Photo: Fremantle

Summer in the city: Perth’s hottest must-dos

Summer is here and the living is easy with this Perth hit list.

With an average 8.8 hours of sunshine a day, Perth and its locals are naturally outdoorsy. When summer comes around, though, things ramp up a considerable notch. As the mercury rises and the giant skies deepen into a rich hue of royal blue, Australia’s Western capital switches into overdrive. Here’s what to look forward to this summer.

Bathers Beach, Fremantle
Photo: Bathers Beach, Fremantle

Rooftop escapes

This year, a bunch of new rooftop bars will be luring fun lovers upwards. Rooftop nook Hadiqa is a Middle Eastern oasis of patterned tiles and vibrant greenery, while QT Perth hotel’s 18th-floor cube is so hot, queues start on ground level. The Melbourne Hotel’s Aurora grants epic CBD views, while cocktails flow on Fridays and Saturdays at Hi-Line, atop Crown Towers.

Hadiqa, Perth
Photo: Hadiqa, Perth

Open-air markets

Perth’s summer weekends are made for jaunts to farmers’ markets, to chase fresh produce, baked goods and organic meats flooding in from rural growing regions and artisanal kitchens. Subi Farmers Market, near the city centre, and Growers’ Green Farmers’ Market, east of Fremantle, have strong community vibes, while the Mt Claremont Farmers Market has A-grade produce and the Vic Park Farmers’ Market includes attractions such as vintage car shows. On Monday evenings, food stalls line suburban Beaufort St for the Inglewood Night Markets while Friday nights are all about the inner city’s sizzling Twilight Hawkers Market.

Inglewood Night Markets, Perth
Photo: Inglewood Night Markets, Perth

Outdoor cinemas

Those craving more open-air time get understandably excited at the return of Perth’s outdoor cinemas. With a climate made for deckchair screenings, Rooftop Movies is the quirkiest way to catch new release, cult status, old classic or family favourite films. The sixth-floor cinema, housed on the roof of Roe Street Car Park in Northbridge, is decked out with beanbags, astroturf and palms.

It’s not the only movie experience taking advantage of the great weather: Somerville at the University of Western Australia is a tree-encircled, fairy light-strung experience, while the big screen at Kings Park’s Moonlight Cinema is ideal for spreading out the picnic rug.

Leederville’s arthouse cinema, Luna Palace has a funky outdoor courtyard for summer screenings and has just opened a new, wood panelled bar for pre- and post-movie hangouts. In Perth’s western suburbs, Luna Palace’s Camelot Outdoor Cinema is a fun, family-feel experience on grass.

Rooftop Cinemas, Perth
Photo: Rooftop Cinemas, Perth

Beaches and waterfalls

Perth wouldn’t be Perth without its double take-inducing beaches. Locals flock to the soft sand early, getting in a beach walk chased by a splash in the crystalline water at the drawcard stretch of Cottesloe – particularly when its Sculpture by the Sea outdoor exhibition hits each March.

Alternatively, try local haunts such as Leighton, Bathers and South beaches – they’re all compelling options. And if you really want to escape from it all? Serpentine Falls is a local secret, found 65 kilometres south-east of Perth. This idyllic swimming area is located within a national park. Go early, bring a picnic and consider a bush walk, where you’ll likely spot kangaroos.

Cottesloe Beach, Perth
Photo: Cottesloe Beach, Perth

An island paradise

With Rottnest Island beckoning from the horizon only 19 kilometres away, it would be remiss not to pad across its sugary white sands (check out Geordie Bay, which turns into a Riviera-style scene scattered with yachts of all sizes, or neighbouring Fay’s Bay for a spot of seclusion, or grab your snorkelling gear and escape to Little Salmon Bay).

This summer, a $25 million eco-tent village, Discovery Rottnest Island – the first new accommodation to be built on the Island in 30 years – will open on March 1. Combining a beach club serving Rottnest-spiked flavours and regional produce with barbeque areas and accommodation ranging from fully furnished glamping to simpler tents (yet still with beds, ensuites and a private deck), it’s designed to suit everyone from splurging couples to families on a budget.

Parker Point, Rottnest Island
Photo: Parker Point, Rottnest Island

Live gigs

While on the holiday isle, catch one of the big name live gigs at the historic pub, Hotel Rottnest. For those staying on the mainland, free live music plays in the Fremantle Arts Centre every Sunday afternoon in the warmer months, while free activities such as yoga and movies are on at Northbridge Piazza, with more only streets away at the Perth Cultural Centre.

It’s also worth nabbing tickets to watch the Hopman Cup tennis (Dec 29 to Jan 5, 2019), while kooky, quirky, arty Fringe World season kicks off mid-summer (Jan 18 to Feb 17, 2019).

And we can’t forget to mention the main event of the party season: ring in the New Year at any one of the locations mentioned above, and be guaranteed a night to remember.

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