The vibrant city of Fremantle blends the old with the new, creating an enriching cultural experience. Maritime, convict and colonial history can be explored in one of the best preserved examples of a 19th century port streetscape on Earth, while buzzing markets, lively bars and casual street cafés give you a taste of 21st century life with the locals. As Perth's neighbouring port town, Fremantle (or Freo as it's affectionately known) is just a 30-minute drive or train ride from the city. Or, you can hop on the ferry from Barrack Street for a leisurely cruise down the Swan River. If you're hitting the heritage trail, be sure to include a visit to the Western Australian Maritime Museum, World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison and Western Australia's oldest public building, the Roundhouse.
You can even take in some classic colonial architecture as you sip your coffee on the Cappuccino Strip or a cool beer at one of many heritage pubs. And if you venture into the Fremantle Markets, you'll experience the exotic aromas, sights and sounds of an icon that's been bustling for more than 100 years. At its shores, the redeveloped Fishing Boat Harbour that has been in operation since the early 1900s is still the best place to sample fresh local seafood, only today you can wash it down with a locally-brewed ale or premium West Australian wine.
For shopaholics, the pickings are just as rich, from high street fashion to local designers, homewares to curios and a range of galleries, including Aboriginal art. And after sundown, you'll see the street cafes, bars and clubs crank up the pace to create a buzzing night scene.
If you're making Fremantle your base, you'll find plenty of budget backpacker accommodation, as well as boutique bed and breakfasts, self-catering cottages, apartments and hotels to choose from. Freo is a town that is proud of its authenticity, anything-goes attitude and creativity. Experience it at its best by timing your visit to coincide with one of its many famous cultural festivals.