Fremantle

Fremantle WA is a vibrant port city you can’t miss, spending a few days there is an absolute must.

Just a 20 minute drive from Perth’s city centre and situated at the mouth of the Swan River, Freo, as it’s known by locals, is a multi-cultural city with a charm of its own, setting it apart from the rest of Perth. Fremantle boasts the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world with its world-famous heritage buildings and a fascinating maritime and convict history.

Amble along the back streets past dockworkers’ cottages, warehouses converted into trendy apartments and off-the-beaten track local haunts. Essential stops on the Fremantle WA history trail include WA’s earliest convict jail, the Roundhouse, Fremantle Prison and WA Maritime Museum.

Supporting this rich history is a strong creative streak that can be sampled in the local arts, crafts, jewellery and hearty food available in the renowned Fremantle Markets.

Hit trendy High Street for fashion from local designers, art galleries and Aboriginal crafts and homewares. Most of all, Freo is about soaking up the laid-back ambience; chilling out in a street cafe; enjoying fish and chips fresh off the boat at Fishing Boat Harbour; or enjoying a pale ale at an award winning microbrewery.

Once you’ve finished relaxing, watch the town transform at night when the street cafes, bars and nightclubs crank up. Accommodation-wise, there are plenty of backpacker’s hostels, Bed & Breakfasts, self-catering cottages and hotels to choose from.

Callan Apartments are of course in a class of their own when it comes to good afordable accommodation.

There’s always a festival happening, adding to the bustling vibe:

  • Fremantle Street Art Festival – Easter long weekend
  • West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival – March
  • Heritage Week – May/June
  • Fremantle Festival- November

For more information on what is happening in Fremantle WA contact the Fremantle Visitor Centre on +61 8 9431 7878 or visit their website. You might also like to check out the City of Fremantle website.

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Things to do in Fremantle

  • Round house
    The round house was built in 1831 as a prison, and is the states oldest building.Guides provide tours explaining the early history of Fremantle
  • Fremantle prison
    Constructed by convicts between 1851 and 1855 this daunting building was in use as a maximum security prison until 1991. It is open from 10 to 6 every day.A candlelit tour is available a couple of times a week.
  • Museum and Arts centre
    Houses two of Fremantles most significant cultural attractions. This magnificent neo-gothic building was constructed by convicts in the 1860’s to serve as the colonys first lunatic asylum Today the centre offers exhibitions and creative arts.
  • Monument Hill
    This memorial reserve is Fremantle’s heritage and National Trust listed War memorial. The reserve has magnificent ocean views and is a short stroll from central Fremantle.
  • Fishing Boat Harbour
    A special feature of Fremantle is its maritime atmosphere and this can best be appreciated on a stroll around Fishing Boat Harbour. This is a working harbour all year round and you may see fresh seafood being offloaded from the fishing boats ready for export or the local market. There are many waterfront restaurants with spectacular ocean views to be enjoyed at Fishing Boat Harbour.
  • Fremantle Trams
    Hop on a tram for a guided tour of  Fremantle’s best attractions with interesting and informative commentary. Book a history tour, waterfront or even a ghostly tour.
  • E Shed Markets
    Over 100 stalls with unique gifts and souvenirs, local arts and crafts and international food hall. Located in a restored warehouse on Fremantle’s Victoria Quay wharf.
  • The Rottnest ferry leaves from Victoria quay 4 times every dayand will take you on a day trip or overnight stay at tise wonderful world class reserve.

The Freo CAT

When you have arrived in Fremantle the easiest way to get around is with the popular Fremantle CAT service. CAT buses complete a circuit of  the city stopping at popular places of interest offering easy access to major attractions and venues. The CAT bus runs every 10 minutes 7 days a week between 7.30am and 6.30pm on weekdays and 10am and 6.30 on weekends.

Cruise down the Swan River to the charming port of Fremantle. Have an al fresco brunch along South Terrace, then wander the buzzing heritage-listed streets. On weekends the carnival atmosphere is amplified with colourful markets and roving magicians and musicians. Buy hand-made jewellery and local artworks, get your tarot cards read or sit for your portrait. Learn about Fremantle’s history in the Western Australian Maritime Museum or the Fremantle Prison. See the whipping post, gallows, solitary cells and chapel and learn about the daring escapes on a tour. Wander from here into Henderson Street, where Fremantle’s original market is held Friday to Monday and on public holidays. Shop for Aboriginal artworks and local produce, then browse the bookshops and boutiques along nearby South Terrace and Market Street.  In the evening, soak up the maritime flavour of Fishing Boat Harbour. Visit the boutique brewery and enjoy fish and chips on the wharf or in a waterside restaurant.

Take the ferry to Rottnest Island, where there are 63 beaches, 20 bays and no cars to spoil the tranquility. Hire a bike and ride through the island’s centre to Oliver Hill, where huge guns and underground tunnels were installed last century.  Take in the sweeping views and walk to the salt lakes or old lighthouse.  Spot diverse birdlife and quokkas, the island’s native marsupial. Cycle north to Little Parakeet Bay for a swim in the clear, protected waters. Stop for lunch in a café at Geordie Bay, a little further along. If you’d prefer to explore underwater, follow a snorkel trail at Parker Point or over various shipwreck sites. Scuba dive in Fish Hook Bay, where coral reefs make the water a patchwork of different blues. Surf at Strickland, Salmon and Stark Bays, where the waves can be two to three feet taller than those off Perth beaches. Finish the day with a sunset meal in the island’s historic beachside pub.

PERTH CITY

Take the train, bus or ferry to Perth city when you arrive take a free city bus, jumping off at attractions like the Perth Cultural Centre, Perth Art Gallery and Swan Bell Tower. Have lunch on the Swan River, watching boats sail past the city skyline.  Or pack a picnic and head to the elevated green expanse of Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Wander past the bushland, gardens and lakes and stare over the city, river and Darling Range from scenic vantage points such as the State War Memorial. Take the bus to Cottesloe Beach, where you can swim, snorkel or surf in the clear waters or relax on the terraced lawns beneath the Norfolk Pines. Watch the sun sink into the Indian Ocean from a pub or café along the boulevard. Then head to Northbridge, where you can dine out on an international kaleidoscope of cuisines and explore the many pubs, hotels and nightclubs. Alternatively, see a musical performance at the Perth Concert Hall or a play in the Perth Theatre.