What you need to know
This long-running staple of the Cairns culinary scene has been in operation for four decades and features an eclectic mix of both edible and craft-based goods. It's by far the best spot in Cairns to purchase fresh seasonal produce direct from the local farmers. Over 180 stalls can be found in operation each week selling a mixed bag of fruit and veg along with handcrafted goods, pastries, chocolate and more.
If you're after a ready-to-eat meal, there are a range of food vans offering meals and refreshment from a variety of cuisines. It's a buzzing hive of activity with reasonable prices which acts as a great alternative to eating out for those visiting Cairns over a multi-day period. If you're staying in accommodation with a kitchen, simply stock up and prepare some quality food yourself to keep the budget expenses down.
Rusty's Markets are located between Grafton and Sheridan streets in the Cairns CBD and run each week from 5am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, providing an easy go-to activity to take part in if you're staying over a weekend. Service here comes with a smile and a friendly attitude at most of its stalls, and live music adds an extra layer of liveliness to the proceedings. In addition, if you're looking to acquire a souvenir while in Cairns, this is the place to go as a number of stores sell excellent handcrafted items such as jewellery and other artisan goods, which is a refreshing change from the commercialised tourist items at most retail stores.
- Friday: 5am - 6pm
- Saturday: 5am - 6pm
- Sunday: 5am - 3pm
- Gilligan's/Rusty's Carpark on Sheridan Street
- All day parking (Monday to Thursday): $4
- 5 Day weekly pass (excludes weekends): $15
- Friday to Sunday: First 2 hours free; $4 daily rate following