Technically a city in its own right, Fremantle is the more offbeat, vibrant cousin to neighbouring Perth. We adored it immediately and packed our weekend there to the brim. For quite a small place, you will never be short of things to do in Fremantle so we have shared our own itinerary here to help you choose!
10am – Fremantle Markets
We had a lazy start to the day and headed into Fremantle Markets to pick up a spot of brunch. Built in 1897, the Markets hold a wide array of food merchants, clothes shops, and craft stalls, and the smells inside were amazing. It was drizzling when we arrived, and very windy, so the shelter of the indoor market was a welcome relief. Be aware though, the Markets only open Friday-Sunday so plan your visit accordingly.
There are some stalls that sell similar items to each other, so take the time to wander around the whole place and compare prices. We didn’t buy anything other than food (no surprises there) so we don’t know if it’s the sort of market where you can try and haggle the cost of items down. Our advice would be to lurk around a bit and see what the locals are doing! When it doubt, do as the locals do, right?
12pm – Fremantle Prison
Some of you may know this already but for those who don’t, Kez is one of those people who is OBSESSED with true crime stories. Be it a two hour-long TV documentary, a podcast (I’m looking at you, My Favourite Murder), or a Netflix docu-drama, she absorbs via some kind of morbid osmosis anything and everything she can lay her hands on. So, naturally, we had to go to Fremantle Prison.
Built by convicts (for use by those very same convicts) in 1855, it was in operation until 1991 which completely blew our minds. We were both born in the early 1990s, so to have a prison that had NO WORKING INDOOR PLUMBING still incarcerating criminals that late in the day was a complete eye-opener. At night, each inmate had a bucket which had to be emptied as part of the daily chores each morning. Yep, you read that right. In 1991, prisoners were still pooping in buckets in their cells in Fremantle.
We took the ‘True Crime’ tour (naturally), but there are five tours in total to choose from. This includes a tour of the tunnel system beneath the prison, as well as a creepy torchlight night tour. The tour cost us $22AUD, or about £12, each. You cannot access the prison without taking a tour and you can also book more than one tour to get the full experience. You can even hire the place out for private events, or stay next door in the Youth Hostel! We did and we would go back in a heartbeat.
6pm – Little Creatures Brewery
After the prison, we wandered around the Fremantle streets, shops, and harbours. By the time it was an acceptable hour to eat dinner, we had worked up quite an appetite. Upon recommendation by our friends, we headed towards Little Creatures Brewing.
Can’t find it? Head for the big wheel in Esplanade Park, cross the train tracks (carefully), and it is right in front of you. You’d struggle to miss it from here.
This HUGE building consists of Little Creatures Brewery, where you can wine and dine in the Great Hall amongst the actual working brewery, and Creatures Next Door, which is a quieter and smaller lounge type set up. We chose the Great Hall, which was absolutely heaving with people. Like most restaurants in Australia, the menu was made up of pizza and sharing plates. We were starving, so we ordered a pizza, fries, halloumi, peri peri chicken, and mussels. The building was once used as a crocodile farm, and we ate like a hungry croc who didn’t know when his next meal was dropping by. Like we’ve said, we like our food.
9am – Duck Duck Bruce
After our feast the night before, there was only one thing for it the next day: eat a huge breakfast.
We went for Duck Duck Bruce, partly because of the name of the restaurant and partly because of the names of the dishes. For example, Kez had ‘We’re All Going on a Summer Hollandaise’ which was kind of like a pumped up Eggs Benedict. Sam had ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’ (appropriate) which was the most bacon-y, awesome breakfast burger ever.
We needed to build our strength up for the day’s activity: watching our first Aussie Rules match.
12pm – Fremantle v North Melbourne
When in a new country, the best thing to do is try to learn the local sport, right? After watching a brief video on YouTube about the rules of the game, we felt certain that we were ready to watch an actual Aussie Rules match. Over here, they call it ‘footy’, but we all know there is only one ‘football’ that counts. And it isn’t this one.
OK, this one is technically not in Fremantle, but Freo were playing so we can include it in our itinerary of things to do in Fremantle!
We got tickets to watch the match through friends of ours, which set us back $60AUD each, or about £35 per ticket. The price of the ticket included free Transperth transport to and from the new Optus Stadium, so that was a nice surprise. Another surprise Sam took great advantage of was that pies cost a mere $2AUD (£1!) each. He had two. Plus chips, which strangely enough cost double that.
Unlike football stadiums back in the UK however, you are allowed to drink alcohol in your seats. Also unlike football back home, there was next to no atmosphere from the crowd during the game. Unless something went wrong and one of the players needed Mick from Perth in Row 30 to tell him what he should have done instead.
In all fairness, we did enjoy the game. Fremantle lost, which wasn’t so great, but the stadium was seriously impressive and the whole experience was so easy. The build-up to the match was awesome, with fire and big drums and everything. We also enjoyed the cheesy-but-great team songs played at the start of the match. The winner’s song is then played again at the end, much to the dismay of the losing team.
We imagine that if Freo had won, the atmosphere would have been slightly better, but our friends did warn us beforehand that the chants and noise we are used to would be somewhat lacking. If you are in the area and a game is on, we would definitely recommend going. If the home team wins, fireworks shoot off from the top of the stadium, so what more could you want?
Where to Stay in Fremantle
Have you seen an Aussie Rules match? Or any other ‘local’ sport whilst on your travels? Or is sport not your thing?
Cheers, all the best.
Sam and Kez x
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