Does Perth have the world’s most best climate?



David Whitley heads back to WA and finds that its secret weapon hasn’t changed

The bridge at Elizabeth Quay is new, linking a couple of cruise boat jetties and a mini golf course to an islet with an adventure playground. Behind is a weird sculpture of concentric arcs and the Perth city skyline, all fancy new skyscrapers that indicate a blank canvas city – one largely unburdened by its past, and almost entirely concerned with its future.

None of this provides adequate detraction from the key attraction, however. And that, as it always seems to be in Perth, is the bright blue sky.

There are many measures of good and bad weather. Some will use temperature. Some will use rainfall. Some will use humidity. And some will use consistency of mediocrity. 

But the key measure is the number of bright, sunny days. This applies as much in winter (not something that has too much of an effect on Perth, granted) as summer. Cold, crisp with bright blue skies is so much better than grey and slightly milder, even if it’s not drizzling.



There’s a deep, instinctive appreciation for light buried inside most of us that a blue sky brings to the fore. 

There is an official measurement for this factor – number of sunshine hours per year. On this measure, Yuma in Arizona wins, with just over 4,000 hours per year. For comparison, Singapore gets 2,022, London gets 1,633 and New York get 2,534. Perth – with 3,229 hours of sunshine per year – has more than any other city in Australia. And barring very few exceptions that are not basically in the desert or in Southern California, that’s more than any other city in the world.

A perhaps better, but linked, measure, would be how many bright, bright sunshiney days a place gets. In other words, how many days out of the 365 are you going to get blue skies for the bulk of the day? No-one seems to properly measure this, but I’m going to hazard a guess that Perth scores pretty darned highly. 



But the other ingredient in the magic combo is the Fremantle Doctor. Any cricket fan will get to hear commentators bang on about this every Ashes series, but it’s a genuine phenomenon. The Doctor is a persistent sea breeze, generally more prevalent in the afternoon, that turns a hot day from an unbearable sweatfest to pleasantly toasty with a bit of Mother Nature’s air conditioning.

And when that combo of cloudless sky and Doctor at work kicks in, as it so regularly does, everything feels right with the world. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, or what you’re looking at, the happy hormones kick in. 

It’s a secret weapon that Perth should probably make more of. Promoting big new projects such as Elizabeth Quay is understandable given the money spent. So is promoting the revitalisation of the city centre, or the genuinely excellent beaches. But most visitors would probably be happy with near-perfect weather, once they realise it’s there. If it’s bright and sunny, with a cooling breeze, you tend to get remarkably lackadaisical about asking for more.



by David Whitley




You can get the Perth included as a stopover on a Navigator round the world