For a nautical adventure reaching back to the 17th Century escapades of New Holland navigators, visiting Fremantle’s Maritime Museum – located on three sites, no less – is a must-do.
Still WA’s major port, at the mouth of the Swan River, Freo has played host to all of the west’s historic moments: establishment of the Swan River Colony in the early 1800s; arrival of convict labour in the 1850s; defence of the Pacific during WWII; and, of course, the America’s Cup defence in 1987 after Australia’s famous victory in 1983.
“All of Freo scores highly for me – not just the fine Maritime Museum.”
– Suzi Petkovski
All of this history, with a maritime flavour, is on show in Freo, one of the best-preserved seaports in the world.
More than 150 buildings are classified by the National Trust, many built by convict labourers. Today, outstanding markets, an abundance of restaurants and cafes, and the freshest seafood at the harbour make a trip to Fremantle easy on the eye, the brain and the palette (but not so easy on the waistline).
Did you know?
During WWII, Fremantle was the second-largest base for Allied submarines operating in the Pacific. There were up to 125 US, 31 British, and 11 Dutch subs operating out of Fremantle until the Americans moved forward to the Philippines.
How to get there
The nearest airport to Fremantle is located in Perth. Qantas and Virgin Blue offer regular flights to Perth from most major cities in Australia. The Fremantle Airport Shuttle Bus leaves regularly from Perth.
There are also regular bus and train services between Fremantle and Perth.
Best time to go
City of Fremantle website with visitor information
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.