Fremantle Travel Guide
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Published by TOP4 Team
A Mediterranean-style sunniness combines with Victorian-era quaintness to give Fremantle its special character — cosmopolitan, yet as down-to-earth its classic examples of convict architecture. Although it’s a serious international port for passengers and cargo, you’ll remember the colourful city for its casual charms.
For years Fremantle — “Freo” to abbreviation-prone Aussies – lay becalmed, a long way from the big time of tourism. Then came the America’s Cup saga and a saturation of world attention. New pride inspired the townsfolk in a sparkling campaign to restore the old terraced houses and other relics in time for the 1986/87 defence of the Cup. At the same time, the marina facilities were vastly expanded.
Whether you think of Fremantle as a yachting base or a workaday port, you’ll want to see the sights of the harbour. There are dream yachts, trawlers, ocean liners and cargo ships of every stripe. You may see one of the special sheep ships, loading tens of thousands of sheep from all over the Western Australia, bound for the Middle East. Dogs help the stevedores for sheep direct truckloads of reluctant “passengers” to their berths. The sheep live on pellets of food for the four-week journey in sub-tourist class.
Fremantle’s highest point is Monument Hill, in War Memorial Park. There are three memorials here, including one for the US personnel based in Fremantle who died in World War II. Another, an actual periscope, commemorates the British and Allied submarine crews who perished in the same conflict. This is the place to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
Back near the waterfront, and wasting an enviable view, the 12-sided Round House looks like the forbidding, windowless prison it used to be. Actually, visitors find it much more cheerful from the inside, with its sunny courtyard, though the inmates might not have agreed. Built in 1831, the Round House specialised in the lesser criminals, but it was the site of the state’s first hanging; generally, incorrigibles were simply shipped off to the rigours of Tasmania.
Explore other local attractions and historic landmarks in Fremantle today.