Fremantle

LOCATION
Fremantle is located 19 kilometers south west of Perth. The drive will take you about 20 minutes from Perth. The port of Fremantle lies where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. Have a look at the map of Fremantle.

HISTORY

Fremantle was named after Sir Charles Howe Fremantle. He was the Captain of the HMS Challenger, which took possession of the West Coast of Australia for Britain in 1829.

Fremantle is rich in maritime history. The Maritime Museum, which overlooks the beautiful Esplanade Park, exhibits a section of the Batavia, the famous ship wrecked off the coast in 1629. The Museum also displays a unique collection of historical maritime objects.

Fremantle Prison

"Freo" (as it is affectionately referred to by West Australians) is also famous for its penal history. The Roundhouse, which was built in 1831 and is Western Australia's oldest public building was originally a jail. Visitors are welcome to inspect the tiny cells then escape to the beautiful grassy picnic spot above. The Fremantle Museum and Arts Center was once a mental asylum for women.

Just down the road from the Arts Center is the old Fremantle Jail, which was built by convict labour. Tours of the jail provide an interesting and sometimes spine-tingling insight into West Australian history.

In more recent history, Fremantle was the site of Australia's defence of the America's Cup in 1987. The exuberant nautical atmosphere remains in the fishing boat harbour, over 10 years after the unsuccessful bid to retain the Cup.

If you take a lazy stroll through the west end of Fremantle you'll find dozens of examples of Victorian architecture in the beautifully restored heritage buildings. Many of the buildings are now classified by the National Trust.

ACCOMMODATION
Fabulous Fremantle receives thousands of day trippers every weekend. If you'd like to spend a bit more time exploring all that Fremantle has to offer, there is a range of accommodation available. Go to our accommodation page for a look at your many options.

EATING AND DRINKING
Fremantle is "it" for culinary diversity. Naturally, there are dozens of Italian and Greek Restaurants in the town that is sometimes called "Little Italy." However, you will also find Indian, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Chinese and good old Aussie restaurants, to name a few. Regardless of your budget and tastes, you will find a restaurant in Fremantle with fabulous food and service. Go to our restaurant guide to choose the place for tonight!

West Australians also love the coffee culture. There are many cafes in Fremantle with seating outside, so you can sit back, put on your sunglasses, sip your coffee and watch the cosmopolitan world of Freo go by. For the perfect, smooth coffee, you cannot go past Gino's, which is located on South Terrace, otherwise known as "the cappuccino strip" for obvious reasons.

You cannot visit Fremantle without indulging in refreshment of the cold, frothy, amber kind! The pubs in Fremantle are a must at the end of a long day sight seeing. The Sail and Anchor brews its own ales, and the staff are happy to provide a few samples. This historical pub is packed with character and has everything from chesterfields in front of the fire, to a beer garden out the back. Then cross the street and visit the Norfolk. Its shady limestone courtyard is renowned for its laid back Sunday session. Have a look at our Pubs Page for more great Fremantle Pubs.

FREMANTLE SHOPPING
The Fremantle Markets is more than just a place to shop. Ever since the foundation stone was laid in 1897, the Markets have been a bustling and diverse part of Fremantle's history. Open Friday to Sunday, there are currently over 150 market stalls.

Fremantle is also full of speciality shops. Second hand shops abound for the bargain hunters, such as Elizabeth's Secondhand Bookshop for cult Asterix and Tintin graphic novels.

If you enjoy pottering around antique shops, visiting George Street, which is east of the centre of town, is a must. Also in George Street you'll find many examples of modern art with that Fremantle feel.

Back in the centre of town, the west end is fast developing a reputation for being a centre of creative art. An afternoon meander around the west end will reward you with many experiences of modern art, including unique Aboriginal art.

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN FREO
For a breath of the sea air, walk down to the fishing boat harbour and take a stroll around the boardwalk. See the hundreds of fishing boats and be sure to sample the catch of the day at one of the fish and chip shops like Kailis' Brothers, Ciccerello's, or the Fisherman's kitchen, all located on or around the boardwalk.

Fremantle also holds at least three festivals a year. If you can time your visit, these festivals are a great chance to sample the cultural diversity of Fremantle, and the real spirit of the people. The Sardine Festival is in January, the Blessing of the Fleet is in October, and November hosts the Fremantle Festival.

Fremantle Boardwalk