The best shops and markets in Cairns
Despite being known by many as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is also a retail mecca, boasting a thriving shopping scene just waiting to be discovered.
Scattered throughout the Tropical North Queensland city are shops and markets bursting with unique products—providing the perfect spot to treat yourself and take home something to commemorate your trip.
Before you embark on your Cairns holiday, read through this Cairns shopping guide so you know where to find the best treasures.
For indie labels, vintage and gifts: Oceana Walk Arcade
Located in the heart of the Cairns shopping precinct, and just a short stroll from the marina, is a small but sweet collection of 10 retail stores. Oceana Walk Arcade is home to Tropical North Queensland’s most eclectic range of fashion, vintage, homewares, decor, eco-friendly toys, games and more.
Before you start browsing the racks and shelves, fuel up with some of the best coffee in Cairns at the onsite espresso bar Blackbird Laneway. The beans are roasted right here in Queensland.
If you want to spice up your wardrobe with some fashion from the past, head over to Vintage Seeker and you won’t be disappointed. You could easily spend hours here sifting through the shirts, denim, dresses and funky accessories.
Not only will you walk out of this store with some cool new threads, but you’ll have supported a brand that cares for the environment. By recycling fashion, Vintage Seeker is minimising its carbon footprint, landfill contributions, and use of petrochemicals and dyes.
If you’re looking for a store that caters for all styles, then this shop is for you. The racks are filled with clothing from over 25 labels (such as Auguste, The Wolf Gang and Love Strength), so you’ll be sure to find something that suits your style.
Filled to the brim with fun, fashion-forward designs, we predict you’ll be taking more than one trip to the dressing room.
Step inside Cairns’ first eco-friendly and education-based toy store for a shopping experience like no other. Here you’ll find an incredible range of non-battery-operated toys—from musical instruments and water toys to craft supplies and puzzles.
Earth Toys, owned by an Australian family, believe that the toys children are surrounded with should invite imagination and laughter and help to create lifelong memories for your family. So you’ll get much more than a physical toy with your purchase.
Note: the big kids are covered here too, with products for all ages.
Eggplant & Poppy
Established in 2014, after friends Emma and Kirsty wanted to share their mutual love of handmade, vintage and upcycling with the world, Eggplant & Poppy specialise in quirky products that are either handmade (in the on-site studio) or outsourced.
This gift store is like a little wonderland with its extensive mix of products; here you can pick up practically anything—homewares, cards, tote bags, jewellery, vintage books, clocks and so much more.
Location: 62 Grafton Street, Cairns 4870
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 7am-7pm. Check individual stores for hours.
For high-end design: Galleria
A shining beacon for all luxe label lovers, Galleria is a gorgeous art-deco building home to a variety of prestigious brands. In fact, it’s the only location north of Brisbane with Gucci, Fendi, Prada and Coach counters.
With just short of 100 brands on show, you’ll want to dedicate a whole day to exploring this very special store. Work your way from the Marc Jacobs handbags to the Dior make-up counter, pick up some Michael Kors, slide on a new pair of Ray-Bans, and take home a taste of Queensland with a few bottles of Sirromet wine.
International visitors can enjoy duty-free shopping here while Australians can still partake, but sadly won’t escape the GST.
Location: on the corner of Abbott and Spence Streets
Opening hours: seven days from 12pm-8pm.
For genuine UGG boots: Premium Brands Cairns
If you’re looking for footwear that’s like a blanket for your feet, head to Abbott Street in Cairns Square and grab yourself a pair of UGG boots. These iconic boots are the epitome of luxury and comfort and will see you through many cold winter nights.
Premium Brands also stock other well-known brands such as Nautica, The North Face, Speedo, Lee and Lactose, so have plenty of bags at the ready.
Location: Shop 9, Cairns Square, 42-52 Abbott Street. They also have an outlet store at 15 Spence Street, Cairns City.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-9pm; Sunday 2pm-9pm.
For big-name brands: Cairns Central
Opened in 1997, this is Cairns’ largest shopping centre and Northern Queensland’s second-only multi-story shopping centre.
Park your car in the complimentary carpark before wandering through the wide range of stores—including fashion, health and beauty, homewares, leisure and variety stores. Conveniently, you’ll find grocery stores so you can restock on supplies, and dining areas to refuel throughout the day. You can even indulge in a massage or spring for a new ‘do in one of the various beauty salons.
Cairns Central and Lend Lease Retail are also implementing a number of initiatives to improve their sustainability. Some of these changes include reducing their energy consumption, cutting down on water use by extracting borewater from under the premises, and striving to use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Location: 1-21 McLeod St, Cairns City 4870
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-5:30pm (Thursday until 9pm); Sunday 10:30am-4pm.
For the biggest discounts: DFO Cairns
What can you do when it rains in Cairns? Shopping of course! Head to DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) and fill up your suitcases with some bargains.
At this Cairns shopping precinct you’ll find discounted racks from Australian brands including Lorna Jane, Cotton On and Bonds, as well as outlet stores for Quicksilver, TK Maxx, Converse and more.
Once you’ve had your shopping fix, you can battle it out with a game of lasertag or step into a virtual reality with the family at Laserfun.
Location: 274 Musgrave Road, Westcourt Cairns 4870
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm.
For local delicacies: Rusty’s Market
Since 1975, this vibrant marketplace has been serving up fresh food, apparel, gifts and flowers to the public.
Spend your time browsing the stalls and discovering the hidden gems on offer, while soaking up the buzzing atmosphere and friendly service. This hub is the place to be for retail therapy, entertainment, and a spot of socialising.
Location: 57-89 Grafton Street, Cairns. Score two hours free parking in the Gilligan’s/Rusty’s carpark, found above Rusty’s on Sheridan Street.
Opening hours: Friday and Saturday 5am-6pm; Sunday 5am-3pm.
For Indigenous art
Cairns is home to talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, sculptors and creators. These galleries in and around Cairns have their amazing creations on show, which you can purchase and adorn the walls of your own home.
For local designers and quirky souvenirs: Cairns markets
A great way to experience Cairns’ shopping (and culture) is immersing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a local market.
If you’re a fan of quirky trinkets, local produce and tasty food, head to one of these markets for a browse and a chat with the makers behind them.
Cairns Esplanade Markets
For waterfront views and shopping stalls galore, head to the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon on a Saturday between 8am and 4pm. A great way to kick off your weekend!
Cairns Night Markets
When the sun goes down, it doesn’t mean your day’s adventures are over. Head to the Cairns Night Market for everything from noodles to didgeridoos. This market is open every evening from 5pm to 11pm at 71-75 The Esplanade.
Ports North Cruise Liner Markets
When the cruise ships dock in Cairns, the markets jump to attention! Relevant cruise ship sites during the season (usually between October and April) are open from 10am to 5pm.
Head to Kuranda, the village in the rainforest, for two market options—the Original Markets and the Heritage Markets. Expect plenty of Australian treasures, from opals and macadamia nuts to Aboriginal artwork. Plus, you can have your fortune told while you’re at it.
Both markets are open daily from 9:30am to 3pm.
Tanks Arts Centre Markets
There are plenty of events happening at Tanks Arts Centre day to day—from music performances to exhibitions and the Cairns Tropical Pride Fair Day. But once a month this leafy botanic garden also plays host to a market bursting with vintage clothing, natural health products and crafts.
Tanks Markets operate on the last Sunday of the month (April to November) from 9am to 2pm at Collins Ave, Edge Hill.
*Check the Cairns Markets Facebook page for the most up-to-date markets details.