Top 5 NZ outdoor weekend markets

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When it comes to exploring the arts and local culture, no one does it quite like New Zealand and their outdoor weekend markets. Across the island nation there is no end to unique markets to uncover. Whether you’re looking to try the delicacies and rich flavours of farmers’ markets, or you want to seek out the best local craftspeople have to offer, there is an outdoor weekend market waiting for you.

Since there is so much variety when it comes to the country’s weekend markets, we have compiled a list of the top 5 outdoor markets you simply must visit. From the brightly coloured, hand-made wares of Queenstown, to the refreshing air and food of Wellington’s Harbourside Market, only the best of New Zealand is on offer.

1. Queenstown Arts and Craft Market

Queenstown Arts and Craft Market

On the edge of Lake Wakatipu, the harbour comes alive with the full force of the country’s artistic energy. Artists and craftspeople come from all across New Zealand’s South Island to present their hand-crafted goods to interested patrons in the Queenstown Arts and Craft Market

It is common to see a range of goods on offer at this outdoor weekend market, and most pursuers go home with a unique creation of their own to wear or display. Some of the most popular wares on offer include pottery, jewellery and clothing, but there are sure to be some hidden surprises to discover in the motley of upcycled goods and homemade inventions. 

If you’re in the area, don’t forget to head over to the lakefront on a Saturday. The market is open every weekend from 9-4 pm, giving you plenty of time to explore to your heart’s content.

2. Kerikeri and Paihia Farmers Markets

If you’ve been spending time exploring the countless subtropical islands that make up the famous Bay of Islands in the North Island, you may have already heard of these particular outdoor markets. The Kerikeri and Paihia Farmers Markets have been combined into a single option as it is near impossible to go to one and not the other.

Both markets feature the best-grown goods the Bay of Islands has to offer, as well as foods you simply have to try in New Zealand. Tourists and locals alike adore exploring the markets for their produce that is unique to the subtropical, temperate climate of the northern islands. The addition of local musicians means that the atmosphere is perfect for a lazy day looking at what New Zealand’s soil and climate have produced to tantalise your tastebuds. 

While the Kerikeri Farmers Market is technically the only weekend market, being held every Sunday morning, we cannot separate the Thursday afternoon Paihia Farmers Market from its twin. 

3. Nelson’s Motley of Markets

The city of Nelson takes full advantage of the great outdoors every weekend with all sorts of interesting markets. While many visitors are drawn to the Nelson Farmers’ Market on a Wednesday morning to find the freshest wares in the area, the weekend is where things get exciting for bargain and art enthusiasts.

Kick off the weekend by heading to the Nelson Market for a full Saturday of admiring crafts, arts, and food made by hand by the New Zealand populace. Having been founded over 40 years ago, this market has become recognised not just across New Zealand but also throughout the world for its creative showcasing of styles, wares, and well-being.

Keep the momentum going by heading over to Monty’s Sunday Market the next day to explore the array of recycled goods and collectables locals have to offer. This weekend market is an offshoot of the Nelson Market that specifically focuses on pre-loved or retro wares. Plenty of collectors visit Monty’s in hopes of finding the limited-edition toys or antiques they’ve been looking for. Your journey to finding the perfect treasure is also supplemented by various produce or food stalls, allowing you to make a whole day out of the market.

4. Matakana Village Farmers Market

Katakana Village Farmers Market

Sustainability is the focus of the Matakana Village Farmers Market, tucked away along the riverside to provide a cosy environment for interested shoppers. The market is proud to be zero waste, so shoppers are encouraged to bring their baskets or bags when stocking up on the fresh produce, bread, sweets, botanics, and deli goods available.

The Matakana Market stands out amongst other New Zealand outdoor markets by always being open on a Saturday, no matter the weather. Local producers are just as dedicated to selling their wares, so you can be sure that your favourite florist or coffee roaster will be there rain or shine. This kind of dedication is what draws customers back to the market every weekend.

5. Harbourside Market

Wellington’s Harbourside Market

Every Sunday, you can find all of the growers from Levin coming together to sell their wares at the Harbourside Market in Wellington. As the oldest market in Wellington, having been offering wares to locals since 1920, there is plenty of history to explore alongside delicious foods. The popularity of the market is also evident in the fact that around 25,000 visitors flock together every Sunday, coming from all around New Zealand and even across the seas.

New vendors and volunteers alike are always welcome at the Harbourside Market. The sheer scale of the market means that the goods on offer also expand in variety and size. Whether it is locals looking to sell their wares, or newcomers hoping to create their presence in the New Zealand Market scene, everyone is welcome. If you are new to the market scene and are unsure of how to get started, providers like Smartpay offer EFTPOS machine hire services so you don’t have to rely on cash sales. 

Visitors to the Harbourside market should sample the spices and sweets on display, or take the day to sit down and listen to the buskers while you tuck into a full meal. If that wasn’t enough, the location right by the harbour means you can even buy fresh fish straight from the boats that caught them. There are more than enough goods on offer to also cook meals from scratch yourself, allowing you to bring the market back home with you.

Explore the tastes and sights of New Zealand

When looking for something to do during the weekends in New Zealand, these outdoor markets should be on top of the list. Each venue encapsulates the essence of the Kiwi community’s camaraderie and creative expression. The stalls on offer always abound in artistic wonders and culinary marvels, mirroring the diverse beauty of the landscapes they are found in. 

However, these markets offer more than just shopping; they provide a glimpse into the soul of Aotearoa. The enchanting aura of these markets, brimming with unique finds and warm smiles, beckons all to revel in the joy of discovery. You are always welcome, locals and foreigners alike, to begin forging connections, and experiencing the vibrant spirit that makes these markets irresistible.

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