Local produce, arts and crafts, performances, and plenty of character, step into any New Zealand weekend market and you’ll marvel at the diversity and energy that comes with every gathering. To give you an idea, here’s a roundup of the 10 best markets to discover on your travels.
Matakana Farmers Market
A favourite stopover for those visiting the area’s vineyards, or simply wanting to soak up Matakana’s quaint village charm. Every Saturday, the Matakana Farmers Market fills up with stage performers, food stalls, and plenty of eclectic artisan creations in between. This is a good place to try out an assortment of Kiwi delicacies, like white bait fritters, Whangapiro buffalo cheese, and Manuka honey.
Whangarei Growers’ Market
The very first of its kind in New Zealand, Whangarei’s Growers Market is now the home turf for 100 growers and stallholders who diligently set up shop every Saturday to sell their produce. The town, right on the northern end of the North Island, has always been an ideal spot for cultivating a variety of fruits, plants and vegetables — primarily because of its warm climate and nutrient-rich soils. Buskers are also part of the markets’ community spirit, and you can usually encounter an array of different foodstuffs, from oils to meat and fish, on any given visit.
La Cigale French Market
A little piece of France comes to Auckland’s Parnell Village every weekend. The two-day fanfare that is known as La Cigale welcomes thousands of visitors each week. Grab a cup of coffee, browse through the vast collection of baguettes, and enjoy the bustling market vibes. It’s not isolated to all things French, either — local produce stalls are a prominent feature, as are a melting pot of food stalls offering up flavours from Europe and beyond.
Wellington Harbourside Market
Wellington’s most popular market has been going steady and strong, rain or shine, since 1920. The Harbourside Market is held every Sunday, right next to Te Papa Museum, and is renowned for its incredible array of stalls and jovial community spirit. Grab some home baking, stock up on your produce and watch the streets come alive with various busking performances on show.
Otago Farmers Market
As the sun rises over Dunedin’s iconic Railway Station, the streets come alive with wonderful food stalls and traditional market goodies. The Otago Farmers Market celebrates all aspects of its community, from local produce growers to farmers and bakers. Traditional crêpes and gallettes have been a prominent feature of the market for more than a decade, and you can even get a taste of a traditional Hangi during your visit too.
Otago Farmers Market, 1 Anzac Ave, Dunedin 9018, New Zealand, +64 3-471 6178
Christchurch Farmers Market
If you like picturesque landscapes with your local produce, Christchurch Farmers Market is the place to visit. Stalls are nicely set against the historic Riccarton House, overlooking the Avon River. Baked goodies and ready-to-eat morsels are always abundant too — you won’t need to stray too far to be met with delectable cakes, doughnuts, macarons and even savoury treats like gourmet pies and empanadas.
Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market
Artists come from all over the South Island to showcase their creations at the weekly Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market. This wonderfully creative event is held every Saturday in Queenstown’s dynamic Earnslaw Park, and is bound to appease all artistic affinities on any given weekend. Paintings, carvings, jewellery, pottery, photography, artisan soaps and metal works are among the incredible items you’ll find along the stalls.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market
The Hawke’s Bay region is globally renowned for its viticulture. So really, it’s no wonder that local produce is the pick of the crop every Sunday morning at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market too. From organic fruits and vegetables to locally-produced honeycomb and artisan ales, there’s a wide range of treats and treasures to discover in this bustling weekend gathering.
Rotorua Night Market
Boutique shopping, ethnic food stalls, and local musicians consistently wow Rotorua’s locals and visitors every Thursday evening. The Rotorua Night Market resides right in the heart of the city, making it the perfect place to chill out after a day exploring the area’s cultural and natural sites. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite to eat or you just want to browse through some arts and crafts, this is a must-visit for anyone who relishes the nighttime.
Rotorua Night Market, Tutanekai St, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand, +64 7-350 0209
Nelson is well-known for its artsy flair, and the town’s iconic weekend market celebrates this with precision. Under the leadership of Nita Knight for more than 30 years, the Nelson Market is beautifully adorned with locally-made candles, carvings, sculptures, pottery, clothing and jewellery. It also relies on a regular fleet of artisan stallholders, as well as local florists and produce growers.
Nelson Market, Montgomery Square, Nelson 7010, New Zealand, +64 3-546 6454