There’s always something to do in Fremantle, so if you haven’t discovered what makes it so special, I’ve put together a list of 14 fun things to do in Fremantle.
From chilled people watching and sampling local food and drink, to sky-high Ferris wheel riding and fascinating museums to explore, Fremantle has something for everyone.
Best Time Of Year To Visit Fremantle
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Fremantle would be during spring (September-November) and autumn (March-May). During that time, the weather is mostly mild and there are fewer crowds too.
The high temperatures during December and January, however, don’t seem to deter visitors as the city becomes abuzz with tourists and Perth day-trippers during that period, and even more so on weekends. Thankfully the sea breeze, affectionately known as the Fremantle Doctor, offers welcome relief, making life somewhat more tolerable.
The winter months of July and August, can be cold and wet, but fewer crowds make visiting museums, galleries, shops and restaurants more enjoyable.
How Long To Spend In Fremantle
With so many recreational and cultural attractions and fun things to in Fremantle, you would need at least three days to just get a taste of what this charming and historical city has to offer.
You’ll find Fremantle bursting with scenic beaches to swim and soak in the sun, fascinating museums and art galleries, quaint bars, restaurants and unique breweries, beautifully restored Victorian-style buildings, and a vibrant nightlife.
And then of course, there is the heart and soul of the city – the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. Cafes, pubs and restaurants overlooking fleets of boats moored alongside the boardwalks and jetties in the harbour.
If that’s not enough, there’s the mighty Swan River, on which you can cruise aboard a ferry all the way to the Perth city centre and beyond. A boat ride to Rottnest Island, is a must-do, where you could easily spend a day or two, swimming or snorkelling in pristine clear water and taking in the magnificent scenery and wildlife.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending a bit longer than you anticipated experiencing the magic of Fremantle.
Getting To Fremantle
Fremantle is easily accessible by road, rail and ferry.
If you’re coming by car, it’s just a 30-minute drive from the Perth CBD, and there is ample and reasonably priced street parking (there are expensive car parks too so do your research before you set off).
Public buses run regularly to Fremantle from nearby suburbs. They’re fairly cheap and also take out the hassle of driving and finding parking.
The least costly and least stressful way of getting to Fremantle is by train, being the last stop on the Fremantle Line. The station is conveniently located within walking distance to the city centre and many of its landmark attractions.
Getting Around Fremantle
If you don’t mind a little bit of walking, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how close together so many of the city’s attractions are.
Otherwise, the CAT buses right next to the train station will take you to almost everywhere. These buses run every five minutes and cost nothing!
Another way of getting around Fremantle and learning about its history and character, is by booking a bus or tram tour, which take you through the city and to all the tourist sites. The bus driver will feed you interesting facts about the city throughout the trip.
Where To Stay In Fremantle
Whether you’re looking for opulent luxury hotels, Airbnb, or backpacker hostels, Fremantle will have you spoilt for choice.
They are all conveniently located in and around the city, most in walking distance to many of its attractions. The Esplanade Hotel is a popular choice and is located in the heart of the hustle and bustle, yet still offers a quiet oasis to escape to at the end of a busy day exploring Fremantle.
14 Fun Things To Do in Fremantle
1. Taste Everything At The Fremantle Markets
There are several indoor markets dotted all over the city, none more popular than Fremantle Markets situated on the corner of South Terrace and Henderson Street.
Since 1897, this historic market draws thousands of people every weekend, with 150 stalls offering exquisite handicrafts, antiques, gifts, books, fashion, jewellery, books, music, art, and fresh produce while the food courts provide a delicious array of specialty foods.
The E-Shed Market, situated in the port next to the Rottnest Ferry docking point, offers a similar range of goods and foods. Seating both indoors and outdoors create a great setting to enjoy a snack watching boats glide past while buskers provide more entertainment.
2. Take A Tour Of Fremantle Prison
Prisons seem to hold a fascination for many people and Fremantle Prison is no exception. Built by the convicts themselves in the mid-19th Century, it remained in service until 1991, and was the first built environment in WA to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Today, various tours on offer allow people to step back in time and get a proper taste of prison life, an experience to put off anyone from committing any crimes. You can choose the Behind Bars or True Crime guided tours, where you hear about some daring escapes, or if you’re feeling courageous, try the Tunnels Tour, where you navigate on foot or by boat through a labyrinth of tunnels, 20 metres underground carved by the convicts.
If you’re really feeling fearless, I dare you to do an eerie Torch Light Dungeon Tour at night! I still haven’t had the courage to do one, although they look really fun!
