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See & Do

Cannon fires at the Round House every day at 1 pm|Kazoomies at E Shed, Victoria Quay|WA Maritime Museum|Segways Tour outside Fremantle Prison|Leeuwin II - (image Ashleigh Tapper Photography)

14 things you might not know about Freo

There’s always something new to discover about Freo. Are you across it all?

1. At 1 pm daily, a cannon is fired at the Round House. Guides give the lowdown on why you should ‘keep your eye on the ball’. Book in advance if you want to put your hand up to fire the cannon.

2. Fremantle Arts Centre is a cool oasis all week long with its high-ceilinged galleries and garden café. On Sundays, free music happens in the courtyard between 2 and 4pm (Oct-Mar).

3. Far from the Cappuccino Strip, Kazoomies (at the E Shed) has earned its stripes as a Trip Advisor darling with its interesting Moroccan fare. A brekkie favourite.

Little Creatures rear deck has a sand pit with enough toy tip trucks to occupy dozens of kids.

4. The WA Maritime Museum has entry by donation on the second Tuesday of the month. The WA Shipwrecks Museum is just a gold coin on any given day – not bad for the foremost museum of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

5. You can paddle around in the submerged passageways underneath the Fremantle Prison. Take the Tunnels Tour!

6. Segway Tours offer a novel mode of transport and a guided tour of Freo’s points of interest, all in one. Tours depart near the WA Shipwrecks Museum.

7. You can often spy a tall ship at the port, in the form of the sail training ship Leeuwin II. Wander along from the B Shed for a gander.

8. The Fremantle Tourist Wheel has 25,000 LEDs, and spins every 8 minutes or so – until 9 pm most nights, 10 pm on Saturdays. Hitch a ride.

9. Little Creatures rear deck has a sand pit with enough toy tip trucks to occupy dozens of kids.

10. At Clancy’s Fish Pub, Farmer Damien’s animal farm is in residence on Fridays from 4 pm and Sundays from 1 pm.

11. The deckchairs on the beach at Bathers Beach House are the only licensed beach chairs in Australia. Take a seat to claim bragging rights.

12. The Esplanade has a pool bar that cranks up in summer. Secreted upstairs in lush surrounds, there’s special access for the public. It’s open Thursday to Sunday, midday to 8 pm.

13. The pretty brick work embedded in the footpaths around town – etched and painted with blue sea ‘fossils’ – isn’t just there for looks. It follows the old shore line that existed long before Esplanade Park and the railway line came into being on reclaimed land. Follow the trail along parts of Marine Terrace, Croke Street and Phillimore Street.

14. The Fremantle story website has a bunch of self-guided walking trails that help give focus to your wandering. Choose from historic, culturally significant or arty offerings.

Ed
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Fresh air and blue skies of South Beach|Fishing Boat Harbour|Little Creatures branded bikes|Containbow (artist Marcus Canning)|Check out the street art on Tydeman Road|Aperol Spritz at Bib & Tucker

Cycling South Beach to Leighton

We’re going on a bike ride. It’s a non-lycra kind of affair: just seven kilometres each way, a leisurely pace, no hill climbs, plenty of stop-and-ogle moments, and coffee at start and finish. Maybe even beer.

Coming?

First, a short black at The Third Wheel, to get in the zone. Then we’ll nip across Wilson Park to the cycleway, breeze along the green stretches of South Beach, breathe in the maritime flavour along Mews Road, and approach Fishing Boat Harbour with our wits about us.

Let’s hope our bells are working. Lotta foot, bike and pram traffic between Little Creatures and Kidogo Arthouse. Yes, it is too soon to stop for an ale but we might detour down to the Bathers Beach decking for a horizon-scanning how-good-is-this? moment. Once we get past the Round House, we’ll feel more intrepid. Vehicular traffic will fade out as the Rottnest ferry terminal slips by us on our left, until we’re cruising past the Passenger Terminal and the cranes of the working port, taking in vistas we never quite get from the car. On our narrow cycle lane suspended off the side of the old traffic bridge over the Swan River, we’ll feel more evolved and connected than any driver. 

