Fremantle, Australia

Fremantle is a port on the western coast of Australia, facing out into the Indian Ocean. Often referred to as Freo, it's not just a suburb or outgrowth of Perth, but a city in its own right - it's where Western Australia got started. Later on the action moved upriver to Perth city centre, which meant that Fremantle missed a lot of modern development, and retained its charming character.

Fremantle has long been the first port of call in Australia for ships from Europe - by the Dutch in the 1600s then by the English from the early 1800s. At first it competed with Albany WA as a shipping port, then overtook it to become the premier west coast port, both as port-of-call and as definitive destination for the growing region. This brought a motley population of itinerants, workers and settlers, especially the convicts who from 1850 were transported here from England to ease a labour shortage, at a time when transportation had ceased elsewhere in Australia. Fremantle is therefore well endowed with historic buildings and streets redolent of that era, and the story is well-told in the museums and prison. This heritage escaped 20th-century demolition as the CBD moved up to central Perth. Nowadays it's protected, and facilities were especially spruced up for the 1987 Americas Cup yacht races.

Fremantle Tours & Activities