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One of the best ways to explore Australia is by taking a cruise and one of the most popular places to visit or start that cruise is Fremantle.  Fremantle or as the locals call it Freo, is the remotest port in the world and therefore the remotest cruise destination in the World.  It is right on the doorstep of its big sister Perth, which like her little sister claims the title of the remotest city in the World.  But don’t be deceived Fremantle and Perth has much to offer the visitor and cruise guest and you are guaranteed not to be bored whilst in Perth and Fremantle.  If you are starting a cruise here then it would be a great idea to make your holiday a stay and cruise holiday and fully experience the Western Australia lifestyle and attractions.


Perth is well connected to the outside world with flights from around the world coming into her international airport.  The most popular airlines from the UK to Perth are Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Etihad are among the airlines you can fly with to Perth.  Once you have cleared immigration and customs you can grab a cab and be in Perth within 30 to 40 minutes and to Fremantle in about an hour depending on the traffic. 


Perth has a great choice of hotels within the city centre or within easy reach of the city centre and it is relatively easy to find a good standard 3, 4 or 5 star hotels at a reasonable price.  For the budget conscious traveller who wants to be right at the heart of the city The Adina Apartment Hotel at Barrack Plaza could be the place to stay.  The rooms are simply decorated but well equipped and they have 3 wheelchair accessible rooms.  The hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool, which stays open until 10pm, a gym with a sauna and steam room that is an ideal way to unwind after a day sightseeing.  There is also a bar and restaurant, but you are within easy reach of some great places to sample the Perth foodie scene and nightlife.   The Four Points by Sheraton is another city centre hotel that is reasonably priced.  The hotel is located opposite Perth’s RAC Arena, home to sporting events and Arena concerts by some of the world’s top performers.  It is just a short walk to some of Perth’s top attractions such as King’s square Precinct, where you can find Market Grounds, which is a great place to go for a drink.  Also close by is the Yangan Square pedestrianised area and Northbridge for its bars and boutiques. The hotel offers a range of rooms from standard right through to suites.  It also has a number of wheelchair accessible rooms.  There is also wheelchair access to both the Best Brew bar and Kitchen and The Eatery restaurant.  For the touch of luxury and glamour the Crown Towers has to be the place to stay.  Located in Burrswood, a 10 minute taxi ride south of Perth city centre and close to the banks of the Swan River.  The hotel is directly opposite the Perth Stadium famous for its top sporting events and rock concerts.  Attached to the hotel is a top class casino that is reminiscent of Las Vegas.  Crown Towers is possibly one of the most luxurious hotels in Australia and no expense has been spared to create this Las Vegas style hotel.  There are 500 spacious and opulent rooms, The rooms on the North side have the best views with views across to the city and along the river.  There are wheelchair accessible and adapted rooms.  This is also a fantastic hotel for the foodie.  Within the Crown complex there are some amazing restaurants including Nobu and an evening in The Waiting Room Cocktail lounge is a stylish way to relax and unwind with your favourite cocktail.  All the hotels bars and restaurants are fully accessible for wheelchairs.


If you prefer to stay in Fremantle it too has a great choice of places to stay from budget friendly back packer hostels and bed and breakfasts to high end luxury hotels.  One of the great things about staying in Fremantle is that you will be close to the cruise terminal and have some fantastic attractions on your doorstep.  If you are looking for a centrally placed traditional colonial style hotel that will not break the bank then it is worth considering a stay at the Australia Hotel.  It is a traditional style Aussie Pub / Hotel.  The accommodation is basic but it is in a fabulous location within a short walk of all the attractions and the cruise terminal.  If you want a bit more luxury with the freedom of staying in an apartment then you might like to consider the Be. Fremantle Apartment Hotel.  The apartments are fully equipped and are ideally located near the Marina and has its own gardens which are equipped with barbecues so you can enjoy a home cooked Aussie Barbie.  One of the great things about the apartments are they come with included wifi and are luxuriously appointed.  For a touch of elegance it is hard to beat the Esplanade Hotel, which is right on Fishing Boat Harbour.  The hotel is a legend in Freo and has been at the heart of Fremantle life since and is a favourite place for both locals and tourists alike.  Rooms here are luxuriously appointed.  The hotel has a great choice of dining venues from pub food to local and international cuisine.


If you are staying in Fremantle or are visiting for the day either as a port of call or as a day out from Perth during a pre cruise stay there you will find plenty of things to do and see.


A great place to start your sightseeing is the Fishing Boat Harbour although it was originally built in the early 1900s purely as a port for trawlers.  It was given a facelift in 1987 for Fremantle to host the Americas Cup.  Today as well as being a thriving fishing harbour it is a great place to take a stroll and watch the fishermen landing their catches.  It is also a popular spot for locals and visitors to enjoy people watching from a waterside restaurant or enjoying a craft beer from one of the bars.  But for me there is nothing better than enjoying the fish and chips from one of the historic fish and chip shops serving the freshest fish you will ever taste. 



Another fantastic place to people watch in Fremantle is the famous Cappuccino Strip that is centred round Wray Avenue and South Terrace, where you will find great cafes, superb micro-breweries and top class eateries. 


If you are fascinated by the convict history of Fremantle then a visit to the Fremantle Jail is a must.  The great news is you do not need to have committed a crime to go there as the jail closed in 1991.  The prison includes some of the oldest buildings in Fremantle and Western Australia.  The prison offers a great range of tours from the Day tours that offer a choice of Convict Prison, Behind Bars or True Crime.  There is also a Tunnels tour of the tunnels beneath the jail.  But if you are really brave then why not try the Torch Light Tour.  Having experienced the Torch Light Tour I can tell you it is very eerie and quite spooky and even includes areas such as the gallows room.