Look right, and there’s a new view of the Containbow. Look left for a mash-up of boats, pontoons and cranes. Look down; very possibly dolphins. Ahead, just shy of the North Fremantle café and bar strip, the bike path corners off to the left, taking us around the back of the Swan Hotel to Tydeman Road for our first big decision: head left towards Coast restaurant and hug the dunes all the way to Leighton, or cross Tydeman for a bit of variety.

We’ll likely do the latter, revelling in the cute residential serenity of Pearse Street and the glimpses into Stirling Highway’s back end, before stopping to admire the epic mural that heralds a stint of quiet railway wilderness. This stretch also affords the chance to test our speed against a passing train as we approach North Fremantle station.

Let’s cross over here and go coastal. The cobbled paving between apartment blocks will usher us into civilisation again, i.e. places we can stop and imbibe.

The Orange Box and Bib & Tucker will vie for our attention. A quick game of Paper Scissors Rock should sort it out. Either way, we’ll definitely stop to drink in the ocean views before pedalling back along the coast, taking the odd smug selfie. Way more fun than driving.

Pedal power - these Freo bike shops handle every cycling whim.

South Beach Cycles: Funky treadly store doing a specialty line in cargo bikes, fitted with classy timber tubs designed to carry what you’d put in a car (kids, dogs, gardening gear.)

Captain Walker: A drool-worthy range of vintage, retro, classic, fat and skinny bikes, plus attentive servicing.

Mercer Cycles: A Freo institution, brimful of a cyclist’s every want, from standard fittings to quirky extras and a can-fix attitude.

Port City Cycles: As well as vast bike, accessory and hire options, rides for serious cyclists are held on Saturday mornings.

Hiring your wheels?

Fremantle Visitor Centre: A few bikes (including kids mountain bikes) are available free on a first-in basis, 9.30 am - 3 pm.

Port City Cycles: Kids, tandems, trailers, road bikes and hybrids from $10.

Little Creatures: Get around for a day on a Creatures-branded bike, no charge.

Spinway: Swipe your credit card at the stand near the Esplanade Hotel or Cicerello’s, where the helmets are kept.

South Beach Cycles: Hybrid bikes for hire year round, and come summer, hire a cargo bike to carry extra loads.

Ed
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Sunrise & sunset views covered at Be. Fremantle|Quest Apartments on Pakenham Street|Hougoumont Hotel|Quality Suites on Bannister Street|Esplanade Hotel's Ball & Chain bar|Tradewinds rooftop terrace bar|Pier 21 balcony overlooking the Swan River|Seashells East Fremantle|Cappuccino Strip Fremantle

Come and stay

If there’s one drawback to the Fremantle day trip, it’s going home at the end of it. No lingering late over dinner. No finding a sneaky night cap while wandering the West End. No being at your favourite coffee haunt inside two minutes. Unless, of course, you embrace the ‘staycation’ idea, and book a room.

Having out of town friends or relatives to visit? Consider bypassing the spare room and setting up a home from home in Freo. Likewise if you’re attending one of the summer festivals, and can’t face the commute home. Or if you’re just wanting a change of scenery without the added airfare. Freo has ‘short break’ written all over it.

In the thick of it
Freo’s West End has a handful of boutique accommodation offerings, putting you in walking distance of everything. One of its oldest sites, the former Manning Folly, is now home to the smart Quest Apartments on Pakenham Street. There’s modern comfort in the slick one and two bedroom apartments, but for a taste of the history, just look up. An impressive glass art installation on the third floor tilts its hat to the extravagance of Charles Manning’s former residence, and his passion for astronomy.

At the Hougoumont, shipping containers are wryly referenced in the room design, but there’s nothing industrial about the experience. The boutique hotel embraces the ideals of hospitality by offering coffee, bottled water, wine and cheese as added extras at no cost. The stylish lounge-cum-lobby has a friendly mixed use feel–work, recline, make your own cuppa–and the walls are adorned with the names of the convicts who came to Fremantle on the ship whose name now adorns this classy hotel.

...if you’re just wanting a change of scenery without the added airfare. Freo has ‘short break’ written all over it.

Across the road, Quality Suites has around 30 rooms and suites making good use of the inner city site that is both right in the middle of everything, and quietly tucked away in unassuming Bannister Street. A small team puts all their hospitality muscle behind this establishment, tending to guests’ sleeping requirements right on the doorstep of Fremantle’s food and entertainment offerings.

