Fremantle has a way of drawing you in and making you want to stay forever. Its charm is found in narrow streets lined with historic buildings, a seagull-scattered port bobbing with fishing boats, one-off shops, unconventional breweries and quirky buskers. It can be reached from central Perth via a 25-minute train ride, or half hour drive along Stirling Highway.
Freo, as the locals call it, has a history as colourful as its buzzing markets. In days gone by, convicts, bushrangers, prison escapees and sailors frequented the postcode and since 1897, hundreds of tiny stalls run by artists, makers and growers have clustered within the Fremantle Markets’ limestone walls. This DNA has resulted in a creative, independently-minded population. Sign up for a walking tour to hear about the port town’s characterful past and present. Many roam the heritage-listed West End, where repurposed former pubs, shipping headquarters and warehouses loom with grand architecture, or you can put on overalls and a hard hat to explore the subterranean tunnels of World Heritage Listed Fremantle Prison – by torchlight - as you learn about its inmates.
Allow the smells of fresh seafood and hot chips to lure you to Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour and seek out the statue of one of Australia’s most famous rock n roll stars, locally-raised AC/DC frontman, Bon Scott. Follow the rusted anchors to the WA Shipwrecks Museum, regarded as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the Southern Hemisphere. The nearby WA Maritime Museum holds treasures such as the Australia II, winner of the 1983 America's Cup and an 89 metre-long submarine you can clamber through. Tucked between the two is Bathers Beach, a secluded sandy stretch loved by locals.
View it all from above, on a Ferris Wheel ride at Esplanade Park, then browse the boutiques and galleries along Market Street, a bustling alfresco dining strip. Off High Street shopping mall, find Walyalup Koort (meaning ‘heart of Fremantle’ in the Aboriginal Nyoongar language). Positioned around Kings Square, the shopping and dining precinct opened in December 2021, completing the largest public-private infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history