Normally I would just go and check out the bargains in the markets, buy some fresh fruit and vegetables and perhaps some great fresh bread and those boxed variety of pastries at the entrance, and leave.
Huge playground area, seating and play equipment for children to have fun with.
Caribbean Gardens and Market is a family owned business that has been in the family since the WWII era in the 1940s. Owner ~ Archibald used to sell canned meats from the premises at that time. Then in 1965, a timeframe when water ski shows were being held on the premises, an inkling of the markets had begun with a handful of traders selling their wares from their car boots.
Mini Golf, Japanese Garden, Jungle Cruise and a 5km long train track around the lake
The market grew from there and started to have stall tables. Since those early days, the market pavilion has been extended three times, to the size it is today. There is 10,500 sq.mt of market space and 1200 stalls undercover and 150 stalls outside on peak trading days.
Dogs and Bicycles are not permitted and no swimming allowed.
The market is open three days a week and it has 2500 car spaces. For disabled parking you drive right through and you will find a section filled with disabled parking bays diagonally opposite the market pavilion entrance. An impressive 500,00 people enter the gates each year. Archibald's grandson Ben has now taken over the business and he is very hands-on and works on the premises himself.
There is a huge playground and play equipment to keep the children busy, not to mention two large aviaries, and a train that is painted in Thomas the Tank colours (which the kids love I am told), running on a 5km train track around the lake. But wait, theres more. Theres a chair lift, jungle boat cruises through the islands and mini golf, to name a few other activities.
However, take note that the rides only operate on Sundays from 11am normally, but during the school holidays they operate on all three market open days, and cost $4 a ride.
Food hall meals are on average $6 a meal and they have enough choices to satisfy a hungry tummy. Theres also a coffee and cake corner for mum and dad.
When the kids are all tuckered out and hungry, you can take them to the cafe where you can get meals i.e. fish and chips etc for $6 on average. Theres enough of a variety there to satisfy the hungry tummies, and a coffee and cake corner for mum and dad.
There are ducks and a few species of water birds for the nature lovers
Set among beautiful elm, gum and pine trees, the Gardens are an approximate 100 acres around the lake. You could spend all day there between the markets, the playground, the rides, the cafe and gardens where you can stroll or power walk, or simply relax and enjoy the ducks and the lake. I looked around twice, and yep, I saw correctly. There was a man fishing in the lake. When I asked a passer-by walking their dog, they confirmed that a lot of people fish there. Wow! As I said, LOTS to do on the premises.
Yep, I did a double take when I saw a man fishing on the premises. Enlarge the image and you will see him in the top left picture.
Did I mention to add to all the above mentioned activities, there are also bbq's on the premises and free firewood is supplied if you just want to come down and have a picnic with your family and friends. Then you can take family picture or selfies to capture the moment among military tanks and a cannon among other scenic areas.
However, if you'd rather make a few dollars, there is that opportunity there too. You can book a stall for market days for a very reasonable price. You can find the details on their web page. Might be time to clear my stuff out and minimise yet again. Ugh!
Check out their website for more details and you can also 'like' them on their Facebook page to keep an eye on whats going on. I leave you with a few pictures of stall holders whom caught my eye.
Though no longer cut by hand, these intricately cut paper pop up items had me in awe. The artificial flowers looked so real and cost effective too.
These 100% Aussie made doggie bites were so colourful and delicious looking, I'd be happy if I were a dog. Pigs ears, pork puppy bones, lamb shank bones, roo hip bones ($1.50-$2.50) and lots of other colourful biscuits from around .20cents each and they even have chips for dogs made from premium rawhide. What next !
I'm a bit confused whether the market runs Weds & Fri all year round or just during school holidays? If someone could clear that up for me please? otherwise it looks like a very interesting market and one I will look forward to exploring