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.
As you drive or sail into the city of Fremantle – known as ‘Freo’ to locals – you’ll see the iconic working docks, which is still WA’s main shipping port. Freo is steeped in history and home to an incredibly open-minded and alternative community. Decorated with street art, contemporary sculptures and winding tree-lined streets, the city has a flair all of its own.
Here, second-hand bookstores, opshops, arcades and micro-breweries are interspersed with big-brand stores, vegan cafes and wholefood shops. The famous Cappuccino Strip is exactly as it sounds, bursting with coffee shops, Italian and French pastry joints, and a busy food hall. The Old Shanghai food court has everything you could hope for, with lots of cheap, delicious eateries to choose from. Or, head to High Street and pick from the many student-friendly cafes. South Fremantle has a great collection of small bars and retailers. In particular, Wray Avenue has a vast selection of unique boutiques and is home to local favourite small bar, Who’s Your Mumma.
Head towards the Esplanade and you’ll find a sparkling marina full of magnificent yachts. Lining the jetties are seafood restaurants, fish and chip shops and Little Creatures Brewing, along with great gelato spots, cafes, and bar and restaurant, Bathers Beach House. Hotels, spas, and wine bars are also dotted along the Esplanade; favourites include Whisper Wine Bar and Ball & Chain. You can also check out the 40-metre-tall Tourist Wheel for unparalleled views of the city, or the brand-new skate park located just near it. A play park, parkour course and public table tennis table can also be found here, with rackets and balls to hire at the little coffee shop by the public bathrooms.
If you’re keen to check out the local cultural offerings, head to the WA Maritime Museum, followed by Fremantle Prison or the Fremantle Roundhouse. Here, you’ll hear the cannon go off every day at 12pm, an old maritime tradition for any ships just outside the port. Fremantle Markets are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and showcase the finest fresh local produce as well as food trucks, drinks, gifts, and homewares.
Fremantle also has its own beautiful beaches. Make sure to head to smaller inlet South Beach and the larger Bathers Beach during your time here.
The Fremantle Fibonacci Centre, located on Blinco Street, holds several classes, workshops and events throughout the year, while the Meeting Place Community Centre on South Terrace provides a range of unique courses and hosts plenty of meet-ups, including language groups.
Fremantle Library has a great book selection, study spaces, public computers, free wi-fi and book clubs. Fremantle Leisure Centre lessons, swim clubs, aqua aerobics and community events. Fremantle is home to lots of churches, including Fremantle Wesley Uniting Church, C3 Fremantle, and the youth-oriented Freedom City Church. Nasir Mosque is located south in Bibra Lake, while the Kadampa Meditation Centre is located in East Fremantle.
Multicultural Futures is a local organisation that helps people who are new to Perth build a life and integrate with the local lifestyle and culture. They offer several useful services, including employment help, English classes, mental health and wellbeing support and more.
The old Fremantle Prison is not for the fainthearted. This old prison was home to convicts in the 1800s and only recently closed in 1991. You can take five different tours at the prison, depending on how much spookiness you can handle. Learn about the notorious criminals housed in the prison on the True Crime tour, or discover the prison’s history in the Convict Prison and Behind Bars tours. For those who really want to get freaked out, try the Tunnels or Torchlight tours. You’ll roam around the prison after dark, or even go underground and tour below the prison in a boat. If you want to explore Perth’s history, check out the prison’s exhibitions to learn more about the arrival of Australia’s convicts.
The Roundhouse is another of Fremantle’s historic buildings. It’s Western Australia’s oldest building and acted as a makeshift prison until the Fremantle Prison was built. While you’re there, you can visit the prison cells and warden’s quarters.