Jan Leow's Press Blog

Fremantle, Western Australia

Fremantle is located about 30 minutes drive from the South-West of Perth, Australia. Fremantle was named after Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, a 28 year old captain of HMS Challenger who took over this area in 1829. Later on settlers from Britain came over and colonized the place and it became the Swan River Colony. Much of the charm of yesteryears still remain of this beautiful port town with its old colonial Victorian buildings and quaint little town houses. A visit to Fremantle is a must for those who plan to have vacation in Perth.

Fremantle, Australia, with its charming Victorian streetscapes.

As our accommodation from Swan Valley was rather far away, it took us longer to reach Fremantle from The Vines Apartment in Swan Valley. Using the Mitchell Freeway, we cut through to Stirling Highway to reach Fremantle. There was another alternative which was the Canning Highway which we used it another visit to Fremantle. Both ways will skirt around the beautiful Swan Lake. With clear blue skies, we could see many joggers in the late morning and wondered why so many weren’t working during the weekday.

Plenty of bookshops around in Fremantle. You won't find yourself short of things to read here.Later I noticed that there were speed cameras on either of the Highway and hope they were not functioning that day. Lena was oblivious to the road signs and drove pretty much beyond the speed limit of 60kph. It seems the fine was pretty steep and we should avoid getting any ticket.

Arriving at Fremantle we searched for a parking place. The public ones have rather short timing with only 1/2P (1/2 hour parking) available. In the end we parked at the multi-storey carpark located next to Myers departmental store, which was also cheaper and no worries about ticket expiring. We visited Fremantle twice on Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, we just walk around the town hall area and just relax around. The coffee street was where we had our Italian lunch. There were many cafés and coffee bistro to choose from, since we didn’t which was good, we just simply take our pick. The Italian café was rather pack but we managed to get a table. Our lunch was pretty late and we took our time to enjoy the meal.

The Fremantle Town Hall is the centre of Fremantle Port Town.Next stop was to have a look around the Town Hall area. I noticed there were many bookstores including second hand bookstores. Some were really well decorated, like an al fresco establishment then a musty old bookstore. Fremantle was rather breezy, I guess being a seaside port town much wind was to be expected. It was quite a chill when the wind blew. I was trying to be an Aussie just wearing a t-shirt walking around the place. In the end I have to grab my jacket from the car.

Coming to Fremantle on a weekday was not a good idea. The famous Fremantle Market was only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There was nothing much to look except to go to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. The scenery was picturesque and we took many beautiful photos of that place. It was late afternoon and the sun was setting.

The Kailis Fish Market Cafe was famous for its fish and chips in Fremantle.Next stop was to have a look around the Our Itinerary was to go to the Kailis Fish Market Café to have the famous fish and chips. So happen, Lindy’s friends were in the vicinity. They have migrated to Australia and stayed in Fremantle. We met up with them for dinner at the Kailis Fish Market Café for fish and chips. And as usual, the Seow family cannot eat fried stuff without the chili source, and Lena forgot to bring along! Fortunately the café did sell a bottle and she bought one just for the meal. Their chili sauce was rather different, it was a sweet and less spicy. Haha, a chili sauce to save the day! Frankly the best fish and chips Lena and I tasted were those in London. In London, cod fish was used, while in Fremantle, red snapper was their fish of choice.

Our highlight of day was to visit the Fremantle Prison and go for the torchlight tour. It was suppose to be an intriguing experience. Lena wanted to back out because in the brochure mentioned it was to be an eerie experience and you might just see some ghost! Since Catherine has already prepaid the ticket we have no choice but to go for it. We were encourage by Lindy’s friend who that it was a must see and a good experience. We were rather late as we have lost track of time, perhaps some miscommunication somewhere because we thought we were supposed to be there by 7.30pm. However our tickets indicated starting time was 7pm. We were escorted by the “Prison Guards” (well they dressed up like guards and had to use keys to open the doors) to intercept the tour group.

For a macabre tour go for the Fremantle Prison Torchlight Tour!The torchlight tour was unusual, no lights were switched on and the tour guide would explain the stories behind each area in the dark. There was some ambient light and some tourists carried torches to look around them. We found out later that each person was given a torch, because we were late, it was overlooked to provide. They gave a torch to each one of us later when we asked for it as a souvenir. The tour guide himself was rather intriguing. He looked the part with his long and sharp goatie and curly hairs; in addition, his father worked as a surgeon in Fremantle Prison. He had many stories to tell too, but could not divulge much due to the limited duration of the tour. There were some surprises along the tour where “convicts” would jump out of their cells giving the tourist a screaming fright! The “convicts” act out and would explain how they got into their predicament. An intriguing tour. As we moved from area to area, we could hear screams and yells from other groups as well as they were jumped upon by “convicts” leaping out of the cells. Hand it to the organizers to create a macabre heart thumping tourist attraction. The tour ended at the prison chapel and as the tour guide closed the chapter of our tour, it was time for us to make our long journey back to our apartment at The Vines.

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