Sunday, October 12, 2014

Australia 2014 | Flea Markets in Sunshine Coast & Gold Coast

Earlier this week I wrote about Sungei Road Thieves Market, one of the best flea markets in Singapore. Truth is, visiting the local markets is a highlight to any holiday for me too. There's much "hidden treasures" to be found and whether you're into fashion, handicrafts, artisan finds, retro collectibles or food, there's something for everyone at the markets :)

For our recent trip to Gold Coast, we managed to visit the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets and Carrara Markets, where Lil Pumpkin had her first pony ride! On one of the days, we also had a return day trip up to Sunshine Coast to check out the famous Eumundi Markets.

Pretty crazy I know because the drive from Surfers Paradise {where we stayed} to Sunshine Coast is 2.5hrs one way! Most of the market vendors I talked to were shocked we'd make a day trip out and expected us to stay at least for the night :P Thanks to the boy for driving all the way!!

Located along the coastal stretch at Surfers Paradise and just across the main shopping streets, Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets has more than 120 market stalls selling a variety of fashion, jewelry, art, beauty and homeware products. Not that many food stores though.

They say it's one of the largest Gold Coast Night Markets but if that's true, then it's a little sad since I found it to be rather small, especially when compared to a similar beach market like Mindil Beach Sunset Markets in Darwin. We finished browsing through it in about 1 hour.

Despite it's size, you can still find interesting Australian handicrafts and products like hand-painted T-shirts or salt lamps, and if you're having a short stay in Surfers Paradise with no car to drive out of, this would be the market to go to due to its convenient location. Plenty of space to bring a stroller if you're going with young kids.

Do note that the markets will not be open on rainy days. They don't have a website, but check their Facebook page for updates.

Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets
The Foreshore, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Opening hours: 5pm - 10pm {Wed, Fri and Sun only}
Admission: Free

Carrara Markets is open regardless of weather. The majority of stalls are covered shops so even during inclement weather, it's still possible to have a fun day there. Actually, we were caught in the rain while we visited!

One of the highlights for Lil Pumpkin was definitely the pony ride. She wanted to go on one ever since we saw the Cavalia performance, and her dream finally came through! For A$5, the stall assistant helped Lil Pumpkin to wear a helmet, get up on the white pony with sweet braids, and lead them for about a 10 mins walk. Get your camera ready from the start-go, as she won't really stop for you to take photos. She did help us to take some family photos at the end of the ride though... but the pony wasn't looking :/

There's about 500 stalls there with lots of food, so no worries about getting hungry. Not much handicrafts though, and mostly factory-made clothing, shoes, handbags, souvenirs, toys, make-up etc. There are some stalls selling used and second-hand items where you can probably find a gem or two if you rummage through.

Grab a map when you enter so that you can see where the different zones {Family Fun Lane, Big Shed, Pall Mall etc}. For families coming with kids, you can hire from the Markets Management Office a Kiddy Kar to get around the markets with ease. Price starts from A$5. There's also toilets and parents room facilities available. We spent about 2.5 hours here.

Look out for the iconic Gold Coast Metermaids and interactive reptile shows!

Carrara Markets
Corner of Gooding Drive & Manchester Road, Carrara, Gold Coast
Opening hours: 7am - 4pm {Sat and Sun only. Closed on Christmas Day}
Admission: Free

This was my favourite out of the 3 we visited, and I'm not saying that just because of our long journey there! :P It has everything I like about Australian markets - huge open spaces, friendly stall owners {one even gave us a recommendation on where to go for dinner on our drive back to Surfers Paradise}, original artworks, handmade jewelry by local designers, hearty food, street performers etc. It prides itself as being the biggest art and craft market in Australia with more than 600 stalls.

We arrived pretty late about noon time and parking was quite difficult. We immediately headed to one of the paid parking {A$6/entry until 5pm} along Napier Road. Didn't want to waste time looking for a street parking space even though it was free.

Eumundi Markets covers 2 big areas, separated by a main street. We talked to the locals, brought home a bit of the laid-back Aussie beach lifestyle with a beautiful hand-carved wooden mermaid, ate delicious calamari and Spanish fried bread, drank homemade lemonade and soaked in the sun and sights there. There certainly was a lot to see there and the next time, we'll try to arrive earlier to cover more.  In summer, the markets is actually opened at night on from 5-9pm with live music and outdoor family-friendly movie screenings. I'd love to visit then!

Eumundi Markets
80 Memorial Dr, Eumundi, Sunshine Coast
Opening hours: 8am - 1.30pm {Wed} and 7am - 2pm {Sat}
Admission: Free

Do you like visiting the local markets when you travel?
What do you like to buy there?



Masshole Mommy said...

Look at all those goodies. What a fun way to spend the day!

Unknown said...

Can't believe you drove all the way there and back for some markets for a day! I mean, it would have been a nice enough drive (I'm presuming you skirted around Brisbane...)

Second thoughts, not such a bad idea in general, it's just the addition of a child in the back seat that makes it seem like a long haul!

Ai Sakura said...

Masshole Mommy: Yup, they were all interesting to visit :)

Brownyn Joy: Yeah thankfully she was VERY well-behaved. We did visit a few extra places like the Ginger Factory, Mooloolaba etc on the way back :)

May said...

Flea markets are awesome! I can't wait for a trip to Gold Coast when the kids are older!

Bumble Bee Mum said...

Ah.. I have always loved the flea markets in Australia! Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast is an area I have been wanting to revisit. I am pinning this up for my future trip!

Ashlyn Thia said...

We only got to visit the surfers' paradise one, the other 2 looks interesting too. I can see the joy in lil Pumpkin face when she ride the pony. The pony has such fanciful hair. haha

Meeningfully said...

Gold Coast is so going into my "to visit" list for next year! :) I miss Australia so much, and Gold Coast is probably the only part of Australia I have not been to.

Unknown said...

We love visiting local craft markets when we travel too! And we visited Eumundi years back when we were in Gold Coast 3 years ago -

Even though I loved the crafts, I didn't purchase much as they were rather pricey and the exchange rates were very high (in their favor). Now it's almost 1-1, so much more affordable to shop there now! :D

Unknown said...

Craft markets are so much fun! All the colours and pretty things on display.

Claudia said...

Ohhh very useful post and I love visiting fleas and bazaars when traveling. This must bookmark!

Waiwai Leung said...

I haven't visited Gold Coast before, but this is one of my to-go places with my children. I love visiting those local flea markets!

Anonymous said...

I love markets! And I've been wanting to go to the Gold Coast for a long time.. Still waiting for some super air fare deal :D