3. Go On A Street Art Trail
If you’re into unusual art, grab your camera and go on a self-guided Street Art Trail through the side streets of Fremantle, combining it with a little bit of shopping and catching a bite in the many cafes and restaurants along the way.
For years Fremantle has attracted many local and international street artists, transforming old buildings into beautiful artworks. While admiring the numerous colourful murals, historical statues and 3D artworks, you will discover many historical buildings, churches, and unusual shops that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The artworks are forever changing and you never know what you’ll bump into around each corner.
For more information on where to go and a few glimpses of what to expect, check out this self-guided street art route, or book a guided Convicts, Culture and Street Art Tour with Two Feet & A Heartbeat.
4. Visit The Fremantle Round House
To combine culture, history and stunning scenery, walk through the tunnel that runs beneath the Fremantle Round House, before ascending the stairway to Fremantle’s oldest public building.
Built by convicts in 1831, this unusual 12-sided building was used as a prison until 1886, but is now open to the public with entry being a voluntary gold coin donation.
Let the volunteers tell you some interesting stories of the city’s past, you will not find written anywhere. Panoramic views of the harbour and Bather’s Beach can also be enjoyed from the top.
5. Get Fish & Chips At Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour
You cannot say you’ve been to Fremantle if you haven’t had fish & chips at the Fishing Boat Harbour. This must-see harbour is always buzzing with people, and it’s not hard to understand why. It is stunning! Hundreds of fishing boats bobbing on the water, with tons of shops bars and restaurants lining the boardwalks and jetties.
Take a slow stroll around taking in the vibrant atmosphere of the harbour, while checking out the various food joints. There is a huge range of cuisines on offer so you’re sure to find something you love.
6. Ride Skyview Wheel At Esplanade Park
Directly behind the Fishing Boat Harbour is a lovely grassed public park, with loads of shade, ideal for a stroll, a picnic and for the kids to run around in the area. Swings, Ping pong tables and a skateboard area are also provided.
The star of the park is of course the Skyview Wheel. This 40-metre-high Ferris wheel provides stunning views of the port, the city, plus on a clear day you can see all the way to the Perth Hills in the interior and Rottnest Island out there in the blue ocean. It’s the perfect spot for that cheesy but essential tourist photo.
7. Dive Into The WA Maritime Museum
A few minutes’ walk from the Fremantle train station is the superb WA Maritime Museum, where you can lose yourself for hours in the fascinating maritime history of this port city.
Hundreds of beautiful displays of boats, undersea creatures and all types of marine equipment, from bygone days to today, including, the 1983 Americas Cup winner, Australia ɪɪ, and even a real and rare mega mouth shark.
A guided tour through the Cold War era Oberon class submarine, HMAS Ovens, parked on the slipway, is a real adventure not to be missed.
8. Discover Unique WA History At The WA Shipwrecks Museum
A few hundred metres away and directly behind Bather’s Beach, is the fascinating WA Shipwrecks Museum that is certainly worth a visit.
It houses tons of relics and artifacts recovered from various shipwrecks off the WA coast, including the original timbers of the infamous Batavia, which sank 60 kms off the coast at Geraldton in 1629, and resulted in one of the worst horror stories in maritime history.
The exhibits and audio visuals are masterfully done, captivating the minds of young and old alike. Surprisingly, entry is free, but a small donation will be most welcome. We visited a few years ago when my son was learning all about WA’s shipwrecks and he absolutely loved it – we spent a good few hours exploring all the exhibitions and found it beautifully laid out and it definitely kept our attention all the way round.
9. People-Watch On The Cappuccino Strip & Shop ‘Til You Drop
Situated in the heart of the city, between Bannister and Parry Streets, the Cappuccino Strip, is a foodies’ and shoppers’ paradise, drawing thousands of visitors and locals each day and well into the night.
Packed with colourful cafes, restaurants and bars, with loads of pavement seating, it also makes it the perfect place to people-watch, over a plate of snacks, a refreshing cocktail or a hot cup of coffee.
In between the eateries, you’ll discover loads of small specialty shops, selling stuff you may not find anywhere else. Trendy or second hand clothes, art, books, souvenirs and if you’re a music lover, let Mills Record Shop take you back in time, with the one of the coolest collection of classic vinyls and CDs on the planet.
10. Sample Amazing Beers at Local Fremantle Breweries
If you’re a beer lover, you’ve come to the right place! Fremantle has heaps of trendy breweries worth checking out. If you want to sample a bit of everything, most will offer a tasting paddle of smaller serves of their unique range.
Gage Roads: Situated at A Shed on the Walyalup Waterfront, you can enjoy their range of craft beers in the beer garden listening to music and watching ships glide in and out the harbour. A stunning, stunning location with great food too.
