Live Freo or Die!

December 10: After a week of successful analyses, the weekend was the perfect time to head to Fremantle, or “Freo” in the local vernacular.  The weather was perfect: 24C with bright blue skies and not a cloud to be seen.  I made my way via Transperth, using a Dayrider ticket that gave me all-day access to the bus, train, and ferry.  I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, so I let my instinct guide me and only got on the wrong bus once.

Originally Western Australia’s main port, Freo is still a bustling (and touristy) seaside city – more fisherman and commerce, though, than surfer-dude.  Shops, cafes, and restaurants line the streets and the shoreline.  Market Street is where all of the action is, but the quieter streets are just as lovely, and all preserve a sense of what the town must have been like shortly after its founding in 1829. 

Freo: Street view (top) and seaside view (bottom).

I made my way down High Street to the Round House, the oldest building in Western Australia (from 1830). Built as a gaol, it held 25-42 prisoners (in its 8 cells) until it become living quarters 1900 (and no room had a view!).  Various attempts to demolish it failed and in 1982, the city of Fremantle took over and opened it as a tourist site.  It’s a really nice place to visit, and it only costs you a “gold coin” donation.  I happened to be there right around 1 pm and was able to see the cannon fired, as a way to mark time for passing ships.  (It was too windy for the ball drop.)

View of the Round House. Note the whaling tunnel underneath (from 1837), which was used by whalers for easy access between the beach and the town. The time ball can be seen at the left of the flag pole.

I walked down to Bathers Beach, right below the Round House, and found myself dipping a foot into the INDIAN OCEAN!  (It was pretty cold.)  It didn’t occur to me that Australia is surrounded by three different oceans, and I was quite pleased with myself for taking the time to sit on the beach for a few minutes to gaze out over this one. 

At Bathers Beach, on the Indian Ocean.


I do love the Aussie markets, so my next stop was the Fremantle Markets (from 1897), whose building has housed a marketplace for almost all of its history.  Sorry, Floriade 2011, this is a feast for the senses!  More crowded than the Kingston Market in Canberra, this place was jam-packed with people, produce, and prezzies!  Over 150 vendors are here seven days a week, even on holidays, all day long. It’s a fantastic place to grab a snack and a few souvenirs.  Mmmmm, the fresh in-season mangoes were so yummy!

Fremantle Market (from 1897) and a display of yummy produce.

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that an Aussie outing wouldn’t be complete (for me) without the requisite image of native wildlife.  Today?  The Rainbow Lorikeet!  I saw a couple of them outside of the markets, making quite a ruckus over some intruders.  Me? No. I think it was some other bird.  🙂   I found out later that these beauties are actually intruders over here, transported from the eastern side of the country. They are slowly invading the niches of the local Ringneck (28).  I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for those. 

Rainbow Lorikeet, an invader of Western Australia. (But still so pretty!)

Other links:
Aussie slang
Into the Wild: Part I, Part II
December 16 (Update): I returned to Freo over the weekend and ate dinner at Cicerello’s.  It lived up to my expectations and was mm, mm good!

Cicerello's: WA's favorite place for fish and chips!


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