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East Coast vs. West Coast

The article is written by Bernadette Sanfilippo

Though it goes without saying, almost all international travellers are familiar with, or have at least heard of, Australia’s east coast capitals, a list typically reduced to Sydney, Melbourne and (to some extent) Brisbane. Mention anywhere else in the country and, more often than not, at least in my experience, you’ll receive a relatively blank expression! Cities like Sydney and Melbourne have done an excellent job at securing themselves prime positioning on the world stage, particularly over the last two decades and, while this is wonderful, it has unfortunately made the rest of the country appear almost redundant in the process. As a result, many are completely unacquainted with the west coast of Australia and have little to nothing to compare our major capitals against.

I was born in Sydney, raised in Perth and moved to Melbourne more than a year ago, so I can certainly draw a number of comparisons between the two coasts. Here are amongst my most significant findings thus far:

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1. THE POPULATION

Obviously the bigger and better cities become, the more people want to live in them. As a result, they become overpopulated and Sydney and Melbourne are certainly busier and more bustling than they have ever been before. The wonderful offset to this is that the people who reside there are more exposed and far more desensitised to contrasting cultures, influences and experiences. Perth, by comparison, has a relatively low population count and a much lower rate of immigration, so the level of exposure there is much lower. However, the less people you place in a city, the less pace and congestion you receive and, generally speaking, Perth is a much slower, far more relaxed city to reside in. Perth is typically recommended as a great place to either retire or raise a young family in.

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2. THE JOBS

There are stacks upon stacks of job opportunities in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly now that dozens upon dozens of companies are based there. In fact, it was my primary reason for relocating. There’s only one factor I didn’t take into consideration…there’s a lot of people living in Melbourne and, unfortunately, this means there’s a lot more people to compete against each time you hand in an application. Prior to moving, I had worked for several national retail brands, so I truly (truly!) believed that getting a job would be a cinch! In reality, I spent my first 4 months in Melbourne unemployed. In Western Australia it’s far less competitive and far easier to score work, particularly with a little experience on the resume. The biggest downside is that applications move very slowly in Perth and it can take several weeks just to score an interview. Unfortunately (major generalisation alert!), it’s a city with no real sense of urgency!

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3. THE WEATHER

Weather has been a bit of a battle for me since I moved to Victoria, simply because it differs so greatly to the climate in Western Australia. In order to understand Australia’s varying weather conditions, it is important to understand how Australia sits geographically. Capitals like Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart are closest to Antarctica, so they experience incredibly cold, icy cool winters and relatively mild summers. Brisbane sits much higher on the east coast, closer to Asia, and thus tends to endure very tropical weather patterns year-round. The middle region of Australia is comprised primarily of desert and dry arid land, so seasons in the neighbouring capitals, these primarily being Perth, Adelaide and Darwin, are riddled with much higher annual temperatures.

4. THE SIZE

Ready for a mind-boggler? Here it is: States like Victoria and New South Wales are comparably amongst the smallest Australian states geographically, yet they are the biggest in relation to sprawl. Essentially what this means is that, while they don’t occupy as much landmass as neighbouring states, they utilise the land they do occupy to the greatest possible extent. This often results in more regular, lengthier commutes. Geographically speaking, Western Australia is the nation’s largest state, occupying approximately one-third of Australia’s total landmass however, the current population of Western Australia is a mere 2.5 million, against a national population count of nearly 25 million. This effectively means that most of the state’s land is uninhabited, making what is inhabited relatively small geographically and thus quicker and easier to get around. Weird huh?

 

 

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