To Market To Market: Best markets in the region
Who doesn’t love a good marketplace? The colour, sounds, smells and the character, all erupting in a cacophony of excitement.
Browsing through the markets of Cairns and surrounds can be an oddly therapeutic way to connect with the local community and support local farmers, artists, and designers.
From fresh produce to high fashion, handmade soaps, dream catchers, heat packs and eclectic gifts, you’re sure to find a treasure - and perhaps even a bargain - at these top local markets.
Cairns Night Markets
When: Nightly, 5pm – 11pm
Where: Abbott St, Cairns City
Each night after the sun sets, the Cairns Night Markets come alive! A perfect place to grab a bite and hunt for locally made bargains, this hawker-style market draws its inspiration from South East Asia with its hustle, bustle and open air excitement of over 70 stalls selling their wares. With everything from tropical souvenirs through to local fashions, inflatable hammocks and emergency henna tattoos, the Cairns Night market will keep you entertained and stocked up with ‘wish you were here’ gifts for the fam.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland / Andrew Watson
Cairns Esplanade Markets
When: Saturday 8am – 4pm
Where: Cairns Esplanade
The Esplanade Market kicks off every Saturday at 8am and finishes up around 4pm, so you can squeeze in a full day of shopping and still have some time to relax before dinner if you wish. There's plenty on offer here, as the market showcases local artisans with quality stalls selling contemporary jewellery, woodcraft, leather work, pottery, airbrush tattoos and so much more. Delight your senses at the Australian Perfume Company's stall, pick up some gorgeous jewellery at the Opal Bar or get a glimpse of your future with local tarot readers- the Esplanade Market has a huge range of things to see and do.
When: Friday – Sunday, 7am – 3pm (ish)
Where: Grafton St, Cairns City
As the Giant Prawn is to Ballina, Rusty’s Markets is Cairns to a tee. Smack bang in the centre of town, these hawker-style markets operate every Friday – Sunday and are renowned for exotic produce (dragonfruit and purple mangosteens, anyone?) and over a hundred vibrant stalls with everything from coconuts, fresh produce direct from the farm, flowers and cheese, coffee and chocolate, breads and local charcuterie. Like a bat outta hell, we’re going each week to simply eat all the things.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Cairns Made Festival
When: Three times each year (check their Facebook page for details)
Where: The Pier Marketplace, Cairns
The Cairns Made Festival is one of the most celebrated markets in the region and is like walking around in a real life Frankie Magazine – a lot of awesome design with just the perfect amount of kitsch mixed in for good measure. The free markets showcase local designers, crafters, artists, makers, and bakers all selling their creations and products with a laidback festival feel - the markets even have great live music while you shop. If the products is made, manufactured, created, designed, curated, constructed, or developed in the local Cairns and Far North Queensland region, it's welcome at the Cairns Made Festival – it’s all about support for the little guys.
Tanks Monthly Markets
When: Last Sunday of each month, April - November
Where: Tanks Arts Center, Collins Avenue, Edge Hill
Tanks Monthly Markets are a unique slice of cultural life in the tropics and a must-do event on the Cairns calendar. Everyone is invited to wander the leafy promenade, explore the site and take in the full complement of stallholders offering a blend of quality local art, craft, produce, vintage clothing, collectables and local natural health products. Plus, enjoy local musicians, food and refreshments on this free, family fun day.
When: Daily, 9am – 3pm
Where: Therwin St, Kuranda
The bumper sticker catchphrase ‘ Magic Happens’ was surely created after a visit to the picturesque village of Kuranda, a rainforest township where the outside world seemingly does not exist. The Original Markets conjures a feeling of whimsy and enchantment down it’s meandering pathways in the rainforest. With a unique focus on sustainability, engagement and local talent, these markets are a wonderfully relaxing event filled with community spirit and all sorts of ethical, fair-trade, one-of-a-kind goodies to be found.
When: 4th Sunday of each month (3rd in Dec), 8am – 2pm
Where: Bruce Jones Market Grounds, Yungaburra
In the middle of a quaint little storybook village flanked by crater lakes, ancient rainforests and other-worldly trees, some 250 local growers, producers and artisans gather to display and sell their produce and handiwork on the ‘Bruce Jones Market Grounds’ in the middle of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands. Books, bric-a-brac, jewellery, accessories, children's clothing and toys and the greatest of grandma-made snacks and treats can be found at the Yungaburra Markets. Definitely a must-do for the hunters and seekers of treasure amongst us.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Port Douglas Markets
When: Every Sunday 8am – 2pm(ish)
Where: Anzac Park, Cnr Wharf Street & Macrossan Street, Port Douglas
Ever used pedal power to juice your own sugar cane frappe? Have you ever eaten Fruit Poo? What about tasting pineapples so ripe and juicy you can practically taste the tropical sunshine? Well folks, welcome to the Port Douglas Sunday Markets. The Port Douglas Markets are widely considered one of the best around and have a fabulous range of everything from food, flowers, craft, jewellery and locally made souvenirs. The hustle and bustle of this sprawling event buzzes from early sunrise with more than 150 stalls making these markets as much a local institution as they are a tourist attraction.