The Best Markets in Cairns, Queensland

Find the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets at Atherton Tablelands, just half an hour's drive from Central Cairns
Find the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets at Atherton Tablelands, just half an hour's drive from Central Cairns | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kylie McDowell
1 December 2020

Make the most of the sunshine with a visit to one of the best markets in colourful Cairns, Australia. There’s no better way to get your mitts on some of the great local produce and handmade wares that this Far North Queensland town has to offer, so here’s our selection of the very best.

Cairns Esplanade Markets

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The Esplanade Markets, held every weekend beside the Lagoon. Cairns, Queensland, Australia
© Paul Kingsley / Alamy Stock Photo

The pop-up Esplanade Markets are located on the picturesque waterfront with colourful stalls set beneath overhanging palms. Every Saturday, local farmers, producers, artists, craftsfolk and designers set up shop by the turquoise lagoon on the promenade. Pack your swimmers and go for a dip after a market lunch or rest your feet at one of the local restaurants with water views.

Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets

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Stalls at Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets, Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia
Find the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets at Atherton Tablelands, just half an hour's drive from Central Cairns | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

Open Thursday to Monday, the quirky Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets were formed in 1978 by a group of local artisans. Located within the World Heritage-listed Kuranda Rainforest, discover plenty of art and craft stalls, along with fresh local food and produce, clothes and gifts. After your shopping experience, wander through the botanical gardens or take a ride on the train which weaves through the forest.

Rusty’s Markets

Farmers' Market, Australian
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thomas-le-pRJhn4MbsMM-unsplash vegetables market
© Thomas Le / Unsplash

From humble beginnings, this local indoor farmer’s market has grown from six stalls to more than 180 since its inception in 1975. Sample tropical fruits, pick up some fresh vegetables and seafood for lunch or grab a coffee and pastry on the go. Visit Cairns’s (arguably) most famous market when it opens from 5am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Palm Cove Markets

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© Charisse Kenion / Unsplash
On the first Sunday of the month from April to December, visit the Palm Cove Markets on Williams Esplanade: 130 vibrant market stalls enveloped in blue skies, sunshine and palm trees. Buskers are welcome, there’s a jumping castle for kids and the beach is right beside it. Shop produce, plants, pottery, jewellery, clothes, wellness, skincare and beauty products from local makers.

Cairns Night Markets

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Night scene Night Markets, shopping mall, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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Inspired by Hawaiian and Southeast Asian street markets, Hayden Redfern and Elise Warring formed this open-air market in 1991, starting with just 28 stalls. Now a permanent fixture on the Esplanade, more than 2.5m people visit its 130 stalls and 70 retailers each year. You’ll find local and internationally inspired food, clothes, jewellery, hats and gifts. Open 365 days a year, the food court starts serving at 10am while the rest of the action kicks off at 5pm.

Tanks Market

Art Gallery
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© Jon Tyson / Unsplash

Listen to home-grown musicians and sample local treats at this family-friendly free market, which runs on the last Sunday of the month from April to November. Based at – and overseen by – the Tanks Arts Centre, you can shop vintage clothing, arts, crafts, gifts, collectables, natural health products, food and drinks. The real winner? The beautiful, overhanging trees that provide a hashtag-worthy background and much-needed shade.

Port Douglas Markets

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Sunday Markets on the waterfront. Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
© Ozimages / Alamy Stock Photo

Tried all the markets in Cairns? The neighbouring Port Douglas Community Markets are just an hour drive away. Explore the Queensland market with more than 150 stalls every Sunday, all year. The waterfront location is surrounded by palms and filled with locally made treasures. For a bit of post-shopping relief, there are plenty of white sandy beaches nearby to explore.

These recommendations were updated on December 1, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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