Just a half hour drive from Perth lies Fremantle, one of the best-value destinations for day trippers and holiday makers alike. With its heady blend of old and new-world charms, the 19th century port city has a reputation for being creative, relaxed, and open-minded. Freo’s distinct mix of colonial heritage, stunning beaches, and family-friendly activities makes it the ideal place to explore with the kids. Here are the top five things to do in Fremantle with the kids which you don’t want to miss.

Fremantle Esplanade

You’ll find this spacious park right next to the Harbour. It features sweeping green lawns, an impressive children’s playground, and shady walks under tall pine trees. Take the kids for a ride on the SkyView Observation Wheel – a 46m tall ferris wheel with soaring views of Freo. Hungry? Indulge the family with a high tea at the traditional Esplanade Hotel, or grab a quick bite at one of the many kiosks selling light meals and drinks along the esplanade.

Fishing Boat Harbour

Immerse yourselves in modern maritime life by taking the kids to see this fully functioning fishing boat harbour. It’s home to over 400 fishing boats, so sit back and enjoy the parade of vessels and the whirl of activity on display every day. Adventure seekers can ride on a high-speed jet boat or charter a sailing tour. Foodies can satisfy their appetites in one of the fantastic seafood restaurants, or simply grab some fish and chips, find a sunny spot, and watch the action on the water.

West Australian Maritime Museum

This museum offers a unique glimpse at the past, present and future of Freo as a port city. Kids and adults alike can explore the city’s connection to the ocean by discovering handcrafted sail boats, commercial pearl lugging boats, and leisure yachts suspended from the ceiling. You can even step inside the awe-inspiring HMAS Ovens, an authentic Oberon class submarine from the Cold War era.

Fremantle Prison

Transport yourself back in time by discovering the stories and secrets of this World Heritage listed building. Open to the public since 1992, Fremantle Prison is a fascinating historical destination where kids can learn about convict life and colonial times in Australia. Browse the Prison Galleries to see real prisoner artworks, or search for your convict ancestors in a database of genuine convict records. Older kids will love the prison’s unique guided tours – the Torchlight Tour at night and the Tunnel Tour in the passageways under the prison are particular favourites for the brave and courageous.

Rottnest Island

Take a short ferry ride from Fremantle and explore the stunning beaches, serene bays, coral reefs and shipwrecks of Rottnest Island. Families can hire bikes and cycle around the island, discovering unique plants and animals such as seals, ospreys, whales and the famous Quokka marsupial. If you have little ones too small to cycle, you can hop on the Bayseeker Bus and make your way around the island. See early colonial cottages, take the kids swimming or snorkeling in the sparkling ocean, or enjoy a leisurely meal in one of the island’s cafes or restaurants.

If you’re looking for Fremantle apartments or Fremantle hotels, look out for Pier 21 Apartment Hotel in Freo. Located on the banks of the Swan River, Pier 21 is ideally close to tourist attractions, restaurants, pristine beaches and shopping destinations. With 47 self-contained serviced apartments, Pier 21 offers comfortable accommodation for the whole family, with a personalised and sophisticated style. To make a booking, call 08 9336 2555 or visit www.pier21.com.au to find out more.