Whether you are a foodie, a fashionista or just looking for a great gift for those back at home the place to head is the Fremantle Markets which are easily found right in the middle of the Cappuccino Strip.  The Market Hall has been a part of Fremantle life since being opened in 1897 and well worth taking a wander around.  At the weekend the Markets plays host to some great street entertainers and musicians.


What better place to visit a museum dedicated to the maritime history of Western Australia than one set right on the shores of the Indian Ocean and that is exactly where you will find the WA Maritime Museum.  It is a fascinating museum that has series of galleries that explore the relationship the state of Western Australia has with the sea and highlights include a retired naval submarine and the yacht that won the Americas Cup for Australia, Australia II.


If you are a beach lover then just a short walk from the town is a great bathing beach where you can relax and soak up the beautiful views or enjoy sipping a cocktail or enjoying dinner while watching the sunset from a beachside bar or restaurant.


Perth the capital of Western Australia is just a 30 minute train ride away from Fremantle and easily accessible.  Perth claims to be the remotest city in the world but it is also one of the best lifestyle cities in the World and has plenty to see and do.


One of the things I would recommend everybody to do is take a visit to Kings Park and the Botanic Gardens.  It is one of the biggest city parks in the World and ranks alongside the likes of Central park in New York, with over 400 Hectares of both cultivated gardens and natural bushland so you can experience the bush right in the heart of the city and you can even experience some of the local Aboriginal culture with a local Aboriginal guide from the Nyoongar people, Aboriginal legend has it that a mythical serpent called the Wagyl entered the ground near the Park and emerged at the foot of Mount Eliza, thus creating the Swan River.  A great way to see the park is with a free guided walk with a volunteer guide.  For great views from the treetops of the park, the city and the Swan River, you should take a walk along the LotteryWest federation Walkway.



If you want to explore the city or the surrounding countryside then you need to make your way to Barrack Square.  Many of the guided bus tours start from Barrack Square and you can take tours along the Swan River from here to.  One of the things you really should not miss on a visit to Barrack Square is the Bell Tower.  It is built in the shape of a swan and is one of the world’s largest musical instrument and houses the old bells of St martin the Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square. Some of the bells date back as far as the 14th Century.  If you climb to the top of the tower you will be treated to a great view of the Swan River.



Another great waterfront area to enjoy is Elizabeth Quay.  It has become a magnet for new trendy cafes, bars and restaurants for the foodie.  Other great things you can do from Elizabeth Quay is take a cruise or gondola ride and even take to the skies in a sea plane to see Perth and Fremantle from the skies.  You can also get a ferry from here to Rottnest Island.  Where you can meet the famous Quokkas.  When the explorer Willem de Vlamingh discovered the island in 1696 he mistook the Quokka which is a marsupial for a common or garden rat.  Hence the name of the island.  You can also take cruises to see the humpback whales and along the Swan River from Elizabeth Quay.


If you are a culture vulture then you should head to Northbridge, the home of Perth’s Cultural centre housing  a number of the city’s top theatres, museums and art galleries including the Western Australian Museum, Art Gallery of Western Australia and the State Theatre of Western Australia.  


The Perth Mint is a particular favourite with many visitors who can look around a museum of the history of the Mint and even watch a demonstration of melting gold.  The Mint also houses the biggest coin in the world and has an impressive display of gold nuggets.  But when it all gets too much you can sit and relax in the Perth Mint Tea room and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.


Perth is home to one of the World’s best zoos.  Perth Zoo has both indigenous Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos etc as well as all the favourites of other zoos.  One of the things they offer the visitor is the chance to get up close to some of the animals with an encounter style experience.


If you are a sports fan then you should check to see if there is a cricket match at the WACA, the home of Western Australia’s state team.  Matches at the WACA are a great social gathering and the atmosphere is electric.  For soccer fans it is worth checking out the local football team Perth Glory.


Shopping in Perth is an experience no shopaholic will want to miss.  From high end fashion to arts and crafts there is plenty to tempt you.  The best places to indulge in retail therapy are amongst other places, Garden City, Westfield carousel, Westfield Whitfords, karrinyup Shopping Centre and Lakeside Joondalup Shopping Centre.  For designer labels at a discount it is worth checking out DFO Perth or Watertown Brand Outlet.


One of the great things about Perth is her great beaches and there is literally a beach to suit everyone.  All Perth’s beaches are well maintained and open to the public all year round free of charge. Perth has over 50KMs of coast line and offer great opportunities to swim, fish, surf, kite surf and windsurf.  Many of the beaches have public barbecues and picnic areas.  Cottesloe Beach has pristine white sand, grassy banks overlooking the beach and is known for its cool cafes and restaurants. City Beach is a regular winner of awards for best beach.  It is ideal for swimming, jogging and sunbathing.  Scarborough Beach is easily reached by bus and is great for surfing and sunbathing.



Getting around Perth could not be easier All busses in the Perth CBD area are free and the CAT Busses are an easy way to get around and see the sights.  They have 4 routes that visit most of the major attractions and dining strips.  But if you want a guided tour that you can hop on and off then why not take a City Sightseeing Bus Tour from Barracks Square.  You will stop at many of the best attractions. 

Whether you are in Perth just for the day or staying for a few days, as you can see there is plenty to do and see and you will probably like me fall in love with this remote but exciting city.  I personally cannot wait to see this fabulous city again.


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