a fishing harbour with boats restaurants and a ferris wheel in the background

Best Things To Do in Fremantle Perth: Locals Guide 2024

As Perth residents, we visit Fremantle all the time, and have come up with a list of all the best places to visit.

Fremantle, or Walyalup, is one of the most picturesque towns in Western Australia. This vibrant port is a great place to walk and explore some of the history behind this unique town.

There are plenty of things to do in Fremantle Western Australia such as learning about its maritime history, enjoying the arts, lying on a beach, or browsing the boutiques that line the streets. Freo, as we call it, is a must-visit for all tourists and is popular for a day trip or night out among the locals.

This post may contain affiliate links (of companies I book through). This means I may receive a small commission if you book through them. You can read the disclaimer for more information.

walking tour
the roundhouse prison fremantle museum a round stone building

Fremantle – Convicts, Culture & Street Art

Rating: 5/5⭐️ with over 1100 reviews on TripAdvisor

Tour Length: 2 hours

Want to learn more about Fremantle and the Convict era? Then, join a tour like this one by Perth’s number one tour company, Two Feet and a Heartbeat.

This tour is an excellent way to explore Freo, with a local guide who shares all its fascinating stories and sites. 

To see all the inclusions, clink the link below to take you direct to Two Feet & a Heartbeat.

The Best Things To Do in Fremantle

aerial view of a city and port
Aerial view of Fremantle Australia by Garry Norris Photography

Fremantle Prison Tours

Fremantle Prison is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Perth and was one of the earliest convict prisons, operating from 1855 to 1991. After closing, the prison was restored to its former conditions and opened to the public in 1992. There are five Fremantle Prison tours you can take, all with a slightly different theme: Convict Prison, Behind Bars, True Crime, Tunnels Tour, and Torchlight Tour.

Open 9 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week, except Good Friday & Christmas day.

inside a prison with cells
The prison cells on the Fremantle Prison’s Tour

Western Australian Maritime Museum

Located on Fremantle’s waterfront, this sail-shaped landmark showcases the town’s colourful maritime history and houses the America’s Cup winning yacht, Australia II, and Parry Endeavour, the yacht that took solo yachtsman Jon Sanders three times around the world.

The Western Australian Maritime Museum consists of several galleries, showcasing the amazing maritime connection Fremantle has as a coastal town and port. You will see several boats and vessels, some suspended from the ceiling, including pearl luggers and an Aboriginal bark canoe.

black submarine on land
Oberon class Submarine, HMAS Ovens

The highlight for us was the tour of the Oberon class Submarine, HMAS Ovens, a Cold War-era vessel that lives outside the museum on the World War Two submarine slipway. This exhibit serves as a memorial to those who gave their lives while serving from Fremantle during World War Two.

The tour lets you discover what life is like aboard a submarine – not recommended for anyone who is claustrophobic! You also need a reasonable level of fitness to climb 9 metre high scaffolding stairs, steeply inclined ladders, and to bend through narrow hatchways. 

Open 9.30 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week, except Good Friday & Christmas day. ANZAC Day 1 pm to 5 pm.

Book direct at WA Maritime Museum.

person walking through the narrow corridor of a submarine
On the HMAS Oven submarine tour

WA Shipwrecks Museum

The WA Shipwreck Museum is in the convict-built, 1852 Commissariat building and holds an outstanding display of maritime archaeology. The museum houses hundreds of relics from ships that were wrecked along Western Australia’s treacherous coastline, including a section of the hull from the Dutch merchant ship, Batavia (wrecked in 1629).

Open 9.30 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and Good Friday.
ANZAC Day 1 pm to 5 pm.

Free entry (suggested donation A$5).

an old wooden hull inside shipwreck museum
Hull from the Dutch merchant ship, Batavia

Fremantle Arts Centre

The Fremantle Arts Centre is housed in a neo-Gothic style building constructed by convicts in 1860 as the Convict Establishment Fremantle Lunatic Asylum and Invalid Depot. It features a wide range of contemporary visual art by local, national, and international artists and is also a live music venue.

The café is a lovely spot for lunch and the shop stocks WA’s largest range of unique gifts and wares designed by local artists.

Grounds open 8 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week, reception, and shop 9 am to 5 pm, galleries 10 am to 5 pm
Canvas Café 8 am – 3 pm Mon to Fri, 8 am – 4 pm Sat & Sun (kitchen closes 2 pm weekdays and 3 pm weekends)
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday.

Free entry.

Fremantle Markets

No visit is complete without visiting the Fremantle Markets, housed in an 1897 Victorian-era building, designed in the Federation Romanesque style. The building is one of only two surviving municipal market buildings in Western Australia.

