Fremantle’s a quirky town with a chilled and cultured atmosphere. Technically part of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, but worlds’ away in atmosphere, funky Freo is chilled out yet full of life, has historic influence and is incredibly scenic.
It’s brimming with cool bars, quirky restaurants and gorgeous buildings and historical sites. It’s got beaches, a wonderful port and even a huge Ferris Wheel. There’s so many Fremantle attractions that you’ll definitely want to stick around for a while.
Fremantle’s such a liveable place; like Byron Bay, there’s so many unique things to do and the town has such a wonderful atmosphere that it can be easy to spend week after week relishing in the town. If you’re living in Perth you’re definitely going to want to spend some time in Freo too – or if you’re travelling around southern Western Australia Fremantle is a fantastic stop just south of the city. But if you’ve only got a few days in the magical town, fear not – here are the very best things to do in Fremantle!
The Best Things to do in Fremantle
Tour around the Fremantle Prison
One of the more unique things to do in Fremantle is a tour around the prison. It calls itself ‘one of Western Australia’s most cultural attractions’; it was built as convict barracks during the 1800s and remained a prison until 1991. The prison’s walls have seen a lot of history, as it was Perth’s main prison at one point.
There’s a lot of history regarding convict Australia to be explored within the building, making it an interesting spot for any history fans. It’s also Western Australia’s only world-heritage listed building and Australia’s largest undamaged prison for convicts.
Browse the Fremantle Markets
The Fremantle Markets are set within a rustic warehouse and offer some of the best street food in Australia as well as local food suppliers and a wonderfully random assortment of gadgets/ toys/ souvenirs. They run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My favourite places to grab a bite to eat were the paella stand, the wrap stand and the noodles area.
See the WA Maritime Museum
This Fremantle museum demonstrates the town’s significance as a coastal city and port. It details how Fremantle used its position on the oceanfront to become the thriving town it is today and discusses the state’s significance to the sea. It’s also home to America’s cup yacht, HMAS Ovens the submarine and Parry Endeavour – all momentous marine vessels from Western Australia’s past.
Walk along the Harbour
Fremantle harbour is so wonderfully scenic and picturesque. Walking around the seafront is an beautiful Western Australian experience; and the fact half of the year the harbour is under a constant canopy of blue sky makes it one of the best free things to do in Fremantle!
Visit the Roundhouse
While Perth itself isn’t a very historic city, Fremantle’s charms make up for it. The town is brimming with past stories and fascinations, and the roundhouse is just one of the places where this history can be appreciated.
It’s literally a round house and was once a prison used to keep convicts who travelled to Australia. Visitors can enjoy the history and chat to some of the knowledgeable guides who will detail the past stories of the house – who also deal out cards detailing a ‘crime’ and giving guests a try at the stocks – although notably their trials are a lot shorter than previous Fremantle inhabitants!
Go On the Fremantle Ferris Wheel
Fremantle’s ferris wheel offers a birds-eye view of the charming city and surrounds. It costs $12 for an adult to ascend the wheel, $20 for a couple and $10 for a child.
Browse the Fremantle Arts Centre
There is an unignorable quirky, authentic vibe in Fremantle, and the arts centre showcases this. With visual arts exhibitions, courses, demonstrations and more – if you like art, you’ll love this centre. It’s a must-visit for any creatives in Fremantle!
Bask on Bathers Beach
The main beach in Fremantle isn’t the most impressive in Western Australia (it’s got stiff competition, to be fair!) but it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny arvo (Australian for afternoon), once you’ve eaten your way around the town, soaked in Freo’s history and maybe had a few pints at Little Creatures. With colourful beach huts and interesting statues, it’s a cool place for a walk around too.
Experience South Beach
A short journey south of Fremantle, this tranquil beach is a fantastic sunset spot, or a great alternative to Bathers Beach if you want a dip or a laze in the sun. Every Saturday morning at 7am, there are yoga classes here, and on Saturday evenings from 5-9pm in the summer there are al-fresco markets with some amazing world food stands.
Snap A Photo of the Sea Container Rainbow
Told ya Freo was arty, right? This rainbow sea container sculpture is located at the northern end of Fremantle – if you’re driving from Perth, you’ll go past it en route. It’s a fantastic spot to photo, and serves as a great welcome to, or goodbye from, Fremantle!
Where to Eat in Fremantle
Ranging from cheap backpacker restaurants, to fancy eateries, there’s plenty of great places to eat in Fremantle. Some of my favourites are:
Bread in Common
This bread-inspired restaurant serves fresh produce from an open kitchen. Even though it centres around bread, there are plenty of gluten-free options on the menu – and lots for vegans as well.
The Raw Kitchen
An amazing health food store, The Raw Kitchen specialises in anything raw/ gluten-free/ sugar-free. It’s known to be Australia’s leading plant-based restaurant, and encompasses a zero waste sustainable store, kombucha microbrewery and yoga classes.