Alternatively, you could check in to the Esplanade by Rydges and never leave the hotel, if that was your bag. Especially if you plumped for the premier spa suite. The elegant rooms are matched by a slew of eating and drinking options on site, plus resort style pools. It’s close to both the Cappuccino Strip and Fishing Boat Harbour, with Esplanade Park at its feet. Look out for festival packages.

Rooms with a view
Go a little sideways, and you can get that Freo feeling with something extra: a holiday vibe. Consider Be. Fremantle, for example. It’s as far along Mews Road as you can be without getting wet–perched right on the end of the groyne at Fishing Boat Harbour. Every apartment has a water view here, surrounded by marina, harbour and Indian Ocean. That’s sunrise and sunset views covered. A recent refurb has seen some smart new additions at the pointy end, and accommodation ranges from studio rooms to 3-bedroom townhouses. Waterside dining is as close as Bathers Beach House or Char Char, where you can put your meal on your room tab.

...imbibing on the balcony, gazing at the bobbing boats and secluded beach, and congratulating yourself on your excellent staycation planning.

A lot of refurb dollars have been sunk into the Tradewinds as well. It’s not just a famous watering hole. It’s now a stylish sleeping option, with gorgeously appointed rooms and up to the minute tech. One of the biggest bonuses for in-house guests is the huge rooftop terrace bar, with views out across the river.

Some similar views are gettable from Seashells, tucked in a pocket of East Fremantle close to George Street’s hub. Furnished with Empire furnishings and equipped with free parking, it also has a lift directly up to the rooftop bar and restaurant, Sweetwater.

At Pier 21 in North Fremantle, several suites flank the grassy area right on the river’s edge. A sense of quiet and calm cocoons everything here. You might even find yourself feeling a bit smug, imbibing on the balcony, gazing at the bobbing boats and secluded beach, and congratulating yourself on your excellent staycation planning.

Ed
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Escape from Pompeii: the Untold Roman Rescue

This new international exhibition Escape from Pompeii: the Untold Roman Rescue features amazing artefacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Bay of Naples in a breath-taking display which includes precious gold and jewellery as well as five haunting body casts of victims of the eruption, capturing their final moments.

Many know of the tragic eruption that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under huge waves of volcanic ash and debris, preserving them and their residents for 2000 years.

However, very few know that the Roman navy attempted to evacuate people affected by the eruption or its important role in the success of the Roman Empire.

The amazing story is told through the words of the Roman Navy’s commander of the fleet Pliny the Elder and his nephew. Pliny was a Roman politician and author who witnessed the event and created the only surviving first hand account of the disaster.

There is a packed program of activities to suit the most curious, playful and reflective museum visitors. From After Dark events to pizza making classes, from improvisation to virtual reality, the Museum will have something for everyone.

Connecting with Roman–Italian culture, the WA Maritime Museum will also be joining the Blessing of the Fleet and Little Italy by the Sea Festivals to offer special events and premiere activities including the Fashion Gala event as a part of Little Italy by the Sea festival and a photographic exhibition.

For more information on Escape from Pompeii: the Untold Roman Rescue exhibition click here.

Escape from Pompeii: the Untold Roman Rescue is developed in association with the Australian National Maritime Museum, Expona and Contemporanea Progetti. The exhibition is open until 4 February 2018.

#EscapeFromPompeii

Ed
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Fremantle Food Tours|Segway tours in Fremantle|Invisible Cities|Fremantle Tram Tours|Fremantle Tram venue for Hidden Treasures

Quirky ways to explore Fremantle

Short on time or looking for a new perspective on the place you know and love? Here’s a few quirky ideas for exploring Freo.

 

Fremantle Tourist Wheel

The subject for many a photographer (day and night) you can’t miss the iconic wheel on Esplanade Reserve. Jump into a pod and do a circuit that will take you to a height of 40 metres. At the top most peak you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views across the city, Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle Harbour and on a clear day, right across to Rottnest Island.

Check out this video of Lucy Peach filmed in one of the pods of Fremantle Tourist Wheel as part of a special Fremantle edition of the RTRFM View From Here Series.

