Fremantle, the maritime centre of the west boasts spectacular colonial architecture, vibrant restaurant and cafe lined streets and an energetically colourful market. Fremantle is famed for a somewhat bohemian atmosphere and a rich history.
Just 19km southwest of Perth is Fremantle, Western Australias largest port.
Fremantle was the original entry point and gateway to Western Australia and so in the beginning, Fremantle had a large European population and as it grew, the many Italian fishermen and Irish factory workers toiled alongside British immigrants.
Today, Fremantle has a strong ethnic base and its many large groups of different nationalities give it a strong cultural atmosphere. Many artists, professionals and others seeking a life outside Perth City or suburbia come to live and work in Freo. The Sardine Festival in January attracts thousands to its summertime international food and wine festival on the Esplanades grassy areas. The streets come alive during November with the art and culture of the Fremantle Festival, a great start to Perths lively summer period.
One of the most interesting port cities in the world, Fremantle has become a cultural, historical and entertainment mecca. It is a huge port and has a busy industrial area around the docks with containers piled high on the old wharves. However, it has another side that boasts a number of galleries, shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and nightclubs scattered throughout its quaint streets, parks, river and coastal areas.
Fremantles streets are filled with some of the best examples of mid-Victorian and Edwardian architecture. St Johns Anglican Church, Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle Markets, the Round House Western Australias oldest public building are fascinating to examine. But just about anywhere you look, fine old buildings stand well preserved amidst the newer, trendier establishments. Many of Fremantles offices, galleries, restaurants and shops are housed in these grand old buildings.
Fremantle Cappuccino Strip
A visit to Fremantle would not complete without having a coffee or meal on South Terrace, otherwise known as the Cappuccino Strip. This cosmopolitan area houses many coffee houses, restaurants and pubs where people congregate to unwind and enjoy lifes simple pleasures amongst the buzzing atmosphere, day or night, anytime of the week. The Sail and Anchor is on South Terrace also and was Australias first pub and microbrewery.
On the other side of the park, across from the magnificent Hotel Esplanade Fremantle, lies Little Creatures Brewery. Drink delicious beer thats brewed on the premises and drained from the huge vats right before your eyes whilst you eat sumptuous food overlooking the harbour. There are so many different places to eat in Fremantle from Thai and Indian to Portuguese, Greek and Italian restaurants. Grab an ice cream and wander around the streets watching the many buskers, artists and other performers that frequent Fremantle.
Fremantle Maritime Museum
The main attractions in Fremantle include the Western Australian Maritime Museum that contains a collection of shipwreck relics and artifacts from the many ships that have met their doom on the West Australian coast.
The Fremantle Prison is fascinating; tour the jail cells and museum and learn of the harrowing tales from days gone by.
Fremantle has world-class marina facilities, a legacy of the Americas Cup held here in 1987. Fishing is excellent around Fremantle; many different species of fish can be caught off a number of rocks, jetties and beaches.
The Fremantle Markets were originally opened in 1897 and are now classified by the National Trust. The Fremantle Markets operate every long weekend and public holiday, as do the E Shed Markets across the harbour near the Fremantle train station.