The style is relaxed and entertaining. Charming arcades, malls and markets of Tropical North Queensland stock not only the best local wares, but also the best imported goods and name brands from all over the world. The Far North itself is well known for its fine art works, quality Australian opals, pink diamonds, South Sea pearls and handcrafted jewellery.

Many of the smaller towns are home to quality art and craft galleries showcasing talents of our local artists; and weekend markets are a popular activity for primary producers to sell their fresh produce and secondary producers to sell their tasty delights.

Here in 'The North', Townsville has the largest regular market with Cotters Market held each Sunday in Flinders Street Mall; while in Cairns The Pier hosts a Farmgate Market each Saturday morning from 7.30am with local produce being the drawcard.  Each evening from 4.30pm the Cairns Night Markets spring to life on the Esplanade with everything from didgeridoos and akubra hats to locally grown coffee, honey and a multicultural food hall.

If you really want to experience the Far North Queensland local's lifestyle, Rusty's Market located in the centre of Cairns on Grafton Street, has been a fixture on the Cairns landscape for many years, where locals come on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to buy their fresh fruit and vegetables from the Tablelands, coffee, breads, flowers, cookies, as well as arts and crafts.

Up above the coast, Kuranda's main street is a plethora of the unexpected with anything from hand-painted silk scarves to the finest artwork, opal jewellery and fashions. The Kuranda Heritage Markets and the Original Kuranda Rainforest Markets are very popular.

On the Tablelands, Yungaburra Markets is a favourite market, on the 4th Saturday of each month, with over 300 regular stallholders while the Port Douglas markets are open every Sunday beside Dickson Inlet with a large choice of fresh local produce, gifts, artworks and crafts.

Port Douglas features unique boutiques and shops along the full length of Macrossan Street as well as the wonderfully diverse and upmarket Reef Marina Shopping Centre.

Back down the coast closer to Cairns, Palm Cove on Cairns' northern beaches is blossoming as a very quaint shopping village with boutiques, shops and galleries for a delightful afternoon of browsing.

Positioned in the city centre of Cairns, the shopping centres of The Pier, Orchid Plaza and Cairns Central, and retailers on The Esplanade and Grafton Street offer extended shopping hours for the convenience of visitors to the region.  Fast becoming the trendy spot amongst locals in Cairns, Grafton Street reveals some amazing surprises for those interested in fashion, with boutiques featuring many of Australia's finest designers as well as some overseas labels.

But Australia, and in particular Far North Queensland, reveals many treasures, and none are so special as Australia's National Gem, the opal; and not far behind it, the much loved Argyle pink diamonds and South Sea pearls.  Retailers in Cairns, Port Douglas and Kuranda have taken these precious stones and pearls, along with the finest gold and silver, to create beautiful masterpieces. Surely the best souvenir of a holiday in North Queensland is to take home a little piece of this fine land!

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