Salamanca Market’s reputation precedes it as a much-loved, street hawker’s hub and Hobart’s most-visited tourist attraction … but is it Australia’s best outdoor market?
No doubt, some other open markets would beg to differ.
A straw poll around the YourLifeChoices office uncovered a few gems around the nation that street market junkies would consider among the finest of open-air bazaars.
Red Hill Community Market on the Mornington Peninsula, about an hour’s drive south of Melbourne is a favourite with many. With 300 stalls, it is the same size as Salamanca Market, so you can expect it to be as eclectic.
Known as the Grand Dame of the state’s craft bazaars, it trades on the first Saturday of the month. As a maker’s market also, it showcases fine wares whose creators adhere to high standards. Plus, there is gourmet food galore.
Australian Capital Territory
The Rotary Trash and Treasure Market, 7km north of Canberra, is the city’s largest garage sale. Among the second-hand goodies, you might be able to pick up an item that may have been pre-loved by a politician.
You can also buy fresh fruit and vegetables, plants and housewares.
If you’ve holidayed in the Whitsundays, you may be familiar with the Airlie Beach Community Market. Held every Saturday morning on the foreshore among the palm trees, it offers local produce, art, craft and locally made souvenirs.
It’s where the locals buy their super fresh fruit and veggies and freshly caught seafood.
The market is also just a stone’s throw from seafaring tourist activities, such as sailing and diving.
New South Wales
Set up on the grounds of the public school with the same name, Orange Grove Market in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt receives top reviews for its organic and fresh produce, and its unique clothing and gifts.
A foodie’s delight, you will also find something delicious to eat, from Spanish paella to Japanese pancakes. Held on Saturdays, it also offers musical entertainment, Aboriginal art, French crockery, handmade rugs and heaps more.
This state boasts many fine markets, but most of them are under cover. It you prefer the ambience of an outdoor bazaar, head to the Fleurieu Peninsula where Farm Produce Market operates on the first Sunday of the month.
Here you can buy and feast on local produce. The market even invites a guest chef who cooks meals using the fare on sale.
Only handmade products are allowed to be sold at the Chidlow Hall Market, so you won’t be expected to part with money for cheap imports. Held every third Saturday of the month, the markets are twilight sessions in February, March and November and morning sessions at other times of the year.
Located in a rural town near beautiful Lake Leschenaultia, Chidlow is 45km east of Perth.
Darwin’s Mindil Beach Sunset Market is packed with exclusive artisan products and foods. It is the city’s largest market and its 300 stalls trade on the strip overlooking Mindil Beach among the coconut palms.
Dozens of stalls sell all manner of prepared food, with a strong Asian influence. Among the plentiful craft shops you will find everything from native bush soap and Kakadu Blue oil, to small aeroplanes fashioned from drink cans and leather stockyard whips.
If you are looking for something a little less mainstream, head to the market on the lawns outside Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art. The food and beverages are tantalising. Where else would you be served a cocktail from a unicorn’s derrière?
Stallholders undergo a rigorous assessment process before their creations can be sold, and junky souvenirs are banned.
There’s also music entertainment that can be enjoyed from one of the bright pink bean bags dotted around the lawn.
Which markets are your favourite? Which ones should people steer clear of and why?