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Walk towards the light


Sometimes ‘cosy’ is not the vibe you want on a winter’s day. Sometimes you want the sea spray on your jacket and the breeze in your hair. You want to hear gulls careening above and see white caps out to the horizon. You want to feel the elements, to be away from it all. Somewhere near edge of the world–but not too far from coffee, right?

May we suggest a walk out to the jaunty green lighthouse at the end of South Mole?

From the end of Bathers Bay, it’s just 600 metres to the end, yet light years from the Cappuccino Strip. As you set out on the sealed road with its sloping, rocky edges (that’s Fleet Street, map enthusiasts), Freo’s cosmopolitan offerings give way to its maritime flavour.

On the starboard side of the groyne, the shipping channel cuts a groove between you and the North Mole, where palm trees and acres of colourful shipping containers share the silhouette. Time it right, and this is the perfect place to watch a giant cruise liner make its impressive entry into port.

No matter how glamorous the ship, you get the sense that the laconic fisher folk dotting the rocks at the far end of South Mole would rather be exactly where they are.

“Whatever comes past,” says one of what he’s hoping to catch. “If I catch nothing, great–I don’t have to clean it.”

When the salmon are running, rock real estate gets more squeezy and the fishing gets more dynamic. But on most mornings and evenings this scene is one of quiet, timeless activity; salt of the earth people casting their lines into the indifferent sea. As one solo fisherman notes: “Way better than sitting at home on the couch.”

Come dusk, the green light of the lighthouse begins a call and response with its red counterpart across the channel, mirroring the navigation markers in the water. You can’t access the lighthouse, but you do get that ‘Titanic’ feeling just standing next to it, gazing out to Africa. Rottnest may be more visible, weather permitting.

On the return journey down the groyne, things present at new and novel angles. There’s the llama–like cranes of the port, the gentle curve of the wharf. From this vantage point, the roof line of the Maritime Museum looks even more architecturally interesting than usual.

And then another roof reveals itself in a whole new way. As the action and atmosphere of Fishing Boat Harbour comes into view, jolting you out of a salty reverie, the giant lettering on the roof of the Kidogo Arthouse – FREMANTLE – reminds you just where you can go to get a quick, sensory reboot like this.