Market Time! The Best and Curious Markets across Australia
The Fremantle Market is a western seaboard favourite, with more than 150 stalls on offer in this giant heritage-style market hall every weekend. The former cargo shed is home to food, fashion and furniture, as well as hand-made gifts, antiques and one-of-a-kind crafts. Specialty traders include wholefoods sellers, indigenous and independent products and coffee sellers. Sample the fresh Indian Ocean seafood whilst taking in the good vibrations of local musicians and that famous Fremantle weather.
Queen Victoria Market and Rose Street Market
Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is Australia’s largest and oldest, and some might say its best. For five days a week, around a thousand traders peddle their wares on the city’s edge to locals and tourists alike. There’s little they don’t sell over the two city blocks they consume – fresh produce for commercial and private consumption, delicatessen delights and smallgoods, fresh meat and fish – and this is just the edible part! The open-air stalls are dedicated to clothing, cosmetics, shoes, souvenirs, furniture, art and gifts. An astonishing 200,000 visitors flock to the market every single week. In the warmer months, the market trades as Suzuki Night Market as dusk descends, and punters enjoy a whole new atmosphere among the after-work contingent. The Queen Vic Market is a Melbourne institution, a cultural icon, and a must-see destination for visitors to the city.
On an entirely different scale just a couple of kilometres away, the comparatively young Rose Street Artists’ Market is tucked away inconspicuously off Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street. Occupying house blocks rather than city blocks, the market is a charming concentration of creative output, mostly from local artists, designers and craftspeople. There are still several dozen displays in the humble space, and a terrific onsite café allows locals to eat, shop and do coffee without even leaving the grounds.
Salamanca Place, Hobart TAS
Saturdays in gorgeous Salamanca Place are teeming with energy. It is easily Australia’s most picturesque market: cobblestones cover the ground, historic sandstone buildings provide the backdrop, and lush lawns and plane trees complete the soft colour palate. Tasmanians are generally a self-sufficient lot, and their stalls show it – you can easily find intricate works of wood, glass and stone, lovingly fashioned from local materials by passionate artists. Expect around 300 vendors on a typical Saturday, and aside from the tantalizing crafts you will stumble upon locally grown produce, spectacular food vans operated by farmers and chefs, locally designed fashion and seriously talented buskers. The aroma of warm food and coffee combined with the salty sea air makes for a beautiful and invigorating experience.
Paddy’s Market and the Sydney Fish Market
Sitting modestly among the chaos of Chinatown is the Paddington Markets, a Not-For-Profit organisation that supports Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged populations. Not only are your purchases supporting new designers and small business owners, but you are also contributing to a programme that provides warm meals and ongoing support to those who need it most. The organisation consists of around 150 regular stallholders selling new and vintage clothing, jewellery, homewares, fresh produce and art from Wednesday to Sunday each week.
Seafood lovers everywhere will delight in the world’s second largest fish market, right here in Pyrmont, Sydney. No other market outside Japan offers the variety that the Sydney Fish Market does, with up to one hundred species traded daily with an annual weight totalling 14,500 tonnes of tasty, succulent seafood. Opening in 1989, the market now boasts the Sydney Seafood School, teaching thousands of Sydneysiders each year how to prepare gorgeous seafood fare. You can take a one-off cooking class or simply take a behind-the-scenes tour.
Mindil Beach Sunset Market
Somewhere in our glorious tropical north, flanked by coconut palms and an expanse of particularly lovely beach, you will find Mindil Beach Sunset Market, at a time and place that the name suggests. There’s something special and exciting about being in a crowd as the sun goes down, and here it is the warm ocean breeze and the fragrant aroma of Asian cuisine that reminds you you’re alive. From May to October, visitors spend their Thursday nights browsing the stalls, choosing from the near-impossible array of selections of freshly-cooked fare and congregating on the sand or grassy banks with their families and friends. Well-prepared locals bring chairs and blankets and settle in as the sky transitions from brilliant blue to hot pink, until it fades red upon the horizon.
It’s a long way between markets, but Europcar can get you there with ease. If you’re in need of a fantastic car hire deal to take you from Salamanca to Sydney, or Fremantle to Darwin or anywhere in between, let Europcar be your guide.