Categories > Guides and Tips

City Face-Off Perth vs Wollongong

City Face-Off: Perth vs Wollongong

Looking to start a new life in the Land Down Under? It took you weeks of researching and asking people which cities in Australia are the best for new beginnings until your choices finally boil down to two options: Perth and Wollongong.

But which city is better for you?

Wollongong is the better city for you if your top priorities are safety and cost of living. However, Perth is the preferable option if real estate prices and cultural diversity are your biggest concerns.

To help you understand how I arrived at that conclusion, let’s discuss in detail the differences between these two cities based on a couple of factors like cost of living, safety, and more.

Cost of Living in Perth vs Wollongong  

Cost of Living in Perth vs Wollongong
The cost of living in Perth is 38.8% higher than Wollongong’s. In Perth, it’s $2,251 per month, but in Wollongong, it’s only $1,520.
The difference is especially noticeable if you look at their rent and grocery costs.

For a more detailed look into the cost difference between Perth and Wollongong, here’s a breakdown of common living expenses in both cities.

The data presented here are statistics provided by in October 2023.

ExpensesAverage Cost in PerthAverage Cost in Wollongong
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,877$1,062
1-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$926$701
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,918$1,511 
3-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$1,435$954 
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill (one person per month)$124$93 
Utility bill (family of four per month)$216$144 
Internet plan (50 mbps per month)$55.2$37.9
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$3.09$2.43
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$113$53.3 
Gasoline (1 L)$1.3$1.07  
Milk (1 L or 1 qt)$1.62$1.08 
Bread (0.5 kg or 1.1 lbs)$2.08 $1.51
Rice (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.06 $1.52  
Eggs (a dozen)$4.42$4.33
Cheese (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$11.8 $9.2 
Chicken breast (1 kg)$8.67 $7.24 
Potato (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.36$2.08
Eating Out
Fast food meal$10.1$9.07
Dinner in a mid-range restaurant (for two people)$73.3$26.1 

There are a lot of factors at play that affect the cost of living in these two cities. For Perth, geography plays a huge part in the city’s higher cost of living than Wollongong.

Perth is among Australia’s most isolated major cities, with the nearest major city, Adelaide, being more than 2,100 kilometres from The City of Lights!

The long distance makes it harder and costlier for most businesses to transport their products to Perth. As a result, most goods and services in the city become more expensive.

Meanwhile, the opposite is true for Wollongong. Unlike Perth’s isolated geography, Wollongong is perfectly situated between the cities of Canberra and Sydney.

Thanks to its location, its residents can enjoy easy access to the more developed markets of Sydney and Canberra at better prices.

I must also mention that Wollongong is a cheaper place for companies to do business compared to the nearby cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The lower operational costs businesses enjoy in Wollongong have allowed them to further lower the prices of their goods and services in the city.

Real Estate Prices in Perth vs Wollongong  

Perth has lower real estate prices than Wollongong.
According to reports published by Michael Yardney’s Property Investment Update and in October 2023, the average price for a single-family home in Perth is 52.7% lower than in Wollongong.
An apartment unit is also 47.5% cheaper in Perth than in Wollongong.

Here’s a table further comparing real estate prices in Perth and Wollongong based on October 2023 data from the aforementioned sources.

Property TypePerthWollongong
Single-family home (inside the metropolitan area)$634,169$1,087,500
Apartment unit$431,474$700,000
Single-family home (outside the metropolitan area)$437,201

Diversity and Demographics in Perth vs Wollongong  

While Perth and Wollongong have diverse populations, there are more people in Perth who were born outside Australia.
According to statistics that Informed Decisions and Population U released in October 2023, only 21% of the residents living in Wollongong were born outside of Australia, which is smaller than Perth’s 36%.

It should also be noted that between the two, Perth has the larger land area and population size. However, Wollongong has a higher population density, meaning more people are living per square kilometre in Wollongong than in Perth.

To help you see the demographics of Perth and Wollongong better, here’s a table that shows a couple of demographic factors, like geographic location and population size. 

The data listed here was provided by Population Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in October 2023.

Geographic LocationWestern AustraliaNew South Wales
Size (Area)6,417.9 km2 572.2 km2
Population 2,224,475280,153
Female Population 50.6%50.9%
Male Population 49.4%49.1%
Median Age 32 years old39 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth 83.8 years old83.4 years old

Another demographic factor we should also discuss are Perth’s and Wollongong’s racial diversity. We’ll use the ancestry records provided by Informed Decisions and the Australian Bureau of Statistics for this part.

Take note that the data presented here was gathered in October 2023.

Nominated AncestriesPerthNominated AncestriesWollongong
South African1.4%Indian1.3%
New Zealander1.1%

While both Perth and Wollongong have diverse populations, we can still conclude that Perth is more culturally diverse because a larger portion of its population was born overseas, as mentioned earlier.

As for Perth, there are many great reasons why it’s still a preferred destination for many of Australia’s immigrants. 

