From freezing dips and silent discos to stargazing and Stonehenge, the winter solstice is here!

Melville Midwinter
Home >News >From freezing dips and silent discos to stargazing and Stonehenge, the winter solstice is here!

It’s a night owl’s dream and a stargazer’s delight. The darkest day and the longest night of the year.

Article by Lee Steele.

And whether it’s a naked swim in icy cold waters or a night under the stars – the winter solstice is being celebrated with everything from moonlight meditations to dancefloor debauchery.

This Friday 21 June is the shortest day in the southern hemisphere, and from here, we’ll very slowly welcome back the sun.

In Perth, the sunrise is at 7.16am, and the sunset at 5.20pm, so that gives us about 10 hours of daylight, four hours less than the summer solstice.

“The winter solstice, also known as the hibernal solstice, signifies the shortest day and longest night of the year,” says Matt Woods from the Perth Observatory.

“This astronomical event results from the Earth’s axial tilt of 23.5 degrees, causing one of the poles to be at its maximum tilt away from the sun.”

Perth Observatory
Image Credit: Matt Woods

With all that darkness it’s an absolute treat for astro enthusiasts, who say winter nights are perfect to see our incredible night sky: “The winter solstice is a southern stargazer’s favourite day (or night!) of the year, plus we’ve got the gorgeous Milky Way galaxy high in the sky for the entire night,” says Woods.

“Astronomers love this time of year.”

While perhaps the most iconic winter solstice event is Tasmania’s 2000-people strong Dark Mofo nude swim, Perth folks can get a icy slice themselves at Melville Midwinter, which has been sadly postponed from this Saturday to July 6.

The family-friendly night pays tribute to the change of seasons and winter solstice with live performances, culminating in a night-time dip for those who dare!

Melville Midwinter
Image Credit: City of Melville

There are plenty of other events happening across the city and the state in celebration, including festivals, yoga, sound healing and meditation.

You can dress in your futuristic best for a Moondance at the WA Museum Boola Bardip, where shift dresses, space boots, metallic silver, and Martian eyewear are encouraged!

Meanwhile Araluen Estate is hosting their annual Winter Solstice Bonfire Night Markets.

And hundreds will jump into the Indian Ocean for an early morning swim, after a silent disco in City Beach on Saturday morning.

Cold Nips DJ Shann
Image Credit: DJ Shann

It will also be a mystical weekend at the Esperance Stonehenge, a full-size replica of the Stonehenge in the UK, which was built to align with the summer and winter solstices.

It’s hosting the “Shakespeare at winter solstice” with performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.

“We’re so excited about the Shakespeare plays, the Stonehenge has amazing acoustics,” owner Tracey Gillbard says.

“It’s a natural amphitheatre and lends itself to this. Combined with the incredible view of the sun setting in between the trilithon stones, it is a magical experience.”

Image Credit: Sarah Maloney

The extra sunshine won’t be enough to shake the winds of winter anytime soon, in fact the coldest days are yet to come due to a lag in temperatures, and it takes time for the heat to build up again.

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Although the winter solstice is in June, Perth’s coldest month is actually July, with an average maximum of 18.5 degrees and low of 8.1 degrees.

Similarly, the summer solstice is in December, but the hottest days are in February.

So from here, we’ll slowly transition from the dark to the light – days will get longer and longer, but there’s still plenty of winter to go!

Lee Steele is a journalist for Channel 10, reporting on news, weather and what’s on around Perth and WA.

Header Image Credit: City of Melville