I would have to say that this is a spot-on description, because this town is so relaxing and laid back, with many café’s, book stores, museums and galleries, and markets, that you can spend a day doing almost nothing at all. If I ever go back to Perth, I would even consider living in the Freo area for its’ atmosphere, location on a popular port (see my story on Rottnest Island), beautiful historic buildings, and the events which are always taking place. Anyway, we planned a weekend trip, booked an Airbnb of course, and hoped to have some great adventures while visiting.
Where to Stay in Freo
I have found through my experiences, that Airbnb is the cheapest and best way to find unique places to stay when traveling. Kody and I have had so many delightful rooms and hosts using Airbnb and it has lead us to nearly exclusively using Airbnb for accommodations. So, with that said, I suggest Airbnb for anyone looking to stay in the Freo area as well! This place is packed with beautiful homes so, you’re bound to find a remarkable home away where you can live like a local! As for us, we stayed with a man named Glen (Glen’s Airbnb), who had a marvelous home and a very lively and enjoyable personality. Glen invited us to walk around town with him that evening because the Fremantle Heritage Festival was in full swing and there were a lot of activities going on. We ended up going to a show located in a Whaler’s Tunnel, a tunnel used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to transport goods between the port and the town (especially whale). It was supposed to be a paid show (that was sold out) but Glen managed to get us in because he knew the gate attendant. The Lost Quays sang magical sea shanties and spiced rum was served to the guests to add to the nautical mood. It was a memory I will never forget! Afterwards, we all headed to the bars in Freo to get a few drinks, including one at Little Creatures Brewery, where I shared a pizza with Glen (who we found out is the Santa Claus of Perth City!). The next day Kody and I filled our day with a bike ride, going to the beach, and moseying around Fremantle (during the festival) enjoying this little gem on the edge of the Australian continent.
Check for Festivals!
When you arrive in Freo, I think it is important to check around and see if there are any festivals going on. When we arrived, Glen gave us the flyer for the Fremantle Heritage Festival, I looked through it and immediately found many activities that sparked my interest. Visiting the PSAS open studios, rummaging through the vintage collector’s fair, seeing the vintage prams and steam engines, all on my “to see and do” list. Not to mention, all of the “main attractions” in Freo, with this information, it was easy for Kody and me to stay occupied!
Obviously, my personal favorite activity of the Fremantle Heritage Festival was the singing of Sea Shanties in the Whalers tunnel, but, the other festival events were quite interesting as well. Visiting the PSAS galleries was enjoyable because there were so many artists working with different mediums. They were so close to each other but from room to room the mood and atmosphere changed because the art and artists were so different in nature. It was a good experience for me since I am an artist too! After that, we walked around the main street that was packed full of vendors and people. This is where the vintage prams (strollers) and steam engine exhibits were. The vintage prams, unusual to see, looked as if they came out of an old movie. The steam engine exhibit was a little more exciting because they had them running to show what it was like building and farming in the past. Next, we went to the vintage collector’s fair where we strolled around the building looking at the old Australian antiques. I even bought a few vintage postcards to send back to my family. Then, we checked out some of the main attractions in Freo.
If you’re interested in history there are plenty of attractions in Fremantle worth touring. The Round House being one of them, an old round shaped prison that was used to house prisoners in the early days of Fremantle. The Round House is a short walk from the town center. It is free to get in, although they do appreciate donations! We gave a donation and then toured the cells. There are many signs explaining the prison and they even have mock ups of what amenities the prisoners had. Seeing the prison is educational, fun, and essentially free, what more could a tourist ask for? After touring the Round House, we went to the Glen Cowan’s underwater inspired art gallery. He is a diver who travels the world taking magnificent photos of ocean creatures. The gallery has a wide variety of prints for sale from big too small. If you are visiting the Round House, you should pop in the gallery as well!
Another historic attraction in Freo, the Maritime Museum, is located right on the edge of the coast and the port. The Museum exhibits a variety of boats including vessels, canoes, and even a submarine which you can tour. The prize vessel that the museum houses is the Australia II, a cup-winning yacht. Along with the vessels, there is a lot of Australian nautical history as well. Admission is free for children up to age 15, students and seniors $7.50, and adults $15. If you go on the second Tuesday of the month there is free admission with donations.
Little Creatures Brewery
The local brewery in town, Little Creatures, is one of the best places to get a beer in Perth, let alone Fremantle. It has a lively atmosphere because the restaurant is built around the brewing equipment, providing the aroma of their many craft brews 24/7. Unique beers and delicious food in an unusual building is what Little Creatures presents! Note: the pizzas are to die for!
Who’s your Mumma Pub
One of Freo’s oldest small pubs located in the main town, Who’s your Mumma is a modern bar known for having a new cocktail list every week. It’s a nice place to go to on the weekends and one of the bars you should stop into if you’re visiting Fremantle. The Thomas Edison lightbulbs they have really set the mood at the bar!
Cycling / Exercising
Since Glen, our Airbnb host, had two bicycles for the guests, we took them to the seaside bike path just down the street from his place to get a morning ride in and enjoy the scenery of the coast. Fremantle is easy to bike around, offering paths just for the bikers alongside the road. Warning! The boardwalk can get busy during certain parts of the day because it is such a great place to exercise, so be courteous to others!
Another good place for walking is the beach front located next to the harbor (in the northern part of Freo). Here you can find views of the ocean while enjoying the ships and vessels resting in the harbor. We did this walk when we visited the Round House and the Maritime Museum. There are also ferries which can take you to other amazing places around Perth, Kody and I took one to Rottnest Island on another weekend trip, and the harbor is the place to find them.
It seemed to us that the Markets were a treasure to Fremantle’s locals. We drove our car to the market, had a terrible time finding parking and finally just paid a hefty fee to park in a lot. The markets offered all kinds of organic foods, souvenirs, different arts and crafts, homemade products, street food, and many other cool knick knacks. It was fun to walk around and see what all of the vendors had to offer. After the market, we found a store that sold opal jewelry, and Kody bought his sister and me a pair. I have been wearing mine ever since, and hope I don’t ever lose them! The shop was called Fremantle Opals and many of the prices were quite reasonable for taking home a gemstone characteristic of Australia. While in this part of town, be sure to keep an eye out for all of the street art, it is incredible!
We had a great time in the historical, artsy, and lovable town of Fremantle. If you are going to be in and around Perth you should make a stop, if not a stay, in Fremantle to experience the delightful seaside town.