Ever since the end of World War II, Perth has served as an important gateway for many European immigrants arriving in Australia by boat. It’s why a significant portion of the city’s population identify themselves as having European ancestries.

Nowadays, the most important factor in Perth’s continued popularity among immigrants is Western Australia’s continued economic growth despite the ongoing worldwide recession.

Perth also has the lowest inflation rate among all capital cities in Australia.

While The City of Lights still enjoys a high number of immigrants arriving from Europe, it has now also become a preferred destination among Asian immigrants.

In fact, Asian languages like Mandarin and Tagalog are now among the most used non-English languages in the city.

While Wollongong may not yet have the same popularity among immigrants as Perth, many signs show that that might no longer be the case in the coming years.

One such sign is the rise of the city’s population in 2022, as more and more people from Australia’s biggest cities are moving to regional centres like Wollongong. Most of Wollongong’s new residents came from the nearby city of Sydney.

Also, Wollongong is becoming a popular place for international students to live thanks to its proximity to Sydney and high-quality universities. 

According to this article, the University of Wollongong has received 40% more applications from international students in 2019.

With the city’s low cost of living, Wollongong may soon become a popular immigration destination.

Career Opportunities in Perth vs Wollongong 

According to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in October 2023, Wollongong is slightly more favourable for job seekers than Perth.
The state of Western Australia (including Perth) has an unemployment rate of 3.6%, while New South Wales (including Wollongong) has an unemployment rate of 3.3%.

However, we should take note that those living in Perth have a higher net income compared to those in Wollongong.

According to, those living in Perth earn $3,379 per month on average after taxes, while those living in Wollongong earn $2,335 per month.

As for what possible jobs you can get in these two cities, we can get a rough idea based on what industries are the biggest in each.

In Perth, mining is the biggest industry as of October 2023. The next biggest industries in the city after mining are oil extraction, construction, scientific services, and healthcare.

Meanwhile, Wollongong’s biggest industry is construction. It’s then closely followed by real estate, retail, manufacturing, and scientific services.

Crime and Safety in Perth vs Wollongong

Perth had more crimes than Wollongong from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, according to data from the Western Australian Police Force and Red Suburbs.
Perth had 184,194 crimes recorded, while Wollongong had 17,857.
Unfortunately, both Perth and Wollongong have experienced an upward trend in their crime reports over the past few years.

Total crime records are useful in examining a city’s safety. However, they don’t tell the whole story, as Perth has a far larger population size and land area compared to Wollongong.

That’s why we must also compare their crime rates.

Between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, the crime rate in Perth was 82.8 for every 1,000 residents. 

Meanwhile, Wollongong’s crime rate during the same time was 63.7 for every 1,000 residents.

Based on this data, we can now conclude that Perth experiences more crimes than Wollongong.

Lifestyle in Perth vs Wollongong  

Perth is the better choice if you love experiencing outdoor activities and prefer a more efficient healthcare system. However, Wollongong is better if you prefer cooler weather as well as shorter commute times.

If you’re curious as to how I arrived at that conclusion, I compared Perth’s and Wollongong’s healthcare, weather, and public transportation.

 Weather in Perth vs Wollongong

Both Perth and Wollongong have good weather that can be enjoyed by most people. As such, it ultimately comes down to your preference as to which of them is better for you.

Perth has a Mediterranean climate, while Wollongong has a humid subtropical climate.

Starting with Perth, the city’s Mediterranean climate lets Perthites experience mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The city enjoys an average annual maximum temperature of 24.6°C (76.3°F), and it has an average annual rainfall of 733 mm.

Thanks to Perth’s calm weather on most days of the year and moderate amounts of rainfall, the city became known as the sunniest city in Australia.

Thus, if you love doing outdoor activities, then The City of Lights might just be the perfect city for you!

However, a con to Perth’s Mediterranean climate is that the city tends to be drier and extremely hot during the summer, a season when the city sometimes encounters intense heat waves and bushfires. 

In fact, the highest recorded temperature in the city was on February 23, 1991, which was 46.2°C!

Well, how about Wollongong? Unlike Perth’s dry climate, Wollongong’s humid subtropical climate offers hot, humid summers and cool, mild winters.

Wollongong has an average annual maximum temperature of 21.8°C (71.2°F), and it has an average annual rainfall of 1,097 mm.

Overall, I can say that Wollongong might be the better city for those who prefer living in cooler temperatures. The city’s warmest month, February, only experiences an average temperature of 22°C (71.5°F).

If there are downsides to Wollongong’s weather, it’s the occasional hot, humid days the residents experience during the summer. The city also faces a higher number of heavy rains and thunderstorms compared to Perth.

That can be problematic for some people, as Wollongong is a flood-prone area.

 Healthcare in Perth vs Wollongong  

In a survey by Numbeo, Perth has a healthcare system index of 68.04%, which is higher than Wollongong’s 63.10%. 

