Famed for its welcoming atmosphere, vibrant entertainment, boutique breweries, historic streetscapes and spectacular Indian Ocean backdrop, Western Australia’s port city of Fremantle has been named a “must see” destination for 2016 by one of the world’s most respected international travel publishers, Lonely Planet. Each year, Best in Travel’s recommendations are drawn from hundreds of ideas submitted by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and extended community of travellers, bloggers and tweeters. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016 edition includes the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.
Ranked seventh on the book’s list of Top 10 Cities 2016, Fremantle is “a raffish harbour town with sea-salty soul to burn,” according to Lonely Planet. Australian Olympic gold medallist and co-owner of Fremantle dining venues, Bib & Tucker and May St Larder, Eamon Sullivan says Lonely Planet’s recognition of Fremantle is well-earned. “It’s easy to see why so many people love visiting Fremantle – it’s home to world class beaches, heritage architecture and a flourishing food scene attracting thousands of visitors each year,” Mr Sullivan said.
The eclectic port city of ‘Freo’, as it’s known to locals, is a cultural and creative melting pot of artists, musicians, designers, writers and performers. The city is famous for its music and arts scene, cafes and bars, boutique breweries and historic streetscapes, is currently undergoing a once-in-a-generation revitalisation. More than $1.3 billion worth of development is the pipeline including a number of hotel developments, new restaurants, small bars and retail spaces which will take the city to new heights in its appeal as a global tourism destination.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames welcomed the port city’s selection on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities list for 2016 and said the honour was timely as the city was undergoing its biggest transformation since the America’s Cup defence in 1987. “When you consider all the city has to offer, it’s no wonder the experts at Lonely Planet think Fremantle should be on everyone’s travel list for 2016,” Mr Hames said.
Fremantle boasts the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world. In fact, over 150 buildings in the port city are classified by the National Trust, including The Round House (1831), The Esplanade Hotel (1890s) and the Fremantle Prison (1850s).
Established in 1829 as a port for the fledgling Swan River Colony, Fremantle has a fascinating maritime and convict history. Today, Fremantle retains its strong connection to the sea and is home to a 500-strong fishing fleet, hundreds of yachts and pleasure craft, and two significant historical replica ships The HMS Endeavour and the Duyfken, which was the first Dutch vessel to chart the Australian coastline in 1666.
Visitors can catch a train on the Fremantle line from Perth Station; or take a 20-minute (approximately) drive. If you’re seeking a more leisurely experience, follow the Swan River downstream on a ferry from Barrack Street Jetty. Once in Fremantle, the city is serviced by a convenient and free shuttle-service known as the Central Area Transit (CAT).