“Everybody goes to Fremantle on a Sunday morning, it’s one of those towns that are meant to unwind and relax,” suggested the receptionist in my hostel. Staying in Perth on a work holiday visa for the past 7 months, her suggestion sounded tempting. I was told that I can take a train from Perth to Fremantle from the central station CBD, located at about 5-minute walk from the hostel, and be in Fremantle in no more than 25 minutes. Another way to get there was by taking a 60-minute cruise ride from Swan River, right next to Elizabeth Quay, that costs about 30 dollars.
Uninterested in a cruise ride, as I always have been, I decided to take the train. But if you end up in Fremantle after the noon with a little to no idea about what to see and do there, as so was the case with me, the town may just feel overwhelming. So a quick probe, and I found a list of over a dozen tour companies that ran a day trip to Fremantle, from Perth.
The next thing I knew, I was in a 12-seater van with 7 other guests making our way to Fremantle, looking hopeless but absolutely forward to soak up the city in a quick guided tour. I booked my tour with Aussie Perth Tours, the same tour company I did a day trip to Pinnacles with, a couple of days ago.
To tell you honestly, Fremantle is not a town you would want to explore hurriedly. A few good hours walking along its historic streets and watching locals do their daily chores is a must. But if you’re bound with time, and driven by the idea of comfort, a guided day tour may just be a great idea.
After quickly picking up all the guests, our guide, Tony, started off with a quick introduction about Fremantle. Famous for its port, which technically is Western Australia’s one of the biggest, Fremantle came into the tourism radar after hosting America’s Cup in 1987. Buildings were restored, cafes opened and the restaurant scene improved incredibly. In January 2012, the ISAF Sailing World Championships brought Fremantle into the news again.
But a fancy appearance and the many modern day events are not what makes Fremantle Fremantle. Its colonial style buildings and a rich history are the reason. As soon as you enter the town and walk along its many intermingled streets in the city center, you literally go back in time. Every street unwinds its own version a sublime selection of historic buildings, that are now pubs or hotels or fast food restaurants.
If you want to imagine the pioneer life as soon as you enter the city, head straight to the West End, particularly the Cappuccino Strip, which is a busy cosmopolitan mix of cafes, restaurants, and pubs, with one thing in common — their buildings dating back to 18th and 19th century. Famous for Italian influence of pizza and pasta, and the state’s best coffee, Cappuccino Strip is the center of Fremantle’s entertainment precinct.
Another highlight in the town is the Fremantle Markets, popular for its fresh and local produce, the many souvenir shops, and a great cozy atmosphere.
It’s a perfect place for tourists who want to get obviously Australian souvenirs like koala bear or kangaroo plushies, boomerangs, and that sort of things. The place also offers a number of places to eat and tantalize the tastebuds.
And since everything, from Falafel rolls to Sushi and Teriyaki, tastes no less world-class, I won’t give any suggestions and spoilers and let you experiment on your own, except for one thing — a cup of gluten-free and an absolutely seductive coconut ice cream, at Cocowhip. I could eat those mouth tantalizing ice-creams one after the other and totally give up on food.
Moving forward, there are over 3000 heritage listed properties in the Fremantle area, with most of them retaining their classical facade, contrasting with the modern slopes of the neighboring buildings, and building a timeless balance between the old and the new.
All in all, Fremantle is a cute little town with its own kind of a laid-back vibe, a bit of historic scenery and a mix of modern day art. And a quick day-trip from Perth, if you don’t have a few nights to totally dedicate to it, is definitely worth a consideration.
Where Did I Stay In Perth
I stayed in a hostel called Haus Accommodation and totally loved it. The hostel was clean and exceptionally quiet, despite its central location. If you’re staying in Perth for only a few days and don’t want to spend all your money on accommodation, don’t think twice, the hostel’s close proximity to central train and bus station in Perth will only make you love your decision furthermore.
Have you been to Fremantle? What did you most like about it?