Fremantle is not lost! I just needed to return and spend a day finding Fremantle again.
Thirty minutes from Perth, Fremantle is Western Australia’s major port. Hosting the America’s Cup in 1987 certainly put Fremantle on the map. Buildings were restored, cafes opened and the restaurant scene improved incredibly. In January 2012, the ISAF Sailing World Championships bought Fremantle into the news again.
Bather’s Beach, headquarters for the championships, received some well-earned attention as a result of this. As well as a general make over, this sheltered little beach close to the town centre now boasts new walkways to provide easy access to the nearby Fishing Harbour.
Fishing Boat Harbour
The fisherman still depart from here every morning to try their luck at sea. Most of the fisherman are of Italian descent with a lot coming from Capo d’Orlando in Sicily. The most important day in the fishermen’s calendar is in October when the ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ takes place .
On the weekends, the harbour is swarming with people walking along the promenade or eating at one of the popular restaurants that overlook the boats. Fish and chips with a cold beer is a must!
Little Creatures, Western Australia’s well known brewing company, have their headquarters here and run a popular restaurant and bar.
Fremantle’s Esplanade Park divides the fishing harbour from the retail centre. It also provides a great venue for the many festivals that are held in Fremantle. The 46m high ferris wheel is relatively new, only arriving in October 2011. I’m sure that the view from the top is worth it but I wasn’t going to find out!
Walk past the Esplanade Hotel and up Essex Street and you will find yourself in the cappuccino strip. South Terrace runs from the train station through the centre of town. Cafes, hotels, restaurants, clothing shops, bookstores and even a few gelato bars, will keep you entertained.
Not surprisingly, Italian restaurants dominate. On a coveted corner position, Gino’s has long been an institution and a great spot for a coffee or bowl of pasta. Perfect for watching the passing parade.
Whilst you are here, wander down the side street to see the work of Horatio T Birdbath, a familiar Freo character who has been decorating Gino’s side wall since 2002
Over the road, the balcony of the Sail and Anchor gives a perfect view to watch the weekend performances of the buskers outside the entrance to the Fremantle Markets. On this occasion, ‘The Badpiper’ was working the crowd. Promoted as the world’s only flame throwing punk rock piper, he was quite an act though the flames did not appear!
The Fremantle Markets were built in 1897. Today they offer everything from airbrushed tattoos to cheap imported clothing, jewellery, home wares and handicrafts. Walk through the market heading to the left hand side where a passage connects you to the fresh fruit and vegetable market.
The streets of Fremantle proudly display their historical buildings. Notre Dame University has played a large part in retaining the history of the area, buying and restoring many of the buildings. The influx of people as a result of this has helped maintain the atmosphere of Fremantle. Other companies have followed suit adding to the charm of yesteryear.
The Maritime Museum
Years after the America’s Cup left town, the Maritime Museum was built to house Australia II, the the yacht that bought fame and fortune to Fremantle. The building sits proudly at the entrance of the harbour. You will either love it or hate it. I’m a fan and love the modern design, the minimalistic lines and the clever way the water and the passing boats are reflected in it’s windows.
Fremantle is a busy working port. Cargo ships come and go all hours of the day and night, cruise ships have added Fremantle to their itineraries, the Rottnest ferries depart from here and there’s always the local fishermen trying their luck from the wharf.
Keeping an eye on all this activity and enjoying the view, are the men and women in the Fremantle Port Authority Tower.
Now I’ve found you again Fremantle, I’ll be back!
You may also like:
Sunset Drinks on Cable Beach
The Australia Day Challenge
Escape to Broome