Spending two days in the gorgeous port city of Fremantle is definitely not a chore. This charming, historic town lies close enough to the West Australian capital city of Perth to visit on a day trip, however there’s more than enough to do here to justify a longer stay. It really is one of the most beautiful (and underrated) city breaks in Australia.
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Fremantle, or ‘Freo’ as locals call it, is now a UNESCO World Heritage listed city with historic streets and buildings waiting to be discovered. Much of the city was built off the back of the convicts who arrived in Australia back in the 1800s and remains wonderfully preserved to this day.
Modern Fremantle is a thriving portside city that features some incredible places to eat and drink in between sightseeing. It’s also home to the Little Creatures brewery and a myriad of other brewers have popped up in recent times, inspired by their success.
My ideal two days in Fremantle definitely includes plenty of dining out.
How to get to Fremantle
Fremantle is easily accessible from Perth, the biggest city in Western Australia. Perth has an airport that services both domestic and international flights, so no matter whether you’re an intra-Australian traveller or a foreigner, you’ll be able to head straight to the west coast.
Fremantle by car
From the centre of Perth, a car trip to Freo is a quick 30 minutes. From the airport, if you’re hiring a car and bypassing Perth, the trip will be only slightly longer at 35 mins. If in addition to your two days in Fremantle, you’re planning to travel outside the major cities, then hiring a car is the best option as you’ll find it is the easiest way to get around. If you’re just visiting the city of Fremantle or also visiting Perth city, you won’t need a car other than to get to or from the airport – and an Uber does the trick there.
Fremantle by Rail
One of my favourite things about Fremantle is how easy it is to get to from Perth. The train from the CBD is frequent, clean and about as quick as driving without the stress of navigating a new place.
Simply head to Perth station and take the Fremantle line to the last stop and you’ll find the city of Fremantle just across the road from the station. Trains depart around every 15 minutes and a ticket will cost around $5 AUD one way.
Where to stay in Fremantle
There are some great accommodation options for your two days in Fremantle, however it is hard to top the iconic Esplanade Hotel run by Rydges located right in the heart of the town next to the waterfront.
The Little Creatures Brewery is just across the park for a cheeky afternoon beverage and the hotel is walking distance to most of the other tourist sights and restaurants.
Morning – Fremantle Prison
The infamous Fremantle Prison looms large across the city. This former convict prison and maximum security gaol operated in Western Australia from 1855 all the way up until 1991 and is now on the UNESCO World Heritage register.
The gatehouse of the prison can be accessed free of charge, but to visit the inside and hear the history and stories of inmates incarcerated within the prison walls, you’ll need to jump on one of the many tours offered. I recommend the Behind Bars tour as you’ll get to visit the gallows as part of the itinerary.
The prison is expansive, primitive and incredibly eerie, but an absolute must-visit if you’re spending two days in Fremantle.
Afternoon – The Fremantle Round House
Continuing on our prison theme for the day, a visit to the Fremantle Round House is next. The Round House is easily recognisable, a circular sandstone building looking over the water. This unassuming building happens to be Western Australia’s oldest public building and is also a former prison.
In 1831, the Roundhouse was opened and used to incarcerate any settler convicted of a crime. It then transitioned to lock up people who had been arrested, rather than a long term prison. Run by volunteers, the Roundhouse is accessible for a gold coin donation, so it is also a very cheap tourist attraction.
The history of this establishment is fascinating and there’s plenty of exhibits to help visitors understand more about life in Fremantle way back in the 1800s.
Dinner at Sunshine Harvester Works
I went to Fremantle on my babymoon, so as a hungry pregnant lady finding good food is a priority. Stepping up to the plate is the wonderfully food truck-esque vibe of the Sunshine Harvester Works.
This funky food hall reminds me of the food halls in Amsterdam and Rotterdam – full of tasty, locally produced meals in a set up that allows you to graze for hours.
Al Pastor Taqueria is definitely my pick of the bunch here, but be prepared to wait for a seat for a while if you haven’t booked. Trust me, though, the wait is well worth it.
If tacos aren’t your bag, then try the dumplings from Bumplings or stop in at the Freo Pizza Factory. Finish off with dessert at Fatboi Brownies or Stampede Gelato for the win.
Morning – Fremantle Market
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday Fremantle locals and tourists alike spring out of bed to seek out the exceptional coffee and variety of food found at the famous Fremantle Market.
This Fremantle institution is an absolute must experience in the port-side city, so make sure that your two days in Fremantle falls on a weekend so that you’ll be able to experience this taste-bud pleasing activity. Fremantle Market is right up there with some of the other wonderful foodie markets I’ve visited such as Adelaide Central Market (Australia), Borough Market (London) and Reading Terminal Market (Philadelphia).
Black Cherries Espresso is my pick for the best coffee in the market and you definitely want to make sure that you try the amazing Indonesian food served up at Fluffy Lamb – no matter whether you’re there for breakfast or lunch their unique flavours cannot be missed.
Afternoon – Maritime Museum & Little Creatures Brewery
Fremantle’s Maritime Museum is an interesting (and free) way to learn about some of the history of the waters around the west coast of Australia. The museum’s piece de resistance has to be the wreckage of the Batavia located in the Shipwreck Galleries of the museum. The eerie and bloody story that goes along with the ship is fascinating, but not for the faint of heart.
After a stroll through the Maritime Museum, it is time to relax by the water at the Little Creatures Brewery. The walk along the waterfront is lovely, and you might even be able to spot the statue of ACDC singer Bon Scott along the way.
The Great Hall at Little Creatures is vast and walk-ins are welcomed. If you’re peckish, the woodfired pizza oven serves up some delicious food and enjoy a local brew whilst you snack. Otherwise, beer lovers will want to head next door to the Brewhouse for a tasting and a chance to meet the brewers for a chat.
Evening – Dinner at Bread in Common
Bread in Common is a few steps removed from the casual, street food-esque way that we’ve been eating so far on our two days in Fremantle. But why not go a little more upmarket for the end of our itinerary?
The feature of this restaurant is… you guessed it… bread.
With large communal tables illuminated by pendant lights, Bread in Common feels the right mix of rustic and sophisticated. The meals are designed to share. I loved the dukkah and olive oil to dip the incredible homemade bread into and then for mains it is hard to go wrong with the lamb ribs and duck fat potatoes.
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