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Things to Do in Fremantle

Just west of Perth, the seafront town of Fremantle—or ""Freo"" to locals—is the city’s closest seaport and a popular weekend retreat for city dwellers. Located at the meeting point of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean, the laid-back town is a creative hub, known for its lively markets, golden beaches, and bohemian vibe.

The Basics
Cruise passengers heading to Perth arrive at Fremantle, but the town is also a popular destination in its own right and easy to visit on a half- or full-day trip from the city. The best way to explore Fremantle is on foot,with walking tour highlights including the Old Fremantle Prison, the Victorian-era Town Hall, the colorful Fishing Boat Harbour, and the Maritime Museum, home to the America's Cup-winning Australia II yacht.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Paid car parking is available in Fremantle, but it can fill quickly. Opt to arrive by public transport in summer or make an early start to secure a spot.
  • Wear comfortable shoes—much of the center of Fremantle is pedestrianized. 
  • Most shops, restaurants, and attractions in Fremantle are wheelchair accessible. 

How to Get to There
Fremantle is located 12 miles (19 kilometers) southwest of central Perth, at the mouth of the Swan River. Trains run from Perth to Fremantle every 10 minutes, or it's a 30-minute journey by road. The most scenic way to travel is by ferry, setting out from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth and arriving at Fremantle port.

When to Get There
Fremantle is busiest during the summer months of January and February, and arriving early is the best way to beat the crowds. Time your visit for the famous Fremantle markets, held Friday to Sunday year-round, or the October or November Fremantle Festival, a 10-day extravaganza featuring live music, art, comedy, and entertainment.

Food and Drink in Fremantle
Fremantle's huge variety of bars, cafés, and restaurants belies its small size, and there's something to suit all tastes. Head to Fremantle market to purchase fresh produce, regional delicacies, and tasty street food; stroll down to the fishing boat harbor to grab a takeaway fish and chips or dine at one of the many seafood bistros; or take a walk down the aptly named Cappuccino Strip, where the sidewalks are lined with cafés and coffee houses.

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Fremantle Markets
3 Tours and Activities

Housed in a Victorian marketplace more than 100 years old, the Fremantle Markets are a Western Australian institution. A visit to the markets offers not only the chance to shop for fresh food and unique gifts, but also to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the entertainment offered by a rotating schedule of street performers.

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Round House
4 Tours and Activities

The Round House, a historic 12-sided building, was built in 1831 and is the oldest public building in Western Australia. Travelers can tour this unique architectural destination and learn about the original settlement, as well as how this iconic building was once used to house local lawbreakers.

Visitors can learn about the Fremantle Round House's colorful past and also get an up close look at the famous Whaler’s Tunnel—the oldest underground tunnel in Western Australia. Completed in 1838, the original tunnel spanned some 64 meters, but today measures just 46. And while the 1 p.m. sound call that once rang out daily to alert ships on sea to the official time no longer occurs, travelers can sometimes catch a reenactment ceremony put on by some of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides.

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Fremantle Arts Centre
1 Tour and Activity

Travelers in search of Australian history, culture and traditions will find all this and much more at the Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia. This popular destination attracts as many locals as it does visitors, thanks to a long list of exhibits, events, class offerings and outdoor concerts. Lovely gardens and a quiet café offer up the perfect spot to enjoy a bit of sunshine and relaxation, and the Sunday music sessions are free to the public and attract a diverse crowd. Travelers say the modern art displays and picturesque landscapes make this an essential stop on any visit to Western Australia.

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WA Shipwrecks Museum

Celebrated as Australia’s leading maritime archaeology museum, the WA Shipwrecks Museum is among the highlights of Fremantle’s Western Australian Museum, housed in an impressive 19th-century Commissariat building. Inside, visitors can uncover fascinating tales of shipwrecks, mutiny and trade along Australia’s treacherous west coast; marvel at items retrieved from shipwrecks like the Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck; and see part of the hull of the Dutch merchant ship, Batavia.

Among the hundreds of items on display, highlights include a 17th-century inscribed plate left on Cape Inscription by Willem de Vlamingh, a plate left by Dirk Hartog during the first confirmed European landing in Western Australia, and a huge collection of rare maps, charts and other artifacts.

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