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Published June 3rd 2012
Imagine if there was an in person marketplace, just like the original eBay, filled with people's cast off items, treasures to be had and bargains galore. But even better - you can touch and feel the items and take me directly home with you.
It does exist and it is known as the Wantirna Trash & Treasure Market.
Great retro memorabilia
The catch? You do have to get up early and it's only open on Sundays. Have a leisurely sleep in and you may arrive just in time for most of the sellers to be packing up and leaving. Especially if the day is wet or freezing cold.
However, for those that can brave an early morning rise, the Wantirna Trash & Treasure Market is the one market I have never left empty handed from.
What to expect: The best advice is not to expect anything in particular. As most sellers will bring along whatever they can get their hands on that week (including the regular sellers), the stock is always varied.
However, as a rule of thumb, you can generally find bakery items, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheap grocery lines, batteries, hardware, fruit and flower trees, new and second hand clothing, kitchenware, toys, books (mainly second hand) and household clearance including jewellery. Get lucky and you may find a clearance of a household estate, some terrific retro clothes or a fantastic sterling silver high tea set.
Car park and stores abound
What's the best time to arrive: Really the best advice is to stay from 8am to 2pm. At 8am, the first savvy shoppers through the gate will head downhill as they know the regulars are the first in line and therefore the first let in at the top. The casual sellers (where the real treasures are sure to lie) will be located far further down the hill.
eBay buyers, gift shop owners and second hand dealers will race in and run down the hill to be the first to see what treasures are to be unearthed from the unsuspecting sellers.
After they are sure no bargain have been left unturned, they will head up the hill, casually wading through the regular sellers.
Getting hungry yet Don't expect a gourmet feast here, but if hot dogs, buckets of steaming hot chips and freshly made burgers appeal, then you should have something to warm your tummy. Over summer, the best sellers are ice creams and freezing cold drinks.
Happy shoppers and bargain hunters
As the day draws to an end, the sellers (regular and casual alike) become determined not to go home with a full load and the bargains abound yet again.
This is the perfect time to go back for that item you had your eye on but weren't too sure about due to the price. Sellers will start offering entire boxes full of things for a few dollars and fruit and veggies are bundled up in cheap bags.
Looking for cheap gifts to pop away for birthdays and Christmas?
Many retailers come here to clear out excess stock, if you have storage space, you can pick up great lines for as little as $1-2 and never be stuck for items when celebrations roll around.
Veggie and fruit shopping
A couple of handy tips:
Over winter it gets absolutely freezing here, the wind whips around you over the old Drive In's great asphalt expanse. Make sure you dress warmly, including hat, gloves and scarf. The minute the sun comes out, it will fry your brain - a good wide brimmed hat becomes your best friend.
If you are wanting the kids to have healthy food to eat, perhaps bring a snack box.
And my last tip - no matter how determined you are to shop lightly, if you're anything like me, I always fill the entire boot of the car (actually, I've come over with a trailer a few times and been pretty pleased I did). A handy idea is a folding shopping trolley you can wheel along. If you fill it you can always get a pass out, take it to the car, empty it and start all over again.
Does your home need a bit of a clean up ? Gather all your items up, pack them into your car and then get up well before the crack of dawn to arrive well before 5am, rent a table for $6 or throw a blanket on the ground and you could be driving home a few hours later with an empty car and a pocket full of cash.
Be warned! The shoppers here love bargains and big ones at that, it may not be the best place to get top dollar for your treasures, but if you just want a clean up and don't have your heart set on a pre determined figure, then this could be just the ticket.
You do not need to book, just turn up. Staff assign stall space to sellers in order of arrival.
If your pet has has had a litter, you can even bring them along (provided you have adequate cage space and weather protection for them).