Night fever. Australia’s must-visit night markets
It’s so easy to gravitate towards a bustling night market, particularly on a warm night.
The buzz in the air is gripping as a chattering, good-natured crowd wanders colour-filled stalls, with the smells of delicious cuisine wafting through the air.
And fortunately, it’s a scene that you can immerse yourself in throughout the country.
We’ve rounded up the best night markets this country offers, so it’s time to get among the action with a visit to one of the following…
Mindil Beach Sunset Market, Darwin, NT
Magical, magnificent, magnetising. Palm-lined Mindil Beach Reserve comes alive as the masses converge on hundreds of stallholders selling anything from arts and crafts to indigenous products. Delectable cuisine has worldly influences, and the hearty mood is enhanced by diverse entertainment, including live music and fire breathers. Enjoy it all while watching the sun set into the sea.
When: Thursdays and Sundays; late April-late October.
Visit when staying at…BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park.
Cairns Night Markets, QLD
Modelled on open-air markets in Hawaii and South-East Asia, this Cairns attraction is a crowd magnet. Rows of stalls tempt with all manner of retail goodies, including jewellery, clothing, and souvenirs aplenty. There’s a rich international flavour to the plethora of food outlets, best complemented by delicious ice cream afterwards. The Esplanade setting only serves to boost the appeal of this popular market.
The Strand Night Markets, Townsville, QLD
Strand Park comes alive after dark when crowds mingle through 180-odd stalls just a stone’s throw from the beach. A wide variety of goodies are up for grabs: preserves, seasonal fruit and vegetables, clothing, art, craft, and so much more. Food vendors abound, and among the many entertainment options is a jumping pillow that draws kids like moths to a flame.
When: First Friday of the month; May to December.
NightQuarter, Gold Coast, QLD
It’s billed as ‘a festival every weekend’, and NightQuarter lives up to its hefty title mixing food, music, and culture to create an infectious ambience. Found in Helensvale, NightQuarter boasts micro-restaurants hosted in shipping containers, bars offering cocktails, local wine, and craft beer, and a roving lineup of talented musicians and performers. A visit here is an essential Gold Coast experience. And while in the region, stop by the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays).
When: Fridays and Saturdays.
Twilight Hawkers Market, Perth, WA
Arrive with an empty stomach to this lively CBD market, or you’ll regret it. A staggering assortment of delicious street food whips the senses into a frenzy: entrées, mains, and desserts. The international influence is pronounced with tasty cuisine on offer from all pockets of the globe. Located in Forrest Place, the market is backed by live entertainment that ensures the atmosphere is as warm as toast. Also in Perth, the Inglewood Night Markets are filled with flavoursome food each Monday (late September-late April).
When: Fridays; October-April.
St Kilda Twilight Market, Melbourne, VIC
It’s tough to beat a summer night in St Kilda, and the allure is even stronger each Thursday as O’Donnell Gardens is transformed into a hive of activity. With iconic Luna Park as a backdrop, the market boasts a vast range of stalls where anything from arts and crafts to tasty treats is on the table, literally. Also in Melbourne, don’t miss the South Melbourne Night Market (Thursdays; early January-late February) and the Queen Victoria Night Market held at selected times in both summer and winter.
When: Thursdays; December-February.
Sydney Chinatown Markets, NSW
The tantalising tastes of Asia come to downtown Sydney every Friday for these crowd-pulling markets. Take your taste buds on a memorable journey to savour authentic Asian goodies from teppanyaki and dumplings to yum cha and pho. The works of talented designers and artists also feature, making for an Asian cultural experience that can be enjoyed without even leaving the country.
Hobart Twilight Market, TAS
Long Beach in Lower Sandy Bay is the ideal setting for this thriving market, which showcases tasty Tassie treats with art, jewellery, fashion, and more. It’s children and pet friendly and the superb setting makes it a wonderful place to relax with a drink in hand, particularly if the weather is at its kindest.
When: Selected Fridays; October-March.
Ebenezer Night Markets, Adelaide, SA
Ebenezer Place has plenty of appeal; a laneway tucked in between bustling CBD streets in Adelaide’s East End. In summer, it’s Ebenezer’s time to shine as myriad footprints are planted in this prized precinct to peruse stalls full of food and fashion, arts and crafts, and plenty more. It’s colourful, it’s creative, and it’s a fine way to spend a summer evening in Adelaide.
When: Selected Fridays and Saturdays; December-March.
Which is your favourite night market, and why? Have we left it off the list? We’d love to read yours comments below.
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