Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
It is not necessary to own a vehicle, but most people in Perth opt to have a personal car. The public transport system is very good, consisting of trains, buses and ferries.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
If you are a visitor to Western Australia (WA), you may drive on your overseas license for as long as it remains valid in the country of issue. If your overseas license ceases to be valid, you must apply for a WA license if you wish to continue driving.
If you hold a permanent resident visa, you can drive on your overseas license until you have resided in WA for 3 months. After this time, you will need to apply for a WA driver's license. To be able to drive on WA roads with your overseas driver's license (and International Driving Permit, if applicable), you must:
- Carry your license (and International Driving Permit, if applicable) with you at all times while driving and show it to a police officer if asked to do so
- Comply with any other conditions of your license
- Drive only those vehicles that you are authorized to drive
- Hold a current license that is not suspended or cancelled. (You cannot drive on your overseas license if you are disqualified from driving or your driving privileges are withdrawn.)
If your overseas license is not in English, you must carry an International Driving Permit or an approved English translation of your license (if you have either of these) with you when you drive.
If your overseas license ceases to be valid, or expires during your visit, you must apply for a WA license.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Australian cars are right-hand drive and travel on the left side of the road. Generally speed limits are 50 or 60 kilometers per hour in built-up areas and up to 110 kilometers per hour on highways and freeways. All local speed limits, and other traffic indicators, are well signposted. Suburbs and freeways are also signposted. Directions to tourist attractions are displayed on signs with brown backgrounds.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Trains: A modern, electric, air-conditioned train system operates from Perth to Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland and Armadale from 5:40 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. weekdays, with reduced services on weekends and public holidays. Stations are located in most suburbs along each of the routes, with ample parking facilities available at each station. Train timetables are available online, from suburban shopping centers and Transperth offices.
Buses: The Perth Central Business District and suburban areas are well connected by Transperth buses. Free Central Area Transit (CAT) buses run throughout Perth CBD on weekdays from 6:50 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. every 5–10 minutes, weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. every 45 minutes. All travel on Transperth within the CBD is free. Fremantle CAT buses run from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. weekdays every 10 minutes, weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every 8 minutes and Thursday & Friday evenings from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every 8 minutes.
Ferries: Ferries operate daily from 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. between Barrack Street Jerry, Perth and Mends Street Jetty, South Perth. The Perth Zoo is a short stroll from Mends Street.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Yes; buses and planes are most commonly used for intrastate travel (within Western Australia) due to the vast distances in Western Australia.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Traveling late at night is not encouraged, but the public transport system does have security patrols.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Bus tickets are available for purchase by obtaining a Multi-rider ticket from news agencies or Transperth stations, or pay as you board. Train tickets are available for purchase from self-service machines at train stations. Ferry tickets are available for purchase from self-service machines at jetties.