Fremantle is known for its fantastic food and nightlife, so don’t be surprised if you spend most of your time eating and drinking in the city. From the delicious food stalls in Fremantle’s markets to the popular cappuccinos and numerous restaurants along Fremantle’s fishing harbour, one thing is certain! They won’t starve.
When I first arrived in Washington as a young blue-eyed backpacker in 2012, Fremantle was the first place I called home. I immediately fell in love with this dynamic port city, and over the years those feelings haven’t changed much!
Whether you live in Perth or are just on holiday, I’ve created this list of 12 things to do in Fremantle that are a must for everyone! Fremantle is just 35 minutes by train from Perth city centre, making it the perfect place to spend a day with family and friends.
12 iconic things to do in Fremantle that locals and tourists shouldn’t miss
Without a doubt, my favourite thing to do in Fremantle is visit the colourful markets of Fremantle on a Saturday morning. This market has been held every weekend for over 100 years!
With over 150 stalls, you’ll find a wide range of vendors with delicious food stands, homemade coffee, fresh produce, handmade clothing, jewelry, Aboriginal art, authentic Australian souvenirs and much more!
It’s the perfect place to find the perfect gift. Whether you are looking for a birthday gift or want to bring home something unique for family and friends, you are sure to find it at Fremantle Markets.
The market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
Visit to Fremantle prison
Immerse yourself in Western Australia’s fascinating history at Fremantle Prison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was originally built in the 19th century. It was built in the 19th century by convicts as a maximum security prison and was in continuous use until 1991.
Over the years, Fremantle prison has experienced many dramatic events, including prisoner escapes, prisoner uprisings and executions. The last execution in prison took place in the 1960s!
Step back in time with a guided tour of the prison and listen to the dark stories told by your guide. There are several prison tours, but the most popular and the one we recommend is the torchlight tour.
This fantastic tour takes you through the prison at night, and the guides really bring the scary atmosphere of the old prison to life in the dark! This excursion is very popular and must be booked in advance.
Click here to view and book online prison tours.
While in Fremantle, be sure to stop by the Roundhouse, a beautiful 19th-century building. Century, which happens to be the oldest building in Western Australia. It was built in the 1830s to house convicts and was rebuilt in the late 19th century. Forever in a police prison. It is currently open for visits and excursions.
The Roundhouse is situated on a hill overlooking the city of Fremantle and the Indian Ocean. If you schedule your visit around 1pm, you’ll have the chance to see the daily footage. A practice that has been around since the 19th century. The century exists. For more information about the Roundhouse visit, visit the official website.
Opening hours: daily from 10.30 to 15.30.
Tickets: Free of charge/Volunteer
Maritime Museum WA
The Maritime Museum, located on Fremantle’s waterfront, tells the story of shipping in Western Australia, from the sailors of the first hour to the naval defences during the wars. This fantastic museum is a must for anyone who wants to know how the state of WA was discovered and created.
The Maritime Museum houses many permanent collections, but throughout the year you’ll find a series of pop-up exhibitions showcasing the fascinating maritime history of the world, not always specific to WA.
For example, if you visit the Maritime Museum between December 2020 and May 2021, you have a chance to see the Vikings : Warriors of the North, an exhibition of the Sea Giants.
Click here to see what’s currently on display at the WA Maritime Museum.
Opening Hours: daily from 9.30 to 17.00 (closed on public holidays)
Tickets: $15 for adults, FREE for children under 15.
HMS Submarine – During your visit, you may be interested in a tour of the HMS furnace, one of the Maritime Museum’s long-term facilities. Descend into the cramped quarters of a Cold War-era submarine and discover what life was like for the 63 people who lived aboard for a long time.
At the time of writing, the HMS furnaces are temporarily closed to the public. Here you will find up-to-date information on tours, tickets and how to plan your visit.
Stroll along the bustling Cappuccino Strip (also known as South Terrace) for a concentration of popular historic cafes, restaurants and pubs. If you’re looking for the best coffee in Fremantle, you’ll find it here!
Admire the classic old architecture of the buildings lining the street while sipping a coffee at one of the many outdoor cafes and soaking up the lively atmosphere.
No matter what time of day it is, morning or night, you’ll always find a cappuccino in the right place. In the evening (especially at the weekend) there is a wide range of live music and nightclubs open until the early hours.
Located at the end of the strip, Fremantle Markets is the perfect place to explore the Cappuccino Strip. Some of the emblematic places to visit in and around the Strip: Benny’s Bar and Cafe, Sail and Anchor Pub, Attic (off Main Street), Gino’s Cafe.
