Local Travel

Exploring the Underground Tunnels of Freemantle Prison

Built by the convicts, the tunnels of Freemantle Prison were built under the city as a way to access fresh water.

Always looking for fresh new adventures, I managed to convince my partner of doing three different tours in one day, all at the one ocation – at the Freemantle Prison of Western Australia.

The first one was in the morning and was a historical walking tour of the prison, the second one was to go deep under the prison and explore tunnels built by the prisoners and the last was in the evening, which of course was the walking ghost tour.

Yep, three tours of Freemantle Prison in one day, and I loved every minute of it. I’m pretty sure my partner did too. Well, I hope so anyways, seeing as we were there all day. LOL. Out of all three of the tours, the tour of the underground tunnels was by far the most exciting, scary and unbelievable thing I have ever done.

The thing is, I am both claustrophobic and scared of heights, and of course, before you get ready to go ahead with the underground tour, you need to sign a disclaimer stating you don’t suffer from those two phobias. So, I went ahead and signed the disclaimer anyway and got ready to deal with my phobias face to face. And within the first two minutes of the tour, I was pretty much regretting that decision immediately.

Oh boy, what have I got myself into. They start you off in an underground cavern, not that deep under the prison, where there is a museum of sorts and a change room for you to gear up and get ready for your descent into the tunnels.

The gear involved a jumpsuit of sorts, which was paper thin, a hard hat, boots and a miners safety belt; sort of like a harness, which was secured around your shoulders, waist and hips and had a nice large mountain clip attached to it. So, this is where panic began to set in a little. I literally have no idea what I have gotten myself into. My partner, on the other hand, was all geared up, excited and ready to go.

The fear has now set in, I am now standing at the mouth of a deep dark hole, with a ladder than descends 20 meters below the surface of the ground.

So, the ten-minute journey down; which feels more like ten years, begins. My partner was so patient with me, as he guided me down, talking me through the instructions, keeping me calm. Until my shaking legs finally hit the ground.

Here’s what I mean about the twenty meter ladder we descended down (image care of palassis).

And although I was started to regret my decision in going on the tour; when I was staring deep down the twenty meter abyss, by the end of the tour I was so happy I got to experience something, I never thought I would have done in my lifetime. Incredible.

Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, the guide leads you on a trek by foot through dry sections of the tunnel, before loading you into a replica convict punt; which looks like a canoe, so you can explore the many winding tunnels which are submerged underwater and only accessible by boat.

It’s very damp and dark, bit an amazing experience for anyone who might be travelling to Freemantle.

The tour goes for approx two hours. you can’t take any equipment with you, which includes cameras (shame), so here are some photos I found online to show you what the tunnels look like.

The tunnel museum
Looking down the 20m stair descent
The boat tour of the tunnels (image c/- Freemantle prison).

I am a freelance writer and content creator who designs website and manages social media. I also write travel and beauty for www.renaesworld.com.au, and a weekly beauty column for www.bondibeauty.com.au whilst managing my own personal travel and lifestyle blog at www.my-life-journal.com

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