One of my favourite things to do whether on holidays or at home is to go to a good weekend market. There are so many clever crafty, tasty, growing, reading, arty discoveries to be made. Not to mention it’s a great way to get yourself out for a walk and take in what towns have to offer all while supporting local growers and artists and boosting the local economy. In the past twelve months I’ve had the joy of visiting markets in New South Wales, Western Australia, Northern Territory and in South Australia and of those visited, these would be my pick of the best.
Willunga, South Australia: This market is held every Saturday throughout the year from 8am to 12.30 and has plenty to keep you occupied for hours of wandering, eating, listening, and watching pleasure. Like most of the best markets there is a heavy influence on locally produced food and drinks. Must buys are honey biscuits, Fleurieu milk company products, cheese from the Alexandrina Cheese Company and dips from The Goods Fleurieu Fine Foods. Don’t just stop at the market though, keep wandering along the main shopping street for really unique shops, arts and craftsmen.
Stirling, South Australia: Held every fourth Sunday in the Adelaide hills town of Stirling, this market is one to take your time and savour the surroundings. Huge trees providing shade in summer, glorious autumn colour, colourful spring bursts and even in winter it’s worth a look before heading into one of the many cosy cafes in town. Things to look for here are plentiful plants, jams, preserves, scarves, hats, candles and good bric-a-brac.
Barossa Farmers Market, South Australia: Wine region, Maggie Beer Pheasant Farm nearby, Saskia Beer products at the market as well as the best smallgoods, Eleni’s baked goods and pastries, sour dough and wholemeal breads and the best breakfast burger and coffee – bar none. Perfect for the day after a Barossa weekend when you’re feeling a little bit under the weather – I promise you!
Goolwa South Australia: A busy, friendly, packed market on the wharf near the Murray River and the bridge over to Hindmarsh Island. Another market which is worth visiting for the setting as much as for the many stalls. Biscuits, chocolates, cooking oils, fresh produce and the list goes on. Then afterwards sit on the wharf and watch boats cruising along and pelicans flying by.
Byron Bay Farmers Market, New South Wales: Really fresh produce, different range of produce to other markets I’ve been to, from blueberries to oysters and everything in between. Don’t miss the Byron Muffin Men and the moreish savoury and sweet treats they have. This is a really good people watching market, grab something to eat from the Bloody Good Food Company and a coffee, take a seat, enjoy the musical entertainment and the colour around you.
Broome, Western Australia: Food, food, food and all of it so good. OK I didn’t try all of it but given time I’m sure I would have got close. There are plenty of food vans selling spring rolls, satays, paw paw salads and more. This market is held every Saturday year round and on Sundays in the dry season. Here you will find everything from tropical plants, glass art, aboriginal art, pearl jewellery, and a few photographers selling prints. Plus the precinct itself is very interesting. Set in the tropical garden surrounds of the old Courthouse it’s a very relaxing place to sit a while and watch performers too.
Nightcliff, Northern Territory: Nightcliff market was just one of many we went to in Darwin and another feast for all the senses. It’s on every Sunday from 6am to 2pm all year round. Beautiful fresh cooked food, locally baked goodies from Alley Cats Patisserie, seafood, dried and fresh tropical fruit, light cheap and cool clothing perfect for the climate, a great market that the locals love patronising. Unfortunately our last visit was at the wrong time of year for the Mindl Beach markets but they of course are worth a look in the evenings too while you take in a spectacular Northern Territory sunset.
This list only touches on the many markets that you can find anywhere you travel in Australia. Keep an eye out for one where you are on any given weekend!