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Rusty's Market

Rusty’s Market in Cairns’ central city is a top-rated destination and a favorite for locals and tourists. It’s a weekend farmers market where you can find freshly harvested local produce sold every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you are looking to sample indigenous food, you can try it in Rusty’s Market in their Aboriginal stalls. Try the freshly grown local fruits, vegetables, and even exotic ones from the Torres Strait Island stalls.

Rusty’s Market started in 1975 with around half-a-dozen stalls, from its humble beginnings; it is now one of the well known and booming weekend market in Australia. Rusty’s is named after it’s owner, the Late Emrys “Rusty” Rees. He developed Rusty’s Market from a small market and expanded it into a flourishing market. Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & resort, the new owner of Rusty’s Market, has continued the tradition, becoming a favorite of locals and tourists.

The transformation of the area from an empty and deserted location below Gilligan’s Backpacker hotel from Monday to Wednesday into a vibrant and active Market on the weekend is astounding. At the start of the weekend market, you will see local growers’ arrival and their trucks filled with fresh farm produce and vegetables ready for selling.

The preparation for the market’s opening is frantic with forklift, trolleys, people moving around, and preparing their stalls. People start preparing their stalls at around 3:00 am on Friday and continue until they finish their set up. You will hear people talking, laughing, and conducting their business in different languages, adding an international vibe to the market.

In the morning, visitors who come early are welcomed by sellers offering their fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local products. Besides local produce, you can also purchase cheese, handmade Italian pasta, sauces, oils, freshly baked bread, and fish. There are also stalls that sell Indian food, Thai foods, organic food, and vegetarian goods.

Some stalls sell flowers, herbs, and spices, homemade cakes, and biscuits. Guests can also buy handmade soaps, hand-rolled pasta, chocolates, and organic body products. It’s a vibrant and lively place, with very cheerful people of mixed ages and nationalities, which gives visitors a truly unique experience.

Tourists can also enjoy a freshly brewed coffee while mingling with the locals in Rusty’s Market. They can check out second-hand merchandise like clothing, homewares, and books. There are also a lot of handmade pieces of jewelry in different stalls. After a tiring day, you can try their relaxing massage and have your future read using the mystical tarot cards.

For over three decades, tourists from all over Australia and the world have visited Rusty’s Market. It has become the unofficial centre of Cairns’ culture and the centre of activities on weekends. Its carnival atmosphere draws people from different nationalities, ages, colours, and sizes.

Rusty’s Market is one of Cairn’s favourite attractions and should undoubtedly be visited. It’s open Friday and Saturday from 5:00 am-6:00 pm, and Sunday from 5:00 am – 3:00 pm and is located between Sheridan and Grafton Street. There is 2-hour free parking in Gilligan’s parking area.


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