Image Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Top 10 markets in Tropical North Queensland

  • BY AG Staff with TTNQ |
  • March 27, 2017

From arts, crafts and handmade goods, to local food and produce, there's a market stall to be discovered somewhere in this region almost every weekend.

1. Cairns Esplanade Markets

When: Every Saturday, 8am–4pm

Where: Esplanade near the Lagoon, Cairns

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

You’ll find this marketplace in one of the most visually beautiful spots in Cairns city, right by the busy hub of the Cairns Lagoon, a man-made swimming pool on the foreshore. It accommodates a mixture of bright and colourful market stalls selling your usual tropical trinkets, hand-made clothing, art works and jewellery. So, if you like a spot of shopping while you swim, this is the market place for you. 

2. Rusty’s Market

When: Friday & Saturday, 5am–6pm; Sunday, 5am–3pm

Where: Between Grafton & Sheridan Streets, Cairns

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

Every Friday to Sunday since 1975, Rusty’s Market has been supplying Cairns locals with their fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s the first point of call for juicy mangoes as they come into season and home to fresh, local coffee, French patisseries, Vietnamese food vendors and more. In recent years, Rusty’s has become quite a trend-setter and is also home to an assortment of culinary delights and street food with a range of pop-up food truck style eateries now available.

3. Tanks Arts Centre Markets

When: Last Sunday every month (Apr – Nov), 9am–2pm

Where: Collins Avenue, Edge Hill

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tanks Arts Centre Markets

Set amongst the botanical and arts precinct of Cairns, the Tanks Markets are quite possibly the locals' favourite. Walk the leafy promenade of the Cairns Botanic Gardens taking in stalls full of local art, craft, vintage clothing, collectibles, health products and produce. Navigate into the old World War II oil tanks the market is named after to take in the ever-changing art exhibitions on display. You won’t leave hungry with your choice of Dutch pancakes, German sausages, Mexican tacos and more. The food corner and eateries are well worth a visit. The biggest Tanks Markets of the year fall on Father’s Day when the Carnival on Collins stops traffic and takes over Collins Avenue.

4. Palm Cove Markets

When: First Sunday every month (Apr – Dec), 8am–2pm

Where: Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

Plonked under 500-year-old melaleuca trees, right on the beachfront of picturesque Palm Cove, these monthly markets are a big drawcard for the seaside village, enticing people to give their poolside day-beds a miss in lieu of massages by the beach and stalls featuring tropical clothing and hand-made wares. Team your morning at the markets with brunch at one of the restaurants along the esplanade or bring your fishing rod and throw a line in at the jetty before cooking your catch at one of the free BBQ stations and picnic areas along the esplanade.

5. Port Douglas Markets

When: Every Sunday, 8.30am–1pm

Where: Market Park, Wharf Street, Port Douglas

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Socialeyes Media

Established almost 25 years ago, the Port Douglas Markets are famously positioned on the waterfront of Port Douglas’ iconic promenade. Filled with art, locally sourced produce including sauces, jams, fruit and vegetables and more, these well-established stalls have been delighting visitors from all over the world as they discover the essence of Port Douglas and its colourful characters. Grab a refreshing drink of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice or crack a coconut before picking up a bite to eat at one of the food trucks.

6. Mossman Markets

When: Every Saturday, 7am–1pm

Where: Under the Raintrees, Foxton Avenue, Mossman

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Mossman Markets

If you want to know where Port Douglas locals hang out on Saturday morning, it’s here at the Mossman Markets, underneath gigantic raintrees which shade the entire area. Purchase fresh local produce straight from the farm, indulge in the selection of homemade sweets and treats or purchase sauces, marinades and jams as gifts for those back home. If you’re still hungry after meandering through the stalls, grab a seat at nearby Junction Café for a seriously good brew and lunch and if you’re looking for somewhere to cool down, Mossman Gorge is right around the corner.

7. Cooktown Markets

When: Every Saturday, 7am–11am

Where: Lions Park along the Endeavour River, Cooktown

markets tropical north queensland

Image: TTNQ

The Cooktown Markets are a great place to meet local characters full of stories and regional knowledge – and find a souvenir or two. Like the town itself, the markets are full of hidden treasures and you’ll want to come here for fresh local fruits, chutneys, hand-made trinkets and natural soaps and creams. For a bite to eat, head to nearby Coffee Kitchen Riverside, famous for their pie flavours which include prawn and scallop, emu, crocodile and kangaroo.

8. Yungaburra Markets

When: Fourth Sunday every month (Jan – Nov), 7.30am–12.30pm

Where: Middle of Yungaburra village

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

Yungaburra Markets are the highlight of the market calendar, etched on the weekend to-do lists of thousands of locals and visitors. Most who visit this sensational culmination of produce, food, art and music leave with a love for the historic town. It’s a special experience that sees this small and sleepy township on the Atherton Tablelands burst at the seams as people descend on Yungaburra to get their fix. Go for quirky gift ideas, tropical jams, marinades and preserves, street foods, paintings, handmade art and clothing. You’ll find buskers, poets and the local choir keeping visitors entertained and great facilities to sit, relax and take it all in. If you’re looking to make a day of it, you could head out to the waterfall circuit at Millaa Millaa or swim in a crater lake at Lake Eacham. Visit the nearby townships of Atherton or Herberton offering great experiences such as the Crystal Caves or Herberton Historic Village.

9. Kuranda Original & Heritage Markets

When: Daily, 9:30am–3pm

Where: Original Markets – Therwine Street, Heritage Markets – Rob Veivers Drive

markets tropical north queensland

Image: Tourism Kuranda

Kuranda is world famous for its markets and each day this village in the rainforest greets thousands of visitors arriving on the Kuranda Scenic Rail and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The original markets is where it all started in 1978 and since then, the colourful collection of market huts may have grown but the essence of Nag Champa still lingers in the air. Tucked tightly together, each brightly coloured hut is home to a different vendor showcasing their wares and tying them together are foodie delights such as Le Petit Café and Sushi Momiji. Cross the road to the Heritage Markets where stalls offer a wide range of Aboriginal artifacts, handmade leather goods, wood and jewellery, or experience the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld and Kuranda Koala Gardens. If you’re feet tire, relax at Frogs Café and enjoy a delicious meal.

10. Mission Beach Markets

When: First and third Sun of each month, 8am–1pm

Where: Hideaway Holiday Village in Porter Promenade, Mission Beach

markets tropical north queensland

With its enviable location on the promenade facing 14km of sandy beaches, the Mission Beach Markets are an idyllic experience to add to any Cassowary Coast itinerary. You’ll find your usual bric-a-brac mingled with arts and crafts and handmade trinkets but the real stand-out is the tropical fruit with locally grown mango, sugar cane and bananas being sold by the farmers themselves.

This article was published with the support of Tourism Tropical North Queensland.