Which bridge? That’s one question facing a driver approaching Fremantle from the north. But before that particular fork in the road, there’s another. Why don’t I stop and explore all the gems dotted along this unassuming stretch of Stirling Highway?
Café Isthmus is a fitting place for a fortifying brunch. From its eyrie on McCabe Street, you can locate yourself in the geography, absorbing a slow view of the port cranes at work. Back on the road, trundle past another bit of local iconography – the Dingo Flour mill – and remind yourself to pick up a tea towel, t-shirt or mug bearing its distinctive red logo when next at a market. Souvenirs don’t get much hipper.
Today, the shopping opportunities begin at Plata Bonita. A vast cavern of Mexican jewellery and colourful homewares, it’s a perfect fossick stop for lovers of silver and bright textiles, and has expanded to fill the gap left by Kardamom Homewares.
The Black Truffle - image Rachael Barrett
Further along the highway, Blu Peter is like nectar to stylish home makers. Gorgeous organic textures and earthy styling have customers swooning over everything from investment sofas to fine woven baskets and light shades, timber objets and fine hand-thrown ceramics.
Glad you stopped? Congratulate yourself at The Black Truffle, a gourmet hunter-gatherer’s paradise whose shelves are laden with smoked salt flakes, artisan crackers, cheese, small goods, relishes and fresh flowers. Nab the window bench for coffee and friands.
When thoughts turn to the outdoors, there’s inspiration at the Stand Up Surf Shop next door. But if you’re not yet ready to plunge in, take a gander from the river bank. There’s a peaceful walk starting near the Gilbert Fraser Oval, from which you can watch boats, paddle boards and kayakers navigate this lazy stretch of river, snaking under the bridges on its way out to sea.
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