Just out of Perth, Fremantle (or Freo) gets the best out of being part Perth suburb (Perth has expanded to include it), part port city: far enough out of town to have an even more relaxed week-endy vibe than Perth but close enough for easy access to the city's shopping and theatres.
People from Perth come down for the weekend markets to wander the warrens of pathways, created in the crush the Fremantle Market stalls coated in crafts and local produce. And then to follow that up with an afternoon sitting in a cafe along the strip watching the world go by at a weekend pace.
Freo's markets are both typical and expansive. So you can everything here you're expecting to find at a market – and then more. So you've got your clothes and jewellery, your gift-y things made of candle wax, feathers, wood, metal and cloth, your inexplicably shaped wind chime-y things and other unfamiliar looking homewares, your antiques and retro treasures, your art, then your scents and soaps etc.
But of course that's only the non-food items, 'cause the fresh produce section, in The Yard bit, heaves under a similarly heavy load of choice: fish and wine – of course, honey, coffee, nuts, fruit and veg, cheese, bread. And of course the dishes that you can eat on the spot: crepes, curries, international foods of all flavours, and sweet treats and chocs. When it all gets going the smell is amazing.
For such a relaxed place things can get pretty hectic on market days, with all of that lot competing for your buying attention. Fremantle's not so laid back that it's in a coma though, there's plenty of history to the place and it's still one of Western Australia's largest shipping ports; it's located at the mouth of the Swan River, so there's a lot of activity going on under the surface.
Cheap warehouse style accommodation left over from shipping, draws smaller arts organisations out of Perth for the discounted rent, so there's usually something going on in town arts wise and you can be pretty certain your restaurant food is going to be fresh and served with a local brewed beer or Margaret River wine. So come for the markets and stay for the evening and vulture some culture, or gobble some fresh nosh.
We make the trip down to Freo every other weekend and always pop into the markets as they have such a great vibe. With so many talented artists residing in the area, I find these markets a goldmine for gorgeous art that doesn’t cost a fortune. There is one lady there who creates framed art from folding tiny origami cranes out of decorative papers, the pieces are stunning and something you don’t find in your everyday gift stores.
By M Ed - senior reviewer Tuesday, 14th of June @ 10:20 am
That sounds lovely - I'm sure I've not seen that sort of thing elsewhere!