However, please take note that these indices were based on Numbeo’s visitor input.

To help you see how these two cities’ healthcare systems were compared, here’s a table showing the aspects that were used to evaluate the healthcare systems of Perth and Wollongong.

The data presented here was gathered in October 2023.

Skill and competency of medical staff74.84%60.71%
Speed in completing examinations and reports68.27%60.71%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment81.70%89.29%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports70.78%60.71%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff72%67.86%
Responsiveness (waitings) in medical institutions52.58%46.43%
Satisfaction with cost58.33%53.57%
Convenience of location75.48%75%

Now that we have a rough idea of the efficiency of the healthcare systems in these two cities, let’s also discuss some of the initiatives they or their state governments have launched to improve the health of their citizens.

One of the key initiatives launched by Wollongong and the University of Wollongong is the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which aims to deliver innovative healthcare to the city’s residents and beyond.

Most of their focus is on developing new disease prevention options as well as overcoming the rise of superbugs and their increasing antibiotic resistance. 

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has also launched the Strategic Directions plan to further boost the region’s (including Wollongong) healthcare system efficiency by improving infrastructure and developing a skilled workforce.

As for Perth, the state government of Western Australia has invested a significant sum of money to improve the city’s healthcare system. 

As stated in the WA Health Reform Program report, one of their key initiatives was the construction of Perth Children’s Hospital in 2016. Several hospitals across the city were also provided with new hospital beds and equipment.

The WA Government has also launched an Emergency Telehealth Service, which is available anywhere in the state. This program aims to make quality healthcare services available in Western Australia’s most remote areas.

 Transportation Options in Perth vs Wollongong  

While both Perth and Wollongong have well-developed public transportation infrastructures, Wollongong has an advantage when it comes to average daily commute time.

A survey on Numbeo reveals that residents of Perth have longer daily commutes than those in Wollongong.

Those living in Perth on average have to spend 47.08 minutes on their daily commute, which is almost 15 minutes longer than the 32.38 minutes for those living in Wollongong.

In Perth, buses, trains, and ferries are the three biggest forms of public transportation you can use. Meanwhile, Wollongong has trains and buses that you can use not only for travelling within the city but to nearby towns as well.

It’s a good thing that Perthites love using their public transportation system. According to a 2021 report published by Informed Decisions, 23.1% of Perth’s population relies on the public transportation network to go to their workplaces. 

Sadly, the same can’t be said for Wollongong. According to Informed Decisions, only 2.1% of Wollongong’s residents use public transport to travel to their workplaces.

Both cities offer smartcard ticketing systems, with Perth having the SmartRider card and Wollongong having the Opal card.

These two cards can be used on all public transportation options available in their respective cities. However, there are some slight differences between the two, especially when it comes to discounts.

Perth’s SmartRider Standard card has a 10% discount on all cash fares. However, its equivalent, the Adult Opal card, can provide you with up to a 30% discount when you travel outside off-peak times.

Aside from fare discounts, Perth and Wollongong also offer free rides to their residents. In Perth, residents can enjoy free travel on the first Sunday of every month as long as they own a SmartRider card.

In Wollongong, there’s a free shuttle service provided to students of Wollongong University every day.

Before we move on, let’s quickly discuss how the residents of Perth and Wollongong travel to places outside of their cities.

Those living in Wollongong can easily travel outside of their city because they are connected to the Sydney Train Line, which allows them to reach Sydney within two hours.

For further cities like Melbourne, there’s also the Illawarra Regional Airport, which makes it possible for Wollongong residents to reach these cities in under a day.

Meanwhile, Perth’s isolated geography makes it hard for Perthtites to travel outside their city by bus or train. An entire train ride from Perth to Sydney will take you at least three whole days!

That leaves Perthites with no other option but aeroplanes for travelling to other major cities in Australia.

Perth vs Wollongong: How They Stack Up

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
Cost of LivingWollongongThe cost of living in Wollongong is 38.8% cheaper than in Perth.
Real EstatePerthThe real estate prices in Perth are significantly lower compared to Wollongong.
Diversity and DemographicsPerthBoth cities have diverse populations, but Perth has a higher proportion of residents who come from overseas, resulting in a richer mix of cultures.
Career OpportunitiesTieWollongong has a lower unemployment rate, but Perth’s residents enjoy a higher monthly average net salary compared to those in Wollongong.
Crime IndexWollongongWollongong has fewer crimes recorded and a lower crime rate than Perth.
LifestyleTiePerth has a calmer climate, but Wollongong has a cooler average temperature.
Residents of these two cities believe Perth has a more efficient healthcare system than Wollongong.
Residents of Wollongong experience shorter daily commute times than those in Perth.

Still hard to beat

Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Read more below Buy Now

Better Fitting

Mpow MDots Wireless Earbuds

Read more below Buy Now

Noise Cancelling

BlueWow A8 Macarons True Wireless Earbuds

Read more below Buy Now
Check more deals
Related topics