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A must-do on any holiday to Western Australia’s capital city of Perth is a visit to the historic port suburb of Fremantle. Freo, as it is called by the locals, is home to great museums, a beautiful collection of heritage buildings, a vibrant café and bar scene, and fantastic shopping.
FREO'S LONG HISTORY, IN BRIEF!
Fremantle has a long history, it was first settled in 1829 with colonialists aiming to set up a farming community. As these stories usually go, the town later became a penal colony, but things really took off at the end of the century when gold was struck across Western Australia. Having the only port in the region, Fremantle was the point of arrival and departure for thousands of workers and their gold. Many grand buildings went up, most of which have survived to this day, making them one of Fremantle’s biggest attractions. A walk along High Street will take you past many limestone buildings with beautiful ornate facades. Some of the most impressive can be visited, such as the Fremantle Arts Centre and the Fremantle Prison which has UNESCO World Heritage status.
FREEMANTLE MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Staying on the learning theme, Fremantle has two great museums to visit. The first is the impressive Western Australian Maritime Museum which is aptly located beside the water on Victoria Quay. The museum has many interactive exhibits about early Perth’s relationship with the sea. Two particularly notable treasures are the yacht Australia II which famously won the America’s Cup in 1983, and HMAS Ovens, a former Australian Navy submarine. The second museum is conveniently located just five minutes walk away. Named the Shipwreck Galleries, this museum tells the stories of the many ships wrecked in Western Australia, and the fascinating tails of despair and survival by their crews. No, they do not have One Australia (their yacht that famously sank in the 95 America’s Cup) on show here (it’s still a touchy subject).
FREMANTLE'S TOP COFFEE AND CRAFT BREWS
When you’re in need of a coffee, or even a full meal, ‘Cappuccino Strip’ is the place to go. The section of South Terrace between Bannister and Parry streets is renowned for its many cafes, restaurants and bars. The iconic Sail and Anchor is a heritage hotel boasting a whopping 40 cold beer taps, and good old fashioned pub grub. For something a bit fancier, the award winning Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen is a local favourite known for using locally grown ingredients. As you will have guessed by its name, the Monk also has its own craft beer. In fact, anyone who’s anyone in Fremantle has their own craft beer. Like Wellington, Fremantle has a huge craft beer scene. One of its most well-known names is Little Creatures who started life only 15 years ago and is now found across Australia, New Zealand and abroad.
SHOPPING IN FREMANTLE
And then there’s the shopping. High Street’s beautiful heritage buildings house all the well-known chain stores, as well as plenty of independent stores. Perhaps the best place to start is the Fremantle markets which has been around 1902, and where you can enjoy over 150 stalls offering up everything from fresh food and produce, to souvenirs and clothing. Another great shopping spot is a mall called ‘Many 6160’ - this isn’t your typical Westfield style mall though. Many 6160 is a collection of independent WA designers and craftsmen selling everything from clothing to home wares, with a particular onus on high quality, premium goods and services.
Whether you want to shop up a storm, learn some history, or simply chill in a bar and pick up the relaxed vibe, Freo is certain to please, and again, a must-see on any holiday to Perth and Western Australia.
> LEARN MORE ABOUT WA AND FIND HOT DEALS HERE.
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