First Winter in Perth

When we arrived in Perth last November it was officially still spring, but since we came from Scotland we thought the weather was going to be a very mild, and the temperature was probably warmer than Aberdeen in summer, so I only packed one – yes, one! – cardigan, for wearing it during the night in my suitcase, and the rest of the clothes (before the big shipment came) were summer clothes: all those pretty dresses, backless, sleeveless, or both. We were a bit surprised to find out that the temperature could drop around 10°C and I needed my cardigan more often than I thought.

Fast forward to autumn earlier this year, I was always being so smug whenever people started to complain about the “cold” weather. I kept telling them it’s nothing compares to Aberdeen, it was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. It was indeed very nice, just below 20°C but still above 10°C. I laughed at people who started wearing jumpers, or worse, boots and scarves, and proudly preached to those who were polite enough to listen that Perth weather in autumn was very warm (summer in Aberdeen can be even cooler) and to prove my point I still wore my summer attire, and if the temperature dropped a bit, I just wore something with sleeves. No coats whatsoever, just to ‘prove my point’, of course.

When the winter was first approaching, both of mr.mck and I wondered if we’re ever going to get our inherited gas heater lit up, because we didn’t feel cold at all. The fact that of course, I bragged to everyone. We’re from Scotland! Perth’s winter is fake! It’s not cold at all! We’re still wearing t-shirts and throw some jumpers occasionally! No need to be afraid, really.

Then suddenly the temperature has dropped below 10°C, and at some mornings the day started as low as 3°C. Mr.mck bravely pedals his bike to work every morning, claiming it’s a perfect temperature to cycle. I, on the other hand, suddenly realised that Perth can get cold, and I wasn’t prepared at all.

First, with the very large area of empty bushland behind us, nothing can help us to retain the heat during the day. Sure it could be as warm as 20°C in the afternoon, but when the city reaches its lowest temperature like 4°C, so does our house. Worse, we don’t have neighbour on the right side of the house, and the window on the left side of the main bedroom faces the back garden. So 3 walls covering the main bedroom face empty spaces, which makes it the coldest room in the house. It’s not like the house is warm either. For some reason the walls are wafer-thin, the windows are not double-glazed, and the so-called central air-conditioning system only blows cold wind. So if I wasn’t prepared, the house is twice worse than me. At least in Aberdeen the walls are from granite and could be at least 50 cm thick (so even without heaters on, the house can still be a bit warm), every window is double-glazed, and every room is equipped with at least one heater.

Officially defeated, I went to Myer and bought electric blankets. We never had electric blankets in Aberdeen before, and I was embarrassed that I actually had to purchased them. But at least I don’t have to scream when the cold bed sheet touches my sorry bum every time I slid under the duvet anymore. But it doesn’t solve the fact that the room is still cold, especially in early mornings and after sunset!

Last Sunday I threw a white towel and admitted that I need a proper heater for the main bedroom. I can’t just hide under my warm blanket all morning hoping the temperature gets warmer. I can’t risk my toes frozen up if I want to get up to get my breakfast. I. Need. A. Heater.

So off we went to buy one for the bedroom, which claims to have 2400W power and can be as warm as 30°C. Every time I switch it on, it reads the room temperature and I always cringe because it reads around 13°C. Never under 10°C. Certainly it feels colder than that!

Uh-oh, have I been acclimatized with the tropical weather of Perth just in 6 months?

Well, one thing that we never did in Scotland was having a BBQ in a winter! Awesome!


  1. LOL… my mean comment: suck that Anita, never under estimate Australian winter!

    Well, maybe the house wasn’t prepare for winter condition hence the no heater and all. The houses & apartments in Canberra mostly have central heating system and pretty good insulation as it can reach -4C at night and this morning was 0.5C at 9am brrrr. And sometimes I still see people are having picnic by the lake during winter, well maybe because it’s mostly sunny winter in Canberra.

