Why I prefer Perth beaches in winter than summer

My hometown of Perth, Western Australia, has some pretty spectacular beaches, if I do say so myself. And with summer coming up here, a lot of people, both locals and tourists alike, start to focus on the beach.

Not me though.

Perth beaches in winter

It looks like a summer day, but this is at a Perth beach near the end of winter!

Perth beaches in summer

All up and down the coast of Perth – it’s a very long, stretched city (Wikipedia’s Perth entry puts Perth’s length at 125km/78 miles), so that’s a lot of coast – are beautiful white sand beaches. It’s easy to access them, with parking right next to the coast in most cases – it’s rare to find too much in the way of construction actually on the beach side.

We are extraordinarily lucky, although growing up I had no concept of this – summer days involved a five-minute drive down to the gentle waves at Mettam’s Pool (one of the beaches in the northern suburbs), finding a parking spot quickly and having a swim in the Indian Ocean. It was only when I travelled more that I realised there are beaches where you have to pay to get to them, or beaches with dirty sand or just rocky pebbles, and that there are millions and millions of people who don’t even live within driving distance of a beach.

But the problem that I have with Perth beaches in the height of summer is not that they’re too busy or that parking’s a terrible problem – the simple fact is they’re so hot! Our ozone layer problem also means that the sun on a century-temperature day is really harsh and skin cancer is a serious issue, and the beach doesn’t have much shade, of course. Having a pool in your backyard is pretty common in Perth and that’s where we are more likely to cool down during Perth’s hot summer.

Perth beaches in winter

But on the other hand: head to a Perth beach in winter and it is pure pleasure! Well, that’s how I feel anyway. My son and I spend hours and hours at the beach during winter, him with a few toy diggers and dump trucks, and a bucket and spade, me with a book to read, a camera to play with, and a picnic.

Given we have such a long, long coastline, it is entirely likely that on a winter day, you’ll have a Perth beach to yourself. We go to various different beaches along the northern half of Perth and often find we have it to ourselves. There are times it’s a bit windy (and yes, occasional times when it’s actually too windy to stay!) but there are a truly impressive number of winter days when it’s perfect beach weather. Not to swim, usually – although kids often seem immune to that fear of cold water! – but often to relax, play, walk, relax (did I mention relax?).

Perth beach on a stormy day

A Perth beach between winter storms

This winter my son even had a good half hour of digging and building just after a storm passed through (and before another one hit). I got to enjoy the spectacular skies! Yes, I might be a little crazy, but I have brought him up to love the beach (in winter!) and it’s good for kids to get outdoors, and all that …

Beaches are good for you any time of year

But anyway, if you land in Perth in summer, don’t despair: it is still OK to head to the beach, just apply lots of sunscreen and try to avoid the very hot early afternoon hours. Beaches are good for the soul whenever you go, I think, so don’t let my advice lead you to avoiding the beach! There’s something very special about being on the sand and looking way out to the horizon and wondering what’s beyond it.

Your beach thoughts:

What’s your typical experience of the beach? Summer or winter? Am I alone in my winter beach obsession? Let me know in the comments!



  1. Have to agree with you here, I prefer the beach in winter too. We also love spending the day at Mettam’s pool.

  2. I think this is a good idea! It does get very hot here in Perth, which is my answer to the question of why I don’t have a tan…because when it’s 40 degrees, there’s no chance I’m going outside! I love the moody weather in the last picture. I’ll have to start taking the boys to the beach in winter.

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