Markets in Eumundi grow to be region’s biggest tourist attraction

Great for kids

Richard Bruinsma

The markets at Eumundi are arguably the biggest tourist attraction on the Sunshine Coast – having grown from just eight visitors on its first day in 1979 to more than 1.6-million visitors annually in the early 2020s.

And it’s not difficult to understand why.
Market days – Wednesday and Saturday mornings – transform the tiny hinterland town into a bustling centre of arts, crafts, clothing, a wide variety of trinkets, great food and drink, groceries and entertainment, accompanied by an overall relaxed vibe and social interaction.

Apart from the region’s leading natural attraction like the world-class pristine beaches, nothing gets as many visitors annually as the markets in Eumundi.

“The Original Eumundi Markets started as a community marketplace, as a place to showcase local artisans, and we have evolved into one of the most visited attractions on the coast,” explained Kita Lawrence, a marketing executive for the original markets. 

“The Original Eumundi Markets is still all for community and supporting local, but we are proud to have developed our reach to a much larger demographic, showcasing the local artisans to the world.

“Although we are The Original Eumundi Markets, that was founded in 1979 with only three stalls, eight visitors and $30 of sales, as we have grown and evolved, new operators have started around us.”


The market precinct in Eumundi now includes five markets that all operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, still centred on the Original Eumundi Markets, with a total of around 600 stall operators.

The vendors include everyday individuals, couples, farmers, and small business owners, who market a wide range of items from specialised and homemade clothing, a range of food and drink – from vegan and vegetarian, Asian, Mediterranean, burgers, through to sweets, breads, local honey, fudges, coffee and tea, herbal drinks, and freshly squeezed juices – household items, furniture, toys, artworks, designer trinkets, and much much more – a great deal of it locally made and unique.

“The Original Eumundi Markets has the strong philosophy of ‘make it, bake it, sew it, grow it’, hence our market section features all of the handmade and Australian made stalls,” Ms Lawrence said.

“We also have a focus on sustainability and are plastic free, hence these are the attributes that set us apart from the other operators.”

Growth at the market has been phenomenal, as it caters to visitors’ desires for an experience that is comfortable – especially on a warm summer day – and relaxed. It is cost-effective and exudes a holiday vibe, but for everyone.

The people who established the markets almost five decades ago – ceramic artist named Christa Barton, along with her friend Gail Perry-Somers – wanted an outlet for locally-crafted items and farm produce.
“They had the excellent idea to hold a European-style ‘artisans and farmers’ market,” Ms Lawrence explained.

“They hoped to create a retail base for local farmers and locally crafted items, which could also help young people who were out of work to develop skills in food preparation and handicrafts.”

By 1985, the market had grown to 97 stalls, and it had become extremely popular amongst the locals, with attendance estimated at 143,000 visitors annually. It continued in popularity, and by 1990 it had 203 stalls and 260,000 annual visitors.

“During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the market gained more interest from tourists, and those living further afield, as well as the locals who had loved it from the outset,” Ms Lawrence said.

“Many city-dwellers began to enjoy the day trip from Brisbane for the sole purpose of indulging in retail therapy at the Eumundi Markets.”

From 2000 to today, the market precinct has grown from 350 stalls – including adding the Wednesday market day – through to the wonderful venue it is today.
Income from the markets also benefits many community organisations in the historic town, including The Original Eumundi Market’s parent company, the Eumundi Historical Association, which looks after the town’s historic buildings, the School of Arts building and the Eumundi Museum. 

And while the markets have grown into a wonderful attraction, offering a unique day out to explore the offerings of so many local producers, creatives and makers, those at the Original Eumundi Market have no intention of resting on their success so far.
“We have many plans in the pipeline,” Ms Lawrence said.

“The best way for any business to thrive forward into the future is to stay relevant and adaptable – whether that may mean expansion or internal development only time will tell, but we are always looking at ways to nurture our growth here at The Original Eumundi Markets.”

“Every time anyone supports small business, they are making a dream come true – the positive effect ripples into our community and allows us to continue to deliver this premier artisan market to the world.
“Every visit and every purchase counts, so thank you!”

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