The best markets on the South Coast
The NSW South Coast might be all sparkling beaches, laid-back towns and rolling green countryside, but it’s home to a fabulous array of markets, too.
There’s no better way to meet South Coast locals than to have a chat as you mosey your way through a market chock full of delicious, hyper-local things. So, check the market schedules, match them to your holiday calendar and dive on in. After all, there’s no better way to discover the best regional produce than to taste-test your way through a farmers market.
Other markets can also help you with your birthday or Christmas shopping (look for handmade gifts, toys, and bunches of flowers). It’s also a good idea to dust off that picnic basket or cooler and get ready to fill it up at one of these markets, which are often near a scenic spot.
It’s hard to imagine a more pleasant venue for a spot of open-air shopping than Black Beach Reserve at Kiama. Black basalt sand and pebbles are responsible for giving Black Beach its unusual colour and the outlook includes Kiama Lighthouse.
The Kiama Makers and Growers Market takes place here on the fourth Saturday of each month – look for handmade soaps, artworks, pastries, potted plants and more. On the third Sunday of each month, the reserve hosts the Kiama Seaside Markets where you might find wooden toys, scones, donuts and, of course, coffee.
Each Wednesday afternoon, join locals as they shop the mouth-watering displays of farm-fresh produce – fruit, veg, flowers, eggs, kombucha and more – at the Kiama Farmers’ Market at Surf Beach, just south of the reserve.
Be hungry when you head to Gerringong Rotary Markets (third Saturday of each month at Old School Park) – this market is famous for pies and egg and bacon rolls. Stalls also usually include toys, arts and crafts, books, and heaps of local produce sourced from the verdant hills surrounding Gerringong.
Berry can get hectic on weekends, with day-trippers flocking to soak up its olde worlde charms (and snag a bag of those famous piping-hot doughnuts from the Berry Donut Van). All the more reason to visit on a Thursday afternoon, when the Berry Farmers’ Market is in full swing at the Showground, a few blocks off the main drag of Queen Street. Berry isn’t that far from the coast, so expect seafood along with fruit and veg, honey, eggs, olive oils, cheese, cider, wine, and baked treats.
Two organisations share the Batemans Bay Sunday Market, held twice a month beside the sea at Corrigans Beach Reserve, Batehaven. Marine Rescue Batemans Bay is responsible for the first Sunday of the month market while Rotary Batemans Bay does the third Sunday. Expect to find up to 60 stalls selling food, coffee, plants, gifts, antiques, and timber creations, and don’t miss the divine sweet creations of Pascale Artisan Bakery. Local musicians could also be performing some relaxing tunes.
Sage Farmers Market, held every Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Park in Moruya, is an award-winning hyper-local enterprise, featuring only local producers and food made from local ingredients. Three backyard growers per week are also allowed to sell their excess produce alongside the farmers. Listen out for the 3pm bell and get ready to rush for the best-looking goodies, which might include garlic, oysters, pork, sourdough, honey, and milk.
With a population of about 300 people, Central Tilba – a National Trust village – oozes charm. Soak up more of this township’s yesteryear vibe by stopping on a Saturday morning at the Tilba Market, held in the Big Hall. Browse the baskets and tables filled with herbs, citrus and other fruit, cakes, veg, flowers, marmalade and, when in season, truffles.
A bell ringing at 2pm on Thursdays signals the opening of the Bermagui Growers and Makers Market (year-round apart from winter) at the Bermagui Country Club in Bermagui on the Sapphire Coast. Savvy locals and visitors know to get there right on time to snag the best of the fresh local produce, drinks, plants, homewares, and ready-to-heat meals.
Eden Community Market, held on the third Saturday of each month at Eden’s Uniting Church Hall and Community Garden, is known as “the friendliest little market ever”. Meet the faces behind the stalls selling books, jams, plants, fruit and veg, crafts and bric-a-brac.
Where to eat, drink and stay
Coolangatta Estate, at Shoalhaven Heads, about 10 mins from Berry, is located on the site of the first European settlement on the South Coast. After a tasting of the estate-grown wines or a meal in the restaurant, wander back to one of the convict-built rooms or suites (as a side note, the converted stables also frequently housed Archer, the first Melbourne Cup winner).
Also close to Berry is Bangalay Luxury Villas, a collection of 16 villas with a much-lauded on-site restaurant that celebrates native and seasonal ingredients.
En route to Batemans Bay, stop at Cupitt’s Estate near Ulladulla. It’s a multi-faceted enterprise that not only incorporates a winery, brewery, fromagerie and restaurant – from November 2021, it will also offer 10 vineyard cottages, complete with outdoor baths on the decks. As if that’s not enough, Cupitt’s also stages its own Grower’s Market on the last Saturday morning of each month. The gourmet offerings here might include the likes of cumquats in vodka and chocolate-coated candied orange sticks.
At the heritage Tathra Hotel, 40 mins south of Bermagui, you can raise a toast to the passing parade of whales (during the May to November season) with a little something from the Humpback Brewery, a former pokies room turned micro-brewery. The beers were only ever available on tap – until August 2021, when the hotel canned two favourites (First Calf Pale Ale and Melon Headed Amber Ale). Conveniently for beer lovers, you can stay overnight in one of the four upstairs rooms. From the lacework balcony, guests enjoy million-dollar ocean views.
The Seahorse Inn, at Boydtown near Eden, features its own mini-version of nearby Boyds Tower. Inspect church ruins on a nearby hill or simply admire the awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets from the beach fronting Twofold Bay.