things to do in fremantleFremantle is a surprise. I never tire of wandering around its historic streets. It has a totally different ambiance to Perth, which is so close in distance, yet so far in character.   Freo is quaint and quirky with old buildings which line the streets in faded glory giving a glimpse into life in days gone by. There’s history on display. You don’t have to seek it out.

But Freo is modern too. There’s a thriving arts’ scene, fabulous restaurants and a vibrant weekend market in front of which you’ll generally find a performing street artist or two.

I’ve written about some great things to do in a previous post :13 Fabulous Things to do in Fremantle on a Long Weekend, so today I’m going to write around Different things to do. Things you might not necessarily know or find out about on a first visit.

A weekend in Freo

We had to go up to Perth on business and decided to overnight in Fremantle instead of in the big smoke itself. We had no plans, no agenda, but just wanted to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Freo and let the city awaken our senses again. Which it did.

The first freewheeling quest we gave ourselves was to explore the public sculptures which are dotted around the streets at various vantage points.

Fremantle boasts a plethora of historical and quirky sculptures which preserve a sense of history and display the esoteric creativity which abounds in Freo.things to do in fremantleSome of the statues we discovered include Bella a life size bronze bathing beauty seated at the entrance to Bathers Beach just off the waterfront. The sculpture is created by iconic Fremantle sculptor Greg James.

Other sculptures by Greg James include the Coastguard, outside of the seafood restaurant Cicerello’s, which is a huge steel sentinel looking out to sea. Along the waterfront there’s the Fishermen statue, and also a statue of Bonn Scott Jovi the iconic ACDC frontman rocker who hailed from Fremantle.

things to do in fremantle
You’ll also find a beautiful series of sculpures of Greg James interpretation of blossoming womanhood at historic Fothergill’s B & B.Near the entrance to the Fremantle Oval is a bronze of a great Aussie rules player rising to take a flying mark. We were lucky when we discovered this piece of art as we wandered free into the oval to watch The Dockers in pre-season training.

Street art in Fremantle

The area around the Church is a wonderful place to while away some time with  morning markets, public table tennis and giant chess under a magnificent shady fig trees.Freo has some great street art too and it’s fun to wander the streets taking in the local creativity on display.

East West

We found no street art more impressive than the incredible fresco at East West …. we found out that artist Graham Richards has been working on this fresco for more than a year and is still painting. It covers the entire length of the East West emporium – more than 100 metres in length.things to do in fremantle Various scenes are depicted from the parts of the world where East West sources it’s furniture and collectibles; Africa, India, Hong Kong, the Far East and the sub Continent. The fresco is bursting with colour and it transforms you into worlds far away with quirky humour and insights.  Should not be missed and nor should the pandora’s box of furnishings and collectibles inside this gigantic warehouse.
things to do in fremantle
There’s plenty of other cool street art displayed on shops and facades around Freo too. One of my favourites is the psychadelic zebras on the wall of Oolong Cafe.
things to do in fremantleTramping the streets and taking in the flavours you can’t help but be tempted by the abundance of coffee shops and cafes at every twist and turn in the city and on its outskirts. Freo hosts unique cafes where you can put up your feet and enjoy the passing parade sipping on fair trade coffee and home made delights or raw food.
things to do in fremantleSome that caught our eye were Poppy, Bread, Oolong, Kand (with pretty sofas) and we had breakfast at Mill House.There are lots of places to eat at night. We chose one of our favourites CharChar Bull sitting on their balcony overlooking the fishing harbour as the sun set.things to do in fremantleWe started off with a couple of cocktails; a champagne cocktail and cosmopolitan. Although CharChar Bull is renowned for its steaks, we chose seafood; scallops, mussels and salmon.

Where to wine and dine

There are lots of other seafood places to eat along the waterfront including Kailis, Cicerellos, and The Mussel Bar.

