Are you planning to 'do' Fremantle in a day? Or perhaps you want to whizz round getting a feel for the place before spending more time there.
This guide sets out the best Fremantle orientation, hop-on hop-off and self-guided tours, so you can put together your own itinerary and make the most of Perth's bohemian port city.
To help you plan your day in Freo, drop into the Fremantle Visitor Centre on arrival, or visit their website, and find out about current events, the best time to visit attractions, and local advice on Fremantle cafes and restaurants.
You might find it helpful to book a quick orientation tour to give you an overview of the town and its attractions.
Two Feet & a Heartbeat run fascinating walking tours of Fremantle, giving you a good feel for the atmosphere and time to peer into the nooks and crannies. They say that all you need are two feet and a heartbeat to join their tours, and they bring the rest - stories, routes and inside knowledge on the places you visit. The two-hour Convicts & Colonials tour meanders through historic Fremantle, taking in some gorgeous heritage architecture, while you hear tales of prisoner escapes and the heart-rending impact of colonialism on the indigenous people. You'll visit Fremantle Prison, Fishing Boat Harbour and The Roundhouse - the oldest building in WA - giving you a great overview of Fremantle before you delve deeper into the city.
Fremantle Tram Tours run a hop-on hop-off service with driver commentary throughout the day. This is a fantastic way to customise your day while getting some sound local knowledge and learning your way around town. The trip takes you past Fremantle Prison, Fremantle Markets, Monument Hill, The Roundhouse, WA Maritime Museum, Fishing Boat Harbour and along the Cappuccino Strip. Once you've got it down pat, hop off at the place you want to explore first. There's also a One Day in Freo tour, including stops at the Maritime Museum, Fremantle Prison and Fishing Boat Harbour for lunch, leaving you time for shopping and sundowners later on.
For a tour with a difference, spend an hour and a half on a Segway, gliding past all the sights. Segway Tours' Absolute Freo shows you 'everything Fremantle' with the added fun of experiencing the amazing standup, two-wheel Segways. You'll be surprised how easy they are to ride! The tour takes you past The Roundhouse to Bathers Beach, up to Monument Hill and Fremantle Prison, finishing with Fremantle Markets and the historic West End. If you just want a quick history lesson, take their one-hour Pioneer Explorer Tour instead.
Self Guided Walking Tours
The Fremantle Heritage Trails are excellent for independent travellers who want to take in everything in one day. The Explore Fremantle Discovery Trail is a great choice for orientation, taking in Fremantle Markets, the Esplanade Reserve, Fishing Boat Harbour, the WA Shipwrecks Museum, the Roundhouse, WA Maritime Museum, the historic West End, Fremantle Prison and Fremantle Arts Centre. Other absorbing trails include the Manjaree Heritage Trail around sites of significance to the indigenous Whadjuk people, Freo's Street Art to discover the many stunning artworks that Fremantle is famous for, and Heritage Highlights, which focuses on Fremantle's architectural and cultural gems.
Shops & Galleries
Depending on your vibe, it's worth allowing time to wander around and follow your nose, especially in the West End and the various Fremantle markets.
Fremantle is well known as a magnet for local creatives, and there are some fascinating gallery spaces dotted around the West End, such as White Space, Japingka, PSAS and Moore & Moore. Make sure you also explore Captain's Lane near The Roundhouse, where you'll find artists' studios and tiny galleries, often with a chance to chat to the artists themselves. From here, make your way down to Bathers Beach and Kidogo Arthouse.
Fremantle markets and shops reflect the creative bohemian environment, while catering to tourists with classics like Ugg boots, didgeridoos and koala fridge magnets. Get into the Freo mindset by hunting down locally made, vintage and imported treasures in the West End, at E-Shed and Fremantle Markets, and tucked behind the Cappuccino strip. Keep an eye out for tarot readings, smudge sticks, Buddhas, crystals, fairies - all very 'Freo'.
Where to Grab Coffee or Lunch
These two articles have some excellent recommendations for Fremantle cafes serving great coffee - Fremantle Coffee Spots and Cappuccino Day in Perth & Fremantle. Many of these are excellent choices for lunch too. Attic and Bread in Common are two that serve up delicious fare. Fremantle Arts Centre's courtyard cafe is another fabulous place for coffee or lunch in a lovely old heritage setting. For other lunch spots, browse the variety of cuisines at Fremantle Markets or investigate the string of Italian restaurants and cafes around Fremantle along the Gusto Italiano Trail.
Best Spots for Sundowners
There are so many restaurants and cafes in Fremantle, it's hard to choose where to spend your evening.
One way is to join Two Feet & a Heartbeat for their Food Lovers Tour. They'll show you some of the best Fremantle cafes, restaurants, bars and Fremantle Markets while telling stories about the area and its multicultural influences. Ask them for ghost stories from the old 'asylum', now Fremantle Arts Centre! This is a three-hour afternoon tour, so get your sight-seeing done in the morning before indulging.
Eating dinner at a streetside table on a balmy evening and watching the world go by is a quintessential Freo experience. There are plenty of choices from the Old Shanghai food court opposite Fremantle Markets along the cappuccino strip to La Sosta. Sunset over the ocean is best enjoyed at Bathers Beach House, an excellent choice for cocktails in the sand. Eat here or meander along Fishing Boat Harbour to one of numerous restaurants.
A completely different option for sundowners is Whispers Wine Bar, a cosy nook in a quaint heritage building near Luna Cinema on Essex Street. Both the wine and snacks are top quality. Fremantle's old pubs are also worth a crawl, adding to that sense of times gone by. Check out the Norfolk, Federal or National Hotels, and the famous Sail & Anchor on the corner by Fremantle Markets. This article has more great suggestions: Fremantle Bars and Pubs.