The suburbs surrounding the airport are fairly nice, and you can find some relatively reasonable rentals. I'd search for anywhere around Redcliffe (same suburb as the airport), Belmont, East Victoria Park, and Bentley. These are around a 10/15 minute drive from the airport. Just north of the river are some really nice areas like Innaloo, Churchlands, Floreat, Wembley, Wembley Downs and Scarborough. Again, fairly reasonable price-wise but you can start to see things getting a bit more expensive. These are around 20/25 minutes from the airport. All of the suburbs I've mentioned are fairly close the the CBD; the train can easily get you in there in about ten to fifteen minutes.
The only transportation at the airport are buses that service the carparks and between the domestic and international terminals (as they are around a 5 minute drive apart!). No trains come anywhere close, unfortunately. The buses are free from the carparks to the terminals (at the international terminal, one of the long term carparks doubles as the staff carpark, and staff have to be bused to the terminal with regular passengers). I'm unsure if the inter-terminal bus is free or not, and thus am not sure if airline staff get discounts or free tickets.
As for transport to the airport itself, the only options are taxis or public buses. The only bus system in Perth is operated by TransPerth, and the only time you get cheaper fares is if you are a student or a pensioner. If you'd be using the buses regular I'd recommend picking up a SmartRider card - you don't save anything, and it's around a $10 fee to sign up for one, but it's basically our version of a charge card that you put money on and then use to pay bus and train fares. I would recommend visiting the TransPerth website (Transperth Homepage
) to look at the bus and train networks.
I hope this has managed to answer your questions - if you have any more questions you are more than welcome to send me a PM or whatever and I'll see if I can help