Little Creatures: With an open plan kitchen and brewery for all to see, their range of brews have won the hearts of beer lovers across Australia. Flowing straight from the keg to your glass, you’ll not find beer any fresher than that anywhere. Little Creatures is situated in the Fishing Harbour.
Kahuna Brewing Co: One block behind Little Creatures on South Terrace, is another gem of the town, serving a great range of craft beers and delicious food.
Running with Thieves: This place rocks! With a beautiful location on Marine Terrace off South Beach, this brewery serves a wide range of unique brews and gins, matching their Asian fusion menu perfectly. The modern and laid-back, yet somewhat sophisticated atmosphere has made it a firm favourite for many beer lovers.
Union Brewery & Distillery: Situated in the Sunshine Harvester Works food court on Beach Street near the cruise terminal, this is another one of Fremantle’s finest breweries and distilleries. Offering their own unique range of delicious craft beers, gin, whiskey and a real zesty limoncello, to match the wide array of food choices from the various eateries in the court makes this the perfect place for a family outing or to hang out with friends for a few hours.
11. Explore The Fremantle Arts Centre
Housed in a building built by convicts in the 18th Century, the Fremantle Art Centre, holds numerous exhibitions, events and cultural and art talks throughout the year, as well as displaying a rich variety of contemporary art by local and foreign artists.
Funded by the government since 1978, it also holds courses for adults and children in the various art forms such as drawing, painting, pottery, woodwork, writing, textile designing, photography, music and jewellery making. The rich displays and courses ensure the centre remains a vital source of inspiration for many young novices and advanced artists.
Several musical concerts are also held here throughout the year, featuring local and high-profile overseas musicians. So if you’re looking to discover some new local artists or just want to admire unusual and beautiful artwork, pop in here for a few fascinating hours. Did I mention that entry is free?
12. Take a Boat Trip From Fremantle Harbour
Whether you’re into diving, sailing, fishing, or just needing to spend some time on the water, the Freemantle coastline has it all. A boat trip to Rottnest Island will actually take care of all these activities. Blessed with over 60 stunning beaches, numerous coves and surrounded by crystal blue water, this little jewel is only 30 minutes away by ferry, and a must-see for all visitors and locals.
Full day or sunset sailing cruises to Rottnest and off the mainland can be booked through a number of sailing companies lined along the Fremantle Boat Harbour.
You could also go scuba diving or snorkelling experience or a just a boat cruise to Rottnest Island or opt for a scenic and relaxing trip up the Swan River.
The Fremantle coastline also offers many great fishing spots, which produce a variety of species almost all year round and there are plenty of fishing charters departing from Fremantle available all year round.
13. Get Selfies At All The Most Instagrammable Spots In Fremantle
Each city has its own set of iconic and instantly recognizable landmarks, drawing instagrammers like a candle to a moth, and Fremantle is no exception. Here are just a few of Fremantle’s most loved selfie spots.
Rainbow Sea Containers: Situated off Beach Road and overlooking the Swan River, these colourful containers, beautifully arranged in an arch high above the ground, are an instant magnet to Instagrammers.
Numbat Street Art: Bringing nature conservation awareness into the city, this gigantic 25 metre mural of this endangered species, was painted by the renowned Belgian artist, ROA. You can find it on the side entrance to the Fremantle Markets on Henderson Street.
Horatio’s Wall: Painted by the iconic and colourful local character, Horatio T Birdbath, the famous mural on the Cappuccino Strip, aptly named in his honour, is one of the most visited spots in the city.
Skyview Wheel: Situated in the park behind the harbour, this instantly recognised 40 metre Ferris Wheel is a favourite selfie spot for everyone who visits Freo.
Fisherman statue in Fremantle harbour: Another great favourite selfie spot in Fremantle, this statue honours the early pioneers who started the fishing industry in WA. A selfie taken at night with the lights shimmering on the harbour surface in the background is really stunning.
If getting great photos is your thing, make sure to check out my list of the 25 most Instagrammable spots in Perth here.
14. Relax on Bathers Beach
Close to all amenities in the heart of the city, and next to the harbour entrance, Bathers Beach is the most popular beach for tourists to take a break from visiting all the local landmark attractions. The calm and shallow waters of this 300 metre white sandy beach, are perfect for swimming, paddling, kite surfing, or just lounging in the sun, and is also ideal for families with small children.
End a busy day of touring relaxing on this beach, with a cocktail in your hand watching the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. Not a bad way to end a perfect day.
And there you have my list of 14 fun things to do in Fremantle. What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments and make sure you share this post with friends and family who might be coming to visit WA soon.