A close relationship with Italy
Although long since merged into the metropolitan area’s suburban sprawl, Perth’s port of Fremantle – “Freo” – retains an altogether different character to the centre of Perth: one that’s just waiting to be discovered on an MSC Grand Voyages excursion.
It’s small enough to keep its energy focused, with a real working harbour and busy yacht marina, and has an eclectic, arty ambience without too many upmarket pretensions. A cruise to Fremantle is a good way to understand how this town attracts people with its famed weekend markets and café-lined “Cappuccino Strip” or South Terrace where funky boutiques are also found. Exploring Fremantle on foot, with plenty of streetside café breaks, is the most agreeable way of visiting the town’s compactly grouped sights.
The cheery Fremantle Markets include a fruit and veg market, and a more tourist-focused section crammed with stalls selling souvenirs, arts and crafts and New Age paraphernalia. The buskers who play here are said to be some of the city’s best. The lively E-Shed markets are located in a historic warehouse building on the waterside and are worth a quick look, especially for their budget food stalls. A shore excursion on your MSC Grand Voyages cruise can also be the opportunity to visit the city itself, Perth, Western Australia’s youthful capital; it has a reputation for endless sunshine and an easy-going lifestyle.
Perth’s closest beaches extend along the Sunset Coast, 30km of near-unbroken sand and coastal suburbs stretching north of the Swan River, bordered by the Indian Ocean and cooled by afternoon sea breezes. Two of the most famous are Cottesloe Beach – 7km north of Fremantle, it’s the most popular city beach, with safe swimming; there are ice-cream vendors, cafés and watercraft-rental outlets aplenty – and Scarborough.