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Published March 22nd 2017
the best places to eat and drink and discover
I'm encouraging us locals, and educating any visitors, to make the most of the weekend-prime areas of Perth, with a collection of articles 'Spend a Day in…'. These places are home to our favourite spots, and full of great things to do, eat, and drink. All of them can easily make it a day.
Fremantle is a favourite place of many locals and foreigners alike. In fact, Fremantle ranked in Lonely Planet's Top 10 Cities to Visit 2016. But how well do we actually know the place? How familiar are we with all the shops and cafes that line those streets? You might be surprised by the variety of activities this town offers.
Free spirited Freo is home to many local artists and crafters. Diverse and inclusive, you won't have to specially request a vegan breakfast here. Locally sourced, fresh, organic produce will be standard on any menu. My breakfast favourites include Alder and co., a cozy attic like cafe in East Fremantle, and the Roasting Warehouse for their great coffee, breakfast muffins and free parking close by.
While you're in south Fremantle, drop in to South Beach for a not too crowded swim (however, beware — the cafe charges top dollar for mediocre food). If it's a seriously hot day, drive up to Leighton beach, which is arguably one of Perth's nicest beaches, for its shady lawns and easy access. Bib and Tucker, and The Shipping Lane just across the road are both excellent choices for food, and The Shipping Lane is pet friendly.
The main drag of Freo on South Terrace has a great collection of shops and side streets to explore. If you're searching for a gift don't miss the Artisan Store. They have a great selection of gifts and homewares all locally produced and the prices are a pleasant surprise. For an alternative shopping experience head over to the newly relocated MANY 2.0. The beauty of Freo is in exploring, so take a trip down a side street and discover art galleries or a new cafe.
One of the more notable attractions of Fremantle is the markets, the crammed warehouse that contains a fantastic variety of locally made giftware and produce. Don't miss the donuts, and the honey cake samples (don't miss anything in there, but especially not those two). The markets are open for the weekend, during the day and early evening. Lesser known but still worthwhile are the E-shed markets. They have a variety of stalls, plus from the harbourside location you can watch the huge cargo ships come in. They have similar opening hours.
Fremantle Prison offers a truly unique experience for your day. Far from dry history, the prison, closed officially in 1991, now shares the 'horrible history' with a variety of tour options for kids and adults alike, with prices starting at just $20. From tales of great escapes to canoeing the underground tunnels, these day or nighttime tours are popular so make sure to book.
You can head to the harbour to watch the sun set over Fremantle. The fishing harbour has several great fish and chips options, Cicerello's being a popular choice due to its large aquariums inside the restaurant. Otherwise there's a plethora of restaurants back on South Terrace. If you're ready for a drink, don't go past Little Creatures brewery where you can soak up the true brewery atmosphere. For somewhere more subdued head over to Bread in Common. With a raw industrial finish and long tables, while you're ordering don't forget to try their bread, baked on wood-fired, volcanic-rock ovens.
For the adventurous, get some friends together and puzzle your way through the Escape Hunt Experience. In this fast growing phenomenon, you and your friends are trapped in a real life escape room that brings childhood puzzle books to life.
There's not enough time to go into detail on all the ways you could spend one day in Fremantle, from Froyo on the beach, to chocolates San Churro desserts. The army museum, Fremantle Arts Centre and the Maritime Museum all have an avid following, so if they sound like your thing be sure to check out their websites for opening times.
There's plenty more I could have included, but between the restaurants and activities in here, there's enough to fill several days. Keep an eye out for special events and markets on throughout the year. With easy access by bus or train, let Freo become your new favourite haunt.