Bread in Common is another local favorite and a great place to eat breakfast, but it’s just a few blocks away from the Cappuccino Band on Pakenham Street.
Discover the best of Fremantle’s cuisine on a 3-hour gourmet walk. Sample the markets, stop by some of the best local bars and restaurants and explore Fremantle’s colourful past with a local guide. Check prices and availability of tours here.
Walk down the street to the waterfront and stop at Esplanade Park. This large green space separates Fisherman’s Harbor from the city and is a great place to relax and picnic, while children can play in the shaded playground or take a ride on the Skyview Ferris Wheel.
The Skyview Ferris wheel is Fremantle’s unparalleled attraction. Take a 40m ride in one of the fully enclosed red gondolas and enjoy spectacular views of Fremantle, the fishing port and even Rottnest Island in the distance.
Tickets: $12 per adult, $10 per child, $10 per couple.
Opening hours : Every day from 10am to 9pm, on weekends it closes at 10pm.
Esplanade Park also hosts a number of events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the Fremantle BeerFest, which takes place every November.
It’s a great festival where you’ll find the largest selection of craft beer makers (including ciders and cocktails) in WA, many trucks with delicious food to choose from and live music and artists. Visit the official website to find out more about the upcoming dates of Fremantle BeerFest.
Lunch at Little Creatures Brewery
Do you like homemade beer? Even if not, Little Creatures beer has made a name for itself over the years, not only in Washington State, but throughout Australia. Come and sample their famous Little Creatures of Pale-Ale, accompanied by one of their amazing wood oven pizzas. You’re not a beer drinker? Their cider isn’t bad either!
Stopping for lunch at Little Creatures is a must in Fremantle. In fact, it’s so popular that on the weekends it’s sometimes hard to find a table there! However, they operate on a first-come, first-served basis and do not take orders.
You can dine in the Great Hall, surrounded by the brewery’s barrels and the people who work hard to create these delicious beers, or in one of their outdoor beer gardens. For those who want to know more about the brewing process, there are daily visits to the breweries. For more information on booking your visit, visit the Little Creatures website.
Shipwreck Museum WA
Close to Fremantle’s fishing port and in a historic 19th century building. The Shipwreck Museum, housed in a 17th century building, is another fascinating attraction in Fremantle that should not be missed. At the museum, you can take a trip back in time and discover original artifacts and exhibits from the many shipwrecks along the Washington State coast.
You can view artifacts from Australia’s first shipwreck and learn stories about the many shipwrecks of early Dutch explorers since the 1600s. The collections include the original remains of the famous Batavia shipwreck.
Tickets: Free admission, donations welcome
Opening hours: daily from 9.30 to 17.00 (closed on public holidays).
See what’s on at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
This impressive Gothic-style building was originally built by prisoners at the end of the 19th century. In the early years it served as a madhouse for convicts, then as a home for poor and elderly women, and later the building was used by soldiers during the Second World War.
The Fremantle Arts Centre is currently the venue for various events and festivals throughout the year. Imagine being able to watch live music in a culturally rich historic building. A great experience! You can find the next event here.
You will also find a variety of art classes for children and adults, often held at the Art Centre. From creative writing workshops to painting classes, there is something for everyone. Check out their selection of art classes here.
Finding the best places for photography in Fremantle
Fremantle is a very photogenic city with many great places to photograph. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo or just want to capture beautiful scenes, here are a few spots you shouldn’t miss.
Fremantle Fishing Port
There are many places worthy of being photographed in Fishing Boat Harbour, but one place that comes to mind is Bather’s Beach House. With its colorful atmosphere and beautiful seaside location, you can work on the perfect Instagram photo from many different angles here.
Apart from the fact that the food and drink are photogenic in themselves, from the colourful parasols to the charming rainbow huts next door, you’ll be spoilt for choice here!
Overlooking Fremantle Harbour and the Swan River is a unique and eye-catching art installation. This living rainbow is made from 9 recycled shipping containers and is located on the Canning Highway. It welcomes visitors to Fremantle and is a great place for a fun photo.
The most photographed attraction of Esplanade Park is undoubtedly the Ferris wheel. A bright white frame with red gondolas against a blue sky is definitely a winner on Instagram. Whether you’re photographing the Ferris wheel from the ground or enjoying the stunning views from one of the gondolas above, you can’t go wrong here!
South pier lighthouse
Lighthouses always provide an interesting photo opportunity, and this bright green lighthouse is no exception! Located at the entrance to the Swan River, the view from the South Mole Lighthouse is ideal for any photo enthusiast.
