First time to Freo? Got friends or rellos visiting? Here’s a round-up of things to consider for an introductory trip to Fremantle.
Head to the port
It’s where the famous cranes stand sentinel like giraffes, overlooking the spot where the America’s Cup was contested in 1987. The winged keel of Australia II is displayed at the Maritime Museum on the water’s edge. Gage Roads Brew Pub has also pitched up here, so you can soak in the Port City’s maritime vibe while drinking a site-brewed ale and licking chicken salt off your fingers.
The Fremantle Arts Centre has double appeal: gorgeous historic building and grounds, plus premier contemporary arts hub. Multiple galleries and a gift shop make it a destination. Time it right, and you might catch a free performance on the lawn.
Drink the coffee
When the main drag is affectionately known as The Cappuccino Strip, you can’t not. Gino’s, one of the strip’s longest standing cafes, delivers the old school Italian vibe on which Freo was built, but you can take any side street and find baristas serious about their espressos and cold brews. Take a load off.
Image: Kate and Abel. Credit: Photo by Duncan Wright
Try High Street in the West End for its smattering of independent shops brimful with gifts, design, art, furniture, clothing, vinyl and jewellery. Want to see what a 19th century market looks like? Wade in to the bustle of the Fremantle Markets, which has been peddling wares and hosting buskers since 1897. There are plenty of food stalls to sustain you through a deep fossick.
Image: SUKU at FOMO, Walyalup Koort. Credit: SHOTBYTHOM
What, not Italian? Fear not, there’s plenty of garlic mussel and pizza aromas wafting down the strip, true to Freo’s foundations. But the flavours tend more Japanese, Indonesian and Vietnamese at the new FOMO complex, where the street food vibe is perfect for regrouping before the next attraction. Gelato for afters, of course.
Try the fish
The boardwalk at Fishing Boat Harbour is flanked with options for fish and chips. Take at least one meal here, admiring the fishing fleet moored in the tranquil marina while the gulls circle. The catch doesn’t get fresher.
Go back in time
Some stunning old limestone buildings with gripping histories exist in Fremantle. The Fremantle Prison has epic tales and, time permitting, excellent tours both above and below ground (think watery tunnels, think boats). At the Round House, catch the canon-firing ceremony at 1 pm daily.
Take in a sunset
Unaccustomed to seeing the sun go down over the water? Freo does it every day. At Bathers Beach House, the West’s only licensed beach bar, you can watch the ocean go fiery with a cocktail in hand. Wander the boardwalk near Kidogo Arthouse for a close up of the famous Fremantle skyline.