COMPLETE GUIDE TO MARKETS OF FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND
Everybody loves a good market and Far North Queensland has got a great concentration of markets that afford a unique experience to each one. I’ve listed 6 markets in particular as their locations are all very special, even if you don’t fancy a hand painted kangaroo scrotum, a fresh coconut, a German sausage or an outback Ed Sheeran you will not leave disappointed. You can wander under the mass of spectacular raintrees in Mossman, take in the sea breeze of Palm Cove, sample “that’ll do pig” quaint at Yungaburra, the tranquility of Port Douglas or the ingenuity of the Tanks Art Centre in Cairns and you could always go back for that German sausage (not sure that came out right).
Before we I get into it here’s the Cairns Council link on their local markets, it does have some good information although we drove down to the “Ports North Market” last week, a new initiative around their new ocean liner port, only to discover that the idea was canned despite being listed on their site. It might pay to ask a local… or you could just read this and share it ;-)!
Most of the markets kick off early, 7-8am (9am for Tanks Market) then go through to mid afternoon. Some vendors may start to clear out after lunch though so it would pay to go in the mornings. The only real caveat is that the markets don’t all run weekly, so I’ve broken them into their timelines to make it easier for planning. I’ve also added a graphic to give you a sense of the travel time and the markets content. Some are true farmers markets whilst others offer more retail and crafts. There’s a couple that have some quality fine art attributes as well hence the colour coding. So, take a peak and make a plan. It really is a great way to explore and experience the tropical region of Far North Queensland.
PORT DOUGLAS MARKET – SUNDAY
This is our home town market. We are usually coffee’d up and back at HQ before the holiday makers and weekend traffic hits Macrossan Street. Hence, we hadn’t been down to the market in awhile so whilst we were researching this post we did a refresher lap and for some reason got a surprise at how cool it is. Our love for Port is no secret, it’s a magical place, adding artisans and sugar cane juice makes perfect sense! It’s very popular for day trippers from Cairns so I’d recommend going early and grabbing a bite or coffee in a local cafe afterward if you haven’t already at the market.
MOSSMAN MARKET – SATURDAY
The raintrees are so special in Mossman that it’s worth going just to stroll under them. It’s a small market with mostly produce and a bit of product. We often make a stop at Junction Cafe before wandering over.
CAIRNS ESPLANADE MARKET – SATURDAY
Right on the esplanade at the end of Lake Street you can get in on all the tourism action at the Cairns Market. Admittedly it is the weakest of all the markets listed here although it’s a very hand spot if you fancy indulging in the pool or a shoreline bike ride with plenty of food and drink options across the road.
FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH
PALM COVE MARKET
Nothing quite says Far North Queensland like Palm Cove, it’s about as picture perfect as you will find when it comes to tropical settings. Once a month the esplanade is closed off to traffic and with the usual sea breeze it makes for a pretty special way to spend a Sunday morning. An added bonus is enjoying a little coffee and breaky crawl, see our post Palm Cove Coffee & Breakfast Guide , one of our favourite spots in this part of the world for a memorable breakfast. A tip with the parking (which is limited), drive all the way down the back street to the “dead end”, it’s a long way back up the street but you can cut through the resorts instead.
LAST WEEKEND OF THE MONTH
YUNGABURRA MARKET – SATURDAY
Yungaburra is one of the first places people will rattle off when asked “where should I go for a drive?”, and it’s justified. A very cute little town in the hills just outside of Atherton. It makes for a bit of a journey but you can do a loop from Cairns or up through the Julatten range if you’re coming from Port Douglas. There’s a little bakery/cafe across the road from the market that makes the journey alone worthwhile.
CAIRNS TANKS MARKET – SUNDAY
We luuuuuv this place, one of our favourite areas of Cairns and a stroke of genius to run a market here. Edge Hill is a very funky little suburb of Cairns and nestled between it and the main highway is the magical Tanks Art Centreand Cairns Botanic Gardens. Last time we went it had been raining, we were going to cancel the drive down but the lure of a Palm Cove coffee was too great. So we really have Chill Cafe to thank for that because there is something about the rain and the way the tropics respond to it that is very special. The colours are just fantastic and the area has a really well thought out structure so you can wander through working exhibitions in the Tanks Centre or stop at the Botanic Gardens Centre for a meal if you haven’t filled up on Dutch pancakes.
Map of Markets of Far North Queensland
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