Invisible Cities Fremantle

Launched as part of Fremantle Heritage Festival, this engaging and interactive app reveals experiential tales you can listen to as you walk through Fremantle’s streets. From escapee chooks running down Essex Street to children ‘fishing for tourists’ from the rooftops of Cliff Street during the America’s Cup or a chaotic recollection of a boating trip up the Swan River gone wrong. Download the app from the App Store (for iPhones) and Google Play (for Android) and allow ‘push notifications’ to be told when you are near a story site.

Segway Tours WA (Fremantle)

In simple terms, the Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered, electric vehicle. The feeling of riding Segway is a little more indescribable. The name is derived from the word ‘segue’, meaning smooth transition. Guided tours leave from 2 Marine Terrace (just outside WA Shipwreck Museum) and offer an experience in weightlessness as you roll on by.

Fremantle Food Tours

From start (ers) to desert, these walking tours introduce you to some of Fremantle’s great food spots and the stories behind the business. Enjoy a meal with fellow tour participants over six locations with a chance to walk it off between courses. It’s a little different than your standard walking tour.

Fremantle Tram Tours

In the early 1900’s, trams were the main form of public transport in Fremantle, operating services from the Fremantle Municipal Tramways building on High Street (opposite the Round House) throughout the city centre and surrounding suburbs.

In 2017 you can have a tram experience aboard Fremantle Tram Tours. The Hop-on-Hop-off tour drops you at key spots throughout the city including WA Maritime Museum, Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle Prison and Fremantle Visitor Centre with the added benefit of entertaining drivers delighted to share their stories and anecdotes of Fremantle.

During Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series (every Thursday night in July) you can enjoy a tram ride around Fremantle listening to some of WA’s finest acoustic musicians. Find the tram stop on High Street outside the Buffalo Club. Spaces are limited and on a first come, first serve basis.

Ed
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Esplanade Youth Plaza|Free bike hire from Fremantle Visitor Centre|Fremantle International Street Arts Festival (Snap Boogie) 13-17 April|WA Shipwrecks Museum|Junior Fishing Clinic at Victoria Quay

Ten FREE school holiday activities in Fremantle

Here's ten free activities for kids to do in the April school holidays. It’s a chance to put away the devices and experience the fresh salty air and wide open spaces in Fremantle. We’ll wager there’ll be a few you didn’t know about–feel free to spread the word.

1. Free wheeling free bike hire
This free bike hire service with bikes for adults and kids (8+ years) operates from the Fremantle Visitor Centre in Kings Square. Bikes can be used anywhere in the Fremantle area. There are a limited number of bikes available for hire so arrive early to avoid disappointment.


Image: Booyeembara Park, cnr Stevens & Montreal Street Fremantle

3. Take a spin at the Esplanade Youth Plaza
Pack up the kid’s skateboards, scooters or roller skates and spend an afternoon at one of the most popular skate facilities in the metropolitan area. There’s also places to try ping pong, rock climbing, slacklining and parkour and the playground adjacent to the plaza has swings and a giant climbing frame. Bring a picnic or grab a bite to eat from nearby cafés and restaurants all within walking distance.

4. Behind the scenes tour at WA Shipwrecks Museum
For the older kids every Wednesday and Sunday WA Shipwrecks Museum offers a free and exclusive behind the scenes tour of the WA Shipwrecks Museum through maritime archaeology and conservation works areas. Bookings essential. On the second Tuesday of every month entry to WA Maritime Museum is free (the next one falls Tuesday 11 April).

5. Freo Easter Hunt
Pick up a #Freo_Easter Hunt map from participating businesses or the local paper from Saturday 8 April and start hunting for special eggs in shop windows around Fremantle city centre. Collect all the numbers, crack the code and you can enter the prize draw.

6. Junior Fishing Clinic
Recfishwest is offering a free SunSmart fishing clinic at Victoria Quay in Fremantle on Thursday 13 April. Kids do need to be supervised by a parent or guardian and will learn fishing skills like casting and fish handling and how to fish sustainably.

7. Firing of the cannon at the Round House
Opened in 1831, Round House is the oldest public building in Western Australia. It’s open every day between 10.30 and 3.30 (except Christmas Day and Good Friday). Hear the story of why the cannon is fired every day at 1 pm – visitors can even apply to act as the honorary gunner!

