The best time to visit Perth is generally in the spring (September to November). The less extreme temperatures of fall (March to May) are nice, too, but spring offers the chance to see Western Australia’s famous wildflowers in bloom. If you’re looking for wildlife encounters, spring and fall are also great times to spot humpback or even blue whales.
Peak season in Perth coincides with the Australian summer vacation period (December and January), so plan to travel outside these months for more affordable accommodation prices and fewer crowds.
Whale Watching in Perth
Western Australia is one of the world’s best whale watching destinations, thanks to its clean oceans and geographic isolation. As the state capital, Perth is likely to be your home base for ocean tours in the area.
There are two main whale-watching seasons around Perth: March to May and September to December. From March to May, the northern humpback migration brings male humpbacks to Flinders Bay, 200 miles south of Perth, where they compete for the attention of females.
The world’s largest mammal, the blue whale, also comes to Perth Canyon to feed on krill from March to May. Perth Canyon is located 30 nautical miles off the coast of Perth and can only be reached by boat. Make sure to check with local tour operators for seasonal availability.
From September to November, the southern humpback whale migration off the coast of Perth provides the opportunity to see females with newborn calves on their way back from the nursery grounds. While they can sometimes be seen from several coastal lookout points near the city, it's a good idea to book a whale-watching cruise for the best chance of spotting these playful animals.
Wildflower Season in Perth
Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 species of wildflowers, 60 percent of which are unique to the area. The flowering season begins in the northern part of the state in June and spreads south, reaching Perth in September. Throughout October and November, flowers bloom in the south-western region of the state.
Despite its population of around two million residents, Perth retains plenty of green spaces. In spring, you can immerse yourself in the wildflowers at Kings Park, Bold Park, Wireless Hill Reserve and Kensington Bushland, all within a 20-minute drive of the city center.
Weather in Perth
The climate in Perth is often compared to that of the Mediterranean. It is one of the sunniest cities in the world, with an average of 3,200 hours of sunshine annually. However, temperatures in Perth do not rise as high as you might expect, topping out at just under 90 degrees F in summer. Winters are mild, with lows generally sitting in the 45- to 65-degree F range.
Surprisingly, Perth is also one of Australia’s rainiest cities. Although rain is generally infrequent, it tends to fall in sudden downpours throughout late fall, winter, and early spring. The city is also known to experience occasional rainfall in summer, usually in the wake of tropical cyclones that form further north.
Perth’s beaches are usually at their best from November to April, though locals are known to hit the sand throughout the year, thanks to plenty of sunny days in the cooler months.
Peak Season in Perth
Peak tourist season in Perth is largely dictated by Australian school holidays, but the increase in visitors is usually not too much of a hassle. From mid-December to January, the city experiences its peak season, with another, smaller influx over the Easter break. The Perth Festival and Fringe World, which occur annually in January and February, are also popular.
The city's distance from the heavily-populated east coast of Australia (around five hours flying) means state and national public holidays don't have a large effect on tourist numbers. For this reason, fluctuations in accommodation prices are generally limited to the Christmas and New Year period.
December and January are peak season in Perth, as Australians enjoy their summer vacation. While temperatures are still reasonably hot (with highs from 85 to 90 degrees F), crowds lessen as Australia goes back to work and school in February. Visit Perth in summer if you're looking for sun, sand, and sea, but keep in mind possible crowds and high demand for accommodation.
Events to check out:
- Celebrate New Year's Eve at Origin Fields, a two-day music festival
- January 26 is Australia Day, also known as Invasion Day or Survival Day, which marks the day on which the continent was officially colonized in 1788. There are a range of events around the city, as well as protests led by the Noongar people, the traditional owners of the Perth region, alongside First Nations people around the country.
- Perth Festival is the oldest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing together innovative performance, literature, music, film, and visual arts for a month in February.
- Embrace the weird and wonderful at Fringe World, featuring comedy, circus, theater, visual arts, musicals, dance, and cabaret from local and international artists.
- In February 2020, boutique music festival Laneway Festival will be headlined by the 1975 and Charli XCX.
Temperatures remain warm throughout fall in Perth, hitting highs of 70 to 85 degrees F. Average rainfall sharply increases in May, and nights can get quite cool (down to 50 degrees F.) Fall is the only time visitors can see the elusive blue whale feeding in Perth Canyon.
Events to check out:
- In March, the Hyde Park Fair offers family-friendly entertainment, market stalls, and food.
- Like its sister event in Sydney, Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach combines art and nature to create an unforgettable view.
- Later in the month, the Perth Craft Beer Festival brings together over 55 craft breweries and cideries from around Australia, plus carnival rides, brewing masterclasses, and live music.
- At the end of March, the Night Noodle Markets showcase Australia's innovative Asian fusion dishes in the heart of the city.
- In the Swan Valley wine region, just outside Perth, Wine Machine festival combines music and gorgeous scenery in April.
- The Perth Comedy Festival also kicks off in April, with local up-and-comers and huge headliners on the lineup.
Winter in Perth is the wettest season, but it's not unusual to see clear blue skies. The weather doesn't stop locals and visitors making the most of the many markets, cafés, restaurants, galleries, and nearby nature. Temperatures only drop as low as 46 degrees F at night in July, the coldest month, and rise to around 65 degrees F.
Events to check out:
- City WIne is a winter wine festival that brings the best of the Swan Valley to the city in May.
- WA Day is a public holiday that falls on the first Monday of June, with free events across the city (and the rest of Western Australia).
- Head to the Good Food and Wine Show in August for the best of Australian cuisine.
- In July, Fremantle Festival highlights local artists and community projects through performance, music, and food.
Early spring can be chilly, but the city quickly warms up in time for wildflower season. Temperatures range between lows of around 50 degrees F to highs of around 80 degrees F. This is also the best time to see humpback whales (including calves) as they migrate south.
Events to check out:
- The Kings Park Festival is the heart of wildflower season in Perth, with flower displays and free events like exhibitions, guided walks, talks, and family activities.
- At the end of September, the Perth Royal Show showcases the agricultural produce of the region, with rides, food, and a county fair atmosphere.
- Visit the Swan Valley in October for Entwined in the Valley, a month-long celebration of food, wine, music, and art.
- Unwined is a premium food and wine show that takes place in October, bringing together more than 60 local vendors in Market Square Park.
- The Perth International Jazz Festival takes place in early November, with a lineup of exciting local and international musicians.
- Also in November, PrideFEST features a calendar of arts, culture, and community events, as well as a vibrant Pride parade.