Fremantle Markets were first opened in 1897, but the building became a packing and distribution centre in the 1950s until the early 1970s. In 1975, it underwent a complete restoration and now has over 150 stalls selling local produce, souvenirs, clothes, crafts, and fresh food. As you wander through, your mouth waters with the different aromas wafting from the food hall with its different cuisines. Buskers perform inside the markets, and you’ll normally find street performers between the markets and the Sail and Anchor pub.

Hall open Fridays 9 am to 8 pm, Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays 9 am to 6 pm.
Yard open Fridays 8 am to 8 pm, Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays 8 am to 6 pm.

Closed Christmas Day.

Free entry.

different fruits on display in market
Fremantle Markets

The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse, completed in 1831, is the oldest public building in Western Australia. This twelve-sided building was used as a gaol until 1886 and has since been a Police lock-up, accommodation for the Water Police, and a storage facility for Fremantle Ports. It is now open to the public.

The Round House held colonial and Aboriginal prisoners, including Nyoongar leader Yagan, and was the site of the colony’s first hanging. Aboriginal prisoners were held here before being transported to Rottnest Island.

a round stone building
Fremantle What To Do: The Round House

The One O’clock Time Signals are re-enacted every day when the time ball is dropped, and the cannon is fired at 1 pm.

You can see Bathers Beach from here and the views of the Indian Ocean are stunning. Explore the tunnel beneath that was built in 1837 by the Fremantle Whaling Company.

Open every day 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Free entry but Gold Coin Donation requested.

a cannon aiming out to sea
One O’clock Time Signal cannon at the Round House

Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre is only open on Thursdays and Fridays, but if you are wondering what to do in Fremantle on those days, this centre is the perfect way to learn more about the Aboriginal history and culture. Find out about Dreamtime and the Noongar Six Seasons or join an Aboriginal art or cultural workshop, where you can participate in bush tucker tastings, do some painting or basket weaving and learn some words of the Noongar language.

Fremantle Fishing Harbour

I always enjoy wandering around Fremantle Fishing Harbour, watching the fishing vessels and recreational boats heading out to sea. Fremantle port is WA’s largest with the harbour being home to over 400 fishing boats. It’s also one of the best spots in Fremantle to enjoy fresh seafood in one of the surrounding restaurants.

perth fremantle fishing harbour with boats restaurants and a ferris wheel in the background
Fremantle Attractions: Fremantle Fishing Harbour

Fremantle Trails

There are several walking and cycle trails you can take to explore Fremantle’s history. The Manjaree Trail consists of interpretive signs explaining the six Nyoongar seasons. Download maps at Visit Fremantle.

heritage colonial style cottages
Stone terrace houses along Point Street built in 1897

Fremantle Street Art

Fremantle is one of the best places in Perth for culture and art – including street art. Take a stroll around the backstreets and you will find plenty of wall murals and art.

Being a golden retriever lover, I especially loved this painting on the wall of East West Design in South Fremantle.

street art of a golden retriever dog standing by a green surfboard
Street on the wall of East West Design, South Fremantle

Fremantle Shops

Fremantle is a trendy shopping area with boutiques full of funky and independent designs. A lot of new designers choose Fremantle to launch their new collections in one of the many shops in Market and High Streets.

shops along a main street with people walking
Market Street Fremantle

Fremantle Beaches

Fremantle has a variety of beautiful beaches for you to enjoy.

Bathers Beach is closest to the centre of Fremantle, just around the corner from the fishing harbour. Here you will find Western Australia’s first licensed beach area with lounge chairs on the white sand.

dave and the girls on bathers beach in fremantle western australia
Bathers Beach

South Beach, in South Fremantle, has a large expanse of grass which is perfect for a bbq overlooking the ocean. If you’re here during summer, pop down on a Saturday for some tasty food truck delights at the South Beach Sunset Markets.

Leighton and Port beaches have long white sandy beaches with beachside cafes and are where the locals hang out. You’ll see lots of them cycling, running, walking their dogs, and just enjoying our beautiful weather.

bright yellow umbrellas and sun loungers on beach resort
Bathers Beach House

Fremantle Sunset

If you want a drink, try Bathers Beach House, or head to Fremantle Fishing Harbour.

Another great location is Monument Hill which has views over the city and one of the best vantage points in Fremantle. While there, check out the The Fremantle War Memorial.

Consider a sunset cruise onboard the yellow catamaran, Capella. You’ll sail out into the Indian Ocean and along the WA coastline, enjoying a stunning sunset with the best view.

