Fremantle is a charming city on Australia’s West coast, serving as the major port for Perth. Located just 45 mins by car or train on the shoreline West of Perth, it is easily accessible for a day trip to see its breweries, historical prisons and long tradition of marine trade.
1. Little Creatures Brewery
We loved the Little Creatures brewery so much that we came back for 3 meals! This craft brewery is located right on the waterfront in Fremantle with outside seating overlooking the marina. They have excellent beers (about half dozen seasonal varieties are on tap) and fantastic food – we particularly liked their fresh pizza with 4 types of prosciutto/ham, moist beef brisket, chili mussels and tender kangaroo skewers. At the end of the meal, you can rent cute red vintage bicycles for free to explore the town of Fremantle or even take a full tour of the brewery for about AUD $12.
2. Fremantle Prison
Constructed in the 1850s by 10,000 convicts who arrived to build the Swan River Colony, Fremantle Prison served as one of the largest convict establishments in Australia. It continued operating as a maximum security prison until 1991 when it was decommissioned, opened for visitors and included on the World Heritage List soon thereafter in 2005.
The day tour for AUD $20 leaves every 30 minutes and gives a great introduction to the prison’s history, the cells in the 4 wings for different degrees of crimes, the outside courtyards where prisoners spent their day, the chapel where people still get married today, the administrative offices where kids ask what is the strange machine on the desk called a “typewriter” and even takes visitors into the hanging room where three dozen prisoners were executed.
3. Market Street
One of the most picturesque streets in Fremantle, Market St is perfect for an afternoon stroll to see some of the most charming houses with traditional balconies and architecture reminiscent of New Orleans.
4. The Maritime Museums
There are two main maritime museums in Fremantle. The first is the WA Museum of Shipwreck Galleries which is free of charge and houses the reconstructed remains of the Batavia ship, its cannons and cargo. Built in 1628 for the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia shipwrecked on a reef its maiden voyage to Australia and was made famous by the subsequent mutiny and massacre that took place among the survivors.
The second is the WA Maritime Museum located in the main port of Fremantle. It houses exhibitions of Australia’s modern maritime history including the America’s Cup sailboats, historical pilot boats, a preserved Megamouth Shark and even a Cold-war era Australian submarine HMAS Ovens. Be sure to book a tour of the submarine in advance as they do sell out!