Fremantle is a pleasant port/resort town close to great beaches located at the mouth of the Swan River on the east coast of Western Australia. Cruise ships dock at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Victoria Quay just inside the river mouth and close to the town centre, the railway station and ferry stops - all of which are walkable. However, shuttle buses are also provided into the main shopping area. Founded in 1829 when HMS Challenger, captained by Charles Fremantle, dropped anchor here, the town first became an important whaling station.
Fremantle is one of the oldest settlements in Australia and has a sense of history with many well-preserved examples of colonial architecture - the streets are lined with quaint terraced houses, historic buildings and sidewalk cafes. The town provides a free CAT circular route bus that passes close to all the main sights. The harbour front, developed for the America's Cup defence in 1987, provides lively restaurants and bars and sights including the Round House at Arthur's Head (an old, twelve-sided jail built in 1831), the Maritime Museum (1852) and the Fremantle Museum and Arts Centre, built by convicts as a lunatic asylum in the 1860s. There is also a Hop-On-Hop-Off Tram tour that provides a commentary as well. Beaches going south are Bathers and South Beaches and across the river in North Fremantle you will find Port and Leighton Beaches - beyond them is Cottesloe Beach - all can be reached by train.
Fremantle is also the gateway to Perth, capital city of Western Australia, located on the banks of the Swan River, 16 km (10 miles) from its mouth. You can get there from the nearby railway station or by ferry. From Freemantle you can also visit Rottnest Island by ferry - this is a sandy island with some fine beaches and bays, unique marine life and Quokkas - a marsupial which is only located on the island. If you have more time, the outback sites of Yanchep National Park and the Pinnacles can be reached within a long day.
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