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Fremantle for time travellers & history mavens

13 October 2021

Spend 3 days in Perth’s old town, the picturesque port of Fremantle. Explore the history of the Swan River Colony, convict-built hotels, cottages and museums, the story of Manjaree and a culture that dates back over 50,000 years.

DAY 1 | Lunch

After checking in to your hotel make your way to South Terrace, Fremantle’s famous Cappuccino Strip. It became the first place for alfresco dining in Western Australia when Nunzio Gumina applied in 1977 for an alfresco dining licence for his cafe Old Papa’s (now Grill’d).

Turn right at the old Fremantle Technical College and head into Nunzio’s Restaurant on your right. The very same Nunzio that kick-started the al fresco dining scene. Stop here for lunch.

DAY 1 | Afternoon

Walking along Essex Street on the left is the former Port Mill built in 1862 to mill flour for the Swan River Colony. The building is constructed of limestone quarried from nearby Arthur Head and now home to Whisper Wine Bar.

In front of the Esplanade Hotel, at the intersection of Essex Street and Marine Terrace is a blue ceramic tiled bollard marking the beginning of a public artwork by ceramicist Joan Campbell. The artwork outlines Fremantle’s original shoreline at the time of the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829. 

Walk west along Marine Terrace, with Esplanade Reserve to your left and the West End Heritage Precinct on your right. It’s the largest single place to be permanently included in the Western Australia’s State Register of Heritage Places. 

Reaching the roundabout and crossing Cliff Street is WA Shipwrecks Museum. The museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. The museum is housed in the colony’s original and convict-built Commissariat building. Within these walls are hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline including the famous Batavia (wrecked in 1629) and the de Vlamingh plate. Entry is by gold coin donation.

DAY 1 | Evening

Emily Taylor*, within the Warders Hotel, or Tonic & Ginger* at the Old Synagogue, on the corner of Parry and South Terrace, continue our exploration of Fremantle along historic themes.

After dinner, wine lovers will enjoy Fremantle’s newest small bar, Nieuw Ruin offers a real pick-n-mix lolly bag of a wine list that’s 300+ bottles strong.

DAY 2 | Morning

Breakfast at the Moore and Moore Cafe on Henry Street. It’s a contemporary cafe and gallery within a Federation warehouse building that was common in Fremantle’s gold rush period. Place your orders at the laneway counter before finding a table in the outdoor courtyard or front room (the laneway is heritage listed!).

It’s a 10 am start with the Two Feet & A Heartbeat Convict, Culture and Street Art* walking tour. This guided tour starts at Fremantle Town Hall and explores the West End, the Round House, Arthur Head and Bathers Beach, finishing at Fremantle Prison in time for a lunch at the Convict Café within the main Gatehouse area.

DAY 2 | Afternoon

Fremantle Prison is a UNESCO World Heritage site so on the must do list for history lovers. Three tours*, Convict Prison, Behind Bars, True Crime commence hourly from the gatehouse area.

DAY 2 | Evening

Dinner at Bread in Common on Pakenham Street. It’s just one of the 250 heritage listed buildings in the West End precinct. It’s described as a single storey, face brick Federation Free Classical style warehouse building. It was restored and adapted in 2014 and has taken out a string of architectural awards.

After dinner drinks at the Ball and Chain on the corner of Collie and Marine Terrace continues the history tour. The bar housed convicts before the Fremantle Prison was built.

DAY 3 | Morning

A hearty breakfast and great coffee are on offer at either Hush or Breaks on High Street with the added bonus of being surrounded by the activity of a 19th century gold rush port city.

A short walk west and through the Whalers Tunnel will take you to the Manjaree Trail, a self-guided walking trail that speaks to the history of Manjaree, a place of meetings and culture of the Whadjuk Nyoongar people dating back 50,000 years.

*Bookings essential. Check opening hours.

Heritage buildings of the historic West End
Heritage buildings in the historic West End
Bread in Common
Dinner at Bread in Common
National Hotel
Emily Taylor
Emily Taylor
Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison