Going to the Market in Australia

It’s not often I get up at 6:15 AM on a Sunday morning, but that’s exactly what I did yesterday. If you read Friday’s post called A Trip to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, you will know that my daughter Elizabeth took off on her latest school trip on Sunday.

It would have been a little harsh to have just bunged her in a cab to Brisbane airport; crikey, she is only 11.

It was about a quarter to nine in the morning when we finally waved her down the tunnel to board the plane, so it was still very early when we left the airport.

No point in going straight home, so we decided to check out Eagle Farm Market.

Eagle Farm MarketsIt was the first time I’d been to this particular market; to be honest I expected it to be much bigger than it was. It turned out that it wasn’t a market as I know it; it was predominantly a place where people go to grab breakfast from one of the many food stalls, with the rest of the market mainly selling fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods.

Perhaps there was a clue with the word ‘farm’ in the title.

Eagle Farm Markets2

Eagle Farm Markets4

Eagle Farm Markets5

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Eagle Farm MarketLike many markets here, there was live music…

Eagle Farm MarketsIt wasn’t the kind of market you go to buy socks, DVDs, T-shirts, or any of the other goods or trinkets normally available at markets.

Eagle Farm Market isn’t the only market in Brisbane, we have Eat Street Market, and we have Boundary Street Market. We also have the Collective Markets with around 100 stalls at South Bank Parklands which are very nice, but with these markets you go there to buy fancy not cheap. And we have some twilight markets and indie markets but none of them compare to the major markets that can be found elsewhere around Australia.

Sydney: Paddy’s Markets

There are two Paddy’s Markets in Sydney, one in Haymarket and one in Flemington; between them they have over 1000 stalls. I really can’t imagine there is much at all that you can’t buy at Paddy’s Markets. Paddy’s Haymarket is open five days a week and is undercover, so is pretty much a permanent market…

Paddys Market

Paddy's MarketMelbourne: Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is a mix of undercover and outdoor and is also open five days a week. It has around 600 retailers and again, I’m pretty sure there isn’t much you can get at ‘Vic Market’…

Queen Victoria Markets

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Queen Victoria MarketsPerth: Fremantle Markets

When we visited Perth earlier in the year, we checked out a couple markets about 25 minutes away from the city centre in Fremantle. Firstly, we went to the Fremantle E-Shed Market which opens Friday to Sunday and has around 80 stalls undercover…

Fremantle E-Shed MarketsWe then went on to Fremantle Market, also open for the same three days a week. This one has about 150 stalls and a pub with live music. A very trendy marketplace indeed…

Fremantle Markets

Fremantle MarketsGold Coast: Carrara Market

500 retailers, it’s open every Saturday and Sunday with a mix of undercover and outdoor stalls…

Carrara Markets

Carrara Markets

Carrara MarketsSunshine Coast

Home of Eumundi Markets, this is a massive and mainly outdoor market with something like 600 stalls. Live music, great food, but you don’t really go there to buy cheap. This market is more about buying something different, maybe something handmade or designed locally.

Eumundi MarketOf all of the markets I’ve mentioned here, only the Sydney and Melbourne markets are what I would call traditional cheap markets where you can buy cheap T-shirts, cheap DVDs, cheap CDs, cheap shoes, cheap leather goods, cheap socks, cheap everything, cheap cheap cheap.

Brisbane doesn’t really have anything like it. I’m not sure Darwin does either, they do have the very pretty Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, but that sells mainly higher-priced fancy goods, a bit like Brisbane’s Collective Markets.

Mindil MarketAnd as the title suggests, it is by the beach and you can watch the sunset…

Sunset at Mindil BeachHobart has the popular Salamancer Market with around 300 stalls, although I didn’t get to see them when I was there which was a great pity. I’ve heard it’s a wonderful market, but again it’s more about the fine local produce than cheap, cheap, cheap.

When we went to Adelaide we don’t recall having been to any large market at all, although we did pop in to the Adelaide Central Market. But again, that mainly sells fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood and bread. No cheap trinkets or T-shirts.

Adelaide Central MarketThat just leaves Canberra, but I’ve still not yet been, maybe I can ask my daughter when she gets back.

So, from what I know, only Sydney and Melbourne have what I would call big, cheap markets that sell almost everything. That’s what most markets in the UK were like, three T-shirts for 10 quid, that sort of thing.

The other markets I’ve mentioned here in Australia seem more like events; places to go to to buy something special, eat out, chill to the music, meet people and enjoy the surroundings.

If I’ve got that wrong, maybe you could help me out in the comments and tell me about the markets where you are.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Med June 28, 2015, 12:54 am | Link

    I love Pyrmont markets once a month. Really nice smoked salmon smoked on a BBQ smoker.

    • BobinOz June 28, 2015, 9:43 pm | Link

      That’s in Sydney, isn’t it? I’ve not been, sounds good.

  • Virginia G June 24, 2015, 8:59 am | Link

    In the U.S., the term “Farmer’s Market” is used all over the country to indicate exactly the sort of “Farm Market” you described here. I just assumed that was common everywhere, but it sounds like you don’t have that sort of thing back in England. Interesting!

    • BobinOz June 24, 2015, 11:49 pm | Link

      Actually, yes, we do have farmers markets in the UK, but they are way outnumbered by general markets which sell basically cheap stuff, all kinds of stuff.

      I think what threw me out with Eagle Farm Market was that I thought Eagle Farm was the place and I thought that on Sunday’s it turned itself into a market that actually sold cheap stuff.

      If it had been called Eagle Farmers Market, I think the penny would have dropped. Bottom line though, my bad. I should have realised. But there is a difference between here in Australia and England from what I can see, the vast majority of markets in England are where you go to buy cheap everything, but here they seem to be more a split between farmers markets and market selling expensive, unusual and maybe handmade/individually crafted kind of things.

      Not the three T-shirts for 10 quid stuff I’m used to from the UK.

  • djmcbell June 23, 2015, 5:10 pm | Link

    We tried going to the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne when we were there – however, we managed to go on a day that it was closed. D’oh!

    We did, however, get to Carrara Market on the Gold Coast, which had loads of stuff we wanted, but figured we’d never get it home intact.

    • BobinOz June 24, 2015, 11:41 pm | Link

      Look on the bright side; there would probably have been loads of stuff you wanted from the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne but would never get home intact. So you saved yourself more frustration by turning up when it was closed 🙂

  • Ross June 23, 2015, 2:33 pm | Link

    Adelaide has the biggest covered food market in Southern Hemisphere! Its great for fresh fruit, meat & veg and shopping around you can easily beat Coles/Woolies for price & quality.

    Theres also a huge flea market in Port Adelaide which i think is open Sundays?

    • BobinOz June 23, 2015, 5:47 pm | Link

      Yes, it’s the one I mentioned in the article, Adelaide Central Market. Not too difficult to beat Coles/Woolies for price and quality though, is it? 🙂 I didn’t go to Port Adelaide while I was there, so never saw the flea market.

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