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Almost every West Australian we spoke recommended us to visit Fremantle (also known as Freo), a port city 16 kilometres from Perth. A place involving Victorian architecture, maritime history and relics from the days when Australia was a British penal colony. Besides its historical character, Fremantle is also a very hip place these days. We took the train(the ‘Fremantle Line’) from the centre of Perth to explore this beautiful port city. Read our blog with tips and discover the best things to do in Fremantle now.
Planning a trip to Fremantle?
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Day trip from Perth
It only takes half an hour to get to Fremantle by car or public transport from central Perth. As we didn’t have a hire car that day so we took the train from Central Station on Wellington Street.
One of Fremantle’s most enjoyable attractions is Fremantle Markets. In a beautiful building built in 1897, you will find hundreds of market stalls. The range of products is large and diverse and the quality of the products is very high. Wander around and enjoy all the culinary delights Fremantle Markets has to offer.
Outside the market hall, you will find several tables and chairs where you can sit for a while to enjoy your dish. A very nice atmosphere! You can visit the Fremantle Markets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During holiday periods, they are also open on Mondays.
It is not just the markets in Fremantle that attract tourists. A visit to Fremantle Prison is also on many visitors list. The prison sometimes called Fremantle Gaol or Fremantle Jail, is a former Australian prison and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Through an informative tour (with a pinch of humour), you will walk through the 6-hectare prison and hear stories about what happened in the prison and stories about the history. On the visit, you will walk past the cell blocks, the gatehouse and you can even enter the tunnels on a special tour.
WA Shipwrecks Museum
People with a love of history are also in the right place in Fremantle. The city has several museums, of which the WA Shipwrecks Museum is one of the best known. In a beautiful old building in Cliff Street, the past breathes and the history stories coming your way.
The WA Shipwrecks Museum has a wide range of historical objects from the VOC (United East India Company) era in which the Netherlands played a major role. From miniature ships, old weapons to part of old Batavia, the Company’s flagship built in Amsterdam in 1628.
By the way, the museum is free to visit, which is unique these days. There’s a donation option in the first room near the reception where visitors can donate an amount themselves based on what they think the museum is worth. We think it is a wonderful museum and recommend it to everyone to visit. And especially if your roots are in the Netherlands, it is an interesting place to have seen.
Fishing Boat Harbour
Fremantle city centre has many cosy spots. One of my favourite spots and also popular among tourists and locals is Fishing Boat Harbour. A place with a relaxed atmosphere and a wide range of restaurants and bars.
No matter which restaurant you choose, you will always have a nice view of the harbour with its bobbing boats. Those who like to eat fish should not miss Fishing Boat Harbour at all, the area is known for world-class restaurants where fish and seafood are often main ingredients.
Little Creatures (The Brew House)
And while you are nearby Fishing Boat Harbour, a visit to Little Creatures should not be missed. In a large building on the harbour, you will find The Brew House where Little Creatures beer is brewed, among other things.
Little Creatures is a cosy place to visit with your friends, to have a drink, diner or beer tasting. Especially when the sun shines, Little Creatures is the place to be.
On the terrace in front of the brewery, we enjoyed 10 different beers, varying in type and flavour. These were nine different Little Creatures beers and a Little Creatures Cider. At Little Creatures, you can also do a tour where you walk through the brewery and learn more about the different stages of the brewing process and hear a bit of history about Little Creatures’ journey from founding to conquering the world.
One of the most surprising and unusual cafes (in the positive way) in Fremantle was Darling Darling. When you walk down Henry Street, the building immediately catch your eye. A beautiful ‘vintage’ building with RC SADLIER & Co on the facade, the name of an Australian family business and also the second-oldest family business in Australia.
Entering Darling Darling leads you through thick curtains, which the sunlight completely disappears. Once inside you find yourself in a completely different world. The bar is all pirate-style: dark wood and ropes and rudders of ships hang on the walls. Like being in a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction for a moment.
The bar offers beer, wine and spirits such as whiskey and rum. We enjoy a Jameson whiskey, on the table is a basket of pel peanuts which shells you can throw on the floor. What a great place and what a fun experience!
Besides being a real port city, Fremantle also has a vibrant coastline with beautiful beaches and restaurants and bars, where you can totally experience the ultimate holiday feeling. One of the most famous beaches is Bathers Beach, where you will also find many cosy beach bars. After a nice walk along the coast, we had a great lunch at Bathers Beach House.
We totally came to rest at Bathers Beach. The sounds of the sea, the birds, the beautiful view. I totally understand why locals and tourists like to come here. And especially during summer!
Restaurants at Bathers Beach
The Fremantle War Memorial
The Fremantle War Memorial is a war memorial located on Monument Hill, an 11-hectare public reserve. The memorial consists of a large obelisk and is surrounded by eight smaller memorials.
It’s a special place in Fremantle to visit, it is also worthwhile because you get a nice view of part of the Fremantle coast. The War Memorial is located on a hill which gives you a nice view.
Tourist Wheel Fremantle
Go for a spin on the Tourist Wheel in the Esplanade Park. This Ferris wheel has been in Fremantle since April 2013 and offers unprecedented views of the city and Fremantle harbours. A ride is $12 for adults and $10 for children.
More must do’s in Fremantle
If you are in Fremantle for more than a day, it is of course nice to see more of the area. The following sights are also worth seeing:
Fremantle Arts Centre
The Fremantle Arts Centre is a diverse arts organisation located in a historic building complex on Ord Street.
The Round House was the first permanent building in Swan River Colony. Built in the late 1830s and commissioned in 1831, it is the oldest building still standing in Western Australia.
WA Maritime Museum
Located on the Indian Ocean coast, the WA Maritime Museum symbolises Fremantle’s past, present and future as a coastal city and port.
Esplanade Park is a public reserve and is located on Marine Terrace and opposite the Esplanade Hotel. The reserve has about 100 mature Norfolk Island pines and you will find the Explorers’ Monument.
It is also possible to visit Rottnest Island from Fremantle. The island of quokkas and idyllic beaches.
More information about Rottnest Island
Perth’s more idyllic little brother
We think you shouldn’t miss Fremantle when in Perth. Fremantle has everything you need for an unforgettable city break. This beautiful port city in Western Australia feels like the Perths more idyllic little brother. Is Fremantle on your bucketlist?
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Video about Fremantle
For more tips, check VisitFremantle.com.au