It does rain in Perth, we swear.
Despite Perth’s enviable sunshine-hour count, rainclouds can – and do – happen. Good thing, then, that Australia’s westernmost capital is well-equipped to show guests a good time when the heavens open. Here are some ideas for keeping dry over winter without sacrificing any of the fun.
And yes, when we say records, we mean actual black vinyl records that go on turntables. Whether you’re chasing hard-to-find originals or new releases, a growing number of specialist Perth retailers are committed to keeping the ultimate audio format alive: dig through the crates at inner-city stores Safari’s Record Shack, Noise Pollution Records and Diabolik.
Enjoy a long lunch
If you’re going to wait out the bad weather, you might as well do it in the company of good friends, good food and good drink. Assemble a posse and make a reservation at lunch hotspots such as Rockpool Bar & Grill (luxe steakhouse classics and one of the country’s mightiest cellars); Balthazar (good times in a clubby Art Deco room) and the new Ku De Ta (hello, riverside views).
Image: Rockpool Bar & Grill
Eat really good hawker food
The argument: Perth is home to some of Australia’s best Southeast Asian flavours. The proof: the city is the closest major Australian port of call to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other regional centres – hence the authentic offerings at places such as chicken rice stronghold Tak Chee House and the regionally specific Sarawak Hawker Cuisine.
Get some culture
Located in the heart of Northbridge, the Perth Cultural Centre is a perfect introduction to the city’s arts scene. The far-ranging program at AGWA (Art Gallery of Western Australia) takes in everything from early Australian and Indigenous art to exhibitions dedicated to sneaker culture. For edgier works, head to PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Art) and the Blue Room Theatre independent performance space.
Image: Rebecca Mansell
Explore Perth’s newest luxe spa
As far as reasons to visit the new Crown Towers Perth go, booking a treatment at the hotel’s luxe day spa is right up there. Planned by celebrated Sydney interior designer Blainey North, this 13-room spa modelled after an ancient Roman bathhouse has been created to inspire a sense of underwater calm.
We hope you’re thirsty. The city’s new generation of drinking establishments – many hidden in basements and down alleyways and side streets – are waiting to meet and serve you. Wine drinkers can raise a glass at Italian-themed No Mafia before crossing the road to the grown-up Shadow Wine Bar at Alex Hotel. Beer fan? Go to Petition Beer Corner at once. Rum drinker? Search out the clandestine Sneaky Tony’s in Northbridge.
Image: Shadow Wine Bar
Just add water
If it’s raining, what’s a little more water going to hurt? AQWA (Aquarium of Western Australia) at Hillarys Boat Harbour is an underwater wonderland that brings visitors right up close to the ocean and vice versa. AQWA boasts one of the world’s largest living coral reefs exhibits and Australia’s largest underwater tunnel.
Go to the movies
Even in this age of streaming video, there’s something wonderful about the shared experience of watching a movie with like-minded people. Cinema Paradiso has long championed arthouse and independent movies and regularly hosts special screenings and foreign-film festivals.
Restock the wardrobe
Perth’s home-grown fashion talent continues to turn heads. Classic meets contemporary at Cottesloe boutique Wild Horses while fashionistas have until the end of the year to pick up an original Aurelio Costarella garment following the designer’s recent announcement that he is calling time on his internationally renowned label. As far as fashion shopping precincts go, King Street in the city remains ground-zero for high-end shopping while Claremont Quarter boasts a equally impressive boutiques-per-square-metre ratio.
Image: Wild Horses
Visit a craft brewery
Small-scale craft brewing is a big deal in Western Australia with many breweries as serious about food as they are about beverages. Feral Brewing in the Swan Valley, for instance, serves hearty dishes that are as bold as its beers. It’s a similar flavour-first story at The Monk, a Fremantle brewery and kitchen serving modern Australian dishes and beers.
Main image: Blue Room Theatre/Danica Zuks
SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Perth