Just 30 minutes away from the West Australia capital of Perth, Fremantle or Freo as it’s known by locals, is a historic port town that has many stories to tell. You’ll find maritime and colonial history, lovingly restored pubs with live music, interesting street art, and cafes galore along the “cappuccino” strip.

If you visit Perth, than we highly recommend you set aside a half day and discover the joys of this seaside town. Take a look through our list of things we enjoy doing when we visit and create your own itinerary.

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Fremantle Prison is one of the most important historic sites in Western Australia and one of the grimmer things to see in Fremantle.

Built in the 19th century, it remained in use until 1991 and carries a dark history.

Floggings, escapes, riots, and hangings all took place between its walls, originally built by convicts. This often-grisly history is now open to anyone who wants to explore this World Heritage Listed site.

Fremantle Goal Western Australia
Fremantle Prison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

You’ll find a variety of tours at the prison, including:

  • Torchlight Ghost Tours – not for the faint hearted
  • History tours – including tours of the tunnels under the prison
  • True crime tours – explore some of the prison’s more notorious inmates.
  • Behind bars tours – experience life as an actual prisoner (minus the flogging and hanging).

You can book these directly on the prisons website.

Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison is a UNESCO site

This is a fascinating window into the city’s darker history, so make sure you include it in your Fremantle day trip itinerary.

Where: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle
When: Open daily 9am to 5pm (9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays) 

It’s not surprising that in the port city of Fremantle, exploring the historical connection to the ocean is one of the most popular things to do. The Maritime Museum showcases the most iconic vessels from the city’s past–from leisure to sailboats.

On the WWII submarine slipway is the HMAS Ovens, a vessel from the Cold War era and a memorial for the submariners who fought in the war.

Western Australia Maritime Museum is one of the best things to do in fremantle
The WA Maritime Museum has lots to offer ocean lovers and history buffs.

The collection also includes the WA Shipwreck Museum, home to relics from hundreds of years of maritime exploration. Over the years, it’s become the Southern Hemisphere’s leading maritime archaeology museum and home to artifacts like:

  • Some of the original timbers from the Batavia, a flagship from the Dutch East India Company that wrecked off the Western Australia coast in 1629.
  • Artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks, Zeewijk, Zuytdorp, and Vergulde Draeck.
  • Australia II, America’s cup-winning yacht.
  • The de Vlamingh Dish found on Dirk Hartog Island and inscribed with a record of the first Western Australia landfall in 1616

Where: Victoria Quay, Peter Hughes Dr, Fremantle 
When: 9:30am-5:30pm daily.

Little Creatures is an iconic pub located at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, and one of the most popular places to visit in Fremantle. It has everything going for it–from a backyard area where you enjoy the sunshine to craft beer – and a delicious and not too expensive menu.

Basically, it’s the perfect place to kick back with some friends, have a few drinks, and relax in a vibrant and friendly atmosphere on a lazy afternoon. They even have a kids sandpit if you need some time out! So, even if you’re only spending one day in Fremantle, make sure you put this on your itinerary.

Little Creatures Brewery Fremantle
Taste the full range of Little Creature beers on a brewery tour

If you are a beer lover, the Little Creatures Brewery Tour ($35) is great fun. Over 90 minutes, learn all about the process and ingredients and, best of all, get to taste the full range.

When you’re trying to decide what to do in Fremantle, the market is an obvious choice. This is a market with a long history stretching back to 1897. It’s a favourite among locals and visitors alike and a great spot for shopping for gifts.

Fremantle Markets
Fremantle Markets is a must-see on a weekend visit

Open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Public Holidays from early to late, the market offers:

  • Fresh local produce
  • Stalls with delicious food from all over the world
  • Clothes
  • Handicrafts

Dedicated to showcasing the best in independent and indigenous art and products, this market is one of the best things to do in Fremantle if you want to experience the heart of the city. There are usually buskers and other entertainers around to entertain you with a song or show as well.

Where: South Terrace &, Henderson St, Fremantle 
When: Friday-Sunday, 9am-6pm

The Bon Scott statue was erected in memory of the famous AC/DC singer, whose family moved to Perth when he was very young. It’s one of the many monuments that you’ll find around the city of Fremantle.

This statue is one example of why walking the streets looking for hidden pockets of street art is one of the most interesting things to do in Fremantle.

Bon Scott Statue Fremantle
Bon Scott is the big drawcard, but we loved the statues of the wharf life like the one behind

Fremantle has long been a hotspot for art and artists; you can’t walk more than a few metres without seeing something fantastic on an otherwise plain building.

