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Fremantle is a port city in Western Australia with so much charm and color. It’s actually a small suburb within the city of Perth, but you won’t believe how much it has to offer! In fact, visiting Fremantle is one of the most popular things to do in Perth and a top tourist destination in its own right.
The small cafes, art galleries, many restaurants, and beautiful beaches make it the perfect place to go for a walk or a bike ride, at any hour of the day. There’s whale watching right there on the coast, some of the best seafood you’ll ever taste in your life, and healthy competition to make the best local beer when you’re craving a cold one.
Interesting museums, fun tours all around, and relaxing beach days will keep you busy during your whole stay in Fremantle.
I (Dan) grew up just around the corner from Fremantle – us locals call it “Freo”. Some of my best friends call this area home to this day, so we visit all the time – it’s one of my favorite places to visit in the city!
I’m so excited to share with you all I know and love about Fremantle, Perth. Here are my favorite things to do in Fremantle!
The BEST Things to do in Fremantle, WA
1. Wander the Fremantle Markets
One of the first things we do whenever we’re here is drop into the Fremantle Markets. It’s a great way to spend some time on the weekend wandering through the more than 150 stalls full of all kinds of food, fruits and vegetables from the area, handmade gifts, and all sorts of trinkets made by local artisans.
Exploring the markets is one of the best free things to do in Fremantle – although you will definitely be tempted to buy a few things, especially if you’re hungry! We recently visited on a hot day, so we ended up having some fresh ice cream and one of the most refreshing fruity popsicles I’ve ever had.
The Fremantle Markets have been around since 1897 (and in the same building) and while the place isn’t that big, every little stall offers something different. So there’s a lot to see! Plan to make an afternoon out of it, the atmosphere is super joyful and welcoming, especially for tourists.
I love finding unique gifts and items here and meeting the actual people behind creating them. It makes for such a personal and memorable experience.
This was exactly what happened when we stopped at The Honeycake. We noticed so many people going by their stall it had to be good. It was amazing! I ate one piece right there and the girl who handed it to me told me a little bit about the history of their cake. Unbelievable texture and flavor!
The markets are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
Related read: Looking for more free activities in Australia? Check out our list of all the cheap things to do in Sydney!
2. Ride the ferris wheel
Nothing beats a nice view – especially when you’re high up overlooking the coast, ocean, harbor, and the city. The best way to get these views is from the top of Fremantle’s Tourist Wheel.
The wheel is 40 meters high (131 feet) with 24 individual gondolas that can fit 6 people inside. This is a great way for families to see Fremantle! The wheel is also covered with 25,000 LED lights, so it sparkles at night! If you love the ride during the day, make sure you come back after dark.
This is a popular attraction, so you can save the hassle of waiting in line and buy your ticket online. It’s about $13 AUD – which is basically the same price you’ll pay if you wait in line, so booking ahead will save you time!
The ride lasts about 7-8 minutes and walk-up tickets are $12 AUD for adults, $10 AUD for kids, or $40 AUD for a family of four. If you want to really get the VIP experience, book an entire private gondola for the ride for $60 AUD.
The Tourist Wheel is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm and stays open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. The wheel is located inside Esplanada Park, a quick walk from the center of Fremantle.
3. Visit the Roundhouse
Another really cool place in Fremantle is an old prison from 1831 known as the Roundhouse. This is the oldest public building in Western Australia and functioned as a prison until the 1880s.
This historic building has countless stories about famous pirates that terrorized the shores of Western Australia for decades. The volunteers working there can take you on a quick tour and tell you all about this iconic place.
It’s also a wonderful viewpoint where you can take nice pictures and enjoy the sun and breeze for a little while. Every Fremantle tour will take you to the Roundhouse, but it’s a good idea to take one morning or one afternoon to visit it by yourself. Very interesting place!
There’s no entrance fee, but they take donations to keep the place in good shape. It’s open from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm daily.
4. WA Maritime Museum
One of the best things about traveling is learning about the place you are visiting. And what is one of the easiest ways to get to know the history of a place? Of course, a museum! I love visiting museums and taking little tours with a local guide.
We visited the WA Maritime Museum for a couple of hours after lunch the last time we were in Freo. Of course, you can actually finish the museum in a lot less time (it’s pretty small!), but we dedicated the time to check out every exhibit. The stories, just like in the shipwreck museum, were fascinating and filled with information about the maritime history of Fremantle.
My favorite part was the Under the Dome Cinema Experience – a special room where they project documentaries on a 180° dome with a terrific surround system. Definitely worth a visit!
The entrance fee is $15 AUD per adult, but kids under 15 are free, which is great for families. If you plan ahead, visit on the second Tuesday of the month for admission by donation, so you don’t have to pay full price.
The museum is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
5. Go on a sunset sail
If it has a beach, I will find the best way to watch the sunset! In Fremantle, you can go on a sunset sail on a comfortable catamaran for $119 AUD. This 2-hour tour includes snacks and a glass of sparkling wine (you can bring your own drinks as well).
All the colors of the sunset reflecting on the water as the sun hides behind the horizon make this a magical experience you’ll never forget. The breeze on our faces was so relaxing, we got really nice weather and the whole sail was very smooth and calm.
This is one of the best things to do in Fremantle by far! The harbor views are stunning, the staff was super friendly, and the snacks were delicious. This is an opportunity you can’t miss.
6. Go brewery hopping
For craft beer lovers and those looking for a cold drink on a hot day, there are a few great breweries in Perth, and specifically around Fremantle.
At Running with Thieves on South Beach, you’ll find a fine selection of craft beers and they also serve awesome Asian-fusion type food and great cocktails. There’s both a brewery and distillery on-site and the place is really open so you can see the brewing process – including the copper pot stills. It’s an ideal place to go for lunch early in the afternoon. Great staff, fantastic drinks!
Gage Roads is another brewery where you can also stop by for a quick lunch and drink. The seafood they serve is delicious and the pizzas are really good as well. Pair it with a Sleeping Giant IPA and you’re set. Not to mention, they have a huge outdoor patio right on the water!
For an inside look at one of the oldest breweries in town, the Little Creatures Brewery Tour is awesome. You’ll have a guided tasting of local beers and even specialty ales depending on the season. It’s $25 AUD per person with all the drinks included. This is a great way to try a variety of beers to figure out what you like. My favorite part was the passionate staff members who seem to really love their beer!
7. Day trip to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is one of the most popular day trips from Perth for both locals and tourists. It’s about 20 kms (12 miles) from Fremantle or about a 25-minute ferry ride.
You can leave right from Fremantle using a ferry company like Rottnest Express for about $60 AUD including round-trip transport and a bike rental. Before you go, check out our complete guide on all the things to do on Rottnest Island!
Once you’re here for a Rottnest day trip, you’ll find some of the most secluded and breathtaking beaches in the entire country. Plus, you’ll get to see the adorable quokkas – these SUPER friendly little animals are adorable and will even pose for selfies with you! They are the world’s smallest marsupial and have such expressive little faces that your heart will melt.
There’s a little town to explore on the island with a visitor’s center, coffee shops and restaurants, a general store, and a place to rent bikes you can easily get around to all the incredible beaches.
For a guided tour option, this sightseeing day trip to Rottnest Island includes your ferry ride over as well as a bus to get around and see everything it has to offer. The bus ride was entertaining with an excellent guide telling us about the island’s history and pointing out all the landmarks like Wadjemup Lighthouse and the West End.
Then we got to enjoy some free time to explore in the afternoon. The tour is $129 AUD per person and takes around 8 hours, but it starts early in the morning (9 am) so you’ll be back with some daylight left to enjoy Fremantle.
8. Art galleries on High Street
Fremantle is a small area that’s really easy to walk around and if you are, sooner or later, you will end up on High Street. Over the years it has become a place where artists from all over the world go to showcase and sell their work. Nowadays, it’s a place not only for artists but for art enthusiasts and collectors.
I’ve never been a huge fan of abstract art, but the Art Marx Gallery completely changed my perception of this artistic movement. They had such a colorful collection of paintings from dozens of artists, so full of life, texture, and emotion.
The Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery was my favorite. The traditional techniques and styles used by Aboriginal Australians are mesmerizing. Some paintings are actually made by Noongars (Aboriginal Australian people from WA).
This is another one of the best free things to do in Fremantle as the galleries don’t charge admission. The artwork inside is for sale and while some pieces will cost thousands of dollars, you can still find smaller pieces for $100-200 AUD if you’d like to take one home.
9. Go whale watching
Of course, the quokkas on Rottnest Island will melt your heart, but whale watching is a life-changing experience everyone should do it at least once.
Between the months of March and May, blue whales (the largest animal in the world!) gather in a canyon 48 kilometers (30 miles) away from Fremantle.
The Blue Whale Perth Canyon Expedition is about $375 AUD and will take you to this gathering point so you can witness one of the most extraordinary spectacles in the world. The tour takes about 7 hours and it includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, and even photographs from the expedition. The tour leaves from the Sardine Jetty in Fremantle, so if you’re staying nearby this is an easy spot to get to.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Fremantle and it’s one of the only places in the world where you can make an expedition of this kind.
Related read: Whale watching is also one of the best things to do in Busselton with three different species of whales passing by the area every year!
10. Watch a sunset
There are so many great places to catch the sunset in Fremantle. One of the best places is in South Fremantle, where you’ll find sandy beaches with the perfect angle to watch the sun go down. South Beach is ideal for sunset!
My sister-in-law loves South Fremantle, in fact, it’s her very favorite area in Perth. The last time we were in town we went with her and my brother for sunset. Based on their suggestion, we went to Sealanes and grabbed some fish and chips to-go before heading to the beach for sunset. Fish and chips while watching the sunset was the perfect end to our day.
This is a beautiful beach in Fremantle with calm turquoise waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming, white sand, trees, and rock formations and an off-leash dog-friendly area. It also has parking available and a huge playground for little kids.
South Fremantle is always more “chilled-out” than the rest of Fremantle – perfect for a relaxing sunset! Before or after sunset, be sure to wander this area a little, it is full of cute cafes and bars.
Tip for pet owners – South Beach has a dog-friendly area! On a hot day, this is the perfect place to take your dog for a swim since many beaches around Perth are not dog-friendly.
11. Go on a historic walking tour
One of the best ways to get to know Fremantle is by going on a guided walking tour. In just a couple of hours, we got a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do over the next few days.
We walked by several cafes, restaurants, and art galleries (we stopped for coffee). Our wonderful guide also took us to the main beach (Bathers Beach), the Fremantle Round House, as well as different markets. It was the easiest way to get familiar with Fremantle and for $45 AUD we got the most informative and entertaining introduction to the town.
The weather was optimal, but as always, I do recommend you bring sunscreen and a water bottle with you. The tour is only 2.5 miles (4 km) so you’ll still have some energy left afterward to keep exploring!
12. Ice cream at Swan River Gelato
Everybody loves ice cream and this is the best ice cream spot in Fremantle. Swan River Gelato offers over 40 different flavors, every last one of them handmade with local ingredients in a traditional way, without additives of any kind and it’s always fresh.
Every time we go to Swan River Gelato we try 3 or 4 new flavors. No disappointment so far and the scoops are pretty generous. Best fig gelato I’ve ever had!
They are open daily from 11 am and stay open until 10 pm, so you can grab gelato after watching the sunset!
13. Eat brunch at Little Lefroy’s
For such a small area, Fremantle has a lot to offer when it comes to food and drinks. There are so many restaurants, bars, cafes, and markets, you will have to stay there for a month actually to get to try a third of them!
Going on vacation and turning off the alarms is one of the best things in life. If you wake up late, well rested, and relaxed, all that’s missing is a perfect brunch. At Little Lefroy’s they have a brunch menu all day long!
If you are anything like me, you are going to need a moment to choose what you are going to order because everything looks delicious. If I can recommend anything, the affogato is irresistible and their breakfast gnocchi is to die for! Or grab some of the toasted banana bread to go!
It’s really cozy inside with some neat decor like tables made from recycled pallets, a bar made out of an old bridge, and wine bottle lights hanging from the ceiling.
