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Fremantle - Colourful And Cosmopolitan
fremantle waThe port city of Fremantle is an intriguing one and enjoys an ideal position just twenty minutes south of Western Australia's Capital, Perth. Over the years it has grown into an extremely popular tourist destination and this is mostly owing to its unique intrigue. Effortlessly catching the interests and imaginations of its visitors, Fremantle enjoys an eclectic and cosmopolitan blend of people, a colourful mix of hippies, yuppies and artists, which all contribute to the city's distinctive creative flair. Underlying this is a strong Southern European influence that gives no end of depth to the culinary and entertainment cultures in Fremantle. This is a fun and lively city that is home to plenty of great places to eat, combined with plenty of bars and nightclubs to dance the night away in make for exciting times.

There is more to Fremantle than meets the eye and it is not just about the party vibe. Fremantle boasts a rich, thrilling history that it's very proud of, it can easily be found in the numerous heritage buildings throughout the city (the largest collection in Western Australia) and in the world class museums that seem to reside around every corner. These rows of historic buildings lie side by side and are nestled near extensive grassy parks, many of which converge onto the seashore. There are also a number of walks you can take that will allow you to appreciate not just the heritage buildings but also the unique beauty of Fremantle. One of the most popular of these walks is the East Fremantle Heritage Trail, a popular three kilometre walk through East Fremantle that goes past a bunch of heritage buildings like the old Post Office and Police Station, as well as a number of historic hotels.

If you wish to check out some of the local museums, why not start with the WA Maritime Museum. This would have to be one of the most remarkable museums in Australia as it is home to an incredible display of artefacts brought up from various wrecks on the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The highlight of the museum would have to be the reconstructed Dutch Ship Batavia, which sank in 1629 off the WA coast. The museum pays a shining tribute to the maritime history of this section of the coast, and is well worth a look if you are interested in this. The Fremantle Prison is also worth a visit as it was built by convicts in the 1850's and used as a place of incarceration until 1991. In 1992 it claimed official heritage status and opened to the public as a tourist site. Taking a guided tour through the cells will give you an intriguing insight into the history of this prison and will simply fascinate you.

Another 'must do' while in the area are the Fremantle Markets. These are located in South Terrace, the heart of the 'Cappuccino Strip'. On this strip you will find coffee houses, restaurants and pubs, and the air is filled with the idle chatter of shoppers resting their legs and enjoying the buzz of the cafe culture here. These markets differ from your traditional markets as they aren't outside, but are actually housed in an old heritage listed Victorian building. Featuring over 150 stalls that sell purvey foods, crafts and gifts from all over the world these markets are the true highlight of the week. The markets have created a unique atmosphere of their own, one that has been forged by the creative freedom allowed to buskers and other artists who display their talents to the crowds. A visit to the markets is not just a mere trip out to the shops, its a cultural experience like no other.

To further your cultural experience of Fremantle, head down to the Little Creatures Brewery on Mews Road. This micro-brewery is situated in a massive converted boat shed, right on the water. Countless varieties of beer are brewed here and this can be witnessed by the large vats behind the bar. You even get to choose your drink right out of the vat it was brewed in! The spacious boat shed contains long tables where you can sit and order from the traditionally Australian menu. It's a very casual and fun place for an evening out, and because there's so much room bookings aren't essential. All you have to do is just wander on in and enjoy the Little Creatures hospitality.

Enjoying a unique contrast between history and the present, Fremantle will delight you from the moment you get here. It's a refreshing place to visit,and it gives you a feeling of really being alive. So the next time you're in Perth, take the short drive down to Fremantle and do some exploring. You wont regret it!

Christine Barton

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