    Come to Canberra during Winter if you miss Aberdeen’s weather 😉

    • Yes, I have to admit that at first I thought Perthians are spoiled who complain about the winter, and it’s not real winter! But like today when the weather forecast says it can be between 4-19°C, I finally understand that winter in Perth can be quite cold. Not as bad as Aberdeen, but it can be pretty nippy:)

      Although, having said that, I still don’t wear a coat and boots. I still don’t even wear socks. No wonder I always feel cold!

  2. Terrible. I pity you. Perth made you suffer.It is so unjust. Just think of the North Western tip of continental Europe: 25, 30, 35 degrees Celsius. Envy me.

  3. Hahaha this reminds me of my first winter in China. I was chuckling away seeing the locals starts to bundle all up when it’s not really even that cold yet. But then when I got to feel what it’s like to pass winter in an apartment without central heating system, we bought a heater right away 😀

    But that BQQ in winter time sounds awesome!
    Maureen recently posted…12 Unique Facts About IndonesiaMy Profile

    • Yeah I’ve learned my lesson now that Perth actually isn’t really “tropical” and can be quite cold. However, I stubbornly dress like autumn and refuse to wear scarves, gloves, or boots – they’re too much! 😀

  4. Great story! I think I may add “permanent clothing anxiety” to my list of traits for the kinds of people who live in countries other than their native ones. My husband, who happens to be Japanese but spent quite a few years as a journalist in Southeast Asia, never wants to shed his sweaters and coats when spring arrives in NYC. It’s everything I can do to pry these layers off him. As for me (I am an American), I always try to calibrate my clothing to the temperature outside. I think that comes from my years of living in the UK, where the weather forecast is a major part of the news as it’s so variable! On balance, I always prefer to be slightly underdressed than overdressed–I think because I picked up some of the Brits’ macho attitude towards braving the elements, as expressed so well in your post.
    ML Awanohara recently posted…Melbourne Girl Gives London a Burl- Comes Up a DoozeyMy Profile

    • LOL, I didn’t even realise that I picked up the – as you said – “Brit’s macho attitude.” You’re absolutely right, Scottish people are notably even worse than English, hardly carry umbrellas (won’t even notice if it’s raining), only wear a piece of coat and almost never wear gloves or scarves. And yes, if the temperature doesn’t drop below zero, it doesn’t justify to wear winter clothes. Sadly, it means I’m permanently cold!

  5. The older Oz houses aren’t designed for cold weather. Even if brick veneer cavity type construction, they seem to get cold. The air heaters used are drying. Nothing like good radiators back in the UK.

    • I think the house we live in is only 10 years old, so it’s not an excuse for the landlord to build an “appropriate” home with central heating system (we only have cold air-con system). You’re right, UK radiators are the best. The air heaters seem to dry up my skin and my lips, and I’m still cold anyway!

  6. gas heaters are great but due to the rising prices of petroleum, perhaps an electric heater might be a cheaper option~-*

  7. Hi!

    I am a Biologist and I’m finishing my internship this next year. Do you think me and my boyfriend are going to have good chances to move to Perth? He is a Biologist too.

    Here in Europe with crisis… We never know how it is in Australi. I fall in love for Perth when I saw that the University has great opportunities and the weather (sunny and snowy). Could you gave us some tips?

  8. Andrew Glencross says:

    As a born and bred Perthite of 47 years I have to say this place CAN get bloody cold, especially if you live in one of Australia’s older high ceilinged houses: they’re great in summer with the hot air rising, but fu….g freezing in winter, especially when you hit Dry-July’s typical run of sub 5 degree nights/early mornings. Perth’s cold is two-fold: you get the storms of May/June then the notorious nippys of July–cold High Pressure system air rolling in from the desert. By August you’re used to it, ready for Spring and the summer beyond. But when you hit the first of THOSE heatwaves you remember the cold of winter and DON’T feel so bad about it anymore as you cherish the thought of bring on NEXT Perth winter.

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