence. Everyone is looking for the same – a job! 

Second, your job search will get difficult or easy according to the industry you are looking for. Hospitality in summer is a good bet. Loads of restaurants, bars and venues spring up like mushrooms across the city.

 For the guys backpacking Perth, the above options are of course there. But I would say that they can find opportunities quicker. In Perth in summer, a lot of construction and also demolition works are going on.  

And let not forget the famous backpacker farm jobs. For that, you will have to get out of Perth. However, the region just two hours south from Perth offers quantity of farms. Here is a list of the nearest ones:

  • Margaret River – grapes
  • Dunnybrock / Manjimup – apples, pears
  • Albany / Denmark – cherries

Think also aout the mining sector which garanties a very good salary.

In a nut, to find a job on a working holiday visa is not simple and takes time. On the YHA Perth you’ll find an useful summarize about job hunting when you’ll be backpacking in Perth.

How to find jobs for backpackers in Perth – the survivor method

First have an Australian resume ready. Adapt it to each industry you are looking for. Explanation: make a tailored resume especially for hospitality, sales or construction and put forward relevant work experience.

Then, do cross-searching using all the links and platforms I give to you in Perth survival guide. And apply, apply, apply! Without losing motivation.

Congrats, you’ve got your first job interview! Prepare it, research a bit about the place you applied for. Make sure you know some basics for the backpacker job you will have. Be on your best the D day.

To move around, better to have a 4W4

Backpacking in Perth is already cool when you don’t have any vehicle. By bus, ride share or cheap taxis like Uber and Ola, you can explore the most seen of Perth and its surroundings. Kingspark, Fremantle, Serpentine, Launceston or Margaret River… these nice spots are accessible easily and let you experience Perth on a budget.

But, and it’s not a little but, it’s a fact that you will miss amazing places to see without the beloved vehicle of all Australian who respect himself… the 4w4. In the outback and further to the famous Northern territory’s road trips, the 4w4 becomes quickly mandatory. It’s a lifestyle on the Australian Western side… it’s pure wilderness and the Nature is so untouched that normal cars don’t make it. If you don’t want to invest into a 4w4, don’t worry. Plenty of backpackers look for travel mates to go to these famous spots.

I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.

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