The secret is out about this place, so it’s typically pretty busy, especially on the weekends. If you are an early bird, they open daily at 6:30 am, or for us night owls, brunch is served until 3 pm with the kitchen closing at 2 pm.
14. Go boutique shopping
Fremantle is an awesome place for shopping lovers like myself! You will find a bunch of stores on the streets where I can promise you will want to buy at least one thing. Boutiques by the street make you feel like you’re walking by a big, open-air mall.
I loved stopping by some attractive boutiques and getting things for myself and to take back home to friends and family. Some of my favorite ones are Naked Gypsy, Margaret River Hemp Co, and Zak Blax.
From clothing to home ornaments, you’ll find a wide variety of aesthetic stuff to buy. And within all price ranges!
15. Relax in a beach lounger at Bathers Beach
Bathers Beach is one of the nicest beaches in Fremantle. It’s not very large, but it’s charming and comfortable. Easy to walk, easy to swim, and an amazing location to catch a sunset.
There are several restaurants near the beach, but I do recommend you bring some snacks with you, along with plenty of water and sunscreen (there is not much shade on the beach).
At Bathers Beach House, you can rent loungers or tables for the day, however, if you are visiting during high season, you should check their website first and make a reservation just in case. You can rent loungers for around $20 AUD (prices vary depending on the season) and you have to make a reservation on the Bathers Beach House website.
Their restaurant was a little bit crowded and we were hesitant to eat there. A staff member came to us at our chairs and asked if we wanted to reserve a table for later that day and we did. We had one of the best meals of our trip! I have to say it was a little bit pricey, but everything was delicious and the restaurant was quite pleasant.
16. WA Shipwrecks Museum
Did you know that shipwrecks play an essential role in our understanding of many different historical events? We found that out by visiting the fascinating WA Shipwrecks Museum right here in Fremantle, Western Australia.
The collection was incredible and so many of the exhibits had great stories behind them, some of them even inspired some famous pirate novels and modern movies.
There was no entrance fee, only donation boxes (the suggested donation is $5 AUD), and it was totally worth it! We learned some pretty interesting facts about Western Australia’s history and got to see a restored shipwreck up close.
You can walk the museum by yourself (it’s pretty quiet and cozy) or take a free tour to hear all the stories from one of the guides. The museum is open every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
17. Go scuba diving
We are both certified scuba divers and the diving around Fremantle is great – think underwater caverns and crevices to explore. If you already have your certification, don’t miss taking a deep dive around Rottnest Island.
Head out on a deep water scuba diving tour to Rottnest Island where you’ll get the chance for two dives at a depth of 30 meters (98 feet). You’ll see how the ocean currents have carved up the soft limestone rock around here creating some impressive underwater features. Plus, you’ll have lunch, snacks, coffee, and gear including 1 air cylinder (you can upgrade to have 2) provided for around $250 AUD per person. Experienced divers only, since there is no diving guide with this one!
For beginners and experienced divers alike, this guided scuba diving tour takes you to the underwater playground around Rottnest Island. You’ll have a divemaster who will take you through underwater caverns and point out the best spots to watch the marine life. This one is $205 AUD per person with lunch and a hot shower, plus all the scuba gear is included. Departing at 8 am right after trying on the wetsuits, you’ll be underwater by 9:30 am. The whole trip takes around 8 hours and you will always be accompanied by professional guides.
18. Visit Republic of Fremantle craft distillery
You have to visit this great distillery if you are nearby! Republic of Fremantle offers tours where you’ll get to taste gin and vodka and learn how to make classic cocktails like negronis or martinis. Or, try out their famous Gin School where you’ll distill your very own bottle of gin!
If mixology is not your thing, they also sell ready-to-pour cocktails or, of course, you can leave it to the pros and order what your heart desires. The cocktails are divine and you can order some food too if you’re hungry. It is a walk-in place, but you can book a table for $50 AUD a person to guarantee a spot and you’ll be treated to the Chef’s Specials that day!
The presentation of their bottles is beautiful (they make a perfect gift from Fremantle). Also, you won’t be able to resist and you’ll probably have to buy a bottle or two for yourself!
