Say Perth and you can’t help but think of clear skies. In fact, it’s officially the sunniest city in Australia and has a laid-back, outdoorsy lifestyle to match. Travellers flock west in the peak season, December and January, chasing waves and suntans. But with beautiful days year-round (147 sunny days and 121 partly sunny ones, according to the experts), when is the best time to visit Perth and Margaret River?
Summer in Perth is the stuff of legend, with impossibly blue skies, warm turquoise waters and an average high of 30°C. Naturally, this is the time to hit the beach – lounging at Cottesloe, surfing at Scarborough or snorkelling at Trigg. But it’s also when the city’s arts scene is in full swing, with Fringe World kicking off in January and Perth Festival in February.
There’s the odd day sizzling above 40°C so if you’re not a fan of scorchers (or are prone to sunburn), spring school holidays in late September are a safer bet. With an average high of 23°C and not much in the way of rain, the weather is at its temperate best between September and November, made for hiking through nature reserves in the Darling Scarp or stand-up paddleboarding on the Swan River. There’s also the chance to experience Western Australia’s famous wildflowers in full bloom at places such as Kings Park Botanic Gardens and Ellis Brook Valley Reserve.
Autumn, too, is underrated. With temperatures peaking at a balmy 25°C, Perth’s shoulder season (March to May) is an opportune time to take a day trip to Rottnest Island, sample wines in the Swan Valley and explore Cottesloe Beach’s famed Sculpture by the Sea, which runs in March. Or pack a wetsuit and head south to the Margaret River region – the waves are at their best in autumn, with the Margaret River Pro surfing competition taking place in May.
Winter in Perth still has mild days, albeit between heavy showers, for you to picnic at Kings Park or catch an AFL match at Optus Stadium. But you might prefer to lean into the rain by checking out toasty underground bars like Pooles Temple and Bobeche or ice-skating at Winterworld, which runs in Fremantle in the winter school holidays (July).