FROM home-made gifts to delicious street food and everything in between, the Cairns Night Markets has something for everyone.
An institution of Cairns for almost 20 years, the Night Markets are extremely popular with locals and often one of the first stops for tourists visiting the city.
Night Markets centre manager Mark Stanley says its long-standing success can put be down to variety, atmosphere and a convenient location in the Cairns CBD.
“It’s a very family-friendly place,” he says.
“There’s always something different here and a lot of quirky things you can’t get in a department store.
“Our location is also important. Everyone knows we’re here in the CBD.”
A whopping 2.7 million people visit the Night Markets annually, with clothing, jewellery, indigenous crafts, gadgets, massages, natural healing products and locally made items all available.
Mark says a cluster of small street food vendors at the Abbott St entrance has given added value to the Night Markets, complementing its existing food court on the Esplanade side of the centre.
A small bar is also in the works, offering even more variety to the Night Markets which consist of more than 70 stalls spread across 131 lots.
“I’d also like to see some more “quality” street food vendors. It would add to the multicultural feel of the place,” Mark says.
“There’s a lot of choice and we’re always working on creating an even more diverse range of products and services.
“It’s also good to see things that are handmade by locals on display. That’s what we’re about and I’d love to see more of it.”
While certainly a drawcard for tourists during the holiday season, Marks says local customers were equally important to ensuring the Night Markets continued to thrive.
“When it’s quiet and there’s less tourists to rely on, you need to rely on the locals to support you,” he says.
“We find that if locals have any family or friends in town, they’ll come to the Night Markets and show them around.”
With a number developments taking place in the CBD, Marks says the Night Markets is poised for a bright future as it continues to offer the best of Cairns to locals and tourists alike.
“I see us maintaining our presence here and it will only get better,” he says.
“There’s a lot of development taking place in the CBD with a couple of hotel developments and that’s only going to benefit our retailers at the Night Markets.”
The Cairns Night Markets is open from 5pm to 11:30pm every night.
“Every Night is Markets Night.”