19. Get a burger at Smash Grill
I know I’m going on and on about the food, but I have to mention it because it’s amazing how many restaurant choices you have and how delicious each and every one of them is.
If you are in the mood for a burger, you have to visit Smash Grill in Fremantle. It’s a small joint near the Fremantle Markets and they sell like crazy. It’s one of the most popular spots, and with just a little bite, you’ll understand why!
They serve up classic smash burgers with tons of flavor and delicious meat. The burgers look as good as they taste and since opening, I’ve stopped by more than just a few times. Oh, and be sure to try the cheesy fries!
You can expect to pay around $15 AUD per burger, but they will fill you up! I often cant eat all the chips but I try!
20. Bike tour
Give your feet a break and explore Fremantle by bike! You’ll cover more ground and don’t need to worry about finding parking.
This bike tour teaches you about the history of Fremantle while you leisurely cruise by historic sights on a restored, vintage bike. You’ll see the Roundhouse, South Beach, and a lovely lighthouse at the end of Fleet Street. Plus, you’ll see some great places to eat and drink and stop at a local coffee shop.
The street art was my favorite part of this tour and the fact that everyone smiles and waves at you is just terrific. This is such a laid-back town and the locals are experts in dealing with tourists and always willing to help you out with anything you need, especially if you are looking for a great place to eat!
The bike tour is especially good to do near the beginning of your trip so you can scope out all the places you want to come back to and get some insider tips from your guide. It’s $70 AUD per person and includes the bike, helmet, storage for your belongings, and an expert guide. Even with the stop for coffee, I would still recommend you bring a water bottle just in case.
21. Carnac Island
South of Fremantle is the tiny Carnac Island. It’s a protected nature reserve home to the rarest sea lion in the world. The Australian sea lions love it here and we always see them lying around on the island’s beach. They are amazing to see!
Carnac Island is also a breeding area for seabirds like crested terns and little penguins. It’s free to visit, but make sure you keep your distance from the sea lions and don’t venture inland (stick to the beach) because this island is known for its tiger snakes which are one of the most deadly in the world.
You’ll obviously need a boat to get here, so why not take a catamaran? This half-day catamaran sail to Carnac Island has everything you need to enjoy the island, including snorkeling equipment, kayaks, snacks, and drinks. It’s $149 AUD and is a perfect way to enjoy a day out on the water.
The crew was very attentive, always checking if we needed anything and if we were enjoying ourselves. One of the highlights of this tour was the pod of dolphins following us as we sailed back to Fremantle. The wind was really strong so we didn’t even use the ship’s engines. We had a lot of fun and the 4 hours went by super fast!
Related read: Don’t miss seeing more wildlife by visiting the adorable penguins on Penguin Island, Perth! You can easily take a ferry from Fremantle.
22. Visit the coolest bar in Fremantle, Darling Darling
Small, cozy, excellent atmosphere, delicious drinks, live music, and happy people, what else could you ask for? Darling, Darling looks like the inside of a ship from the 1800s with low light and tons of knots and ropes hanging from the walls.
It’s a hidden gem in Fremantle that you have to visit at least once. It’s a “hole in the wall” type of place that I only found out about thanks to my friend who lives just down the street.
From the outside, it’s just a small door entrance with a tiny sign. On the inside, this cozy bar has the most detailed decor! Honestly, this is one of the most unique bars in all of Perth – I’m certain you’ll love it!
They have pirate-themed cocktails like the Dead Man’s Punch (pineapple and rum… so good!). The aged rum old fashion was really good too. Another great place we are definitely visiting again.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a fun night out, Fremantle has some of the best nightlife in Perth.
Check out Freo.Social for live music (with a huge venue!), trivia nights, and a great outdoor area to enjoy a few drinks. We also like stopping by Benny’s Bar and Cafe for their dancefloor on the weekends and yummy espresso martinis on tap! Or visit Jungle Bird – a tiki rum bar with fantastic cocktails and delicious Caribbean jerk chicken.
After a few days in Fremantle, we decided to take this Bar Tour that everyone we met had been suggesting. It ended up being one of the best afternoons of our trip! The local guide took us to different bars, hidden streets, and places that tourists don’t often visit. He always recommended the best drinks, cocktails, and food at each venue and he was never wrong!
