Mingling at the Markets

21st November 2019

The MajorDomo guide to mingling with the locals at the market….     

Looking for the locals?  Every traveller loves an authentic local experience, and there are fewer places more bustling with locals than a market. Local products that are grown, crafted, brewed or baked by local traders, whilst a crowd of the local community browse and catch up with friends. We love a local market, and wherever we travel, we seek one out to immerse ourselves into the local lifestyle for a real flavour of the local culture and the opportunity to purchase unique treasures.

There is nothing better than buying quality goods directly from the grower/designer/maker, to learn the story behind your purchase, and know you’ve picked up a unique treat.

You know we like to make it easy for you and share our insider’s local knowledge, so we’ve put together our top market spots for New Zealand’s most popular destinations – where and when to find each market, and what you can expect to pick up whilst there:


Remarkables Market – Although there are a couple of markets in Queenstown, the locals all head to Red Barn in Frankton on Saturday mornings 9 am-2 pm (Summer only).  Packed with local families (and often their pooches) hanging out on the grass, snacking on market stall foods and wandering the boutique offerings in this divine weekly market. Locally made gourmet cheese, bread, oils and veggies are always on offer, alongside a selection of food trucks, and some lovely unique gift stalls. You’ll find clothes, jewellery, homeware and more, and there is normally live music to keep you entertained. The car park can get rather busy, so arrive early, or practise patience waiting for a spot to open up.


Harbourside Market – It’s hard to miss this market, which is located right on the waterfront between Te Papa Museum and Chaffers Marina each Sunday 7:30am-2pm (come rain or shine!). This one is a foodies dream, and offerings are mostly food, but it’s a lovely place to wander and pick up fresh juice, condiments or some gorgeous fresh produce to cook for breakfast. There’s also some food trucks for delicious grub and fresh coffee to enjoy whilst there. There really is no better way to start a Sunday morning than with a gentle stroll amongst the local crowds to collect some lovely fresh fruits and veg.

Hawke’s Bay

The Hawke’s Bay farmers market in Hastings (Hawke’s Bay Showground every Sunday 8:30am-12:30pm) is renowned for being a delicious kiwi shopping experience, offering a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, eggs, pickles and preserves and more – Purchase directly from the producer for guaranteed freshness. This market wins extra points for its community and sustainability incentives – Each week at this market, a community stall allows a charity or not for profit organisation the opportunity to fundraise or grow goodwill in the community, and a collection bin ensures food wastage is minimised, receiving surplus from stallholders, and accepting generous donations from the public to be re-distributed to those in need.


La Cigale Market – This divine market is found in Britomart and has been voted Auckland’s best food market 8 years in a row. Every Saturday 8 am-1:30 AND Sunday 9 am-1:30 pm, join the crowds wandering this French-inspired market. Local products are found, amongst a smattering of quality items from overseas (YES there is French cheese…) and as with any authentic French market, you will smell the scent of rotisserie chicken and paella wafting through the air. Long communal tables offer a spot to sit and enjoy some of the delicious fares whilst there, so pull up a chair and enjoy the gourmet treats on offer here.

Bay of Islands

The Old Packhouse Market in Kerikeri is on both Saturday (8 am-1:30 pm) and Sunday (9 am-1:30 pm) and is a great showcase of the industries in the area. In summertime, there are normally over 100 stalls, so it is a great place to explore and pick up some treats. Fresh local fruit and veggies, vintage clothing, locally designed jewellery, craft beer, local wine and talented sculptors are often present, and you can even treat yourself to a massage or clairvoyant reading (if that’s your thing).


The Ostend Market – This diverse and interesting community market is found at the Ostend Memorial Hall and Reserve every Saturday 7:30 am-1 pm – lots of yummy food, local produce, organic skincare goods and artisanal gifts, including local art, crafts and cards.  The little ones will love the bouncy castle (as long as the weather is cooperating) and children’s books by local authors. This one is a real melting pot and captures the spirit of Waiheke Island perfectly!


The Nelson Market – In Nelson, head to Montgomery Square on Saturday Mornings 8 am-1 pm for a wide variety of goods, including handcrafted gifts, jewellery, woodwork, pottery and art, and gourmet treats, whether its fresh produce or locally made preserves and pickles. An abundance of food stalls serving fresh coffee and tasty treats are great for a casual Saturday morning breakfast as you wander the stalls.

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