New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published July 31st 2016
Update December 26th 2016
This whole venue, which was designed as a temporary food truck area, is due to close in April 2017.
Update December 4th 2016
These markets are no longer operating, however the kids activities and entertainment (eg. petting zoo, nerf arena, climbing wall) still remain each week. Check the Westside Village Facebook for details of this Sundays attraction.
Held each Sunday with food trucks, music & family fun
Westside Village Markets are held at the popular Westside Acton Park - a shipping container village located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. As you drive along the iconic Commonwealth Avenue in the middle of Canberra, you may notice a series of shipping containers with eye-catching murals and an elevated, horizontal shipping container along the very top. This horizontal container is Aviary Rooftop Bar overlooking Lake Burley Griffin and below there are food trucks and outlets selling their range of delicious international foods out of the containers.
Each Sunday there is a market selling home-made products and craft items from local artisans in the community. These markets have been running for several months now, however it was "re-launched" as the Village Markets in April (2016) and runs between 11am - 4pm each Sunday. This is Westside Acton Parks most popular day, with Canberran locals and visitors all enjoying the tasty food and Sunday chill out vibe into the afternoon.
Source: Westside Village Facebook
Markets in Summer. Source: Westside Village Facebook
On my family's visit on the last day of July (2016), the market was held inside a marquee to protect customers from the chilly winds coming in from the lake. With outdoor heaters and fairy lights, it made a welcoming area to wander around. Shop for handmade crochet items, handbags, carved wooden products, plants, homewares, second-hand books, jewellery and more. Outside the market, there was also an area for kids with Jeep Rides for $5 a session and comfy couches for people to sit on to watch. This area became progressively busy throughout the day, with kids excited to jump on a jeep and get out on the track.
Although the markets are interesting to walk around, they just add to the festive atmosphere of the whole venue each Sunday. Wood smoke plumes come out of the top of some vans, surrounding the village with a haze of delicious food smells. On previous visits to Westside Acton Park the seating has been rustic on pallet furniture and benches, however the seating has since been upgraded and some venues now include tables and chairs behind plastic windows, to protect diners from the lake winds.
Habibiz Middle Eastern food with protected dining area
After the markets, why not try out some of the delicious international food options on offer. Our family's favourite shipping container has always been Miss Van's Vietnamese, with their delicious phở and bánh mě. On this occasion, however, we visited Daana Indian to try traditional Southern Indian dishes - most of which we hadn't even heard of before, but were more than willing to try. The friendly owner came out of the van to explain the dishes and suggest what to try to suit our tastes.
We would have to say, this was one of the best Indian venues we have ever been to - with soft breads (popular with the kids), more-ish sauces, tender meats and friendly service. We were then told they were closing on August 14th (2016) and opening their own restaurant in Curtin. If you have enjoyed Daana's food and hospitality in the past when you have visited the markets, ensure you keep supporting their new venture south of Canberra. With such tantalising food and warm and friendly owners, it is sure to be another Canberra success story.
Top - Daana's Hyderabadi Dum Biryani served with onion Raita - half serve chicken - $12. Bottom - Malabar Paratha (layered flatbread) with chicken marsala - $15
So why not head on over to the Westside Village Markets this Sunday - it is a great excuse to support local businesses and relax with family and friends. Make a whole afternoon of it and wander the stalls, enjoy lunch and stay to enjoy a different food truck delicacy for dessert. If you want to top it all off with a drink in an unusual location, then climb the stairs up to Aviary Rooftop Bar. With a lazy Sunday atmosphere, pumping music, views over the markets from one side and million dollar views out the other - you are sure to still be there by sunset.
...climb up the stairs to Aviary Rooftop Bar. Source: Westside Acton Village Facebook