Commonly called Freo by the locals, this is probably one of the most beautiful and historical cities on the west coast of Australia. Situated on the point where the mighty Swan River meets the Indian Ocean, Fremantle is only 19km away from Perth but very different to the capital in many ways making it a popular place for people to visit on the weekends.
Just 30 minutes from Perth, it’s easy to get there by car, bus or train. There is a free bus that can take you around the city or it’s pretty easy to get around by foot. Hiring a scooter is another good way to explore the area.
Dorm beds start at $20 a night, a double room in a hostel from $50 with a shared bathroom. There are some fabulous hotels overlooking the Swan River but they are pretty expensive at $200 a night. Apartments are common and can work out cheaper if there are a few of you and there are a few camping options just outside the city.
There are a lot of things to do in Freo. Visit some of the heritage listed buildings around the city such as the Round House which was Western Australia ’s first permanent building. The Fremantle Prison tour is interesting and they also have a night tour that explores the history of the prison’s hauntings. You can explore the tunnels under the prison too but it’s an extra charge. There are a few other important walks through the city as well.
Stroll along the scenic port or get lost in the markets, head to the beach for a day in the sun or join a whale watching tour. Try to catch an AFL football game at the stadium, the locals are crazy for the sport and the atmosphere is electric. The Maritime Museum is also worth a look if you like maritime history.
You’ll find a few dive centres in town with trips mostly on the weekends and they usually go to Rottnest Island which has some great diving but just off the coast is the North Mole dive site with some excellent sponge life, eels, boxfish and maybe the elusive Western Blue Devil.
It’s a great city and you’ll probably get stuck here. The relaxed atmosphere and fabulous sites and nightlife will inspire and entertain you.
(By Kelly Luckman)