Vihls Sstreet Art Mural Fremantle
This work by Vhils is of Dame Dorothy Margaret Tangney DBE first female member of the Australian Senate

Some of the best places to see Fremantle’s urban art scene are:

  • The East West Design Building.
  • Gino’s Café.
  • The rundown Woolstores building.
  • The massive mural on South Terrace.
  • South Beach Café with its fantastic ocean mural.
  • Ootong & Lincoln’s zebras.
  • The Alice in Wonderland wall in Westgate Mall.
  • The giant octopus on Queen Victoria Street as you enter Fremantle.
Rainbow Sea Container by Marcus Canning
Rainbow Sea Container by Marcus Canning

The Round House is the oldest public building in Australia and the oldest in WA. It was built to house convicts but later became a police lock-up. From the top of the building, you have a view over to Rottnest Island.

Roundhouse in Fremantle
Famous roundhouse in Fremantle

Volunteer guides provide background on the history. Time your visit for the 1pm cannon firing if you can.

Where: 15 Captains Ln, Fremantle
When: 10.30am-3.30pm daily

The tram is not currently operating.

One of the best things to do in Fremantle is also a great introduction to the area. The Fremantle tram tours depart every 15 minutes and take 25 minutes to amble around the streets, past all the best sites. It’s the ideal start to a Fremantle day trip when you don’t want to waste any time working out where everything is.

Fremantle Tram Perth
Fremantle Tram is a great way to get the lay of the land.

Starting at the Fremantle Town Hall on the corner of William and Adelaide Street, the tram will take you past:

  • Fremantle museums
  • The Café Strip
  • Local markets
  • The Fremantle Prison

Along the way, the friendly drivers offer commentary on all the sites and the best places to eat, drink, and hang out in the city.

From its early life as the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, this has always been an interesting spot. This Australian Gothic building is striking, it was built by convicts in the 1860s. In the 1970s, it was converted to an arts centre. 

Fremantle Arts Centre Credit: Balou46
Fremantle Arts Centre Credit: Balou46

Today the Arts Centre offers a mix of exhibitions, performances and courses. There is a lovely cafe on site if you need a coffee.

When: 10am-5pm daily
When: 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle 

Once known, rather sadly, as Whaler’s Beach, this area is next to the fishing harbour and has become the art centre of Fremantle. It has the same relaxed atmosphere as other parts of the city and is one of the best things to do in Fremantle if you have a few hours and want to wander until you find something amazing.

Bathers Beach Fremantle
Bathers Beach walk is on our must-see list

Here’s what to do at Bathers Beach:

  • Go for a swim, of course!
  • Stake out a chair and enjoy a quiet drink.
  • Take the Manjaree Walking Trail and learn more about the local Aboriginal culture.
  • Visit Kidogo Art House.
  • Spend some time at the J Shed Studio, home to renowned artists for 25 years.
  • Check out work by local Fremantle artists at the Art of Freo Gallery.
  • Head to the Captains Lane Roundhouse Studios, a collection of heritage-listed cottages that contain several art studios.
  • Check out or purchase some authentic Aboriginal art at the Walyalup Cultural Centre, or take a class there.
  • Stop by the Kelp Bar for a drink at the end of the day.
  • Watch an Indian Ocean sunset

Basically, if you’re trying to decide what to do in Fremantle, this is an excellent area to start in.

The perfect spot for a break on a sunny day, Esplanade Park offers plenty of shade on hot summer days but can get a little cold in winter. There is a great adventure playground, skatepark and giant tourist wheel making this a popular spot for families to visit. 

The Giant Ferris wheel in Fremantle
The Giant Ferris wheel in Fremantle

You will find the park opposite Bather’s Beach and Little Creatures Brewery.

Where: 45 Marine Terrace, Fremantle 

The most pleasant way is on the water – take a cruise from Perth – it takes about 75 minutes and includes commentary. There is no public ferry. Alternatively, there is a train service from Perth to Fremantle that will cost you less than $10 and takes about 30 minutes.

You can find all the public transport options here.

No matter what you enjoy doing, you’ll find lots of things to do in Fremantle for a long or short break. Taking a Fremantle day trip or spending an afternoon doing something new can be nearly as rewarding as a holiday overseas, without all the trouble of big trips.

Find out more about exploring Western Australia’s best sites

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2 thoughts on “The 10 Absolute Best Things To Do In Fremantle”

  1. I love Fremantle! I totally agree with your list. (But you didn’t add Rottnest?). I would like to give a shout out to the Indigenous Centre 🙂 I found the place when I was there for the second time and I really enjoyed their tour. I think it’s very inconspicuous and more visitors should know about it.

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