IT'S steamy hot. But there’s plenty of shade, and the cup of pure pineapple juice, thick with sweet chunks of pineapple flesh, is going down a treat.
This is the Sunday Port Douglas markets, a place of great quirk, spread lazily out all over Anzac Park on the waterfront overlooking the Coral Sea.
Early every Sunday morning local crafts people and growers flock to the park in their loaded vans to set up their stalls with offerings that include the eccentric, the unusual and always the original.
Anything and everything is available at the Port Douglas Sunday markets: you can find out if true love will come your way from the resident fortune teller, have your reiki seen to or your back massaged - all under little canvas marquees with the gorgeous ocean backdrop.
At the Port Douglas markets you can buy a wooden flute made by a French man and a linen hat made by a Queensland woman. Or you can do nothing but wander and sit for awhile beneath one of many leafy trees, catching the cooling sea breezes.
We did a bit of both. We watched a local artist create a Port Douglas scene in front of us. We drank a second cup of the pineapple juice crushed before us from sweet pineapples grown at nearby Mossman. We bought organic insect repellent and tried on a dozen hats. We always buy a hat on each visit to the Port Douglas Sunday markets because it seems like a Port thing to do. (And we like to refer to Port Douglas only as Port, just like the locals.)
On this visit we discovered The Bead Girl marquee, an Aladdin’s Cave of jewellery featuring everything from wooden rings for the pinkie finger to bracelets of immense bling and myriad colourful beads.
Serena The Bead Girl will invite you in to her marquee to make your own jewellery from thousands of unusual beads she has garnered in her travels, and she’ll assist you with her own creativity and the accessories to make the necessary clasps and catches. We spent some time with The Bead Girl and came out covered in bling and went off to search for the coconut man, a favourite market character, and one among many unusual attractions. His strings of coconuts dressed in little wigs with painted garish faces dangling like decapitated heads all around the edge of his marquee attract every market go-er. But today we couldn’t find him; they come and go at the markets which makes it all the more interesting.
The tiny creatures we bought at the markets years ago - a ladybird and green frog made from macadamia shells complete with minuscule spring parts to make their miniature heads bob - still sit on our computer desks today nodding happily at us, a reminder of the delightful oddities available at the Port Douglas Sunday markets.
And after a morning market browsing we head across the road to Salsa Bar in the distinct white Queenslander building, for a mango daiquiri and a salad of goat cheese with Cajun almonds and mandarin segments. It’s a signature salad created by owner Bill Conway, winner of many awards and the man who hosted Bill Clinton for dinner at Salsa Bar in 2001 during the then President’s visit to Far North Queensland.
Then we wander the length and back of Macrossan Street to check out the boutiques and galleries, and for a Port Douglas finale, we head back to Anzac Park to the Combined Services Club to sit out on the decks over the water taking our time over a cooling sav blanc and a bucket of prawns.
Port on a Sunday, perfect.
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