Just 19km southwest of Perth but light years from the skyscrapers and business suits, Fremantle has carved out a space of its own.
Panellist Ken Boundy calls it “One of Australia’s most significant and interesting towns,” while Perth-based fellow panellist Fleur Bainger points out that, while these day’s there’s little by way of physical distinction between Perth and Freo, “There is, however, a large cultural distinction, with Freo being home to artists of all persuasions and having a strong bohemian vibe.”
Those artists and bohemians began to converge on the marine port in the early ’90s, taking over grand colonial estates with their studios and boutiques. Cafes and galleries line the Cappuccino Strip, South Terrace – the perfect place for a spot of alfresco dining. But if European-style people watching isn’t your cup of tea, try studied nonchalance at the iconic Little Creatures Brewery. Restaurant, library and pub, the brewery has its own drop on tap, pizzas in the woodfired ovens and a stellar spot along Fremantle Boardwalk.
“Cool cafes, cool boutiques and cool people. Enough said.” – Justin Wastnage
Troublemakers who get carried away are in luck; Fremantle Prison closed its doors as an operating goal in 1991. Built by convicts in the 1850s, the building is now open to the public. Donning overalls, hardhat, boots and a miner’s lamp for the 2.5hr Tunnel Tour is one way to experience the institution, ending with a punt through waterways beneath the building’s foundations.
Ocean enthusiasts will also enjoy the WA Maritime Museum, a futuristic landmark on Fremantle Quays filled with wreckage relics and history displays.
Where? // 30min southwest of Perth.
Did you know? // The Fremantle Markets were first held in 1897 in a Victorian building now classified by the National Trust. Every weekend and public holiday more than 150 stalls sell everything from cheese to chopsticks.
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