Sunday, October 20, 2013

Australia 2013 | Flea Markets in Darwin #NTAustraliaSG

One of the things I love to do when traveling is to explore their local markets. It gives a very interesting peek into the native culture, people, food and customs. There's quite a few famous flea markets in Darwin, Northern Territory popular with the locals and tourists, and I'm glad that I was able to visit 2 of them - Mindil Beach Sunset Market and Nightcliff Village Sunday Market.

Mindil Beach Sunset Market is certainly one of Darwin's most visited tourist attraction. It attracts up to 20,000 visitors {!!!} each week, supports over 200 small businesses and provides employment for more than 1,000 locals.

The market is open 2 days a week from April - October each year. On Thursdays there's the full selection of arts, crafts and service stalls, while there's a more intimate, yet still impressive market on Sundays. Just before sunset, market visitors like to head over to the nearby Mindil Beach to relax and watch the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of colour as the sun sets over the horizon. Just stunning!

Lots and lots of delicious food galore selling over 1,200 food items... I love love love eating seafood and they were really so fresh there! Had half a dozen fresh oysters for A$10 which I thought was quite a good deal considering how much we pay for them in Singapore. You can even get a taste of the more exotic Australian meats like buffalo, emu, crocodile and kangaroo.

In case you're wondering, crocodile tastes like tough/ chewy chicken to me, and kangaroo is like very lean beef. Kangaroo meat is actually easily available in the Aussie supermarkets and when we were studying there, I used to buy it back and grill with some seasoning. It's not that expensive and supposed to be healthy because of its lack of fat.

There's a fine selection of creative arts and crafts too.. and the stall owners are usually more than happy to explain the inspiration and origins of their work. Take the time to talk to them and learn more about the outback culture and customs.

If you're looking for crocodile products, other than the souvenir shop at Crocosaurus Cove, this is another place I'd recommend you to come and shop at. There's a few stalls selling crocodile leather bags, bracelets, wallets, key pouches etc. I heard that there are more Australian saltwater crocodiles living in the Northern Territory than Territorians, so the numbers are rather stable and they are not in any endangered animals list, hence, legal to purchase products made their hide and parts {if you're comfortable with that}.

If you like unique, handmade jewellery then you really must not give Mindil Beach Sunset Market a miss! The girls and I were spoilt for choice  and although some were pricey because of the semi-precious materials used, most are actually very affordable. For example, the seashell rings in the lower left pic cost just AS$2 per piece!

I'm glad that my lovely roomie, Jasmine, loves to explore the local markets too {see her Darwin markets post} because she was the one that suggested we go to Nightcliff Village Sunday Market on the last day before we flew off. It was outside our planned itinerary and had quite a different vibe from Mindil Beach Sunset Market since it's in the middle of a cozy residential area.

Nightcliff is an ideal place for a lazy Sunday coffee or a refreshing family brunch. A wander through the markets will likely unearth a bargain or a unique gift from the many stalls selling a wide variety of crafts, plants, food and upcycled goods. There's even an outdoor kids playground in the middle for the kids to have fun while you sit and enjoy a cuppa, or entertainment from the local artists performing on the nearby stage.
Leo thought that it'd be just "fruits and vegetables" at the market but he was so wrong! I guess that's a valid misconception with most guys when they hear the word "market" and although Nightcliff sells fresh locally grown produce, there's heaps of other stuff to buy and do. It's another good place to find handcrafted jewelry and indigenous goods, and don't be fooled by Leo's cool macho exterior, he's actually sweet enough to think of his mum and sisters to get some souvenirs from Nightcliff for them heh. No wonder he's so popular with the ladies!! ;p

For myself, I got some wild bush honey, pearl bracelets and a long gems necklace. All so gorgeous! Check out the rest of my Northern Territory shopping haul here :) I would definitely love to visit the other markets listed below on my next trip to Darwin! Wouldn't you?

Darwin's thriving markets:
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets - Free admission. Every Thursday and Sunday {May - Oct}.
Nightcliff Village Market - Free admission. Every Sunday {All year round}.
Parap Village Market - Free admission. Every Saturday {All year round}.
Rapid Creek Big Flea Market - Free admission. Every Sunday {All year round}.
Berry Springs Markets - Free admission. Last Sunday every month {All year round}.
Coolalinga Rural Market - Free admission. Every Saturday {All year round}.

P.S. If you'd like win a trip to Northern Territory yourself, join this contest here and vote for me! ;p It ends on Monday 28 October 2013.

* Disclosure: My Ultimate Australia Outback Adventure trip was sponsored by Tourism NT, thanks to No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.



Serenely said...

Exploring flea markets is one of my favourite weekend activities! One man's trash is another man's treasure

Rhianna said...

They are just the loveliest markets aren't they? As a long term local I must say you have done a great job at sharing these

Unknown said...

I love flea markets too, thanks for letting me 'experience' the NT ones through this post!

p.s. voted for you too!

Susan said...

Wow, they sure have lots of interesting stuffs at this flea market. Love how almost everything is handmade or their local produce which has so much more flavour than the flea markets we have here.

Unknown said...

Great list at the end! I hope to visit some of the other markets next time :)

Theresa Mahoney said...

I haven't been to a flea market in ages! You certainly founds some creative and beautiful items at that one!

Stacy said...

Love your pics - so many pretty things! I could hardly buy anything in Oz though with the weak Ringgit. :(