Here’s a list of some more delicious Fremantle restaurants
Where to Drink in Fremantle
Little Creatures Brewery
Because who doesn’t love local beer? Well, me before I got to Fremantle, actually. Little Creatures brews their own delicious beer which even beer-phobes will love. The setting is bright and airy and the food is absolutely delicious as well – I had maybe the best chips I ever had there. Support the locals and head down to this fantastic brewery when you’re looking for a bar in Fremantle!
The Cappuccino Strip
Because you can’t not, can you? One of the best things to do in Fremantle is drink a cappuccino on a street named after the drink. (I mean, it was one of the best things for me to do in Fremantle – I’ll use any excuse to have a soy cappuccino). The street actually has more restaurants than cafes nowadays, but there are a few good spots worth checking out.
Moore and Moore Café
But the best café in Fremantle isn’t actually on the cappuccino strip. It’s the wonderful Moore and Moore café, who serve coffee with a smile, have a spacious and scenic courtyard and have good, fast wifi. They also serve up a variety of food for all dietary requirements and amazing cakes and sweet treats – some of which come in a vegan variety. The building is historic, with some charming features, and there’s an art exhibition next door.
Where to Stay in Fremantle
Hostel/ Budget: The Old Fire Station
Ahhhh, the Old Fire Station… the best hostel in Fremantle – and the best I’ve ever stayed in! OFS has spacious dorms, a huge living area with sofas and a TV with Netflix, free wifi, free computers, a spotless kitchen with ovens and a blender, a separate girls area and a courtyard downstairs which is the allocated area for drinks and socialising. It’s decorated immaculately and has some of the friendliest staff I’ve encountered in Australia. Apart from a friendly cleaner at the Arts Factory of course… (spoiler alert: I worked in Byron Bay and I was that cleaner).
No backpackers’ trip to Fremantle is complete without staying at the Old Fire Station! Read my review of the best hostel in Fremantle or book it by clicking here.
Mid-Range: The Mini Hub Fremantle
Offering cute and compact private rooms with quirky features, The Mini Hub is located in South Fremantle. Each room offers a flat-screen television, private bathroom, free WiFi, a kettle, ironing facilities and more. It is highly rated for its cleanliness and secluded location. Check rates and book here.
Luxury: Fothergills of Fremantle
Located right in the action of Fremantle’s finest attractions, each room in Fothergills makes use of free wifi and all rooms are kitted out with a flat screen TV. Including a private terrace, a tea and coffee maker, and bathrobes, a night at Fothergills will be comfortable and serene. A complimentary breakfast is included every morning. Check rates and book here.
How to Get to Fremantle
Perth Central station runs a frequent service to Fremantle, or it is a 30 minute drive away. If you’re flying into Perth, the airport is accessible by shuttle, taxi or public transport.
Fremantle is easily walkable, or you can take the free (no catch – I promise!!) CAT bus which circuits the town to help you get around.
Day Trips from Fremantle
Fremantle is often thought of as a day trip from Perth, but I’d turn that on its head and say Fremantle is a nicer place to base yourself during your Perth stay. The CBD of Perth is nice and well worth seeing, but Fremantle has a much more chilled out, unique vibe.
Some spots not to miss in Perth are:
- Elizabeth Quay
- King’s Park
- Northbridge and its bars and restaurants
- London Court
Check out some more awesome things to do in Perth here.
Nestled in-between Perth City and Fremantle, Cottesloe is a charming beachside suburb. It is somewhat reminiscent of a British beach; with Victorian-style architecture and brightly painted shops. It’s a popular spot in the summer – and is known to be one of the best sunset spots in Perth. Lazing back on Cottesloe beach is definitely one of the best things to do near Fremantle.
The Pinnacles & Nambung National Park
Do you fancy heading to the desert for a day? Nestled into Nambung National Park, the otherworldly landscape of the Pinnacles is a must-visit for any travellers in Perth and Fremantle. It’s possible to drive around the rock formations, or hike through them. If you don’t have your own vehicle, tours leave for this destination daily.
Beautiful Penguin Island a great spot to visit for wildlife fans. Both sea lions and penguins are present on the island, which lays just 45 minutes from Perth. In the summer months, swimming and snorkelling around the island is very pleasant; and there are nature trails on the island itself. Check below for tours.
The Rottnest Island boat actually leaves from Fremantle, making it an ideal location to visit this island paradise. Do a Rottnest Island day trip to see breathtaking island scenes, snorkelling, biking and of course, the resident quokkas – an adorable animal only really found on the island itself.
The Perth Hills
Set back from the city, the Perth Hills are an affluent area with a lovely atmosphere. The region is awash with vineyards and orchards, and has lots of pleasant towns like Kalamunda and Mundaring. The Bibblumun Track actually ventures all the way down to Albany on the south coast – but the first section can be tackled within the hills.
Are you ready to visit Fremantle?
Fremantle is quirky, it’s fresh, it’s fun. It’s loved by both backpackers, older travellers and Perth locals. It’s a unique town within Australia because of its blend of historic culture, quirky society and beautiful beaches and seafront. If you’re living in Perth it’s one of the best spots to visit, live in and love.