Every year I like to do something a little different for my birthday. So this weekend we organised to do the Underground Tunnel Tour of Fremantle Prison – with 10 friends who were equally sporting and adventurous.
The Fremantle Prison was built in the 1850s. It features a labyrinth of underground tunnels, built by the prisoners, as a freshwater catchment to service Fremantle and other parts of Perth.
The tour included a historic overview and a safety briefing. We put on coveralls, a climbing harness, hardhats, and boots.
We climbed down a sophisticated, 18m lock-ladder system into a murky darkness – which was very cool. We trudged through dark, muddy tunnels and submerged passageways. We got into little boats and paddled through inky, cold water.
At one point the tour guide made us stop. He switched off all the lights and we all squatted in the cramped tunnel – in complete darkness. He said our eyes would not be able to adjust to the dark. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, any speck of light, or any shades in the BLACK, it was very weird and spooky.
Overall, the tour wasn’t a mind-numbing, adrenalin-pumping, outrageous thrill, like say, going bungee jumping or sky diving.
But it was an extraordinary and unique experience – especially since I’ve lived in Perth for most of my life, and driven past the Prison (thus over the tunnels) every month or so.
After the tour, we had a yummy pub lunch in Fremantle, with lots of drinks, noise and laughter. And then moved onto a quiet cafe. It was a fantastic morning out with our friends!