The heritage port precinct of Fremantle, 19km (12 miles) from downtown Perth at the mouth of the Swan River, is probably best known outside Australia as the site of the 1987 America's Cup challenge. Today, "Freo" is a bustling district of 150 National Trust heritage buildings, alfresco cafes, museums, galleries, pubs, markets, and shops in a masterfully preserved historical atmosphere. European influences are strong, thanks to the migrant fishermen, especially Italians, who made Fremantle their new home. It's still a working port, however, some of the buzz has gone from the historic heart since many buildings were taken over by the local Notre Dame University. Weekends are best, with a wonderful hubbub of shoppers, coffee drinkers, tourists, and fishermen. Allow a full day to take in even half the sights, and don't forget to knock back a beer or two on the veranda of one of the gorgeous old pubs, or sip an espresso on the Cappuccino Strip.
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