8. Fremantle International Street Arts Festival 13-17 April
It really is Australia’s biggest and best street arts festival (if not the world!) and if you live in Perth Western Australia it’s right on your doorstep. This year, for the first time, there will be performances from Good Friday right through to Easter Monday from lunch time well into the evening. Download the program to plan what you’d like to see or just rock up on the day and let the atmosphere sweep you along. It’s beautiful, engaging, hilarious and simply a fabulous day out with the family. 

Fremantle International Street Arts Festival 2017
Image: Hell's Cocky's will be performing at this year's Fremantle International Street Arts Festival 13-17 April

9. Self guided walking trails
Explore iconic Fremantle attractions, history, cultural heritage and the arts with one of the Explore Fremantle walking trails. There are seven trails to choose from including cafés, a general discovery trail and heritage highlights. The trails work on iPhone and Android devices (you can connect to FREBytes free wifi in the CBD).

10. Play giant chess in Kings Square
Almost directly under the newly unveiled Fremantle Town Hall is a giant marble chess board. You'll find the chess pieces stored under the ‘kings bench’ near the Moreton Bay fig tree. If the bench is locked pop into the Fremantle Visitor Centre and they'll open it up for you.

Late addition: kids (of all ages) will love checking out the giant fish tanks at Cicerellos!

All of the above are free which might leave some money in your pocket for a morning or afternoon treat at one of Freo’s cafés. There’s a few favourites including a milkshake and a pie from Culley’s Tearooms, fish & chips at Fishing Boat Harbour or the nature and art hub for kids (and their grown ups) at Moore and Moore Café on Henry Street.

If you are looking for more bright ideas, Fremantle story publishes an official school holiday guide full of classes, workshops and special offers that will help you keep the kids busy all through the holidays.

Ed
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Fremantle's Cappuccino Strip|Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle|Fremantle Arts Centre|Fremantle Prison|Round House|Little Creatures Brewery|Leeuwin II, Victoria Quay, Fremantle

Fremantle | top 10 things to do

Okay, so you have got 24 hours and you want to know what to see in Fremantle? The team at the Fremantle Visitor Centre meet and greet hundreds of thousands of people every year so they have a pretty good idea of what’s on everyone’s bucket list.

1. Cappuccino Strip
From the corner of Bannister Street to Parry Street, the street officially known as South Terrace is renowned as the ‘Cappuccino Strip’. It’s also the perfect place for a spot of people watching as you sit in the sunshine and enjoy the life and colour that is Fremantle.

2. Fishing Boat Harbour
Home to the city’s recreational and commercial fishing fleet, Fishing Boat Harbour is connected by boardwalk flanked with cafés, restaurants and a brewery! It’s a favourite destination to sample fresh seafood (and piping hot chips).

3. Fremantle Arts Centre
Housed within an iconic heritage building and beautiful grounds, Fremantle Arts Centre is one of Australia's leading arts organisations. The impressive convict built arts centre dates back to 1864 when it was the first purpose-built ‘lunatic’ asylum in Western Australia. It has since been a women’s home, a naval base during WW1 and WW2 and a technical college before opening as Fremantle Arts Centre in 1972.

4. Fremantle Markets
Located at the southern end of the Cappuccino Strip, Fremantle Markets is housed in a grand Victorian-era heritage building that was constructed in 1902 and completely restored in 1975 and then added to the Western Australian Register of Heritage Places. It takes up almost the whole block with over 150 stalls under one roof.

5. Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison is the largest and most intact convict built prison in Australia and is Western Australia’s only World Heritage Listed Building. It was continuously used as a place of incarceration for almost 140 years. The prison was decommissioned as a maximum-security gaol in 1991. Without doubt, the highlight of a visit to the prison is the entertaining tours conducted by experienced tour guides who bring the rich folklore and stories of the prison to life.

6. Little Creatures Brewery
The chubby cupid with his bow on the Little Creatures label is the symbol of this iconic Fremantle boutique brewery. Set on the waterfront at Fishing Boat Harbour, and in an old warehouse that was previously a crocodile farm, Little Creatures brews a variety of award winning craft beers and ales on-site.

7. WA Maritime Museum
Located on Victoria Quay, the WA Maritime Museum includes galleries exploring Western Australia’s relationship with the sea, past, present and future. The museum is home to several true-life exhibitions; in one enormous space is the America’s Cup winning yacht, Australia II. Also inside the museum is Parry Endeavour, the yacht that carried Jon Sanders on his record-breaking triple circumnavigation of the globe. Next door is the Oberon-class Australian submarine HMAS Ovens.

