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  • Things to Do in Fremantle: Fall in Love with Perth's Pretty Port Town

Things to Do in Fremantle: Fall in Love with Perth's Pretty Port Town

Discover the best things to do in Fremantle by foot in this charming locale.

South Beach

Steeped in cultural heritage and coastal beauty and just 30 minutes west of Perth, there’s an exciting array of things to do in Fremantle ranging from the café culture to historic attractions and seaside adventures.

Let’s set the scene back to the 1950s when Fremantle offered the first glimpse of Australia for thousands of European immigrants arriving by ship armed with their traditional recipes and coffee machines. This rich cultural influence sparked the rebirth of what was once one of the roughest port cities in the country into the local favourite it is today.

Hugging the coast, Fremantle continues to host a large Mediterranean community peppered with bohemians and creatives. The streets are lined with pavement cafes), galleries, quirky boutiques, hidden bars and street art as the Italian tradition of passegiata, usually reserved for the evening, seems to occur any time of the day in Fremantle. So join the passing parade as we uncover the best things to do Fremantle on foot.

'Rainbow' by Marcus Canning (Image Credit: Sky Perth)

Favourite Icons 

Commissioned by the City of Fremantle and installed overlooking the Swan River and Fremantle Port in 2016, ‘Rainbow’ by Perth artist Marcus Canning, (affectionately dubbed ‘The Containbow’), instantly became one of Freo’s favourite icons. The colourful arch made from nine brightly coloured recycled shipping containers is a hugely popular photo opp. For another gram-worthy snap, head to the Esplanade Park and jump on the Tourist Wheel. The Tourist Wheel - an enormous ferris wheel - has called Freo home for more than a decade and provides unprecedented views of the town and boat harbour, and is loads of fun for everyone. 

Fremantle Arts Centre

Cultural Curiosities

With a year-round lineup of music, theatre and art, many consider Fremantle the cultural capital of Western Australia, dating as far back as the previous century. The gothic-style Fremantle Arts Centre was built in 1864 by convicts as a lunatic asylum and is believed to be one of the most haunted spots in the state. Spread over four-acres, the centre hosts an extensive program of visual art exhibitions, live performances (including live music on Sundays from October to March), creative workshops, a café and FOUND gift shop showcasing local talent.

The arts centre works in collaboration with the Moores Building Contemporary Art Space in Fremantle’s West End and is dedicated to exhibiting local and international artists. Housed in a stone heritage building overlooking Bathers Beach, Kidogo Arthouse has a busy lineup of live music, festivals and exhibitions. While you’re over this way, why not stop and say hi to Bon Scott’s statue, the original frontman of AC/DC who grew up in Fremantle and was laid to rest in the nearby Fremantle Cemetry in 1980.

Wild In The Street

Stylish Sips

Fremantle’s bar scene has levelled up in recent years, and the town undoubtedly boasts some of the hottest spots to sit back with a cocktail in the west. Head to the newly opened bar on the top floor of Madalenas, for sensational sips overlooking South Beach. Kick back on the sunny Sweetwater rooftop,  with a refreshing cocktail and some delicious Asian-inspired share plates. Or, head to the historic National Hotel for a laid-back sip and unbeatable panoramic views of Fremantle. 

Back on the ground, don’t miss local tapas and cocktail house, Wild in the Street, accessed through an alleyway off South terrace, where you’ll find inventive seasonal cocktails and some delish Chilean-Mediterranean inspired share plates. Other special mentions include Strange Company, Ronnie Nights, Nieuw Ruin and Republic Of Fremantle.

Fremantle Library

Walk it Off

For a fun and easy way to experience Freo, hop on one of the many walking tours on offer. From the bustling Fremantle Markets to the historic Fremantle Prison, you’ll be shown through the town's past and present by a knowledgeable guide, who can share insights about its heritage, vibrant arts scene, and the eclectic blend of locals that call Fremantle home. It’s an incredible way to be connected with the heart and soul of this unique and dynamic town.

Fremantle Markets

Fremantle Markets

Many say visiting the Fremantle Markets is like experiencing a snapshot of Fremantle through the ages. Established in 1897 and built in a Federation Romanesque style, the whole community flocked to the Fremantle Markets for fresh produce, just as they continue to do today. Over 120 years later, the markets attract visitors on a global scale drawn to over 150 stalls of art, jewellery, clothing, indigenous products, buskers, fresh produce and eateries embracing Fremantle’s multi-cultural community.


