Fremantle

This port city has beautiful beaches, shady esplanades, a state-of-the-art skate park, unique retailers, local markets and a buzzing live music scene.

Highlights

As home to the University of Notre Dame, the West End of Fremantle has a distinctly student feel. The university doesn’t have an ordinary campus, and is instead housed within the town’s heritage sandstone buildings.

In this end of town, you’ll find a large collection of cool independent stores. New Edition Bookshop and Bill Campbell’s Second Hand Books have great selections of contemporary and classic novels; while The Chart & Map Shop stocks a carefully curated selection of travel-themed books and maps of Australia. A local favourite, Three Stories Lifestyle is a surf and skate store with locally made surfboards, homewares and clothing. Bargain hunters will find a great range of vintage and recycled clothing boutiques in Fremantle. Some of the best include RSPCA Reloved Fashion, St. Pat’s Rack, and Beat Happening.

When you’re in need of coffee, head to Moore & Moore Cafe, an eclectic coffee shop and contemporary art gallery with cosy couches and a sun-filled courtyard. Or, for a night out, head to The Old Synagogue, a buzzing multi-level venue with sleek restaurants, lively bars and a late-night dance floor on weekends. Jungle Bird is a Caribbean-themed rum bar on High Street with $10 vegan meals and weekly drinks specials. Nearby, Ronnie Nights is a vibrant venue with good music and hearty bowls of ramen; while Darling Darling has cool cocktails and a stylish seafarer theme. If you want to have a drink with your feet in the sand, Bathers Beach House is the only restaurant in Western Australia where you can eat and drink on the beach.

Hop on the free Blue CAT bus from Fremantle Station to get to the sunny streets of South Fremantle. South Beach has a large grassed area for picnics, a laid back café, regular yoga classes, and a pop-up sunset market in the summer. The beach itself is relatively sheltered and has calm swimming conditions. You can hire a bike at South Beach Cycles and hit one of the beachside cycling paths, or simply grab a coffee at the adjoining cafe. Manna Wholefoods & Cafe is a low-waste store where you can buy fresh, organic produce, as well as grains, pasta and legumes in bulk. The store also serves super healthy raw and vegan lunches. In the evening, grab an alfresco seat at Madalena’s for wine and seafood; or head to Copper Chimney for Indian cuisine.

Community facilities

The Fremantle Fibonacci Centre on Blinco Street holds a number of classes, workshops and events throughout the year; while The Meeting Place Community Centre on South Terrace provides a range of unique courses and organised meet-ups, including language groups. Multicultural Futures is a local organisation that helps people who are new to Perth integrate with the local lifestyle and culture. They offer several useful services, including employment help, English classes, and mental health and wellbeing support. Fremantle Library has a great book selection, study spaces, public computers, free Wi-Fi and book clubs.

Fremantle Leisure Centre has a 50-metre outdoor pool, four indoor heated pools, a fitness centre and café. It offers adult swimming lessons, swim clubs, aqua aerobics and community events. Fremantle is home to many churches, including Fremantle Wesley Uniting Church, St John’s Anglican Church, C3 Church Fremantle, and the youth-oriented Freedom City Church. Nasir Mosque is located in Bibra Lake in South Fremantle; while the Kadampa Meditation Centre Perth is located in East Fremantle and offers weekly meditation sessions, classes, courses and retreats.

Unique experiences

The bustling Fremantle Markets are open from Friday to Sunday each week. It’s a great place to catch live music, entertaining buskers, and to browse the huge variety of market stalls. The main market hall has an array of stallholders selling locally made homewares, accessories, clothing, artwork, beauty products and collectables, while the market yard is filled with organic produce and tasty food vendors. For halal beef rendang, bone marrow
rice and homemade spicy sambal, try Fluffy Lamb. The stall is the only halal-certified food outlet in Fremantle Markets, and has been named one of the top Indonesian restaurants in the world by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry.

Monument Hill, situated 43 metres above sea level, boasts some of the best views in Fremantle. Once you tackle the uphill walk from the top of High Street, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views over the town centre, Fremantle Harbour and the Indian Ocean. At the top of Monument Hill you’ll find Fremantle War Memorial, which is surrounded by shady trees, sloped grass areas and water fountains. Pack a picnic and make your way up in time for the sunset.