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What to Do at the Cairns Night Markets

Cairns Night Market lit up in neon lights at sunset

Markets are the best way for visitors to get to know a city. Think of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, London’s Portobello Road, Dubai’s Gold Souk — all brimming with hidden treasures and trinkets, spices and street food specific to their locations. Add to that list Cairns’ iconic Night Markets.

Every night after dark, the market comes to life with vendors, the aromas of amazing food and curious visitors. It has over 70 stalls in total with everything from souvenirs, delicious street cuisine, apparel, Australiana, and even several authentic Chinese masseurs. It's a great place to get lost as you wander aimlessly from stall to stall, discovering locally sourced and crafted goods. Being fully air-conditioned, it’s also a great way to escape those steamy Far North Queensland nights.


With over 70 stalls it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the ocean of options. Here’s a little list of vendors we think are worth your while!

Robert Levi artwork: blues and greens, Indigenous art, Torres Strait Island symbol, warrior, sea creatures

Hidden Warrior

Robert Levi is a Torres Strait Islander Kauraraig artisan who crafts all of the art he sells with his own two hands, making him the real deal in a sea of counterfeit Australian and Aboriginal products. His inspiring art is a way of passing on stories and perpetuating the oldest continuous culture in the world. In his gallery of beautiful wares you can find large and small scale murals, and painted boomerangs and didgeridoos.

The import of fake Australian and Aboriginal art and products from overseas depreciates the value of authentic locally made wares. Always look for a yellow and green ‘Made in Australia’ sticker or chat to the vendor to make sure you’re supporting Australian artists and makers while you shop!

Aussie Bush Hat store, man surveying plethora of hat options

Aussie Bush Hats

Remember your amazing getaway under the Far North Queensland sun with an iconic Australian bush hat. These local legends offer classic Aussie styles like Akubras, Barmahs and Jacarus, as well as classic American styles. Pony up, cowboy — and stay sun safe!

White macramé wall-hanging, palm frond in left of frame

Image source: Annisa Ica

Knotted Treasures by Jo

Nothing screams beach getaway like macramé, and Knotted Treasures by Jo is the macramé queen of Cairns. With macramé plant hangers going for as little as $15, this a great stop-off for holiday keepsakes and gift shopping. Every time you see your beautiful macramé crafts swaying in the breeze you’ll be immediately transported to the tropical sandy shores of Cairns.

Vibrant, floral candles in glass jars displayed on white lace tablecloth

Le Cadeau

Le Cadeau is a must for candle lovers with a stunning array of handpoured candles made on site. These beautiful waxy works of art are embellished with vibrant flowers, crystals and seashells, and their scents are dreamy and divine. For those on the hunt for a gift Le Cadeau also arranges personalised candles.

Candy Lane's hot pink interior, confectionary spilling out of jars and lined up on walls

Candy Lane

Go bonkers and ride the sugar high at Candy Lane with over 300 options of sweets. Try freaky favourites Fluff Marshmallow spread and Salty Plums, American heroes Twinkies and Gustaff’s Shoe Laces, and childhood gems like chocolate rocks and metre-long licorice and bubblegum ropes. If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, treat them to a Candy Bouquet — overflowing with sugary goodness. 


Close up of steaming noodles being tonged into dish

Image source: James Sutton

Shopping is hungry work and before long you’ll cave into the delicious aromas wafting through the market halls. Experience the fresh briny-ness of Australian seafood, straight from the ocean, or choose from the array of authentic international cuisines. From Italian, to Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and more, there’s something to satisfy everybody’s taste buds.

When you’re done with dinner you simply must satisfy your sweet tooth with the Night Market’s plethora of sweet treats. After all, to dine without dessert is to commit gastronomic sin. Feel the cool creaminess of Italian gelatos or refreshing zing of tropical sorbets melting on your tongue, or chow into the cinnamony goodness of a bucket of churros. There’re also crepes, waffles, and Italian-style espresso – pick your poison!

The Night Market’s amazing central location on the Esplanade makes them the perfect place to drop by at the beginning or the end of your night for some retail therapy, a meal, or a tasty little dessert. Get to know our beautiful city, its food, and the creative makers who live here!

The markets open at 4:30 pm daily and run to 11 pm, and the food court is open from 12 pm. You can find them at 71-75 The Esplanade. You’re not doing Cairns if you don’t stop off at the Night Markets. Come see what they’re all about, and find a slice of paradise to take home with you! Chat to our friendly travel experts for an further guidance on planning your tropical getaway.

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