Best Weekend Markets in Australia

One of the best ways to get to know Australia and have a great time while you’re at it is to go to the local weekend markets that are held all around the country at any given time of the year. These markets are an excuse for Aussies to come down from the hills and out of the outback to sell their wares, share their delicacies and get together for a good time. Everyone is welcome and the atmosphere is always fun and exciting. Here are five of the best local markets in Australia.

Mindil Beach Sundown Market, Darwin

If you want to spend some time in the tropics, though, Darwin is about as tropical as it gets and is a fun place to visit, too. Mindil Beach is Darwin’s main city beach. The reason you want to go there, though, is because of the Mindil Markets. Held only during the dry season months of May through October and only on Thursday and Sunday evenings, the Mindil Markets are where everyone gathers for great international cuisine at cheap prices and to pick up fantastic local arts, crafts and bric-a-brac. Some of the “international cuisine” includes authentic “bush tucker” that includes crocodile and other delicacies you may not find anywhere else.

The Channon Market, Byron Bay

The Channon is a community located in the hills behind Byron Bay, not far from the hippy capital of Australia, Nimbin. One of three Byron Bay regional Sunday markets, the one at the Channon is arguably the biggest and most colorful. Held in the huge Channon oval, it has grown so large over the years, it now takes two concentric rings to accommodate all the market stalls there. In the centre of the oval, musicians from all around the region gather to jam and by early afternoon, it seems like all the local hill dwellers are dancing to the music. There are some fantastic arts and crafts for sale in the stalls and equally fantastic food stalls featuring dishes from every corner of the globe. You can also get a great massage and all the kids love the face painting stalls. The Channon Market is held on the second Sunday of every month. Also not to be missed are the Byron Bay and Bangalow Markets, held on the first and third Sundays of the month.

Paddington Market, Sydney

If you’re visiting Sydney, you’ll want to see trendy Oxford Street, Paddington anyway, so why not make it on a Saturday, when the Paddington Market is on? Be sure to bring extra cash with you, though, because many of the clothes, crafts and other items on display in the 250 stalls in the market are impossible to resist. You can happily spend the whole day there just browsing between stops at the mini-cafes that are set up at the back of the historic Uniting Church grounds where the market is held. If there is such a thing as upmarket funk, then Paddington Market is just that. Gourmet coffee, gourmet ice cream, gourmet everything and even the used clothes on sale there are from designer labels. Two other great markets in Sydney are the Glebe and Bondi Markets. Each of them has its distinctive atmosphere and charm, so check them all out.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

The “queen” of weekend markets in Australia is Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. A huge undercover market, the Queen Victoria Market has been around since 1876 and has done nothing but grow since then. Nearly 10 million visitors go to this iconic market every year. Many of them are Melbourne locals who go there to do their shopping, but on weekends, additional stalls sell everything under the sun to tourists and locals alike. The atmosphere at the Queen Victoria Market can be described as “serenely electric.” Unlike the party atmosphere of some markets, this is a market for shoppers of all descriptions. Even if you just go to browse, though, it is a fascinating and unforgettable experience. Open every day, but weekends are best.

Freemantle Market, Western Australia

The Freemantle Market has been a Perth and Freemantle institution since the purpose-built market was erected in 1897. Originally designed to be a central market for buying fresh fish, produce and meat, it is now a trendy meeting place that houses stalls selling everything from its traditional goods to gourmet delights and hard to find organic produce, not to mention local arts, crafts and handmade clothing. There’s no shortage of entertainment in the Fremantle Market, either, as buskers wander the aisles and set up impromptu “stages” to perform for the passing throng. Freemantle Market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as public holidays.

Rob writes about popular things to do and see in Australia. If visiting Melbourne you will some great St Kilda Accommodation in Melbourne on our ‘Book it Now’ website.


Matthew Leanna said...

My family always looks forward to shopping at weekend markets. Items found here are usually home-made and of good quality. How I wish there is a regular weekend market online! =)

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