Fremantle is Perth’s port city, just a short drive or train ride south of the Perth City centre. Affectionately known by locals as Freo, Fremantle was originally Perth’s access port for ships bringing supplies when Perth was just a colony. Today Fremantle is so much more, and while it is still the main port for Western Australia, over the years it has grown to embrace its own identity as a seaside city with a vibrant atmosphere.
Once full of old storage warehouses, the face of Fremantle began to change with improvements in the freight industry, and as the stock and supplies moved out of the old warehouses, the artists moved in and Fremantle is now home to a lively artistic community where artworks and handcrafted items can be seen and bought, in many cases direct from the local artists themselves.
Another great influence in Fremantle’s history, was in 1983 when Australia stunned the yachting world by winning the America’s Cup, ending a 132 year run of success by the New York Yacht club in this event. So in 1987, the beautiful port city of Fremantle was the obvious choice to host the event as the Americans vowed to win back their cup, whilst the Australians were determined to hang on to it.
Unfortunately for sport loving Australians, the race was lost and the cup returned to the USA, however this exciting time in Fremantle’s history gave rise to a new look Fremantle, as visitors flocked to the city to enjoy the America’s Cup racing, as well as the new look outdoor cafe style dining which had become so popular during this time. Still today, Fremantle is a popular destination for both visitors and Perth locals to spend a day out, and the now renowned Cappuccino Strip on South Terrace buzzes with people enjoying the alfresco style cafes in this oceanside city, particularly at weekends and during the summer months.
Fremantle is also the first port of call for fishing boats and vessels with their fresh catch of the day. If you love fresh seafood, then you will find an amazing choice in Fremantle so stop in at one of the local restaurants and enjoy a fresh cooked seafood meal. Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour has a number of restaurants with waterside views, specialising in local fresh fish and seafood dishes.
In spite of the many changes, Fremantle has maintained its historic look and feel, with beautiful old buildings and many historic attractions to visit while you are there. Many of the buildings have intriguing and often unsettling pasts, such as the Fremantle Prison, a historic icon of the city where you can take a number of different tours from “doing time” to discovering the little known underground tunnels beneath. Some of the tours can be quite eerie, as well as fascinating.
Of course, a visit to Fremantle would not be complete without a stop at the local markets. At busy Fremantle Markets on South Terrace you will find an unusual range of items, from fresh fruit and produce, to jewellery and hand-crafted local items. The E Shed Markets in Victoria Quay overlooks the Fremantle wharf and offers a range of interesting shops and is well worth a look. You can also grab a bite to eat in the E Shed Food court, or enjoy one of the many cafes.