The Fremantle Doctor

Perth can be pretty hot in the summer but Freo is blessed with a cooling sea breeze affectionately known called the Freo Dr, but if you need to cool off there are plenty of options in the vicinity, from Bathers Beach set right in the heart of Fremantle with cool boardwalks and cafes, to the beaches further south; South Beach and onto Coogee. The colour of the water in summertime has to be seen to be believed.
things to do in fremantle There are plenty of accommodation options in Freo and we were very lucky to be hosted at the newly opened 30 Arundel (Tel: 0419 171 268) that’s a renovated and reconstructed turn of the century cottage which has 7 modern ensuite bedroooms finished off with beautiful old pieces –  the bedheads are made out of the old floorboards from the main cottage.
things to do in fremantle There’s a Swimming pool with a stunning and unique mosaic bottom, created by Paul the owner.
things to do in fremantleThere are other thoughtful touches which have been built into the building specs which Paul told us about:
“I’ve always disliked having suitcases and wardrobes in hotel bedrooms with all your stuff getting strewn around. Why not have a suitcase stand, hooks and a wardrobe in the bathroom, in the actual place where you are more likely to want to get changed, as you come out of the shower? So we decided to make the bathrooms into spacious wetrooms with a dry area used as a dressing area.”
On our travels we discovered the newly built and innovatively designed  skateboard park which was teeming with youthful young athletes honing their extreme moves beneath Freo’s Big Wheel.
things to do in fremantleThis is a really cool place to watch the world go by and stunts in the making – another form of Freo’s creativity.
things to do in fremantleThe street art in Freo really blew us away on this visit. I’m sure there are other great places in the world where street art is fabulous – so tell us – where is your favourite piece of street art and what is it?
things to do in fremantleDisclaimer: My stay at 30 Arundel was complimentary but all views are my own.
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  1. HI Jo, great overview about one of my favourite places in the world. Love the photos and how amazing is that mural outside East West? Fremantle has changed in so many positive ways over the last few years with some fantastic new cafes and restaurants popping up on all corners.

  2. Thanks Nina, so glad you enjoyed. Yes, that mural! You can just walk into it and never return 😉

  3. wow! I think it is about time hubby & I took another weekender in Fremantle. There has been a lot of new stuff happening since last time we were there. I absolutely need to check out that street art – amazing! and I love the idea of the renovated accommodation you stayed in. Thanks for the heads up on that one. Thanks Jo!

  4. Love Freo. Miss Freo. Wanna go back to Perth, and of course, Freo … and also, back to Rotto!

  5. I love each Down Under Day ‘O Playing you take me on virtually each time, Johanna! So of course I had to check out Char Char Bull. I would start with the Free Range Pork Belly, then the Cone Bay Barramundi for me entre’ and finish with the Coverture Dark Chocolate Tart. I saw they had Kangaroo on the menu. I just couldn’t do it because that would be the equivalent of me eating horse of which I also won’t. I absolutely the street art…it is gorgeous! Have a great weekend!! 🙂

  6. Catherine

    Thanks for another fabulous travel post Jo. We haven’t stayed and meandered around Fremantle for years. As always, you encourage us to be tourists in our own back yard!

  7. Thanks for taking me on a tour of Fremantle. It has been 8 years since I was last there and I must admit that I found it an interesting and exciting place to spend a week. The street art is extraordinary.

  8. HHHMMMmmm… there’s those drinks again!!! I’ve only been to Freo once a few years back but remember an awesome seafood restaurant in the dock area. But next time I’ll def check out the zebra stripes! Hope your weekend is going great!

  9. Thanks Red! Yes there’s some very cool grafitti in Freo and a selection of great seafood restaurants in the dock area – oh dear, have to admit that serve some very fine cocktails too 😉

  10. It’s fabulous, isn’t it Kathy. I expect Freo has changed quite a bit in 8 years, I know it has since we’ve been here.

  11. So glad that I can do that, Catherine. Now, just GO! It’s a beautiful city that’s really upped its tempo.

  12. Ahh yes, Rotto, Henry. A place I must also get back too soon. Glad you love Freo too 🙂

  13. Now why would I think you’d check out the menu and come up with an absolutely divine sounding lunch when I’m sitting here starving hungry Mike? Thank you – and yes, I’m also a bit squeamish about kangaroo, but it’s apparently very good for you – low cholesterol meat.

  14. Glad you enjoyed the virtual tour around Freo, Jill – and hope you get back soon.

  15. Oh that Mural, Nina – you just sort of get lost in it. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  16. Barry Morgan

    Great article on Freo Johanna, this is my first reply, reminded me my visit in Oct 2013. Hope to get back to WA in 2017.

  17. Hi Johanna! How have you been? 🙂

    Wonderful post! Fremantle looks cool and charming! The street art is AMAZING! Love to wander a town full of cafes!

  18. Thanks for popping by Renuka. Glad you liked the post about lovely Freo. I’m fine thank you – how about you?

  19. Thanks Jo for this post, and thanks for bringing Fremantle into my home! I particularly enjoyed the sculptures by Greg James. I’ll be watching for them the next time I’m in Freo.

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