Choosing Fremantle Western Australia as a place to live and visit - Rusty Compass travel blog

Choosing Fremantle Western Australia as a place to live and visit

| 12 Apr 2021
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12 Apr 2021

A few years ago I was in search of a place to base myself in Australia. I was looking for a lifestyle better suited to my situation, than my hometown of Sydney. I didn't need to be in a big city. I wanted ocean, cycling, culture and atmosphere. I found it all in spades in Fremantle Western Australia. And I reckon you should include it in your travel plans too. Here's a little video to explain why.

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I left Australia to start my first business, based in Vietnam, in 1993. Since then I've spent chunks of time in Sydney, but I've spent most of the past three decades living and working abroad. Being away for so long complicates your relationship with your home town. I'm not sure whether Sydney's unique vibe complicates things more. But back in 2015, I decided I wanted have a base in Australia again and realised it didn't need to be in Sydney. I began exploring possibilities.

Sydney is a great city, but after three decades away, I didn't feel anchored in the city. My professional network is thin.  My parents have passed away. My daughter and granddaughter live in the UK and my siblings are spreading out across Australia. I've been able to keep up old friendships with regular visits over the years.

I travelled along the New South Wales coast exploring options from Byron Bay to Bermagui before friends suggested I check out Fremantle, Western Australia. I headed over to Fremantle aka. Freo. I was charmed immediately. The beach, the lifestyle, the music scene, the cycle-friendly living, the cultural life and the community vibe all struck me. There was a sense of difference too. Being so far from the familiar Australian east coast added adventure to the whole idea.

Soon after, I bought an apartment and made Fremantle my base.

The old port, Fremantle
Photo: Mark Bowyer The old port, Fremantle


Fremantle busker done good - John Butler
Photo: Mark Bowyer Fremantle busker done good - John Butler


Indian Ocean life - Fremantle Western Australia
Photo: Mark Bowyer Indian Ocean life - Fremantle Western Australia


The 1628 wreck of the Batavia - Fremantle Shipwreck Museum
Photo: Mark Bowyer The 1628 wreck of the Batavia - Fremantle Shipwreck Museum
Historic architecture by Fremantle port
Photo: Mark Bowyer Historic architecture by Fremantle port

COVID and a fairly major health scare interrupted my plans in 2020.

I've decided to spend 2021 in Sydney where I'm fortunate to also have a pretty comfortable base. But I recently headed back to Fremantle for a short visit and decided to put together a little account of my affection for the place.

This  Fremantle video is long overdue and I'll be following up with more coverage of Freo on Rusty Compass in the months ahead.


Australia, Fremantle

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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