Loved as one of the best cities in the world, Fremantle is a deliverer of charms both old and new. Also affectionately known as Freo, take advantage of its small size, and explore the port city within a day. Look into the following recommendations to understand Freo’s popularity and become a fan of the city.
1. Cappuccino Strip
Begin your day at Cappuccino Strip — an enclave famed for its host of outdoor cafes and restaurants. Breakfast choices are aplenty here with lanes of menus catered to making hearty platters and oh-so-good coffee. Despite the heat, many locals will brave the weather — albeit shielded with caps — to indulge in happy chatters and comfort food the al fresco way; a true testament to Australian’s love for outdoor dining. Follow their lead and sit around circular tables on rattan chairs, where everything will slow into an unhurried pace. Engage in some people watching and laugh at the crinkling frown of an elder’s face as he reads the news or the furrowing brows of the barista as he pours milk into what he wants to be the perfect latte.
Try the food at Gino’s, Fremantle’s most famous café, where they serve plates of fluffy omelettes, juicy grilled tomatoes, and warm toast that make for the perfect start of the day. Additionally, be cheeky and avoid eating healthy just this once and have an affogato, coffee with ice cream, in the morning.
Address: 13 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160
Address: 1-5 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160
2. Elizabeth’s Second-hand Bookshop
Continue the relaxing mood from a full breakfast by heading to Elizabeth’s Second-hand Bookshop, found just across the street from Gino’s. This is the go-to-place for avid readers trying to get their hands on cheaper books; their extensive collection of second-hand, out of print, and antique books will spark your interest even if you are not a full-on nerd.
Having been around since 1973 and one of Australia’s largest second-hand bookshop operations, the addictive scent of worn paper fills the shop making visitors super nostalgic. Sieve through the trove of books stacked to the brim on shelves or the towers of books piled in the middle of aisles for something you’ll like. Alternatively, have yourself a blind date with a book packaged with brown wrapping paper, scribbled with important details and tied romantically with string.
Elizabeth’s Second-hand Bookshop
Address: 8 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160
3. Fremantle Prison
Take on a more serious note and do some learning at Fremantle Prison. Reputed as the largest and most intact convict-built prison in Australia, the site definitely deserves to be the only World Heritage Listed Building in Australia. While the entry to the gatehouse is free of charge, check the tour schedules for you do not want to miss out. Bringing you along its history through guided tours and learning journeys, Fremantle Prison offers the most engaging and interesting tours of its kind. Think a creepy night tour guided by torchlights or an adventure through a labyrinth of tunnels 20 metres (65.6 ft) beneath the prison, history does not need to be boring after all!
Address: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160
Website: Fremantle Prison
4. Monument Hill
Located at the highest point of Fremantle, Monument Hill provides a picturesque view of lush green lawns and blooming flowers, offering a panorama of the city. It is no wonder this is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies. But that does not mean you need to get hitched to be here. With pet owners running with their dogs, couples having romantic dates, and families gathering for picnics, there is a myriad of things to do even. Bring a packed sandwich, lay back on the grass, and read the book you’ve been meaning to finish (or the one you picked up from Elizabeth’s Second-hand Bookshop). Before you know it, the hours will go by idly just like a time capsule. Speaking of which, there is one at the Fremantle War Memorial, a structure to remember World War I and II, the Korean War, Malayan Emergency, and Vietnam War. Visit the structure and have a better appreciation of the place.
Address: High Road, Fremantle WA 6160
5. Fremantle Arts Centre
Prided as one of Australia’s leading arts organisations, Fremantle Arts Centre, with its 3-in-1 gallery, shop, and café, is an umbrella of things in a singular setting. While the gallery remains as the main attraction, FOUND, a shop at Fremantle Arts Centre is impressive with its selection of eccentric craft dolls, woven yarn baskets, swirling-patterned pottery, and illustrated books for children. It’s no surprise if you leave with things you never thought you needed. Similarly, Fremantle Arts Centre’s backyard outdoor café is also a nice place to visit before seeing the actual exhibitions. With benches furnished with floral arrangements and a roof strung with pennants, it tempts you to grab a late lunch and refreshments. About the gallery itself, the carefully curated and thought-provoking exhibitions are evidence that the residencies program is teeming with talent and the organisation’s eye for art in both the local and international scene is both refreshing and appealing.
Fremantle Arts Centre
Address: 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle WA 6160
Website: Fremantle Arts Centre
6. Bathers Beach
While the sun is still up, grab your slippers and make your way to Bathers Beach to enjoy the beach bum life. Located between Fishing Boat Harbour and the Round House, the 300 m (0.2 mi) coast comes alive with couples, families, the young, and the old. Stay till evening and catch the sunset, not forgetting to have a takeaway box of fish and chips on your lap.
Alternatively, treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner — free of pesky seagulls — at the famous Little Creatures Brewery. Serving a selection of award-winning brews and affordable bistro-style food, you’ll learn that a happy stomach makes for a good end to the night. But if by the slightest chance food is not the way to your heart, take the Tourist Wheel in Esplanade Park found just a stone’s throw away from the beach. Within a gondola, the Ferris wheel will bring you unrivalled views of the city showing you how good Fremantle looks, even at night.
Address: 47 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160
Little Creatures Brewery
Address: 40 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160
While it may be ideal to extend your stay over a few days to truly discover what a city has to offer, Fremantle is straightforward in its charms and its popular destinations are never a disappointment. So save the headache of planning for a full-length trip and explore Fremantle with ease within a day instead!