Perth is a city transformed under the summer sun and a near-permanent canopy of blue. As salty days morph into balmy nights, there’s a busy calendar of events celebrating art, music, food and wine, and the city’s natural beauty.
Fringe World Festival
17 January – 16 February 2020
Comprising hundreds of shows over 31 days, Perth’s Fringe World Festival is the cultural event of summer in Western Australia. More than 150 venues across Perth host local and international artists with an action-packed program of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, comedy and more. This summer, the festival will host the world-first Fringe on the Water, a cabaret act performed for one night only onboard luxury cruise ship Vasco da Gama, giving guests the opportunity to stay overnight.
Sculpture by the Sea
6 – 23 March 2020
Cottlesloe Beach becomes even more captivating when it plays host to Sculpture by the Sea. The 2019 Perth event showcased artworks by a staggering 71 artists from across 17 countries, and 2020 is set to be just as impressive. wander along the sea wall ad surrounding grass areas to view the collection from immense sculptures, from the weird and wonderful to the breathtaking.
Movies under the stars
When the weather warms up, outdoor cinemas dust off their projectors for summer screenings. Recline on a beanbag with popcorn and a wine at Rooftop Movies (from 1 November), located six levels above the city; pack a blanket for a film at Moonlight Cinema, set within the gardens of Kings Park (from 30 November); and sit among scenic pines at Somerville Auditoriumin Nedlands, where the best and latest indie and foreign films are screened (from December)
Swim with the wild dolphins
Summer means more up-close encounters with our favourite marine life and Perth’s under-the sea experiences are particularly special. During the summer months, Rockingham Wild Encounters runs intimate snorkelling tours in the bays and islands of Rockingham, just 40 minutes south of Perth, which are home to more than 200 local bottlenose dolphins. Watch as they playfully interact with you and go about their dolphin business – hunting, mating and even sleeping – mere metres away.
The ATP Cup
3 – 8 January 2020
Start the new year off with a bang at the inaugural ATP Cup, the highly-anticipated nation-versus nation tennis event. The RAC Arena in Perth will be host to six of the world’s top players, including Rafael Nadal who will be playing for his home country Spain, as well as teams from Japan, Georgia, Russia, Italy and the US.
Summer at the beach
With an average summer temperature in the 30s, 80 kilometres of coastline and 19 city beaches, there are endless opportunities to spend long hot days swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Cottesloe Beach is one of the country’s most famous beaches, with its pristine good looks and hip dining scene; Trigg Beach is a surfing haven; Mettams Pool is great for snorkelling with ample marine life; and white-sand Mullaloo Beach is a safe swimming spot for families – to name just a few.
Summer in the garden
One of the largest city parks in the world, Kings Parks and Botanic Garden has spectacular views over the city and the Swan River. It’s an idyllic spot for a sun-drenched picnic among native flora, a place to seek shade and is home to a number of fabulous Perth events and concerts, including Missy Higgins (1 February) and Rick Astley (19 February). Go Cultural also runs Aboriginal Walking Tours in the Park.
7 February – 1 March 2020
Originating in 1953, the Perth Festival is the oldest multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere. The three-week festival features some incredible productions, starting with Bungul, a celebration of Aboriginal musician Gurrumul’s final album, complete with Yolngu dancers and backed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Bran Nue Dae, the feel-good Aboriginal musical that first sparked success in 1990, will also return for 2020 to take you on an exuberant ride through 1960s Western Australia, as will Cloud street, which retells the story of Tim Winton’s classic Australian novel.
Sunset wine & brews
7 – 9 February 2020
Western Australia is known for its incredible sunsets and incredible produce, and at Sunset Wine & Brews you can enjoy them all together. This summer-centric festival is held at Jubilee Park at City Beach and showcases the state’s best wine, beer, cider and spirits. Add to that gourmet food stalls and live DJs playing cool summer tunes and there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon in the city.
Rottnest Island and Rottnest Channel Swim
22 February 2020
Perth’s very own island getaway, Rottnest Island, is just 19 kilometres off the coast. And with 63 breathtaking beaches, 20 turquoise bays and a climate similar to the Mediterranean, it is prime summer turf. You’ll spend your time hopping from beach to bike, cycling around the relaxed island; surfing, diving and fishing; and spotting unique wildlife like the famous, friendly and photogenic quokkas! The iconic Rottnest Channel Swim on 22 February is a good excuse to visit, when thousands take part in a 19.7-kilometre swim between Cottesloe Beach and Rottnest Island.
Summer food markets
Summer evenings with cheap eats and live music – what more do you need! In the heart of the city at Forrest Place, the Twilight Hawkers Markets are held every Friday night over summer with a focus on authentic street food. While South Beach Sunset Markets in Fremantle are located beachfront and run every Saturday night over summer, touting an array of international flavours.
There are daily non-stop flights to Perth from all capital cities in Australia.
A killer location next to Kings Park (with views to match), ultra-cool design, and comfort make Tribe a clever and budget-conscious boutique hotel. Inspired by Australian artist Matt Adnate, just-opened The Adnate is an artistically immersive stay and includes one of the world’s largest murals, complimentary art tours and an art library. Design-led hotel, QT Perth, has an industrial luxe and totally hip vibe. Service is one of a kind, dining is impressive and the rooftop bar is the place to be. The just-opened The Ritz Carlton Perth is one of the country’s most anticipated hotel openings and the brand’s first Australian property in 10 years. The ultra-luxe hotel sits on Elizabeth Quay and features panoramic views, exquisite dining, an infinity pool, spa and more. Housed in heritage State Buildings from the 19th century, Como The Treasury is an elegant stay with a pared-back neutral design and fine dining to match.
Whether you have an adventurous palate, a thirst for sport or a craving for culture, Perth’s vibrant summer scene means there’s an event for every taste and traveller, and plenty of great reasons to make the trip. Off the events calendar, there’s still plenty of great things to do year round, including a visit to Western Australia’s oldest wine region, The Swan Valley, a tour of Fremantle’s lively bars and cool cafes, and a trip over to neighbouring Penguin Island, home to over 1200 fairy penguins.