8. Round House
The Round House is the oldest public building in Western Australia and stands at the western end of High Street on Arthur Head, a high promontory overlooking Bathers Beach and the Indian Ocean. The twelve-sided building was purpose-built as a gaol in 1831.

9. Rottnest Island
While technically not actually in Fremantle, O’Connor’s Landing on Victoria Quay, is the main departure point for a 25 minute ferry ride Perth’s favourite holiday destination of Rottnest Island.

10. Tall ships
In 1606, the little Dutch ship Duyfken sailed from Indonesia in search of gold and spices to trade. Heading south-east, she explored and charted parts of present-day Papua New Guinea before making landfall on the northern coast of the Australian continent. The replica of the Duyfken (the name means 'Little Dove') has its home port in Fremantle and is berthed in Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour behind Little Creatures Brewery.
Another tall ship berthed in Fremantle is Leeuwin II sail–training ship. The Leeuwin is a 55 metre-long barquentine with three masts that carry more than 810 square metres of sail berthed at Victoria Quay near the Maritime Museum.

Tell us what would be on your top 10 list of things to do in Fremantle!

Ed
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Market Street Piazza|Culley's Tea Rooms|Atwell Arcade|Pigeonhole|La Sosta

Off to one side

The first rule of happy fossicking could well be this: Go where the traffic doesn’t. When you leave the pulse of the main drag and take your urban wanderlust to the nearby malls, arcades and piazzas, the opportunities for quiet discovery ramp up. In Fremantle’s pedestrian-friendly spaces, some things are new, some are defiantly old school. Sometimes both.

In the High Street Mall, Culley’s Tea Rooms–a well loved fixture for more than 90 years–has shifted sideways, modernised its fit-out and found a new lease of life for its famous pies, pastries and horse shoe rolls. Also adopting new digs, Pigeonhole has brought a distinctly hip vibe to what was the souvenir shop at the top end of the mall (Mountain Designs has stepped in where the old Pigeonhole resided). Notable not just for its fun giftware, funky threads and jewellery, Pigeonhole also warmly welcomes your hound.

Like Culley’s, the new Cotton On Megastore–a kind of department store for all things casual cotton clothing–makes the best of two facades; one in the mall, one in the newly renovated Atwell Arcade. There’s a distinctively polished feel here since its multimillion dollar makeover. When following the shiny-tiled short-cut to Market Street, allow time to stop for specialty coffee at Little Hush (manual pour over, anyone?), a quiet browse in Margaret River Hemp Co and a footwear finding mission at the street specialist Hype (go ahead, bring your dog here too).

On the opposite side of High Street Mall, follow your nose–literally–down Manning Arcade to Blue Budha (yes, they spell it this way!), an exponent of all things spiritual, where the aroma of essential oils heralds a trove of crystals, dream catchers and wellness books. Embrace your inner hippyherbal-spiritualist and book in for a tarot or psychic reading.

Down the way in South Terrace Piazza–past the hipster pocket of Paddy Troy Mall owned by The Grumpy Sailor café and Captain Walker’s Bicycles–some Freo stalwarts keep the New Age spirit alive. Ark of Joan sells gifts, books, candles and clothing that buck the mainstream. For more than 20 years, Into Camelot has been furnishing expressive fans of medieval style (a swag of colourful musicians and performers are known to enhance their stage presence here) with romantic clothing.

Eyes peeled for fairies darting in and out from the neighbouring Pickled Fairy, where all imaginable tulle, wand and glitter needs are met. Head to Milk Belly café when you’re ready to check back in with the real world.

Nomad Gnome, in Fremantle Malls, adds flamboyance to an area with a strong focus on personal maintenance. Get your hair, your waxing and your massage needs satisfied along here. And for a contrasting style of threads, try Frock This, where new, pre-loved and vintage clothing share the racks.

