It is rare to come across truly unique accommodation, accommodation that has unmistakable character. It is even rarer to find unique, once in a lifetime accommodation at a reasonable price. The Fremantle Prison YHA is a real gem combining a unique experience, very affordable prices and a wonderful location.
We stayed at the Fremantle Prison YHA as part of a family bicycle trip from Perth to Fremantle. It made an excellent end to wonderful day.
The hostel is located within the old Fremantle Prison which was first opened in 1855. First serving as accommodation for convict labourers it was later converted to a maximum security prison. The Fremantle prison finally closed in 1991. And now you can stay there!
The one-time women's division of the prison has been converted into a very affordable hostel. Other hostels may be more modern but you would be hard pressed to find anywhere with more character. From the moment you walk through the front gates it is apparent that this is not like any other hostel.
Location-wise you won't find a better place to stay in Fremantle at this price level. All of Fremantle's attractions and things to do are within a ten minute walk. The rest of the prison, itself a major tourist attraction, is perhaps one minutes walk away. A wide range of restaurants and cafes are within a five minute stroll.
There are a few different kinds of rooms available to suit various space requirements as well as various budgets.
There are a dorms of various sizes. No hostel would be complete without dorms. There are also twin rooms with shared bathrooms. These are all in the old prison cells. The cells have been retrofitted with some modern conveniences and a few walls have been knocked out to turn small cells into larger rooms but the ambience remains very distinctive.
More modern and much more spacious ensuite rooms have been constructed in some of the limited open space that was available within the old women's division. This is where we spent the night. The interior of the room is simply decorated but very neat and tidy.
Our room featured a queen size bed plus a bunk bed. To reduce the chances of Zoe falling out of bed during the night we pushed the beds together to turn the bottom bunk and the queen sized bed into a giant family bed.
Once the queen bed was pushed against the bunk there was space for us to store both of our bicycles and the bicycle trailer in our room. Although we had to be careful navigating our way to the bathroom during the night having all of our gear in the room meant no anxiety about security. They probably would have been fine outside and we had locks available but they all fit nicely in the room so we figured we might as well spend the night together.
The ensuite bathroom deserves a special mention. Spacious, extremely clean, the shower was awesome.
Having this glorious shower after a long day on a bicycle was incredible. No matter what you have been doing, a good strong hot shower is a wonderful thing.
There are also a few restored historic cottages. These are suitable for families or groups as they can sleep up to six people. If you have a large group, if you just want something a bit more historic and a bit less prison-y or if you are thinking of getting a Fremantle aparment try the cottages.
Cooking facilities are available and are actually pretty spectacular by hostel standards. There is plenty of space available for a whole crowd of people to make their dinner.
Free pancakes are provided for breakfast Sunday morning 8am to 9am. It was only a couple of pancakes each but free pancakes are free pancakes. They were cooked for us by a smiling staff member who happily handed out pancakes to the hungry masses.
Storage for people's food and belongings is provided near the kitchen. There are also ample common areas, indoor and outdoor. Given the incredibly central location the amount of outdoor space provided was a pleasant surprise. This place would be a lot of fun in summer.
The other facilities of the hostel were excellent. Modern, well maintained. From our experience this place appears to be a textbook case of what a hostel should be. They provide everything a visitor might require whether it be a place to wash your clothes or information about local attractions and they don't charge an arm and a leg for it.
Click here to read more about the Fremantle Prison YHA and get current prices. This truly is one of the more memorable places we have ever stayed. If you are visiting Fremantle, stay here.