Discovering Australia's hidden gems

Archive for October, 2012

Best Markets EVER at Yungaburra – Atherton Tablelands

Wow! The Yungaburra monthly market takes the prize for the best markets I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to a few). Today this quaint, sleepy little town burst into life as people flocked from near and far to visit the Tableland’s most famous market.  We changed our travel plans especially so we could be here for the markets after hearing good recommendations, and I’m so glad we did.

We arrived at 7.30am to beat the crowds and the heat, but were still there at 11.30am when it was of course very crowded and hot! These outdoor markets are large and offer a good variety of fresh produce, arts/crafts, clothes and the most wonderful home-baked goodies, priced to tempt the most avid health fanatic into buying at least three or four of these delicious looking sweet treats. Somebody should invent the mixed box so all of the tempting tasties can be trialed!

My market experiences over more recent years is that you don’t really get a bargain at the markets anymore. You’ll find things that are unique, handmade and mostly not mass produced, but you will also have to pay a good price for them. I found Yungaburra markets to be the exception. Certainly some of the stalls fell into that category, but overall the stalls had remarkably low prices on high quality, unique goods. The fresh produce was also amazing. Locally grown, usually by the stallholder, the fruit and veg was fresh and healthy, and also well priced.

Only at a country market!

I felt frustrated (and sort of thankful) that I wasn’t able to buy many of the things I desired because we are living on the road and in between homes today. No fridge and no room in the car for extra purchases. I saw many things that would make wonderful gifts, but again, travelling meant that I couldn’t cart them around with me for the next few months, and they would be too fragile/expensive to post back home. So the budget was saved today, only to cause future regret that I didn’t pick up ‘that perfect little something for such and such’ when I was at Yungaburra. And at approximately 3000 kilometres from home it’s a little too far to come back.

Or is it …?

I have truly loved this town. Surrounded by an amazingly diverse range of landscapes, it has an old-style charm with a European flavour, with lovely restaurants and cafes boasting Swiss, Italian, French, and Austrian/Hungarian cuisines.

And a fine Aussie roast dinner at the pub for $10 – delicious! The pub (Lake Eacham Hotel) was another wonderful old federation style building, with a big stately dining room and an open fire. Along with their normal bistro menu they had a different $10 special everyday (and $10 roast any day). The meals were large and a cut above the usual bistro standard. They also had free pool tables which sadly we ran out of time to use. Too many things to do in this perfect little pocket of Australia.

I have a strong feeling I’ll be returning to this charming little town one day. The friendly small town vibe (I dropped in on a casual yoga class and the group invited me to have lunch with them), the picturesque landscapes, the incredible wildlife (I spotted a platypus, tree-kangaroo, emus, rock wallabies and a multitude of lagoon birds all in their natural environment), the lovely locally sourced food, and the accessibility to some of the most amazing natural sights I’ve seen (Milla Milla waterfall, The Crater, the gigantic Curtain Fig tree to name just a few) make Yungaburra and The Atherton Tablelands region a must see if you love nature, food, and old charm hospitality.

Milla Milla Falls

© Copyright October 2012