The best of Freo
Freo – as the locals know it – is renowned as an artsy alternative to its sister city of Perth. Trams glide the streets among heritage-listed colonial buildings, passing markets, breweries, cool restaurants and eclectic cafes where many a busker performs. The harbour is always bustling, and there are plenty of historical exhibits to see at the WA Maritime Museum. Perched on the Indian Ocean’s shore, the museum encapsulates Fremantle’s past, present and future as a coastal city and port.
One of the most popular experiences in this colourful place is the Fremantle Markets. Independent producers and creators have been hustling there since 1897. Ensure you visit while still hungry and with a bag to carry your goods, as there are tempting culinary surprises in every stall, and it’s the best place to pick up locally made clothing, art, crafts and so much more.
Fremantle’s top 10 | Dining out
Speaking of eating, Kailis’ Fishmarket Café is rated one of the best spots in town to be served up delicious local seafood straight from the surrounding waters. It’s located on the harbourfront, so you’ll be spoilt with top views and awesome people watching. Dine on snapper, western rock lobsters or shark bay cuttlefish as boats gently bob on the water right in front of you.
If you’re after fine dining, Samson’s Paddock is an award-winning tapas restaurant that dates back to the 1830s. Many a horseman would have dabbled in a beverage or two here.
Fremantle’s top 10 | Craft beer
And if you’re a craft beer fan, don’t miss the rightly famous Little Creatures Brewery, where you’ll find it difficult to choose an area of the iconic building to hang out in while enjoying the award-winning beers on tap.
There’s the Great Hall (dubbed the main event), where you can sip the famous Pale Ale and snack on pizza while soaking up the brewery chaos, or take a stroll out to the backyard to enjoy your beer with a slice of sunshine by the harbour. Or check into The Brewhouse, where locals tend to gather, and chat to fellow hop heads while learning about the brewing process. There’s a dog-friendly beer garden, too, if you have your four-legged friend in tow.
Freo is a multicultural town enhanced by the mix of students attending Notre Dame University. On Friday and Saturday nights many of them head to the tropics-inspired party paradise Cali Beach Club, which holds regular music events. Cocktails can be enjoyed on the sand all night long, or you can laze about on the bean bags for a relaxed afternoon or sing your heart out at a silent disco.
Fremantle’s top 10 | History
Built back in the 19th century, Fremantle Prison (often referred to as Fremantle Gaol) housed some of Australia’s most notorious convicts, and was in operation until 1991. A series of prisoner riots and concerns with conditions led to a Royal Commission in 1983 that recommended the prison be shut down for good.
Beatings, hangings, and dramatic escapes are detailed vividly in the records of imperial convicts, colonial prisoners, enemy aliens, prisoners
of war and maximum-security detainees. A must-do is braving up and embarking on one of the spooky, torch-lit ghost tours that scare the pants off everyone on Wednesday and Friday nights.
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