5 Reasons to Spend Winter in Australia’s Sunniest City
Perth’s winter game is the cheeriest in the country. Chill out and get toasty at the city’s signature rooftop fire pits, bask in nature escapes that feel like summer and discover secret speak-easies after dark.
The biggest games are on
AFL fever runs hot throughout the Perth winter, with Optus Stadium – named the most beautiful stadium in the world by Prix Versailles – as the backdrop. Thrillseekers can book The Ozone Game Day Rooftop Experience for a seat 42 metres above the field. More of a rugby fan? Game two of the league’s State of Origin series plays out in June while The Wallabies vs England rugby union test kicks off in July. ICON, Perth’s festival of international football (ahem, soccer), is also takes place in July and is your chance to see English Premier League teams Crystal Palace, Leeds, Manchester United and Aston Villa take to the paddock.
Alfresco drinks are next-level
Dress up for slick sundowners around the fire pit at Songbird, the elegant rooftop bar at The Ritz-Carlton overlooking Elizabeth Quay. Order the eponymous cocktail made with Belvedere vodka, vermouth and native plums and watch the day disappear over the Swan River. You can go more beanie-chic at Hello Rooftop in the gritty neighbourhood Northbridge, where marshmallows get toasted over the flames with belly-warming Campfire Whisky Sours.
If you’ve been shop-hopping along the cool main street of Mount Lawley, pop up to the greenery-filled Candy Bar rooftop at the buzzy new multi-venue The Beaufort for a Mango Grapefruit Paloma under open skies.
The great outdoors is greatest
Salute the winter sun (or if it comes to it, escape a flash of rain) on the Cabaret Cave Yoga & Guided Hike in Yanchep National Park, an easy 40-minute drive from the city. “Once a secret dinner and dance spot for Perth’s glitterati, the limestone cave naturally regulates the perfect temperature for yoga all year round,” says Kate Gibson, founder of Hike Collective, which runs the experience. After, a guided hike will take you through towering karri forests to see koalas, kangaroos and Aboriginal sites before winding down with meditation and a cold-pressed juice.
Back in the city, the Swan River sparkles on cool, windless days. Join a waterbike tour and pedal past the city skyline, black swans and perhaps some dolphins before indulging in a styled-up gourmet picnic of WA wines and a locally sourced grazing board. Kids who’ve hit at least 120 centimetres can join in.
The art scene is alive
The newly redeveloped WA Museum Boola Bardip – Noongar for “many stories” – delivers the wow factor with meteorite displays and Otto, a giant blue whale skeleton that is suspended from the ceiling. Book the Aboriginal Tour to explore First Nations culture, including the six seasons recognised by the Noongar people. Keep your eyes peeled for the Warakurna Superheroes photo series.
A new open-air sculpture walk on the roof of the Art Gallery of WA comes with a bar. Admire iconic pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore silhouetted against the Perth skyline. Then huddle under a knitted blanket, sipping a Sandalwood Espresso Martini or 1979 beer (named after the year the Brutalist museum building opened) from Otherside brewing, with chicken liver parfait and quandong chutney.
Nobody's going to bed early
Soak up some evening culture, catching Puccini’s epic Tosca at His Majesty’s Theatre in July or a show at the Perth International Cabaret Festival in June.
Then Perth’s underground bar scene awaits.
Head for an artisan nightcap (perhaps a Cheeky 50-50 Sazerac) at hip Foxtrot Unicorn, hidden in a circa-1887 bank vault underneath Perth’s main street on St Georges Terrace. Or sink into a velvet chair at Pooles Temple, a speak-easy-style jazz bar beneath the State Buildings. Settle in and soak up the ultra-dry Martinis. A croque monsieur toasted sandwich with truffled béchamel and potato crisps will sort out early-hours hunger pangs.