It’s hard to imagine Perth as anything but hot and beachy, so the onset of winter can come as quite a shock to visitors and new arrivals. Still mild in comparison with other Australian cities, there is a definite seasonal change in the West that can leave you literally shaking in your boots.
Perth has a Mediterranean climate, which is characterised by sunny, hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Officially lasting throughout June, July and August, winter receives more rain in these three months than in the other nine months put together. There are also occasional storms, with heavy downpours, lightning and thunder.
Perth’s Average Winter Rainfall
June: 133.8 mm
July: 146.8 mm
August: 121.4 mm
Perth’s Average Winter Temperature
June: Minimum 8.6 - maximum 19.3 degrees Celsius
July: Minimum 7.6 - maximum 18.4 degrees Celsius
August: Minimum 8.0 - maximum 18.9 degrees Celsius
These figures of averages look pleasant enough. But there are many cold mornings below five degrees that seem out of character with the place. Even the maximum temperatures don’t always feel as warm as they should be. The odd reference to ‘a nippy 16 degrees’ on the nightly weather forecast may seem comical at first, although you may find it is more accurate once you have lived here for a while. There is of course the argument that the locals have become soft- spoilt by too much good weather. That may be true- acclimatising to glorious weather is a burden you too will have to bear.
‘Colder than the UK’
It is not unusual to hear someone who has recently moved to Perth from the United Kingdom remark, ‘I have never been as cold as I am here in Perth.’ It doesn’t appear to make sense until you consider that the houses here are not built for cool climates. Perth’s housing is characterised by double brick walls, hard flooring, open plan living, scarce window coverings and electric heating if you’re lucky - not the ideal ingredients for a cosy home. You may find the odd gas fireplace but the joys of seeing an open flame are rare. By the time the house is warm enough to feel comfortable, the outside temperature has warmed to the point where you might as well leave all the doors and windows open anyway.
Some people are lucky enough to be able to enjoy a mid-year holiday and will travel south to the Margaret River region, where they can embrace winter and warm up in front of log fires with good food and wines. For others, Bali and the warmer regions of northern Western Australia are tempting getaway destinations.
Perth Winter Arts Season
Even though Perth is better known for its endless summers, there is still plenty of fun to be had in the winter months. Now in its 9th year, the City of Perth Winter Arts Season sees Perth come alive with over 200 events designed for all ages and tastes, across the genres of theatre, film, comedy, cabaret, opera, literature, circus, dance, music and visual arts. Many events are free and suitable for families.
The Season runs until the end of August. For more information or to download the full program, go to the Perth Winter Arts Festival
The City of Fremantle also hosts some fabulous events in winter, including the Fremantle Winter Music Festival and an outdoor ice skating rink.
You may like to enjoy the peace and quiet on Perth’s beaches. At this time of year, you will probably only have to share with the surfers and other tourists.
Regardless of where you are in Perth this winter, rug up, get out and enjoy the crisp air on your skin and the wonderful feeling of coming in from the cold. Or, you could choose to hibernate for three months and wait for it all to pass. Before you know it, the temperatures will be soaring and you will be longing for a cool change once more.