Meanwhile, back near the Cappuccino Strip, eating gnocchi on the deep balcony at La Sosta overlooking Market Street Piazza is a great way to reconnect with both the picturesque building facades and the Italian influence on Fremantle. Spot the Italian restaurants within spitting distance. By day, Bottega café downstairs (new from the La Sosta crew) upholds the authentic Italian manifesto. Cured meats hang from the ceiling and artisan fare spills from the home kitchen.The recently beautified piazza at its doorstep has made for a more pedestrian-friendly, alfresco-happy space just off the Cappuccino Strip. It’s a space with a vision. When not being activated for festivals and special events, its paved streetscape, landscaping and lighting does another job: it captures the essence of being in Fremantle. Albeit slightly off to one side.

Ed
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View from Dwerda Weeardinup overlooking Derbal Yaragan|Manjaree|Art class at Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre

"Fremantle is a beautiful place"

Fremantle is a special place for people all over the world but few of us understand its significance to traditional owners, the Whadjuk Nyoongar people that has sustained them for over 50 000 years.

The City of Fremantle has completed an important consultation process with traditional owners of Fremantle or Walyalup as it is known, that speaks about this significance.

The stories are told of the area known as Walyalup which means the “place of the Walyo or Woylie” or kangaroo rat. It’s a place of strong social, spiritual, cultural and historic significance to the Whadjuk Nyoongar people.

Walyalup (Fremantle)
Bidi (trails) lead people from inland camps to Walyalup where they conduct ceremonial and cultural business, hunt, camp and fish.

Manjaree (meeting place and camp) is acknowledged by the Whadjuk Nyoongar people as the place where trading valuable items and families of people gather for kinship and law making; where mothers, fathers, and old people get together; and where young men and women whom have ‘come of age’ meet future husbands and wives.

One of the most important bidi (trails) was the sandbar or limestone rock bar crossing at the mouth of Derbal Yaragan (Swan River). This crossing facilitated seasonal travel based on the Nyoongar seasons and for cultural and ceremonial activities.

Walyalup was a shared space between many Nyoongar people and was an important place of trade and exchange. It was also a place where Nyoongar people held their funeral rites.

The Nyoongar people had their traditional camping grounds in and around the area including on sites known as Fremantle Park, East Fremantle Oval, Tradewinds Hotel, Fremantle Cemetery, South Beach and Coogee Beach.

Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre (WACC)
The cultural centre on Captains Lane in the Bathers Beach Art Precinct showcases Aboriginal art, culture and history. It’s a place where you can connect with Whadjuk Nyoongar people and culture.

The centre runs a program of workshops to coincide with the Nyoongar seasons including language classes, movie screenings, exhibitions, bush food workshops and art classes. Check fremantlestory.com.au for the latest program and centre opening times.

Dwerda Weeardinup (Cantonment Hill)
Dwerda Weeardinup, place of the dog (dingo) spirit, provides some of the most spectacular views of Fremantle overlooking the Derbal Yaragan (Swan River) and Fremantle Harbour. It’s located on the south side of the river at the intersection of Queen Victoria Street and Canning Highway.

According to the traditional owners Dwerda Weeardinup is one of the seven hills of Walyalup (Fremantle) associated with the dreaming story about the Seven Sisters. This dreaming story is one of the widest ranging song lines in Australia that extends from the Central Desert to the West Coast of Australia.

Due to quarrying of limestone in Fremantle, Dwerda Weeardinup (and Clontarf Hill in the South) are the only two of the seven hills left, although other traditional owners say that the dreaming hills are still there and still connects people to their dreaming stories.

It is also associated with the Walyalup dreaming story about the Waugal and the Yondock. The story tells of Yondock, an ancestral crocodile that travelled down from the north, causing floods and disturbances, creating Wadjemup (Rottnest Island), Ngooloorayaup (Carnac Island), Derbal Nara (Cockburn Sound) and flooding the Derbal Yaragan (Swan River) with salt water.

The Waugal (rainbow serpent), guardian of the fresh water, smells the salt and travels down Derbal Yarragan to see what’s happening. With advice from Woorriji (a lizard) in a cave in North Fremantle and strength gained from a freshwater spring at the East Street Jetty, the Waugal fights the crocodile, bites off his tail and places the tail across the mouth of the river to prevent salt water coming up stream.

The tail is secured with hair from the armpits of the Waugal on the southern side of the river, and with toenails from the crocodile on the north side of river (the site where the Dingo Flour Mill sits). The rest of the crocodile’s body remains as Meeandip (Garden Island) and dingoes watch from Dwerda Weeardinup (Cantonment Hill) to make sure the spirit of the crocodile is not reunited with its tail.

