Established in 1897, Fremantle Markets are the oldest and most famous of all the markets that are trading today in Western Australia. Situated in their original historic market hall on the corner of South Terrace and Henderson Street, they're one of the port city's most popular tourist attractions and their colourful eclecticism sums up perfectly Freo's arty and somewhat offbeat vibe.
Fremantle Markets were a wholesale food and produce market until the 1950s, and today the fresh produce hall is still a hive of activity on markets days, with a wide range of locally-grown produce, fresh from the farm, attractively displayed. Many Fremantle locals do their weekly grocery shopping here, and swear that the range and quality of produce is better than anywhere else in the Perth metro area. If you're an organic enthusiast, there's also a good range of certified organic and biodynamic fruits and vegies, as well as those which are simply free of chemical sprays. These can be purchased at a fraction of the price that you'd be paying elsewhere.
Throughout Western Australia and beyond, Fremantle is renowned as a hotbed of creativity and this is also reflected in the quantity and quality of stalls at the market. Locally-made craft such as paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and woodwork produced from Western Australia's magnificent hardwoods can be purchased, in many cases directly from the artisan. If it's beautiful locally-produced pottery you're after, be sure to search for Isa's Igloo, as well as the beautiful work of studio potter, Judy Nastov at Stall K. There are also quirky little shops selling fashion, jewellery, homewares and gifts by local designers: places that are so beautiful that you can't help wandering in. Be sure to look out for Kooky Glass Art (Stall 68), Little Lovebird Babywear (a casual stall), Orna's Decorative Art (Stall 35), Bon Le Bijou jewellery (Stall 53) and Oz Bush Art (also a casual). These stalls are owned by local artisans who create their own wares and sell them personally from the markets.
A foodie's paradise, Fremantle is the place to come to sample gourmet delicacies from all around Western Australia and beyond. Organic groceries, health foods, raw foods, crepes and gourmet popcorn stalls are all well patronised each week, while popular companies such as Chokeby Road Chocolates, Moorish Nuts, The Mouse Trap Cheeses and Freo Honey Shack have been local legends for years.
Apart from the local growers, artisans and foodies, other canny marketeers utilise their stalls to purvey beautiful and exotic items from around the globe. Lucky Elephant is a funky little corner stall with lovely wares from all over India. Specialising is exquisite shawls, stoles and scarfs in silk, cashmere, pashmina and jamawar, it also has beautiful jewellery, fashion wear and gift items crafted from silver and gorgeously embroidered fabrics.
Paper Crab is another cool shopping destination, purveying exotic wares that the owners have discovered on their adventures around the globe. Ranging from locally-made handicrafts to goodies from south-east Asia, South America and Africa, the store is a top place to head to for something totally different.
At Fremantle Markets the musky fragrance of incense is always lingering, and various stores sell New Age goodies ranging from aromatherapy oils, Feng Shui supplies and tarot cards to hand-crafted candles and herbal massage oils. If you're in the mood, Healing Touch Massages (Shop Y1) offers relaxing therapeutic massages while Tarot Insights (Stall 78) offers readings to help guide and support you in your life's journey.
A visit to Fremantle Markets isn't simply a shopping trip. It's a complete sensory experience - and one that the children will be sure to love, as there is so much for them to see and do as well. Apart from all the colourful goodies at the various stalls, each week special kid-friendly entertainment is provided at the markets such as buskers, a baby animal farm, wildlife zoo and Errol the Emu. Sometimes the market fairies will also pay a visit, distributing random acts of kindness, along with face-painting and balloon-twisting. Special school holidays are often held as well, such as free pottery or craft classes. Check out the markets' website to learn more.
In a nutshell, whether you're a Perth local or just paying a visit, Fremantle Markets are a top place to chill out, go shopping and watch the world go by. Famous for its laid-back lifestyle and colourful, creative locals, Fremantle is a one-of-a-kind destination, and these iconic markets perfectly capture much of its magic. To learn more about Fremantle Markets, including its many vibrant stalls and up-coming events, take a look at the Fremantle Markets website.
Address: Corner of South Terrace and Henderson Street, Fremantle, Western Australia, 6160