Two residents of outback Australia got a shock as they turned
in to Dunedin's Bath St on Saturday.
''In Alice Springs, you can swing a cat down the main street
when the markets are on - easily. This is chock-a-block,''
cruise ship passengers Clint (30) and Bethany (27) Aldridge,
of Alice Springs, said of the annual Thieves Alley market
''We've never been to anything this busy before,'' Mr
''It was ridiculous trying to walk down there [Bath St]. It
was like running the gauntlet.''
A stroll down Bath St usually takes a couple of minutes.
But when the annual Thieves Alley market is on in February,
the relaxed stroll quickly turns into an epic journey as
hundreds of people cram into the narrow street, in the hunt
for bargains at more than 300 stalls.
For seasoned market attenders like Brenda Knight, of Dunedin,
and Martina Liebeknecht, of Germany, the bustling crowd was
familiar and survivable.
Glen Acklin, of Dunedin, said a stroll down Thieves Alley on
market day was something people had to ''prepare for
Many people squirming through the throng were carrying
backpacks with food and drink, mobiles, hats and sunscreen in
case they got stuck for longer than they anticipated.
Mr Acklin said being 2m tall made a big difference.
''I can see the gaps opening up, and people try to avoid me
because I'm bigger.
''Patience is definitely the key.''
But for others, like the McQuillan family, the trauma was too
After running ''the gauntlet'' they relished a quiet spot on
the kerb of Stuart St to share a lunch of sausages, sauce and
While some may have found the experience somewhat daunting
and frustrating at times, most had no misgivings about being
jammed into Bath St, and revelled in the annual market.
Warm weather, and passegers from three visiting cruise ships
added to the crowd of thousands who attended.
Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd, of Dunedin, said despite the
day being busy, only one person was arrested, after they
stole cash from one of the stallholders.
''The incident marred what has been an enjoyable and
problem-free day,'' he said.