Marketing the North Coast

You can find everything here, from tie-dyed children’s wear to high-end fashion…

Byron Bay and the surrounding hinterland are home to myriad markets. There are farmers’ markets, organic markets, artisan markets… and then there’s the big, very popular community market. The area is renowned for its alternative lifestyle, and small villages and towns alternate playing host, so there is always a market on somewhere in the area. Here we visit a few favourites…

Byron Bay Community Market

Boasting around 360 stalls every month, Byron Bay Community Market is the biggest of the region. You’ll find lots of hidden treasures here, from quirky handmade shoes and muslin mozzie nets to paua shell jewellery and organic skin care. And if it’s getting in touch with your inner Zen you’re after, then unwind with a massage or some reflexology.

Local and regular market-goer Bronnie Webster says that it’s the locally grown produce that attracts her. “The market supports local farmers,” Webster enthuses. “I love being able to buy fresh fruit and veg that’s locally produced.” 

So while you’re pretty much guaranteed that you will not leave the grounds empty-handed, it’s not just about filling up your shopping bags. Market day is also about meeting people and having a truly social experience. 

Be sure to check out the entertainment as there’s plenty going on and many opportunities for you to shake your groove thing. Byron Bay Community Market has become a launching pad for local musicians. Talented acts cut their teeth before the crowds, and with thousands visiting the market every month, it’s a great testing ground for amateur artists.

Just be aware that there is limited parking, so you might prefer to ditch the car in town and hot-trot it across the old railway lines to the market grounds. Just follow the crowds.

  • Where: Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay.
  • When: First Sunday of the month, 9am till 3pm.
  • Getting There: Byron Bay Community Market is 10-minutes’ walk from the centre of town or 40 minutes’ drive from Ballina/Byron airport.
  • Must See: Check out the locally made fire-twirling sticks – and book a free fire-twirling workshop. 

The Channon Craft Market

As you wind your way into the beautiful little village of The Channon, the old adage about the importance of focusing on the journey rather than the destination certainly rings true. The twisting road snakes into the picturesque valley through lush farmland that overlooks the spectacular Nightcap Ranges. It’s a stunning scene that is well worth soaking up before you are greeted with the vibrant colour and buzz that makes up The Channon Craft Market. 

The oldest of the region’s markets, The Channon was established more than 30 years ago as the original ‘make it, bake it, grow it’ market in the area. Today, there is still a strong emphasis on all things local, and organic products feature prominently. There’s organic skincare, baby clothing, macadamia nuts and coffee and you’ll even spot organic popcorn, ice-cream and donuts if you keep your eyes peeled.

If you have kids, they will be eternally grateful for any time spent at the well-equipped playground, which is shaded by a combination of sail cloth and tree canopy. Sit in the nearby Chai Tent and slowly sip your choice of chai while listening to the band of the day and keeping a watchful eye on the kids. There’s also face-painting and candle-making stalls for the young ones, (if the playground doesn’t drain all their energy, that is).

Free spirits without little people in tow should treat themselves to a healing massage, some crystal therapy or even have their futures told. Yes, we are in the centre of the hippy heartland here, but embrace it and it will embrace you.

  • Where: Coronation Park, The Channon.
  • When: Second Sunday of the month, 9am till 3pm.
  • Getting There: The Channon is one hour’s drive west of Ballina/Byron airport. It’s always well signposted on market day.
  • Must Do: You’ll find some of the best artworks in the region, so why not pick-up a sculpture or woodcarving.

Bangalow Market

The village of Bangalow is at its best each market day, when the collection of cafes, shops and art galleries have tourists and locals spilling out of them and onto the streets. 

Bangalow Market is set on the local showground under the shady canopy of huge, old camphor laurel trees. You can find almost everything here, from tie-dyed children’s wear to high-end fashion, jewellery and artworks. 

Sydneysider Simone Kendall regularly visits family in the area and says that she always tries to coordinate her trips to the area with Bangalow Market day. “I love that I can come here, have

a nice lunch, get a massage and go home with some great buys that I can’t find in Sydney, such as the locally made wooden chopping boards and intricate wrought iron sculptures. And  I love the chilled-out atmosphere.”

Take some time out from the hustle and bustle and head to the Moller Pavillion, which is situated at the back of the market, for ‘Art on Sunday’, a showcase of local paintings for sale at reasonable prices. The A&I hall, which is just outside the market, also sells some fantastic artwork.    

  • Where: Bangalow Showground (behind Bangalow Primary School).
  • When: Fourth Sunday of the month, 9am till 3pm.
  • Getting There: Bangalow Market is 30 minutes’ drive inland from Ballina/Byron airport.
  • Must Buy: Take your pick from retro and vintage-inspired clothing – all hand-made using old teatowels and tablecloths. 
Words by Kylie McGregor - Published in Voyeur October 2009
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 50,000
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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