Perth may be a city of sunshine and eternal optimism, but here is a surprising fact: Western Australia’s crown jewel experiences more rainfall than cities known for their gloomy weather, such as London.
Even more surprising is that Perth’s wettest days tend to occur during the summer months of December to February—this is because warm air holds more water vapour, and as a result, generates higher amounts of rainfall.
While an unexpected downpour during your Perth holidays may put a damper on your outdoor plans, do as a local would and look on the bright side. This is a chance to immerse yourself in Perth’s best indoor attractions. Use this opportunity to experience the culture that awaits within.
1. Go Museum Hopping
You can always count on a museum to occupy your time—and your mind—as you seek refuge from inclement weather. The Art Gallery of Western Australia invites you to “see things differently,” and in their 2018 line-up is “Six Seasons,” a showcase of nearly 3,000 indigenous artworks about the significance of the environment to the Aboriginal people. It also delves into the conflicted history and experience of being an outsider in white Australian society.
For a view of life on (and in) the water, stop at the WA Maritime Museum. Here you can venture inside a Cold War-era submarine known as the “HMAS Ovens” to imagine what it would have been like to live and serve aboard the 89-metre long vessel.
Travelling with children? Entertain them at the museum’s pirates exhibition, brought to you by the brains behind the popular Horrible Histories book series. (“Pirates: The Exhibition” runs till mid-August 2018.) The young and curious will also enjoy a day out at Scitech, an interactive science museum that includes a planetarium.
Fancy some indoor fun and games? Visit The Nostalgia Box, Australia’s first and only video game museum. Relive your childhood memories with Atari and Super Nintendo, and have a ball playing classic games such as Pacman. Great fun for all ages.
2. Indulge in All-Day Shopping
Unpredictable Perth weather playing havoc with your mood? Dispel the blues with some retail therapy. For an authentic Perth shopping experience, bookmark The Urban List’s guide to the city’s best boutiques and work your way through all 23 recommended stores, or visit the local brands listed on Perth Underground.
If your weekend plans have been foiled by rain, check if there is an indoor flea market event happening near you. Look out for Perth Upmarket—an exquisite temporary marketplace where over 180 artisans sell handmade creations ranging from clothing to gourmet food and paperware.
To wait out the rain in an all-purpose mall, head to The Galleria Shopping Centre (wide variety of shops, several cafes and restaurants, and a movie theatre), Enex (central Perth, with a popular food court), or Trinity Arcade and London Court (both in the city centre, with specialty retailer shops). To explore a newer urban space, visit 140 for food, drinks, and eclectic art.
3. Escape into a Fictional World
What better way to spend a rainy day than to lose oneself in an alternate reality?
Begin your day by visiting the City of Perth Library, which has attracted 1 million visitors since it opened its doors in 2016. (Prior to the central library’s opening, Perth’s library services operated out of various locations for 165 years.) The relatively new seven-storey library hosts a History Centre, as well as floors dedicated to children and teenagers.
To pair your favourite book with a cuppa, hole up in the Millpoint Caffe Bookshop, which specialises in contemporary fiction and is a meeting point for Perth’s book clubs. The staff pride themselves on being able to point buyers in the right direction.
“We offer a lot of advice and recommendations and many customers come back to thank us for such a great read. Sometimes it can be just the right book for just the right time in their life,” says owner Adam Brenner.
A recent visitor described the store as the perfect rainy day hideout—fun, quirky, and snug, complete with a cafe that serves the acclaimed Fiori coffee (a Swan Valley brand) along with breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.
If the wet weather should persist through the evening, make your way to the cozy “Girls School Cinema” in the 1930s Old Perth Girls School building. Here, you can watch the latest blockbuster offerings, as well as arthouse and cult favourites such as Heathers, a black comedy from 1988. Girls School Cinema runs from 15 June to 29 September 2018.
4. Brave the Storm
Why let a little rain get in your way? Popular walking tour company Two Feet & A Heartbeat says their tours will go on, be it “rain, hail, or shine.” After all, as they put it, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Book a tour with them to cover the requisite Perth City attractions, or to explore the nearby Fremantle.
To meander through the eclectic port city of Fremantle at your own convenience, refer to the self-guided tour for rainy days, known as the Umbrella Trail. “Grab your mother, brother, lover, BFF or go solo but don’t hibernate in the wet weather, get out and explore Freo,” is the advice of the locals. “Don’t forget your umbrella!”