Fremantle (aka ‘Freo’ to the locals) is the port where many early (and later) migrants found their way into Australia and was established before the new Capital of Perth was built. As a result, many of the buildings are reminiscent of the early days and much of the city between the Railway Station and the boat harbour is Heritage Listed. On a recent visit to Perth and Fremantle we were lucky to have the company of Matt and Rowan from the Fremantle City Council as we went on a walk around the streets, discovering some of the great places to eat in Fremantle, spend an evening or go shopping.
There are also two Free CAT buses which both stop at the Railway Station (Turn right as you exit). The Red line heads north-east to the Fremantle Arts Centre and the Blue line takes in the food and historical areas to the south. Pick up a walking map at the Station or get one at the Visitor Centre in Kings Square.
As a port city with a fishing boat harbour, of course you have to look for Fish & Chips and there’s quite a selection of restaurants to choose from, especially around the Mews Road area. Sweetlips, Kailis Fish Market Cafe and Cicerellos are close together other overlooking the water, facing the boardwalk where you can take later a stroll to work off your food. Stop by the fishermen’s statues and read the names on the memory board on the pier. If you have children with you, you’ll have to watch them, there are no strong railings to speak of.
If you want to try something different (like kangaroo) and boutique beer nip around the corner to the Little Creatures Brewery and see where they brew the beer as you enjoy your meal. They run tours at 1, 2 and 3pm daily, you can check the going rate on the link. You could also stop off for a pint at the Heritage listed National Hotel on the corner of Market and High Streets.
Or if you’d like something a little fancier, there are quite a few fine dining restaurants in the town area. You may like to try Bread in Common, they bake their own bread and have a great little sustainable garden growing on the footpath outside, with seating around the garden beds.
The Tiny Park is a City Council initiative – it’s a mobile outdoor seating space that cafes and eateries can request to have parked outside their premises for a month for customers (or passers-by) to use as they enjoy their cuppa. The eatery is responsible for keeping it clean, looking after the seats at night and making sure the plants stay alive. It’s currently parked (as at the time of writing) in Leake St, outside Studio 37 Coffee Bar & Art Space.
If you’re so inclined, you can pick up a bike for hire at the Visitor Centre, which will give you the opportunity to venture a little further afield. There is a well marked cycle path as well running alongside Fremantle Harbour, and taking in the well protected Bathers Beach and on to Mews Road past the Esplanade Park.
Stop for a dip at Bathers Beach, have a look around the art precinct with interesting installations or check out the Sunset Markets during summer.
All the kids we saw enjoying the creatively constructed playground equipment in the park seemed to be having a pretty good time, but if you’d like an overview, you might like a ride on the Tourist Wheel, set up beside the Mews Road entrance.
Find a bargain
The Fremantle Markets are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday Public Holidays. The opening hours are posted above the entrance and on their website. It’s a great place to sit with a coffee, try a tasty snack or buy fresh produce in “The Yard” which opens at 8am. If you’re looking for lovely hand made gifts and souvenirs, wander around “The Hall”, for the traditional and the unusual after they open at 9am.
From the Markets, you can wend your way along Market Street through the Fremantle Mall and others in this area known as ‘The Cappuccino Strip‘ to King’s Square. Lots of little food, clothing and other interesting shops to distract you here. **PS – This whole area is covered by free wi-fi courtesy of the Fremantle City Council.
Fronting Kings Square, in an old department store is MANY, a pop-up store set up by the council to offer space to artisans and craft workers to make and sell their products. The space is open weekends between 10am and 5pm for you to buy all sorts of artworks from handbags to furniture. The space upstairs is available to the artists to use as their studios during the rest of the week.
Or buy a bird caller or two at the Fremantle Markets! Just remember that it may take you a little practice to be as good as this guy. Find more great things to do, see,eat and take home, HERE.
Economytraveller’s visit to Fremantle was facilitated by MalindoAir, Tourism Western Australia and the Fremantle City Council.