PIANC APAC 2020 is a biennial conference series focusing on harbours, ports and recreational boating in the Asia Pacific region.
Against a backdrop of the best preserved 19th century port streetscape in the world, a day out in Fremantle is an eclectic and eccentric blend of fabulous artisanal food, handcrafted beers, great coffee, quirky boutiques and a lively music, arts and festival scene.
Take a wander through Fremantle’s maze of streets, filled with Georgian and Victorian-era architecture, where Fremantle’s independent fashion designers flaunt their unique styles.
With its free-spirited ‘anything goes’ attitude, ‘Freo’ (as it’s commonly referred to by locals) is also a mecca for artists from the worlds of music, performing arts, painting, Indigenous art and sculpture. Explore the local galleries, check out the annual festivals and see what’s on at the Fremantle Arts Centre by searching events online.
If you’re in Fremantle on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday (or even Monday if it’s a public holiday), step into the iconic Fremantle Markets. For over 100 years, its hall has been filled with exotic aromas, fresh produce, fashion, live music and performance art, crafts and Indigenous art.
Hit the history trail to Victoria Quay. The modern architecturally-designed Western Australian Maritime Museum creates a striking setting for some of the most awe-inspiring vessels in maritime history. Here, you can step inside an Oberon-class submarine and see the yachting icons Australia II and Parry Endeavour suspended from the ceiling.
Or head for the Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building, and the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. After 136 years of continuous use, the prison opened its imposing gates to the public in 1992 to share its gripping stories. Choose from day tours, haunting night tours, or adventurous tunnel tours.
If the beach is more your scene, take your pick from Fremantle’s four hotspots. The local favourites are Port Beach and Leighton Beach – much-loved for their white sand, swimming and snorkelling spots. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are also popular when the afternoon breeze gets up.
South Beach is family-friendly with casual cafes, picnic areas and views of Rottnest, Carnac and Garden Islands. Bathers Beach is closest to the city and a popular spot for sunset watching. Head down on a Saturday evening in summer and you’ll be in for a treat at the Sunset Food Markets.
Or, for more retail therapy, venture a little further afield to the George Street Precinct in East Fremantle and you’ll discover a quieter enclave of historic charm, arts, antiques and cafes.
Grab the Ferry to Rottnest
Getting to ‘Rotto’, as the locals affectionately call it, is a breeze. Just 19 kilometres off the coast, ferries depart regularly from Fremantle, Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and Hillarys Marina. You can opt to arrive in style by helicopter or air taxi, or even cruise across in your own boat.
On its shores, 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks invite you to enjoy some of Australia’s finest swimming spots, snorkel trails and surf breaks. And on dry land, you’ll meet the cutest mini marsupial, found only in Western Australia, the world famous quokka, as well as many unique plant and animal species
With no cars on the roads, riding is the best way to get around, with bicycle hire available at the ferry terminals and on the island. If that’s too much effort, you can hop on and off the Bayseeker Bus which regularly runs around the island, dropping you off at some of the more secluded beaches and surf breaks.
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