For a bit of fun while in Canberra, I visited the Old Bus Depot Markets, hoping to score some good local produce.
What I found was a large, well laid out market spanning across two big, industrial spaces.
In the first hall, there was a well-curated collection of artisan handicrafts, clothes, art, jewellery and homewares, with very little in the way of mainstream junk brands like Jamberry Nails and Scentsy.
At the rear of this hall, you can take a staircase down into the second big air space. You arrive in the centre of a food court. It’s not your average food court either, with Ethiopian and Jordanian food stalls sitting alongside your more expected South-East Asian offerings.
Having just had brunch, we just had enough space for a cup of Hot Mulled Wine ($5) from Jo's Juice to fuel our food shopping adventures.
Spread out before us under dangling pastel flags were a number of wide aisles packed full of a cross-section of artisan food producers.
While fresh produce like fruit, eggs and vegetables weren’t particularly abundant, there was an almost bewildering array of artisan eats to choose from.
We saw everything from pasta to pastries to smallgoods, with most stalls offering good sampling opportunities.
Many of the stallholders had a good eye for the visual appeal of their products too; with eye-catching mounds of salted caramel-stuffed cookies catching my eye.
Multiculturalism was also the order of the day, with Balkan burek and German pretzels from the Cibo Kitchen jumping out at me, particularly because the pretzels were made here in Canberra, rather than imported from Europe like the ones at Sydney's Lüneburger.
We also picked up some Scottish tablet (it’s like a firm caramel fudge) and some freshly made Thai desserts, like khanom babin, also known as coconut delight.
While my dining companion weighed up the various merits of dried meat products, running from biltong to jerky; I scored some rarely seen Australiana in the form of damper from Dom’s Woodfired Gourmet Bread.
While it might not take care of all your weekly food shopping needs, Old Bus Depot Markets was a satisfying bit of shopping that’s available to Canberra locals every single Sunday.
With the market set on the edge of the Kingston Foreshore, a popular dining and entertainment precinct, it’s good to team your visit with a spot of brunch, or a visit to Canberra Glassworks (if you snacked too heavily in your market visit like me).
Functioning as an art gallery space for interesting and unusual glass artworks, this attraction makes good use of the existing architecture of the old Kingston Powerhouse.
With a system of catwalks, you're able to get a birds eye view of their working glass artisans, and of the hands on workshops they run.
If you’re particularly lucky, the working artists will down tools and tell you more about how the various works you see around the place are made.
You can also take a load off and watch live glass blowing, including the resident instructors working with beginners having their first hands-on experience working with superheated glass.
It’s fast-paced and exciting with a clear element of danger!
If you can draw your eyes away from the action, you'll also find my favourite piece in this area of the museum. It's a tiny fluorescent green cast glass old-fashioned light switch by artist Ellen Collins – understated and set exactly where you’d reach to find the switch.
Old Bus Depot Market
21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston ACT
Ph: (02) 6295 3331
11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston ACT
Ph: (02) 6260 7005