This tour was $40 AUD and almost everything we drank and ate was at a discount price. We’ve been on this sort of tour before, but the way we actually connected to this beautiful town was very special. I loved the fact that our guide knew everybody everywhere we went and we felt truly welcomed at every venue.
I’m definitely going back to Fremantle and taking this tour again. Even if you already know your way around town, you will never have this level of access by yourself!
24. Eat authentic Italian at Pizza Bella Roma
My family in Perth has one favorite restaurant that we frequent every time there’s a special occasion, and that’s Pizza Bella Roma in Fremantle! I’ve spent countless birthdays here, and it is our family go-to restaurant for many reasons. First of all, Pizza Bella Roma takes reservations for large parties, has good customer service, and the prices are really affordable (and they are BYO wine for only a $5 AUD corkage fee!).
On top of that, the food is amazing! The pizzas are huge and filled with plenty of ingredients, but I always order the pasta because it’s that good. I love the gnocchi with their traditional bechamel sauce; however, everything on the menu is tasty.
For a delicious Italian meal, you can’t pass up Pizza Bella Roma. Trust me on this, my family is Italian, so when they say it’s their favorite restaurant, you know it’s got to be good!
25. Tour the Fremantle Prison
Last but certainly not least on this list of the best things to do in Fremantle is the Fremantle Prison. This historic building was once a convicts barracks used throughout the 1900th century all the way until 1991 when it was closed.
Built between 1852 and 1859, the convict holding area was originally called the Convict Establishment. Almost 10,000 convicts passed through the doors of the prison between 1850 and 1868 before it was repurposed into a prison that would accept criminals, not convicts.
For reference: convicts were those who sailed from England to Australia already convicted of a crime. When the holding area became a prison, it would hold criminals from the area.
Although a dark place, it’s an interesting attraction where visitors can learn more about Australia’s convict past. The prison offers a range of tours, but without a doubt, the best is the Torch Light Tour. Run after dark, this tour will send goosebumps down your body. You’ll tour the cells of famous inmates and get the fright of your life (don’t worry, it’s all part of the show!)
The Torch Light Tour runs every Wednesday and Friday night and costs $28 AUD for adults and $18 for children. Although tours aren’t recommended for children under 10, there are lots of other options for those traveling with small children!
Where to Stay in Fremantle, WA
If you want to stay right in Fremantle, there are some great options for you! Many of the accommodations are set inside historic buildings with pubs downstairs and charming rooms upstairs. If you want more of a traditional hotel or more choices, there are also plenty of places to stay in Perth itself, about a 20-minute drive from Fremantle.
Here are our top picks for staying in Fremantle in a range of budget options!
Australia Hotel Fremantle – $
Stay in a historic hotel with comfy rooms upstairs and a great restaurant below. The rooms are pretty spacious and have the character and charm of an older building. Make sure you try the Sunday Roast at the pub downstairs! All rooms do have a shared bathroom but are more budget-friendly around $80 AUD a night.
The Local Hotel – $$
Stay in South Fremantle, so you can explore this area without the need for a car! It’s set right between South Beach and Bathers Beach, so getting in lots of beach days is a breeze. The staff is really friendly and helpful for your stay. Lots of charm and character in this hotel with comfortable rooms with high ceilings. Accommodations here are around $140 AUD nightly.
The National Hotel – $$$
This hotel located in the heart of Fremantle has been beautifully restored. Rooms on the lower floors have high ceilings and French doors opening onto a private balcony or book an upper floor for a view over the rooftops of Fremantle. There’s a trendy rooftop bar and a pub downstairs that has live music all the time. Rooms here are around $220 AUD per night.
Thanks for reading!
After spending most of my life just around the corner from Fremantle, I hope you can see why I come back as often as I can! This place has the best atmosphere that makes you feel at home, even if you’re a tourist, while also being filled with awesome things to do and see.
Whether you’re a local looking for some new spots to try or you’re planning an Australian getaway, I hope you found this guide to Fremantle helpful. If you’re interested in reading more before your trip to this part of the world, check out our other blogs about Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji!
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