Looking for weekend plans that allow you to get outside, shop responsibly and support local businesses? Visiting a community market might just be the ticket. All across NSW, weekend markets see locals sell everything from seasonal produce and artisanal preserves right through to handmade ceramic wares and unique clothing and jewellery. Here are just a few favourites to explore.
Please note markets may have had their opening times affected by government-imposed restrictions relating to COVID-19, so be sure to check their websites or Facebook pages for updates before heading out and always follow social distancing practices if visiting.
Where: Maitland Showground
When: First Sunday of every month, 8am-2pm
Operating for more than 28 years, Maitland Markets began as a way for the community to raise funds for the first tourist office in King Edward Park. Today, it has grown to become an incredibly popular monthly event, with more than 100 stalls spruiking everything from artisan treats and seasonal produce to clothing, antiques and lifestyle products. The market stays true to its charitable roots by giving funds back to local community groups, and providing local charities with a free stall to ensure they can reach more people. With so much variety and good will on offer, Maitland Markets is incredibly popular with both locals and tourists, and has become one of the best Hunter Valley markets.
Handmade in the Hunter
Where: Sobels Wines, 5 Halls Road, Pokolbin
When: Second and fourth Saturday of every month, 9am-3pm
With a focus on all things arty and locally produced, Handmade in the Hunter offers a range of exciting stalls piled high with paintings, arts and crafts – and everything is 100% handmade. Most stalls are also manned by the artists themselves, meaning you can learn the backstory to a piece when you make a purchase. What’s more, considering the market is located in the grounds of the award-winning Kevin Sobels Wines, you can also pick up a bottle of Hunter Valley wine while you’re there. If you’re keen to check out one of the most artistic weekend markets in NSW, pop this one in your calendar.
The Olive Tree Market
Where: Civil Park, Newcastle
When: First Saturday of every month and the first and third Saturdays of November and December, 9am-3pm
The Olive Tree Market is Newcastle’s beloved art and design gathering, where more than 130 of the region’s best emerging and established artists, designers, makers, gourmet artisan food producers and street food purveyors all come together to showcase and sell their latest works. Here, you’ll find photography, illustrations, fashion, ceramics, homewares, jewellery, sustainable design, textile arts, wood and metal work, handmade children’s toys and much more. The market also offers an amazing line-up of live independent musicians, so you can grab some food and settle down under the trees for a relaxing and wholesome afternoon.
Mudgee Fine Foods Farmers Market
Where: Robertson Park, Mudgee
When: Third Saturday of every month, 8.30am-12.30pm
One of the most delicious weekend markets in northern NSW is the Mudgee Fine Foods Farmers Market. Situated within one of the state’s foodie hubs, this market is all about locally sourced produce that has been grown, reared, caught, brewed, baked or processed by the stallholders themselves. So, everything you buy here will be fresh and incredibly tasty. Wander through the stalls, have a chat to the producers and fill your bag with some of the finest food you’ll find anywhere in the country. It’s best if you make a day of it too, with this Mudgee farmers market also offering top quality egg and bacon rolls and freshly brewed coffee, which you can enjoy while taking in some local musicians.
Orange Farmers Market
Where: Either Orange Showground, Lot 3, Leeds Parade, Orange OR Northcourt, 237/255 Peisley Street, Orange. Check website beforehand for confirmation
When: Second Saturday of every month, 8.30am-12pm
Established in 2002, the Orange Farmers Market is a proud supporter of growers and producers in NSW’s Central West region and the more than 60 stallholders are guaranteed to be promising fresh food and handcrafted produce exclusively from this pocket of the state. What’s more, by meeting the maker, shoppers can pick up handy tips and tricks for how to cook, store and use take-home fare. There are also plenty of ready-to-eat dishes available at each market, including breakfast wraps, pastries, fresh donuts, vegetarian Asian dishes and pulled pork rolls, as well as coffee, hot chocolate, freshly squeezed juice and homemade lemonade. Please note that dogs are not permitted at Orange Farmers Market.
The Artist Market
Where: The Maritime Museum, Port Macquarie
When: Fourth Sunday of every month, 9am-1pm
Vibrant and eclectic, Port Macquarie’s much loved art market is always a hit with locals and travellers. Stalls here feature artisanal products and freshly grown or made foods, and free workshops are also on offer for those who want to learn how to get a little bit more creative with their cooking. Live music provides the background soundtrack, so settle in for a very chill morning on the grounds of the town’s maritime museum.
Where: Nimbin Community Centre, Nimbin
When: Fourth and fifth Sunday of every month, 8am-3pm
Nimbin is notorious for all things creative and eccentric, so you definitely do not want to miss your chance to visit the town’s excellent market. Here you can browse up-cycled and vintage clothing, handmade jewellery and unique arts and crafts. In true Nimbin style, no two markets are the same, with the music setting the tone. One month the market may be featuring blues and roots; the next, reggae or smooth jazz. Things are kept interesting here, which means the market always has something new to offer.
Camden Fresh Produce Market
Where: Camden Town Farm, 40 Exeter Street, Camden
When: Every Saturday from 7am-12pm
The Camden farmers market is always packed with plenty of locally grown fruit, vegetables and herbs, with freshly baked goods, homemade jams and special olive and lavender products just some of the items you can pick up. It prides itself on being a genuine farmers market, so all products sold must be grown, produced or made by the person selling them, so everything here comes directly from the local community. If you’re looking for things to do on a weekend in NSW, this market could be the ticket.
Broken Hill Community Markets
Where: Centre for Community, 200 Beryl Street, Broken Hill
When: Second Saturday of the month, March to November, 9am-12.30pm
One of the best country markets in NSW can be found in Broken Hill. Stalls here are full to bursting with local produce, sweet treats, locally pressed olive oil and homemade preserves, with jewellery, plants, minerals, homewares and collectibles also up for grabs. You’ll also find a good, old fashioned sausage sizzle taking place for a classic barbecue breakfast, so be sure to stop by with an empty stomach.
Hero image: Mudgee Farmers Market, Facebook.