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