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Caloundra street becomes people sea

pepper - july


The often quiet times of other six days are left behind by a sea of people and colour.

Tourists and locals shuffle their way down Caloundra’s main drag swaying left or right depending on how often they allow their feet to follow their wandering eyes.

Past makeshift massage parlours, toy shops and clothing stores, the sea rolls smoothly parting only when people slip past in the opposite direction.

I arrive at the markets to see a crowd of families watching a street performer. Children laugh and clap on cue from their cross-legged positions on the asphalt or from the towering heights of their parents’ shoulders.

I make my way to the middle of the traffic and fall in line behind an elderly couple. We walk in the shade of the Moreton Bay figs that line the street. Their branches meet above our heads, cocooning the markets from the outside world.

A stall selling handmade soaps catches the couple’s eyes while I am pulled along by the aromas of the not-so-distant food stalls.

I see Thai, Polish, Mexican and German foods mixed in with warm donuts, popcorn and hotdogs.

I opt for Japanese, okonomiyaki to be precise. While it may not be my traditional breakfast, the first mouthful makes me question why it is not.

The sound of live music floats from stall to stall on the salty breeze. I am told that each week a different musician is found in the Bulcock Street park, spilling their Sunday soundtrack into welcoming ears.

I venture past plant stalls, mounds of jewellery and racks of band shirts. A man to my left gives a product demonstration to a group of people who are hanging on his every word.

A stall holder is handing out tasters featuring her homemade curry pastes. I should resist but unconvincingly find myself with a small cup in hand.

The stallholder tells me her name is Alice and that she has been at the markets for about two years. I ask her why she thinks people are drawn here on a Sunday.

She ponders and says the location is a big pulling point.

“People can easily combine a day at the beach with a walk through the markets,” she says.

Positioned two streets back from Bulcock Beach it’s easy to see why these markets have been one of Caloundra’s biggest pulling cards for about seven years.

Juggling fresh flowers, coffee beans and a full stomach, I head back to my parked car.

A young family with boogie boards in tow propel past me towards the buzzing boulevard.

I turn to see the smallest girl run ahead and throw all of her three years at a handmade doll stall.

With over 160 more stalls to go, I think the quick beach break her parents were expecting may not be so quick after all. 

words and photo claire plush