From this point you can see the roundabout, the maritime museum and the fishing port, and it is an ideal place to admire the sunset. For a bit of contrast, head to the bright red North Mole Lighthouse on the other side of the harbor!
Leyton Beach to North Fremantle
A beautiful white sandy beach that turns into turquoise water – these are the main ingredients for stunning photos. You’ll find this gem in North Fremantle, just south of popular Cottesloe Beach. The city center is not easily accessible on foot, by car you are in about 10 minutes in the north. Alternatively, you can take the train for one stop (10 minutes) from Fremantle Station to Fremantle North.
Hill Monument at sunset
Watching the sunset is always a magical way to end the day. Why not climb to the top of Monument Hill for a stunning view of the city and harbour below, and watch the sky light up with beautiful colours?
It’s a great place to capture the moment and remember your stay in Fremantle. Not only is it a beautiful place to watch the sunset, but it’s also a war memorial to the soldiers who fought and died in World War I.
Dinner in Fremantle Fishing port
To end a busy day of exploration, there’s one more thing not to miss in Fremantle. Stroll around Fishing Boat Harbour and choose a good place to dine with a beautiful view of the ocean. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to seafood restaurants in Fishing Boat Harbor! You can’t go wrong by choosing one of the options below.
Bather’s Beach House is a hot spot in Fremantle’s Fisherman’s Boat Harbor. This casual seaside restaurant is an essential part of Fremantle and has long been popular with locals. This is the perfect place to end the day with a cocktail in hand while enjoying the sunset on Bather Beach.
Caylis Fish Market Cafe – Nothing but the freshest seafood at this popular spot. Choose from their wide selection of seafood and enjoy a meal overlooking the sea. There is also an excellent wine list, check out their website for more information.
Cicerello is… Do you fancy fried fish? Look no further than Cicerello, also known as the home of fish and chips. You can try the classic fish and chips here, but for those who want something different, they have many other seafood dishes to choose from on their menu.
Joe’s Fish Shack is an upscale seafood restaurant with excellent service and large portions. The seafood dish with fresh W.A. crab, garlic shrimp, oysters and smoked salmon is particularly popular. Joe’s Fish Shack is an excellent choice for a memorable dinner with a beautiful view. Check out their menu here.
Journey to Rottnest Island
Are you planning to spend a few days in Freo? You’ll be pleased to know that there is an island where you can take the ferry to Fremantle in just 30 minutes. Step aboard the Rottnest Express to reach an island paradise surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, numerous bike trails, beautiful snorkeling coves and many friendly quokkas.
A trip to Rottnest Island is the perfect day trip from Perth/Freemantle and is a great addition to your stay in DC! Ferries depart daily from the B-Shed and Northport terminals in Fremantle. View ferry schedules and book your tickets here.
Where to stay in Fremantle
Perhaps you love Fremantle so much that you’d rather spend your time there than in the immediate vicinity of the city of Perth. If that’s the case, I can’t blame you, so here are some top-of-the-line accommodations in Fremantle.
Fremantle Bed and Breakfast – This beautiful bed and breakfast is located in the centre of Fremantle, in a historic building. The hotel is within walking distance of all Fremantle attractions, a complimentary continental breakfast is included and comfortable rooms are available. These rooms have a private or shared bathroom.
Hougoumont Hotel Fremantle – A unique hotel with a stunning modern interior built from shipping containers! This fantastic location is on Bannister Street, with easy access to all of Fremantle’s major attractions. A light breakfast is included and wine and cheese are offered in the evening.
Esplanade Hotel Fremantle – Directly opposite the Esplanade Park. This beautiful hotel offers its guests a range of facilities. The hotel has 2 swimming pools, a fitness centre, 2 restaurants and 2 bars, clean and spacious rooms and an extensive breakfast buffet (at an extra charge). For those looking for comfort and relaxation, this hotel is the ideal choice.
Hotel National – This well-restored historic hotel, full of charm and character, is located in the heart of Fremantle and offers live music every night of the week. There’s a rooftop bar with spectacular 360-degree views, spacious rooms and a lively bar and restaurant.
View more accommodation in Fremantle
How to get from Perth to Fremantle
The easiest way to get from Perth to Fremantle if you don’t have a car is to train. Trains to Fremantle run regularly throughout the day from platform 7 at Perth City Rail Station. The train ride takes about 35 minutes total, and you can expect to pay about $7.50 for a round-trip ticket.
Enjoying all the fun things there are to do in Fremantle? Kick me later!
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