Global Bites

Without the European immigrants who flocked to WA in the 1950s, Fremantle wouldn’t be likened to the Mediterranean harbour town it is today. In fact, the first example of alfresco dining occurred on South Terrace, pulsating through the heart of Fremantle, which is how it earnt its name as the Cappuccino Strip. There are plenty of Italian favourites including Gino’s, Benny’s Bar & Café, Ruocco’s Pizzeria and the Capri Restaurant, one of the longest running restaurants around.

Perth-ites have since imparted their own traditions with outstanding seafood best enjoyed at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour at sunset with fish ‘n chips. Asian influences have also been embraced with several favourites such as Sala Thai, Peggy's and Tonic & Ginger. One of the most recent additions to the dining scene is FOMO, a hawker-style food court and shopping mall with bowling, mini-golf, arcade games and cocktails. FOMO also plays host to an excellent pre-loved fashion market on occasion - check it out here

Fremantle Prison

Horrible Histories

Embrace WA’s rich maritime history at the Shipwreck Galleries, where you can explore some of Australia’s oldest shipwrecks. The WA Maritime Museum is equally fascinating, so don’t miss the Submarine Ovens, a memorial to the submariners who lost their lives during WWII and the America’s Cup winning yacht Australia 11. Head to Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, where you might spy the tall sail training ship Leeuwin, which you can join for a day sail or an extended adventurous voyage on the high seas. At Bather’s Beach, check out Australia’s oldest building, built in 1831, the 12-sided limestone Roundhouse was run as a goal until 1886 with the construction of the Fremantle Prison, where you can visit the gruesome gallows and trek by foot and boat through the labyrinth of tunnels 20 metres below.

South Beach

Beach Babes

If the obscenely white sand at Port and Leighton beaches in North Fremantle is too much for you, clear out the cobwebs with a swim, snorkel or stroll along South Beach before relaxing beneath the Norfolk Pines over a picnic or barbeque. Bathers Beach is accessed through the Whalers Tunnel beneath the Round House and is split in two by its stone wall, and with the Fremantle township a short stroll away, it’s an ideal spot for a dip and exploring the town unless you sink into one of the deck chairs and bite to eat at Bather’s Beach House.

Mojo’s Bar North Fremantle

Bar Hopping & Live Music 

Built in 1903, the Sail & Anchor was one of the first microbreweries in Australia and the upstairs balcony is the perfect spot for people watching over the Cappuccino Strip. Other historic favourites include The Newport, The Norfolk, National Hotel and the Old Courthouse dating back to 1899 embraces its ageing beauty with cocktails inspired by the era, a wine list from 1999 and 18 whiskeys and gins. Creatures of the night, however, should head to live music venue Mojo’s Bar and Café for original acts every night of the week. Hidden in the back streets of Fremantle’s West End is an array of bars dedicated to all kinds of libations, including gin, whisky and even pirates.

Rottnest Island (Image Credit: @aimeebelll)

Gateway to Rottnest Island

Located about 30 minutes by ferry from Fremantle, Rottnest Island is famed for its cute quokkas and stunning lagoons. The car-less island offers every childhood fantasy and a rich history, not to mention diverse wildlife, walking and cycling trails, water sports, fishing, surfing, swimming, tours, a cute township and an array of dining and accommodation options. Come for the day or stay for longer and enjoy the slow pace rarely found in most tourist destinations.

Summersalt Festival

Year-round Festivals

A long-standing festival calendar keeps the Freo party going throughout the seasons, starting in summer with the George Street Festival, Fringe World, Freo.Social and the Perth Festival. During Autumn, some of the country’s best musicians take to the stage at Esplanade Park during SummerSalt and the Fremantle International Street Arts Festival in April ignites the streets. Although the temperature might have dropped during Winter, many stay warm with the RTRFM Winter Music Festival, Hidden Treasures and 10 Nights in Port. The Falls Festival, Luna Cinema Film Festival, Wardarnji (dedicated to our Indigenous culture) and Fremantle Biennale are just some of the festivals during spring.

Fremantle is easily enjoyed as a day trip, but after a short stroll, you’ll start wishing you lived in this enchanting port town. Check out our suburb guide for a taste of Fremantle as a local or sample a tipple or two at these favourite bars.

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