Note: The information, stories and names in this article have been sourced from Statements of Significance for the Fremantle Area and Registered Aboriginal Sites prepared by Moodjar Consultancy for the City of Fremantle, March 2016. View the document document at fremantle.wa.gov.au/statementsofsignificance

Fremantle story
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Make a terrific terrarium

How to make a terrarium

With the school year officially over and Christmas approaching there’s a bit more time to encourage the kids to make Christmas presents for loved ones and friends.

The gorgeous team at Inkling Art Space have an inexpensive and simple project for kids to get into the festive spirit....how to make a terrarium. Watch the video or follow the instructions below.

 

Materials
Clean glass jar
Small plants
Potting mix
Gravel
Optional extras–fly screen, shells, gems and tiny decorative objects

Instructions
1. Pour gravel into the jar up to 1.5 cm.
2. Add a piece of fly screen to stop the soil from mixing with the gravel (optional).
3. Add a layer of potting mix up to 2 cm.
4. Place plants inside the jar and check the lid will go on without crushing the plants.
5. When you are happy with how the plants look, cover the roots with soil.
6. Add some decorative shells or gravel.
7. Water the plants and screw the lid on.
Tip: You can decorate the lid of your terrarium by spray painting it or gluing cool things on.

Maintaining your terrarium
• Water lightly once a week or so (check if there is water in the gravel)
• If it is too wet, leave the lid open for a while
• Leave the lid off if you are using cacti or succulents–they do not like being too wet

PS: Inkling Arts Space are running their ‘Terrific Terrariums’ workshop on 5 January (we’d recommend booking to make sure you don’t miss out). Check the school holiday pages for details and find other summer school holiday classes and workshops in Fremantle. Download the official school holiday program here.

Ed
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A Shed Victoria Quay|Sunrise over Fremantle Harbour|East Indian Market Stall, oil on canvas, Albert Eckhout, 1640-1666|Nice catch!|WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay

Freo's Victoria Quay

There are not many places in the world where you can get up close to the action of a busy working port. At Victoria Quay in the heart of Fremantle you’ll witness the grace of giant container and cruise ships moving in and out of the harbour, you can spot dolphins, visit a world class museum or stand alongside a replica tall ship.

It’s the place where manyy locals travel ‘overseas’ for the first time, leaving the mainland for a relaxing day trip or much needed break to 'Rotto' (Rottnest Island). It's a place for magical sunsets over the Indian Ocean, fisherman try their luck and the huge giraffe like cranes create a dramatic skyline that inspires local photographers and painters alike.

Western Australian Maritime Museum
The stunningly beautiful architectural icon that is Western Australian Maritime Museum is perched almost precariously over Fremantle Harbour. The museum houses several unique galleries with a changing exhibition program and is home to the winning America's Cup yacht Australia II and an Oberon class submarine—HMAS Ovens.

Leeuwin II
A sail training tall ship, the Leeuwin II (Dutch for Lioness) is berthed just outside B Shed at Victoria Quay. The Leeuwin is a working ship that offers a learning and leadership development program for young people. With 3 masts, over 810 square metres of sail and around 55 metres in length, it makes a magnificent sight on the quay. The original Leeuwin Galleon was a Dutch ship that discovered and mapped some of the southwest corner of Australia in 1622.

E—Shed Markets
Established in the E—Shed cargo store, which has been a part of Victoria Quay for almost 100 years, the forecourt at E—Shed Markets is one of the best places on the quay to sit in the sun and look out over the inner harbour. The combination of food stalls and market stalls changes regularly. Check our listings below for our hot spot recommendations.

Bottlenose dolphins
Taking a stroll along Victoria Quay, riding the train to Perth or catching the Rottnest Ferry you’ll often spot a pod of Bottlenose dolphins in Fremantle Inner Harbour. They seem to love riding the backwash from the tug boats, ferries, container ships.

Events coming up at Victoria Quay
Fremantle Ports Maritime Day | Saturday 12 November
Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World | 31 Oct 2016–23 Apr 2017
Ovation of the Seas | 6 & 7 December 2016

 

Ed
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