Find out more here.

the sunset over fishing harbour
Sunset over Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle by Tourism Western Australia

Fremantle Photography

If you enjoy photography, you will love Fremantle. There’s always something to capture from buskers, street views, historical buildings, street art, sculptures, and of course the famous Containbow.

a rainbow made from shipping containers is one of the best things to do in fremantle
The Rainbow, one of Fremantle’s most photographed landmarks

Fremantle Cruises

Enjoy a cruise along the Swan River from Perth to Fremantle (or the other way round), passing luxury homes, yacht clubs, and city sights.

You can read all about it in our Swan River Cruise review.

Fun Things To Do in Fremantle

These Fremantle activities provide a lot of fun for the whole family.

Jet Boat Thrill Ride

There are a number of tours that depart from Fremantle Fishing Harbour like the Jet Boat Thrill Ride. During this 20-minute adventure ride, you’ll experience a generous combo of high-speed maneuvers like fish tails, slide-outs, peach power stops, wave surfing and 270-degree spins.


Parasailing

You can even try out Fremantle’s brand new activity, parasailing, the only one in Western Australia. There’s the option for one person or two people in tandem.

Little Creatures Brewery

Try one of Little Creature’s beers or stay for lunch at this family-friendly brewery. You can also take a tour of Little Creatures Brewery, which includes a guided tasting of the full range of Little Creatures brews.

Find out more here.

beer taps in front of a huge stainless steel barrel in a brewery
Little Creatures Brewery Fremantle by Tourism Western Australia

Esplanade Park & Fremantle Ferris Wheel

Esplanade Park is always a hive of activity with about 100 Norfolk Island Pines providing plenty of shade. There’s lots of activities here with the Ferris Wheel, children’s playground, and usually some free entertainment. If you want to have a picnic in Fremantle, the Esplanade Park is one of the best spots.

The European-built Tourist Wheel takes you 40m above the boat harbour of Fremantle with spectacular views of the town, harbour, and coast.

Book tickets ahead here.

Visit Rottnest Island from Fremantle

If you have a little more time and have explored Fremantle, hop on a ferry over to our beautiful Rottnest Island. You can read all about it in this guide on visiting Rottnest Island.

wooden steps leading down to a sandy bay with crystal clear water showing the reef and rocks
The stunning Rottnest Island

Where is Fremantle?

Fremantle is a southern suburb in Perth at the mouth of the Swan River.

Getting from Perth to Fremantle WA

International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport.

Car Hire – To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction.

Tip: The earlier car rentals are booked, the cheaper it is with more choice of vehicles.

The easiest way to get from Perth to Fremantle without a car is by train, which takes 30 minutes. Trains depart from Perth station to Fremantle station about every 20 minutes.

The nicest way to travel from Perth to Fremantle is on a Swan River Cruise.

boats in fremantle port harbour

Getting Around Fremantle

Fremantle is easy to walk around and my favourite way of getting around this historic town. Not only do you get some exercise, but you also walk past points of interest you may not get to see on a bus.

The Fremantle CAT Bus stopped operating on the 1st October 2023, but you can use Bus 532 instead.

If you want to cycle, a bike tour is a popular choice, or you can hire a bike free from the Fremantle Visitor Centre for a refundable deposit.

Fremantle Map

Download a copy of this Fremantle Map.

oudoor dining area withb sun umbrellas in front of  fishing harbour
Ciccerello’s outdoor dining area at Fremantle Fishing Harbour

Food and Drinks in Fremantle

Fremantle is a great place to dine during the day or evening and has a wonderful nightlife with clubs, pubs, and bars.

The “Cappuccino Strip” reminds me of Europe with table and chairs outside cafes and restaurants. Here you can enjoy a coffee or something stronger at one of the licensed premises and some have live music, open mic nights and cabaret.

If you’re looking for fish and chips, try Joe’s Fish Shack or Ciccerello’s at Fremantle Fishing Harbour.

people sitting outside restaurant cafe with umbrellas for shade eating fish and chips

Little Creatures serves up delicious chips and pizza with their amazing craft beers. They’re also child-friendly with a sand pit out the back.

We enjoy the view from the upstairs balcony of The National Hotel, which overlooks the centre of Fremantle and is a good vantage point to people watch.

There are lots more small bars, pubs, and breweries for you to discover or try a tour like the Fremantle Food Lovers Tour.

national hotel a federation red brick building with white verandahs
The refurbished National Hotel

Fremantle Accommodation

Fremantle has a range of accommodation to suit most budgets including hotels, apartments, bed & breakfast, motels, and backpackers.

My choice of where to stay in Fremantle:

My Thoughts on Fremantle

Fremantle is always on the top of my recommendations of places to visit when they come to Perth. It has a wonderful vibe with lots of things to do and plenty of food and drink options. If you have the time, try to stay at least one night to experience the nightlife and take an early morning stroll around the harbour.

Where’s your favourite place to stay in Fremantle? Share it with us and our Facebook group community.