One of the hidden delights of visiting country towns is looking around the local market. Who can resist the excitement of wandering among all the kiosks with their enticing range of fruit, vegetables, clothes, crafts and bric-a-brac? Some markets are famous tourist attractions, while others are hardly advertised — but they all have a magic that brings out everyone’s hunter-gatherer instincts.
TROPICAL SUNSET AT MINDIL, NORTHERN TERRITORY
A visit to Darwin seems to be on the wish list of most caravanners, and Mindil Beach Market is one of the Top End’s top attractions. The best time to go is at sunset, so you can watch the sun set over the ocean and then wander among the stalls in the cool of the evening. There are plenty of tasty snacks for dinner, plus tropical souvenirs to take home. We go there every time we visit Darwin and find every time that this market lives up to its reputation.
HAPPY HIPPIES AT KURANDA, QUEENSLAND
Kuranda Markets, about 30km north-west of Cairns, started in the 1970s with a bohemian atmosphere. Today, the markets have grown considerably, but still manage to retain their laid back style. The markets are surrounded by rainforest and give you the impression that the jungle is trying to reclaim its territory. Here you will find healthy snacks, retro hippy-style clothing, jewellery and much more.
TOOLS AND TYREKICKERS AT MERNDA, VICTORIA
We stumbled across this trash and treasure market while driving through the northern outskirts of Melbourne. It had an amazing collection of old tools, car wheels, livestock, bales of hay and much more. It recently relocated to nearby Whittlesea and is now known as the Whittlesea Monday Market.
TAP THE TUPPERWARE AT SORREL, TASMANIA
Sorrel Market is a large country market held every Sunday in summer and (surprisingly) every second Sunday in winter. Sorrel is located about 27km north-east of Hobart. The market has everything from organic vegetables to retro collectables and garden products. We were especially taken with the large collection of retro Tupperware at one of the stalls.
GET FRESH AT VASSE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Vasse Markets are held on the first and third Sundays of each month at the community hall in the small town of Vasse, about 10km west of Busselton in the Margaret River region. This is a produce market with locally grown fruit, vegetables and plants. The apples are so fresh that they have a sign advising that they were “picked yesterday”.
So make sure you check out the markets as you travel around. They tend to be very interesting, varied in content, and — to be honest — rather addictive.
YOUR SAY: What are your favourite markets encountered during your travels?